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March 2014 --The University Archives recently scanned its 10,000th image as a part of its scan-on-demand program to digitize holdings in response to requests from patrons. “Many popular images have been digitized in the five and a half years since we launched this program, but we hoped that our 10,000th scan would be one with a unique story to tell,” says Michelle Sweetser, university archivist. “While working on a variety of requests, we came across this photo that illustrates a unique period in the history of Marquette and the nation. It’s a great image to represent a key point in our own digitization efforts.”


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The photo depicts Company C of the First Battalion of the Marquette Student Army Training Corps (SATC) and is dated December 18, 1918. The SATC program was introduced at Marquette and more than 500 other campuses around the country on October 1, 1918; the armistice just six weeks later brought an end to the program. Company C left its quarters on Wednesday, December 18, according to an issue of The Marquette Tribune published the following day. This photo, dated the same, likely depicts the company in a final moment before they were demobilized.

The panoramic print measures approximately 38 x 6 inches and shows evidence of wear and tear, with strong vertical creases and a portion missing from the right of the image. The full image appeared in the 1919 Hilltop yearbook, but was split into three segments due to the size of the original. The photo is attributed to George S. Carney (1868-1941), a Milwaukee commercial photographer who for many years traveled the country on assignment for local newspapers to photograph regimental pictures and army training camps.

Despite its short life, the SATC program had a major impact on the Marquette campus, as the university effectively ceded control of its operations, curriculum, and academic life to the United States Army, and the origins of ROTC programs at Marquette date to this period. The SATC program itself was proposed as a means to address the needs of the Army as well as American colleges and universities. The SATC program would provide basic military training to young men, allow the army to assess the leadership potential of enlistees, and would offer collegiate-level instruction in subjects with military utility while at the same time reducing the impact of the war on the financial situation of higher education institutions, which were facing declining enrollments due to the war.

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Marquette students participate in the short-lived Student Army Training Corps (SATC) activities at Marquette University, October or November, 1918.

Company C was one of six companies organized at the university. The Marquette Tribune reported it was the largest unit in the Marquette battalion, with “262 men hailing from the dental, journalism, pre-medic and arts and science departments.” Those who enlisted received a private’s pay of $30 per month, board, lodging, and tuition, with a prescribed program of eleven hours per week of military training, sixteen hours of classroom work, and two hours of international law and three hours of military law.

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Pages 6-7 of the November 7, 1918 issue of The Marquette Tribune “Company C” edition, includes the names of company members. Download a PDF of the entire issue.

According to the Hilltop yearbook, the companies were quartered into barracks in four buildings proximate to the campus, with battalion headquarters in a “commodious homestead” at Thirteenth and Grand (now Wisconsin Avenue). A mess hall was built on university property at Sixteenth and Clybourn; the gymnasium would later be built using the same footings.

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Marquette spent months accounting for the SATC program, holding an auction to sell equipment from the mess hall, paying fees for architectural services to bring the various quarters up to snuff, accounting for the water used in the mess hall that was billed after the previous audit, and other sundry services. University treasurer Henry Banzhaf wrote in May 1919, “I am so anxious to get back to normal again.”

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Records documenting the administration of the SATC, including this list of lots from the mess hall sold at auction, are available in the University Archives as a part of the Military Training record group.

Digitization is a routine part of the work of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, which collects, arranges, describes, preserves, and provides access to records of enduring historical value for research, instructional, and administrative use. A selection of departmental holdings have been digitized and placed online in 18 digital collections via e-Archives. The scan-on-demand image collection will be added to the online portal in the coming months.


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