Stock Ticker Tape Machine
This stock ticker tape machine was most likely used by students in the “Commercial” track of courses at St. Ignatius College.
Within three years after the college opened in September 1871, the Jesuits realized that they would not be able to retain students if they only offered the “Classical” track of courses closely derived from the three-hundred- year- old Ratio Studiorum (displayed in this exhibition). The parents of first- and second-generation immigrant students were looking for educations that would prepare their children to leave the world of manual labor, get jobs in business and enter the middle class.
The “Commercial” track of courses was designed to meet this appetite for upward mobility. The track emphasized coursework that would prepare students for practical skills such as typing and bookkeeping as well as mathematical skills for understanding and calculating investments. Eventually, science courses were also folded into the “Commercial” curriculum, giving students a broad foundation with which they could enter and succeed in the white-collar workforce.
The “Commercial” track presented Jesuits with a dilemma. Historically, this kind of curriculum was not in keeping with their Renaissance Humanistic origins, a course of studies that focused on Latin and Greek literature and rhetoric along with philosophy and “evidences of religion.” However, without a fundamental shift in strategy, St. Ignatius College would have closed for lack of students. The same missionary strategy of accommodation that used in the "Chinese Rites" of the 17th century and in the Rocky Mountains in the 19th century needed to be deployed here in burgeoning urban mercantile Chicago.
The St. Ignatius College stock ticker tape machine represents that Jesuit accommodation to the realities of America’s Second City and Third Coast.