John Bellairs Wiki
John Bellairs Wiki

The College of Saint Teresa was a Catholic women's college in Winona, Minnesota. Founded as a women's seminary, it became a college in 1907 and ceased operations in 1989. John Bellairs taught here between September 1963 and spring 1965.   

Part of a series about
College of Saint Teresa
Easter Address to the Faculty by the President of a Catholic Women's College

Bellairs On Campus


The Sisters of Saint Francis that owned the college formed about one-third of the faculty with the rest being lay faculty, usually of a Catholic background, hired as at any other college.

As a full-time instructor of English, Bellairs probably had a course load of four or five sections of courses, amounting to approximately 12 to 14 hours per week of classroom instruction. He taught the "History and Structure of the English Language" course, which was an upper division course, and at least one section of the Freshmen English yearlong course, "English Composition and Readings". The readings in this later course began with selection from the Greek and Roman classics, moved though selections from the Renaissance (Dante and Shakespeare) and major genres, such as the novel, and ended with selection from American literature. The aim was to teach students how to write acceptable prose as well as to acquaint them with the Western cultural tradition. Other assignments are unknown, though he may have taught one or two sections of the English literature survey course. Geier does not recall Bellairs's attitude toward teaching during this time, suggesting that because it was his first full-time position, he probably engaged in it with some enthusiasm[1]. Murphy echoes these sentiments, saying on the whole Bellairs was interested and dedicated to teaching[2].

Bellairs did assign Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles to one of his classes. "I told him that I didn't think that this particular work would be too well received by a class of young women, and he had to admit that I was right.[3]"

Academic Writing

The English department, though small, was quite published outside the realm of Winona. The chair of the English department, Sister Bernetta Quinn (1915-2003), was known for her scholarly articles, poetry, and book reviews.

Bellairs also joined "the baroque process of academic publishing[2]" with "Variations on a Vase", an extended essay analyzing John Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" as viewed by three Keats scholars. Surprisingly, Bellairs's essay was published in the Southern Review of Adalaide, South Australia, in late 1965. A second piece, "An Anatomy of Abuses: Why Bad Poetry is Bad" was published in the winter 1965 edition of the college's literary journal, the Censer.

Speech and Drama

The college had a strong speech and drama department, producing theatrical performances ranging from Greek classics to contemporary musicals.  As the college was women-only, men from outside the student body were enlisted for male roles.  When it wasn't possible to find participants from the nearby Saint Mary's or Winona State College, male faculty members - such as Bellairs - were either recruited or volunteered.  The department scored a major coup by staging the first college production in the country of "My Fair Lady" in March 1964[4].

Bellairs was seemingly introduced to the department early on as he modeled costumes - including one worn by actor Rex Harrison - during an October 1963 campus lecture on the history of theater. He had roles in at least four performances, enjoying the chance to act and ham it up on stage[2].

Bellairs may have had a role in Jean Giraudoux's "The Madwoman of Chaillot"[1] but nothing is known of this production during his time on campus.

Faculty & Staff

These people were associated with the college during Bellairs's time on campus:

  • Norbert Geier
  • William Goodreau
  • John E. Marzocco
  • John Murphy
  • Robert E. Oram
  • Richard J. Weiland
  • Eileen Whalen

External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Correspondence with Norbert Geier (2001).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Correspondence with John Murphy (2003).
  3. Correspondence with Alfred Myers.
  4. "The College of Saint Teresa Celebrating 100 Years".  Frances Muraine Bowler Edstrom, Winona Post (Jul. 4, 2007).