An early Academy of the New Church song, “Vive l’Academie” (long live the Academy), was often sung at Academy gatherings in the 1890s and early 1900s (see New Church Life 1900, 445). This French phrase also appeared on Christmas and New Year cards exchanged between Academy members. Examples of cards containing the phrase appear in a collection of holiday cards received and sent by John and Gertrude Pitcairn.
In 1885, John and Gertrude sent out a handmade Christmas card with the following sentiment: “With the hope that the Decennial of the Academy may bring us together. Vive l’Academie!” The Decennial celebration of the Academy was held at Beach Haven, New Jersey, in June of 1886.
Robert and Cara Glenn sent a card to John and Gertrude Pitcairn in 1892 containing the Latin version of the phrase—“Vivat Academia”—which was the title of another early Academy song. This card does not give the date as 1892, but instead uses the unique New Church calendar system in place at that time. (1892 is expressed as 123 on the card.)
An 1887 card from an Academy congregation in Brooklyn, New York, uses the phrase “Vive l’Academie.” Psalm 132:13 encircles their Christmas and New Year greeting: “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation.” The Brooklyn card expresses the year as both 1887 and 118.
Vive l’Academie and Happy New Year (2008/238) from the staff of NewChurchHistory.org!
Photos: The card written in French was sent to John and Gertrude Pitcairn by Alexandre Vaissiere, a member of a small group in Paris that was supportive of the Academy’s mission. All four cards are in the collection of the Glencairn Museum Archives, Bryn Athyn, PA.
Questions and comments may be addressed to the editors at [email protected].