The "Holy Cross Boys" series
By Jack O'Connell '81
T. McDonald '15 penned
boys' adventure stories in his spare time.
It was the beginning of the last quarter of the first interclass
game of the football season, and the sophomores were crowing
lustily. They had
been crowing since the game started, for their poor freshman
opponents, scarcely two weeks old at Holy Cross, had only organized
the night before
whereas the older men had an intact organization from the previous
So begins the novel Hoi-Ah! Andy Carroll's First Year at Holy Cross, by
Irving T. McDonald '15. Published by Benziger Brothers in 1926, Hoi-Ah!
is the first book in the "Holy Cross Boys" series. The other titles in
the series are That Second Year (at Holy Cross) and Schooner
Ahoy! (Holy Cross Boys with the Cape Cod Fishing Fleet).
Intended for "young Christian boys aged eight-to-11," the
books depict an idealized view of student life at a Jesuit school in central
Massachusetts. The main character in each novel is Andy Carroll, an all-American,
sports-loving student from Texas. Reappearing secondary characters include Gus
Belcher, a perpetually hungry classmate, and the impetuous "Riot" O'Rourke.
Irving McDonald had a prominent career at Holy Cross
both as a student and an alum. An award-winning and popular undergraduate, he
was known for writing and performing plays and skits at class dinners. Following
graduation, McDonald spent some time as a vaudeville entertainer, who toured
extensively with Will Rogers, before becoming a manager of several early movie
theaters in Manhattan. Moving back to his hometown of Springfield, Mass., he
became the manager of the Fox Theaters until 1929 when he accepted an offer to
create and direct a "dramatics department" at Holy Cross. During his career at
the College, McDonald taught in the English department, directed numerous student
productions, and eventually succeeded Foster Stearn as head librarian.
Interviewed by The Tomahawk in 1941, McDonald spoke
about the impetus for writing the Andy Carroll books. "My reason for writing
the series was twofold," he said. "In the first place it seemed that there was
a gap in juvenile Catholic literature, and, secondly, I knew of no juvenile books
that dealt with an authentic college."
McDonald left Holy Cross in 1942 for a career in radio.
The head of radio promotions at WRKO in Boston, he later worked as the "international
news interpreter" for WEEI. He died in Gainsville, Fla., on March 1, 1966.