Who’s Who in RBSC: Rachel Bohlmann and Jean McManus

The two fencers in Domenico Angelo’s L’Ecole des armes saluted, closing Ingenious Exercises, and welcomed Matthew Carey and the transatlantic story narrated in “Preserving the Steadfastness of Your Faith”: Catholics in the Early American Republic. The new Spring exhibit features printed books, newspapers, and pamphlets that document the flow of ideas about Catholicism between the United States and Europe.

Bringing coherence to the flurry of ideas represented by the diverse artifacts on display are Rachel Bohlmann and Jean McManus. Rachel and Jean (U.S. History & American Studies librarian and Catholic Studies librarian, respectively) teamed up to explore what our collections held on Catholic America. As they began this seemingly daunting task, they soon realized they first needed to address what exactly Catholic literature in America was and what it meant to be a Catholic in America.

For Jean, these questions stemmed from Notre Dame’s 2014 acquisition of the The Holy Bible printed in 1790 in Philadelphia by Matthew Carey, more commonly referred to here [on campus? at Notre Dame?] as the Badin Bible. This bible is a copy of the first authorized Catholic bible in English and was translated from the Latin Vulgate  in 1568 by members of the English College, a Catholic seminary in Douai in northern France. Its publisher, Matthew Carey, was an Irish Catholic who emigrated to Philadelphia. Known for standing against the British Parliament in defense of Irish nationalism and Catholic emancipation, Carey became a successful Catholic publisher in the U.S. Jean questioned what it meant to  be a publisher who was Catholic and, more broadly, what it meant to be Catholic in America.

For Rachel, a common theme that emerged among these sources was their transatlantic identity. As she and Jean chose particular stories to tell, each story connected to Britain or Europe, often in multiple ways. These ties could be in the form of refugees as in the case of Stephen Badin who fled Revolutionary France or ideas such as the pamphlets that circulated between the US, Europe, and Britain and, sometimes, the ties involved both refugees and ideas.

Turning to the principal Catholic Studies reference book, Wilfrid Parson’s Early Catholic Americana, they compared Special Collections’ holdings to the works listed in Parson and selected most of the items on exhibit based upon their inclusion in this work. Their selections represent American Catholicism defined by early printed works that include books, pamphlets, newspapers, official reports, and maps. What emerges is a six-chapter, multinational story beginning in the 1780s and running through the 1840s of early Catholicism in America and its ties to European Catholicism.

The exhibit runs January 16 – August 11, 2017. Weekly tours led by Rachel and Jean on Thursdays begin at 12:30 and will be offered through the end of March. Class tour are also available. Please contact Rachel to schedule a tour.

Upcoming Exhibit Events

“Saint Elizabeth Seton: A Reading Life”
Catherine O’Donnell, Professor of History, Arizona State University
March 22, 2017, 4:00 pm, Special Collections

Historian and former Cushwa Center Fellow Catherine O’Donnell’s talk explores Elizabeth Ann Seton’s spiritual journey as it intersected with Catholic history during the early American Republic. O’Donnell is the author of “John Carroll and the Origins of an American Catholic Church, 1783-1815” and Men of Letters in the Early Republic: Cultivating Forums of Citizenship (2008). She is currently completing her second book, Elizabeth Seton: a Life.


“21st Century Digital Approaches to Rethinking 19th Century Catholic Print”

Kyle Roberts, Professor of Public History & New Media and Director of the Center for Textual Studies & Digital Humanities, Loyola University Chicago
June 1, 2017, 2:00 pm, Special Collections

This talk explores the ways in which new digital humanities projects, such as the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project, have allowed us to recover the central importance of print to American Catholics. Roberts is also the author of Evangelical Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York City, 1783-1860 (2016).

African American History Month

“Paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society” – We join the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Museum to observe African American History Month.

 

African Americans and Populism
by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian

In this 1894 poster, the Democratic Party of Georgia felt the warm breath of third party competition on the back of its neck. The unnamed “Third Party” was the People’s Party of the United States, also known as the Populists.

The Populists were established in 1892 by a coalition of famers in the South and Midwestern plains states who believed that eastern banks and railroads, supported by government policies, exploited them with expensive credit and transportation. They were joined by industrial workers who criticized the major parties for being controlled by corporate and financial elites. In the 1892 election Populists won three governorships and 15 Congressional seats. It was the period’s most significant political insurgency.

In Georgia, the Populist wave had captured the allegiance of so many white Democrats by 1894 that the balance of political power had shifted to African Americans. If they swung their support from the minority Republican Party to the People’s Party, Democrats would lose control.

Panicked Democrats cravenly released broadsides like this one, which attempted to browbeat African American voters away from the People’s Party by threatening less public support for their children’s education. Despite such heavy-handed tactics, many African American farmers in Georgia supported Populism, as black farmers did across the South.

Georgia Democrats grimly hung onto power by mobilizing white voters against “Negro supremacy,” intimidating black voters, and outright vote fraud. Although Populism’s appeal had increased in rural states like Georgia in 1894, nationally the party lost ground. By the 1896 presidential election, the Democratic Party shrewdly absorbed part of the Populist’s platform and the agrarian revolt was checked.

Special Collections invites everyone to visit during African American History month to view or conduct research on materials such as the 1894 poster featured above. For more information, please contact us.


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Upcoming Events: February and early March

Please join us for the following event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, Feb. 23 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: Graduate Student Presentations — “Memory, narration and intertextual references: Shakespeare’s presence in the works of Primo Levi” by Valentina Geri, and ” ‘I don’t like labels’: Reactions to the Publication of The Complete Works of Primo Levi” by Lorenzo Bonaiti. Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 4:30pm | The book launch for A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College by Dr. David T. Gura. Sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries, Medieval Institute, and University of Notre Dame Press.

The exhibits during February are:

“Preserving the Steadfastness of your Faith”: Catholics in the Early American Republic.

Spotlight Exhibits:

Birds! Winged Wonders in Naturalists’ Eyes concludes this week and a new exhibit goes in showcasing a 13th-c. Bible leaf from a Parisian Bible painted by the Dominican Painter, once in the possession of Chester Beatty: A Leaf from the Chester Beatty Bible (W.116).

The Nathaniel Rogers Sermon Notebook, ca. 1634-1645 continues through March.

The Mary Huntington Morgan Diary and Campus Collaboration

Mary Huntington Morgan was the daughter of Daniel Nash Morgan (1844-1931), Treasurer of the United States during Grover Cleveland’s administration. Her diary from 1896 (MSN/MN 8009-1-B) recounts the life of this young, single socialite in the nation’s capital.

MSN-MN 8008-01-B 12v-13r

She narrates the demands of such a life—lunches and teas, dinners and dances, theater performances and lectures, ceremonial appearances at government events and diplomatic receptions. Yet, Mary also pens her personal endeavors, weaving through her music lessons and letter writing to her fondness for reading.

This semester (Spring 2017), the department piloted a new project to facilitate the diary’s use by a class in the Notre Dame History department, the United States’ Gilded Age. Collaborating with the professor, Special Collections digitized and made the Mary Huntington Morgan diary available in the Hesburgh Library’s new digital artifact viewer. In addition to being able to work with the physical object in Special Collections, students now have the opportunity to study the diary more extensively using the digital artifact, not only reading its contents but also learning skills such as how to transcribe text. The digitized artifact has made it possible for a class of 15 students to work on the same item simultaneously and to discuss their work and the diary itself in their own classroom.

MSN/MN 8009-1-B 4v

The Julia Stevens Buffington diary (MSN/MN 8009-1-B) has also been digitized for use this semester in another History class, the U.S. in the World in the 20th Century. Special Collections invites instructors interested in collaborating on similar projects to contact the department.

 

Recent Acquisition: A masterpiece of Chinese literature

by Hye-jin Juhn, East Asian Studies Librarian

Included in the recent gift from the University of Chicago is Lu Xun’s famous The True Story of Ah-Q published by Kaiming Book Company during the Sino-Japanese War (1939-1945), with illustrations by Feng Zikai. According to Feng’s preface, the set of illustrations in this edition was done for the third time after his first two sets were lost in the chaos of the war. The Libraries’ copy is the ninth reprint of the 1939 (Minguo 28) publication.

Exhibit Opens – “Preserving the Steadfastness of Your Faith”: Catholics in the Early American Republic

“Under these distressful feelings, one consideration alone relieved me . . . and that was, the hope of vindicating your religion to your own selves at least, and preserving the steadfastness of your faith.” — John Carroll, An Address to the Roman Catholics of the United States of America

With these words, John Carroll, head of the fledgling Catholic Church in the United States and future bishop, encouraged his fellow Catholics in 1784. Catholics held a precarious position in the Early Republic despite having gained more freedom to practice their religion after the Revolution. By the 1840s, in the face of increasing sectarian-driven violence, Catholicism had taken firm institutional root.

This exhibition displays examples of American Catholicism expressed through (mostly) printed texts from 1783 through the early 1840s. They include the earliest Catholic bibles published by Mathew Carey, and editions of Thomas à Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ used and produced in the United States; polemical pamphlets with sexual and political subtexts that flew back and forth across the Atlantic; no-holds-barred dueling sectarian newspapers; books and pamphlets created in reaction to mob violence against the Ursuline convent school near Boston; and official reports that mapped the Church’s growth and growing pains.

This exhibition is curated by Rachel Bohlmann and Jean McManus and is open to the public through August 11, 2017.

Upcoming Events: January and early February

Please join us for the following event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, Jan. 26 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “John Paul II’s canonization policy: the Italian case” — Valentina Ciciliot (Notre Dame). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

A new exhibit opens January 16: “Preserving the Steadfastness of your Faith”: Catholics in the Early American Republic. This exhibition displays examples of American Catholicism expressed through (mostly) printed texts from 1783 through the early 1840s. They include the earliest Catholic bibles published by Mathew Carey, and editions of Thomas à Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ used and produced in the United States; polemical pamphlets with sexual and political subtexts that flew back and forth across the Atlantic; no-holds-barred dueling sectarian newspapers; books and pamphlets created in reaction to mob violence against the Ursuline convent school near Boston; and official reports that mapped the Church’s growth and growing pains. The exhibition is curated by Rachel Bohlmann and Jean McManus.

Continuing on display during the month are the two spotlight exhibits: Birds! Winged Wonders in Naturalists’ Eyes and The Nathaniel Rogers Sermon Notebook, ca. 1634-1645

Recent Acquisition: Mini Book about John Carroll

Francis J. Weber provides a glimpse into the life of John Carroll, the first Jesuit bishop and archbishop of the United States and father of Georgetown University, In John Carroll and the Vernacular Liturgy, also summarizes Carroll’s views about vernacular liturgy.

boo_004468216-00a

Weber’s book is a limited edition miniature book. Special Collections copy is number 20 in an edition of 135. The book is 5.6 x 5.5 cm and is bound in paper boards covered with gold foil and a black leather spine. Affixed to the frontispiece is a postage stamp issued in 1989 by the Vatican to commemorate the bicentennial of the establishment of the Catholic hierarchy of the United States. The text is printed on Neenah Classic paper using a Chandler and Price Pilot Press.

Spotlight Exhibit: Birds! Winged Wonders in Naturalists’ Eyes

Buffon falcon pl13
Buffon, Histoire naturelle, pl. 13

Revolutions in politics, thought, science, society, and art swept through Western Europe during the century and a half that stretched from the 1680s to the early 1800s, the period often referred to as the Enlightenment. Significant advances were made in the natural sciences. Previously investigated within the presuppositions and methods of theology, the study of nature was now guided by new methods of scientific inquiry. Examining specimens and observing plants and wildlife in their native environments allowed a new generation of natural scientists to compose scientifically verifiable accounts of the natural world exemplified by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon’s Histoire naturelle and Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands.

Image of Lesser Redpole of Thomas Bewick
Bewick, History of British Birds, 200

Emerging from this work was ornithology, the study of birds. Birds captured the interest of eighteenth century society; they were an important food source, used as symbols in armorial designs, and were a source of amusement for hunters, artists, and onlookers. This new discipline brought more accuracy and realism to descriptions of birds. Personality traits such as a goose keeping careful watch and having the power to understand wisdom as the Roman naturalist, Pliny the Elder, records yield to physical characteristics such as Mark Catesby’s description of the white-bill woodpecker’s bill being “white as ivory, three inches long, and channelled from the basis to the point.” Books about birds now brought empirical knowledge and life-like illustrations to a new audience. Notable in this effort are Thomas Bewick and his early field guide, A History of Birds, compact and written for the general bird enthusiast.

The exhibit is open to the public.

On Display
December 2, 2016 – January 31, 2017
9am-5pm, Monday-Friday

Location
Special Collections
Hesburgh Library, room 102
University of Notre Dame

Come see other natural histories and books on ornithology in Special Collections including:

Alexander Wilson, American Ornithology (1870)

Dumont de Sainte-Croix, Ornithologie (1816)

Katy Dwyer and Jody Arthur, A Field Guide to Irregular Birds (2009)

Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland, The Natural History of Remarkable Birds (1821)

Jacob Henry, Studer Studer’s Popular Ornithology (1881)

 

For more information about the exhibit, please contact Julie Tanaka, Curator of Rare Books.


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