Original-Format Facsimile of a Medieval Treasure

by Julia A. Schneider, Ph.D, Medieval Studies Librarian

Any questions about the thirteenth-century French artist and architect Villard de Honnecourt and his work must be answered by the one portfolio of sketches and notes he left behind, or not at all: it is the only known example of his work. The original manuscript of the portfolio, which contains more than two hundred drawings on thirty-three leaves of parchment, was produced sometime between 1220-1240.  Although almost all of the notes and drawings appear to have been made by the author, a few have been added or altered by subsequent owners. It came to the library at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Germain-des-Prés at the beginning of the eighteenth century, surviving a fire there. At the end of 1795 or beginning of 1796, it was taken to the Bibliothèque imperiale (now the Bibliothèque Nationale de France) in Paris, and there it remains under the shelfmark Ms Fr. 19093, entitled Album dessins et croquis (Album of drawings and sketches). 1

The Hesburgh Libraries recently acquired an original-format facsimile of this medieval treasure, published in 2018 under the title Cuaderno de Bocetos de Villard de Honnecourt de la Biblioteca Nacional de Francia, Ms Fr 19093, by Siloé Arte y Bibliofilia in Burgos, Spain (with an additional commentary volume forthcoming). Several other print facsimiles of this interesting collection of drawings have been made before, but none manage to show the original context of the drawings and artist’s notes in the same way that the original-format facsimile does. Because they provide real context, including the size, feel, and content of the ancient and medieval books that they copy, original-format facsimiles open the contents of books, book production, and intellectual history—the treasures of our past—to students in a new way.

This facsimile is no exception in terms of offering us a glimpse into the world and thoughts of an itinerant artist. The notes within the portfolio, written in the Picardy dialect of Old French, tell us that he has traveled extensively; the included drawings indicate his interest in a wide variety of subjects, from extremely detailed  gothic church architectural elements to mechanical plans, from stylized depictions of the Crucifixion to images of humans in a variety of naturalistic poses, animals, and insects, some with geometric underlay as part of their form. The way that they are put together also gives us an understanding of the life of the owner: the portfolio is made up of  parchment leaves gathered from multiple sources of differing quality and sizes, sewn loosely together and bound in “a pigskin folder… a suitable size for slipping into one’s garments when traveling on horseback.” 2

For more on Villard de Honnecourt and his work, see: 

Barnes, Carl F., Jr and The Bibliothèque National de France. The Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt : A New Critical Edition and Color Facsimile (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Fr 19093) with a Glossary by Stacey L. Hahn. Burlington, VT.: Ashgate, 2009. 

Barnes, Carl F., Villard de Honnecourt—the Artist and his Drawings: a Critical Bibliography. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1982. 


Footnotes

1. Barnes, Carl F. Jr. and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, The Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt: a New Critical Edition and Color Facsimile (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Fr 19093) with a Glossary by Stacey L. Hahn (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009), 3. 

2. Ibid., 3-4. 

Navigating Ideas of “Progress” in Puerto Rico’s Prensa Literaria

By Joyce Rivera González, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology

Although Puerto Rico’s current two-party system might seem familiar to those interested in the American political landscape, Puerto Rican political parties are not necessarily defined by fiscal and/or social liberalism or conservatism, but instead by their views on the future political status of the archipelago. The two main political parties are the New Progressive Party (PNP), which seeks Puerto Rico’s full annexation into the Union as its 51st state, and the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), a party which designed and implemented the current political system of the Estado Libre Asociado (loosely translated as “Commonwealth,” but literally translated as “Free Associated State”). 

Rare Books and Special Collections’ Puerto Rican holdings include 27 issues of the periodical Prensa Literaria: Revista de Cultura. Dating from 1963 to 1966, this magazine highlights key debates and tensions in the development of Puerto Rican politics and identity following the new Constitución del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, ratified in 1952.

WHO ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE GOING? 

Prensa Literaria was edited by major literary and political figures in Puerto Rico, many of whom were affiliated with the PPD. 

The PPD was a pivotal player in the postwar transformation of Puerto Rico. The party’s leader, Luis Muñoz Marín, was dubbed the architect of a new Puerto Rico and became the first democratically-elected governor of the archipelago in 1948, a role he held for 16 years. His political magnum opus was Operación Manos a la Obra (Operation Bootstrap), a massive industrialization political programme that began in 1947 and would transform the Puerto Rican economy, society, and political landscape in the years to come. For the average working-class poor, weekly wages more than doubled, life expectancy rose from 46 to 69 years, and basic living standards and infrastructure would vastly improve for all Puerto Ricans between 1953 and 1963 (see Ayala & Bernabe, 2007). Yet many of the PPD’s projects also depended on manufacturing incentives for US-based corporations, which dramatically reshaped the economy of the territory and broader Caribbean, detrimentally limiting economic and political self-sufficiency to the region. 

The whirlwind of change and industrialization that characterized the 1950s on the archipelago created what many scholars have identified as a collective existential crisis of sorts. This is reflected in an editorial by Ernesto Juan Fonfrías that appears in the September 1965 issue of Prensa Literaria, entitled, Who/what are we? Where are we headed? Fonfrías, a scholar, writer, and one of the founding members of the PPD, muses,

Many aspects of Puerto Rican life have not yet acclimated to the momentum of progress that has come to provide its benefits, almost all of a sudden but in times of crisis, because it met an unprepared average citizen, orphaned from moral, educational, and religious values, which are necessary to any civilized man’s wellbeing […] The result of economic progress has impaired the individual’s moral capacity to be and feel. 

Muchos renglones de la vida puertorriqueña no se han atemperado al impulso de progreso que vino a regar sus parabienes, casi súbitamente pero en momentos de apuros, porque encontró al ciudadano promedio impreparado [sic], huérfano de muchos de los valores morales, educativos, y religiosos que son necesarios en el haber de todo hombre civilizado […] El producto del progreso económico ha dañado la capacidad moral del individuo para ese alto estar y sentir. 

THE JÍBARO IS GONE, AND THE LAND IS UP FOR SALE 

In his front-page editorial “El jíbaro se acaba y la tierra se vende” (“The jíbaro [rural peasant] is gone and the land is up for sale”) in the May 1966 issue of Prensa Literaria, Fonfrías further examines Puerto Rican identity during an era of change. 

Perhaps the jíbaro is disappearing from the countryside, but his mark on history will remain, his criollo lifestyle, his cultural heritage and his milestone in civilization, which shall never be forgotten […] Who knows? Maybe the more civilized we become, the more jíbaro we become in our love for the land! […] Progress is good and so is the jíbaro

Tal vez el jíbaro desaparezca de la ruralía, pero quedará su quehacer histórico, su criollo vivir, su acervo de cultura y su hito de civilización que no se olvidarán […] Quién sabe si mientras más civilizados, seguimos siendo más jībaros en el amor a la tierra!  […] El progreso es bueno y el jíbaro lo es también. 

Fonfrías takes on the very ideal of cultural nationalism—the jíbaro—in this passage. Through his seemingly benign, yet arguably patronizing discussion, he approaches the quandary (paradox, for some) that stood at the very core of the PPD ideology: ¿y no podrá haber progreso y jíbaro también? (“could there not be both progress and jíbaros, as well?”)

As in the previous issue, we see Fonfrías struggling to reconcile economic changes (“progress”) and industrialization with social and cultural realities and ideals. These debates intersected with conversations regarding the archipelago’s political status. In its early days, even under Muñoz Marín, the PPD supported independence, but this stance slowly and quietly eroded. Prensa Literaria  best captures the centrist positioning of the political status quo that emerged as a result of the PPD’s political evolution, still in effect to this day.

REFERENCIAS 

Agrait Betancourt, Luis. “La idea independentista de Luis Muñoz Marín (1913-1931).” In Luis Muñoz Marín: ensayos del centenario. Edited by Fernando Picó, 1-15. San Juan: Fundación Luis Muñoz Marín, 1999. 

Ayala, Cesar y Rafael Bernabe. Puerto Rico in the American Century: A History since 1898. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2007. 

Cortés Zavala, María Teresa y María Magdalena Flores Padilla. “La Revista Puertorriqueña: el periodismo cultural y sus redes hispanoamericanas.” Revista de Indias 75, no. 263 (2015): 149-76. 

Díaz Quiñones, Arcadio. El arte de bregar: ensayos. San Juan: Ediciones Callejón, 2000. 

Duprey Salgado, Néstor R. Independentista popular: las causas de Vicente Géigel Polanco. San Juan: Crónicas Publicaciones, 2005. 

Grosfoguel, Ramón, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, and Chloé S. Georas. “Beyond Nationalist and Colonialist Discourses: The Jaiba Politics of the Puerto Rican Ethno-Nation.” In Puerto Rican Jam: Rethinking Colonialism and Nationalism, pp. 1-38. Edited by Frances Negrón-Muntaner & Ramón Grosfoguel. Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press, 1997. 

Pantojas-García, Emilio. “Puerto Rican Populism Revisited: the PPD during the 1940s.” Journal of Latin American Studies 21, no. 3 (1989): 521-557. 

Serra Collazo, Soraya. “Explorando la Operación Serenidad.” In Explorando la Operación Serenidad, pp. 7-10. Edited by Soraya Serra Collazo. San Juan: Fundación Luis Muñoz Marín, 2011. 

Upcoming Events: August 2022

Please note that the corridor outside RBSC has construction barriers due to ongoing library renovations, but we remain open regular hours.

There are no public events currently scheduled for August. Please check back for events being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections during September.


An exhibition of materials from the University of Notre Dame Archives reflecting on the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Notre Dame will open mid-August and run through the fall semester.

The current spotlight exhibits are Three Sisterhoods and Two Servants of God (June – August 2022) and Fifties Flair and Seventies Feminism Presented by Two Magazines (May – August 2022). The latter exhibit will be replaced towards the end of August by an exhibit showcasing two recently acquired World War II era photo albums featuring original photographs from the within and outside of the Warsaw Ghetto’s walls.

RBSC will be closed Monday, September 5th,
for Labor Day.

Three Sisterhoods and Two Servants of God

Materials displayed in this spotlight exhibit come from the collections of Rare Books & Special Collections (RBSC) and The University of Notre Dame Archives. Please note that the corridor outside RBSC has construction barriers, but we remain open to all.

by Jean McManus, Catholic Studies Librarian

The Sisters of Loretto (SL) founded 1812 as The Friends of Mary at the Foot of the Cross, Washington County, Kentucky

The Oblate Sisters of Providence (OSP) founded 1829, Baltimore Maryland

The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA) founded 1849, Wisconsin

These three distinct societies of women religious, featured in the June-July Special Collections spotlight exhibit, have their origins in the 19th century United States, on the frontier, among immigrant Catholics in the east, and in the Midwest, with varying experiences in relation to slavery, racial segregation, and discrimination in the American Catholic milieu. In their different places and motherhouses, these groups of sisters have cared for orphans and widows, educated children, and all have continuously responded to the “needs of the time,” in the words of Sister Rita Michelle Proctor, OSP, the current Superior General of the Oblate Sisters of Providence. Gender, race, religion, and place shaped and continue to shape their stories. 

Sisters of Loretto

The Sisters of Loretto were founded as the Friends of Mary at the Foot of the Cross in 1812, among the earliest sisterhoods established in the United States. The founding Sisters—Mary Rhodes, Ann Havern, and Christina Stuart—worked with Belgian missionary Fr. Charles Nerinckx, who became their clerical founder. Nerinckx supported the new society by writing their Rule, helping to build Little Loretto, their first home, and commissioning the print displayed here. The landscape in the engraving is fantastically rendered via the European imagination by the Belgian printer, but also rather accurate in portraying the rough hewn buildings, barefoot sisters, and split rail fence around their buildings.

The Sisters of Loretto relied on enslaved people to provide labor at their several missions before Emancipation, and also brought some African American women into the society as oblates, with different rules and professions. The story is not simple or altogether documented in the archives. The Sisters of Loretto today are present in the United States, and around the world, and center education, peace and justice in their work. More historical investigation appears in the LOREtto blog posts, written from the archives at the motherhouse in Kentucky. In 2000, the community erected a memorial to honor persons enslaved at their missions. Sisters of Loretto continue reckoning with their historical relationships with people of color at Little Loretto and other places, as they research their own and related archives regarding slavery and Native American children at Loretto-run schools.

Klyn Loretten in Noord-America. Petit Lorette Etats Unis de L’Amerique. Little Loretto Kentucky United States of America. [Belgium], 1816. [Hesburgh Library, Special Collections Prints • PRINT-1816-01-F1]

Oblate Sisters of Providence and Mother Mary Lange

Foundress Mother Mary Lange of the Oblate Sisters of Providence was still alive in Baltimore when members of the order responded to the invitation of Rev. Ignatius Panken, S.J., to educate Black Catholic children in St. Louis in 1880. They marked anniversaries of service in education and care of orphans in 1905 with a celebration and printed souvenir. The extension of their mission to St. Louis was consistent with the principles of their founding.

Mother Mary Lange

From the souvenir program of the Silver Jubilee of the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Saint Louis, Missouri, 1905.

In 1828, Elizabeth Lange, who was born into a Catholic family and educated in Cuba, had emigrated to a French-speaking Catholic enclave in Baltimore and was already teaching Black children at a school in her home. Urged by the French Sulpician priest who became their ecclesiastical director, Fr. James Joubert, Elizabeth Lange (who became Sister Mary Elizabeth Lange) with fellow teacher, Maria Balas (who became Sister Mary Frances), Rosine Boegue (who became Sister Mary Rose), and Almaide Duchemin (who became Sister Mary Therese) began the work to minister to the children of Haitian refugees by making formal professions in July 1829. As the OSP website history proclaims, “The Oblate Sisters of Providence is the first successful Roman Catholic sisterhood in the world established by women of African descent.” The cause for sainthood for Mother Mary Lange recognizes her heroic virtue in founding and sustaining the Oblate Sisters of Providence to educate African American Catholic children in Baltimore and beyond. Her cause for beatification was opened in 2004, and she is a Servant of God. 

Oblate Sisters of Providence moved to St. Louis in 1880 and taught Black Catholic children at St. Elizabeth School. Changes in parish makeup led the Sisters to establish St. Frances’ Orphan Home (1882-1952) and St. Rita’s Academy (1912-1950), both ministering originally to girls. Eventually the order founded schools in eighteen states–by the 1950s there were over 300 OSP Sisters teaching and caring for Black children.

St. Frances’ Orphan Home First Communion, 1902.

From the souvenir program of the Silver Jubilee of the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Saint Louis, Missouri, 1905. [MO St Louis – OSP, 1905, PROW 10/02. University of Notre Dame Archives.]

The two items featured in this exhibit point to 25 years of sustained effort and growth by the OSP Sisters in the St. Louis area. The interior pages feature an iconic photograph of foundress Mother Mary Lange, with a short history of the order. Also included are photographs from the St. Louis missions, such as the “First Communion class of the orphans, 1902,” showing 18 girls, two Oblate Sisters, and one white priest.  Later, in 1930, a Golden Jubilee was celebrated, marking 50 years in the St. Louis area. The challenging circumstances faced by the OSP Sisters in St. Louis are well documented in Ann Rosentreter’s 2016 thesis, Black, Catholic, and female : the Oblate Sisters of Providence in St. Louis, Missouri, during the interwar years.

Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and Sister Thea Bowman

Left:  Lead Me, Guide Me : the African American Catholic Hymnal. Chicago: G.I.A. Publications, 1987.
[National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, CNBC 15/12. University of Notre Dame Archives.]

Center: Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA, portrait, ca. 1990 [University President Rev. Edward “Monk” Malloy (1987-2005): Graphics, GPML #1996-6 box B:37, University of Notre Dame Archives.]

Right: Lead Me, Guide Me–Book of Signatures, 1987 [National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, CNBC 15/62. University of Notre Dame Archives.]

Finally, we have a glimpse of the work of the Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, Sister Thea Bowman, now a Servant of God, who was educated by the FSPA Sisters in her home town of Canton, MS, became a convert to Catholicism at age 9, and entered the order as a determined 15 year old girl. She taught and worked for racial reconciliation in the Catholic church, and evangelized through song, particularly advocating for a Black Catholic tradition. Sister Thea Bowman died in March, 1990, and weeks later the University of Notre Dame honored her with the Laetare Medal, the first time the medal was given posthumously. 

The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have long pursued their mission of education along with their devotional practice of perpetual adoration. The Sisters continue to lift up Sister Thea Bowman by supporting her cause for sainthood, and the foundation started with her input and name. The Sister Thea Bowman Black Catholic Education Foundation provides scholarships for Black students to attend Catholic colleges and universities.

One result of Sister Thea’s evangelization and ministry is this 1987 hymnal, Lead Me, Guide Me, a collaborative project with a host of Black Catholics that includes her essay, “The Gift of African American Sacred Song.” The hymnal signature book includes hundreds of signatures, many dated May 23, 1987, a month after the publication of Lead Me, Guide Me. Perhaps it was a book launch and celebration? Sr. Thea Bowman was part of it, as her signature attests.

Representing Gender and Crisis in Contemporary, Independent Puerto Rican Art

By Joyce Rivera González, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology

It reeks to always walk with tense shoulders, shoved upwards
A knife hidden under my tongue
Rear wheel mirrors

— Karla Cristina
Sobre el hombre y otros sistemas de colapso
(La Impresora, 2020)

In this blog post, we showcase a collection of zines, chapbooks, and posters published by the independent, women-led Puerto Rican press La Impresora (“the printer,” in Spanish).  This collection is one of the most recent acquisitions to augment Rare Books and Special Collections’ holdings of Hispanic Caribbean literature.

La Impresora is an experimental workshop headquartered in northwestern Puerto Rico. It is a small-scale risograph press, which combines the aesthetic and uniqueness of stencil and screen-printing with the expediency and convenience of digital copiers. Since the inception of risograph technology in 1940s Japan, this technology has allowed artists around the world to conveniently and inexpensively reproduce and disseminate their creations. In addition, La Impresora seeks to be more than just a printing press: as part of its vision, creators and artists are actively involved in the reproduction of their art in what the press’ founders call a book-making school, “a space to learn and share knowledge that is not formally taught in Puerto Rico, which is usually mediated or limited by the supply and demand of the publishing market.” 

The selection currently held by Rare Books and Special Collections is composed of 62 items, a polyphonic kaleidoscope of form and lived experience. Much of this work captures—textually and visually—the lingering stasis that haunts a generation of Puerto Ricans. To differing degrees, the archipelago’s youth have experienced systems of limbo, collapse, and crisis. These predicaments arise from socio-natural disasters (and postponed recoveries), neocolonialism, corrupt and impotent local government, and crippling (largely illegal) public debt. The pieces created by this collective comment on and represent both the everyday and large-scale manifestations of the Puerto Rican crisis. 

Selected chapbooks and zines from the La Impresora collection.

Authors include (from left to right) the La Práctica collective, Agnes Sastre-Rivera, Kelly Díaz, Karla Cristina, and Nicole Cecilia Delgado.

In addition to the pamphlet-sized zines and chapbooks, the collection includes a limited run of eight posters (11 x 17″) published by the collective, the majority of which were the result of a collaboration between the press and female Puerto Rican artists between 2019 and 2021. 

Some of the posters are the result of historical processes in the history of gender rights and relations in Puerto Rico. In “HISTÉRICA,” illustrator Adriana García centers the gendered attribute of “hysterical” in a minimally-illustrated piece. Written in red letters across a drawing grid, she embraces the gendered epithet and proclaims, in smaller, black font, to hysterically await a moment in which women “can live peacefully.” In slightly larger uppercase letters, she echoes contemporary demands for gender-perspective school curricula, an ongoing debate since at least 2008, split along partisan lines in the archipelago. 

Part of the 2019 art exhibition “Oda a nuestra sangre” (trans. “ode to our blood”) held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Lorraine Rodríguez’s print hopes to challenge societal taboos surrounding menstruation. In her piece, Rodríguez centers a minimally drawn menstrual cup, surrounded by blooming dandelions, a moon, and stars. In this landscape, menstruation is as natural as the blooms and celestial bodies that surround it. Moreover, the print seeks to desexualize and normalize female anatomy.  

Print of Lorraine Rodríguez’s unnamed piece, from the “Oda a nuestra sangre” exhibition held from March 7-April 2, 2019 in Pública, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

With the exception of Rodríguez’s piece (printed in 2019), the collection posters highlighted in this post were produced and distributed by La Impresora in 2021. This is far from a coincidence, as the year 2021 saw a record-breaking number of femicides and incidents of gender-based violence in Puerto Rico, averaging one a week. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports that Puerto Rico has the highest per capita rate of femicides against women over 14 years of age. These statistics include high-profile cases such as the murder of Keishla Rodríguez by rising boxer Felix Verdejo. In a way, many of the artworks in this collection emerge from the 2021 protests that demanded the enactment of a state of emergency by Governor Pedro Pierluisi in response to gender-based violence. Initially set to expire in June 2022, this state of emergency was recently extended: to this date, 24 women have been murdered in Puerto Rico, three times the number of 2021.  

Echoing these demands, photographer Nina Méndez Martí highlights the black-and-white photograph of a woman’s torso. Hands in the air, the words “ESTADO DE EMERGENCIA” (trans. “State of emergency”) are emblazoned across her chest and abdomen in bold, black, uppercase letters. 

Lastly, Yvonne Santiago’s “Seguimos luchando,” depicts a woman drawn in purple lines, her right fist raised in the air. The color purple has a long and important history in feminist activism, from its association to women’s suffrage to Alice Walker’s famous analogy, “womanism is to feminism as purple is to lavender.” The woman depicted by Santiago has two tattoos: a pot (cacerola) with a cooking spoon on her tricep and a machete on her forearm. Both the cacerola and the machete are important symbols of resistance, especially in Puerto Rico. 

The pot refers to the cacerolazo, a protest tradition which consists of banging pots cacophonously as a way of amplifying anger and dissatisfaction amid protests. In Puerto Rico, cacerolazos became a popular protest form during the Verano del 2019 protests, which called for the resignation of former governor Ricardo Rosselló. 

The machete symbolizes pro-independence struggle and political nationalism on the island, most commonly associated with 20th-century armed pro-independence militancy, primarily with the Boricua Popular Army, known as Los Macheteros (trans. “Machete wielders”), and the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN). However, the machete, as a political symbol, dates to the original Revolutionary Anthem of Puerto Rico, written in 1868 by Lola Rodríguez de Tió. The hymn’s lyrics were deemed too controversial and revolutionary and were subsequently changed for a less political version in 1902. 

Nosotros queremos la libertad
Y nuestros machetes nos la dará

We want Freedom
And freedom, our machetes will grant us

Yvonne Santiago’s piece chants its own hymn of subversion and defiance, lest we forget. 

For the women in my life
For the ones I have lost
For the ones to come
We will keep fighting


Additional Resources

Spanish

Adriana Díaz Tirado & Alejandra Lara Infante, “Ni una más: las familias de las víctimas de feminicidios reclaman reparación y justicia,” Todas, November 22, 2021. URL: https://www.todaspr.com/ni-una-mas-las-familias-de-las-victimas-de-feminicidios-reclaman-reparacion-y-justicia/ (accessed Jun 23, 2022). 

Cristina del Mar Quiles, “Sin fiscalización los programas de desvío para agresores por Ley 54,” Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, Jul 15, 2021. URL: https://periodismoinvestigativo.com/2021/07/fiscalizacion-programas-desvio-agresores-ley-54/ (accessed Jun 24, 2022). 

Elithet Silva-Martinez & Jenice Vazquez Pagán, “El abuso económico y la violencia de género en las relaciones de pareja en el contexto puertorriqueño,” Prospectiva, 28 (2019): https://doi.org/10.25100/prts.v0i28.7264 

María de los Milagros Colón Cruz, “Más agresores asesinan a sus parejas con un arma de fuego que mediante otras formas letales,” Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, Jun 9, 2022. URL: https://periodismoinvestigativo.com/2022/06/mas-agresores-asesinan-a-sus-parejas-con-un-arma-de-fuego-que-mediante-otras-formas-letales/ (accessed Jun 24, 2022). 

Observatorio de Equidad de Género en Puerto Rico, “Feminicidios,” OEGPR website, May 12, 2022. URL: https://observatoriopr.org/feminicidios (accessed Jun 24, 2022). 

Patricia Velez & Alvin Báez, “El dolor de los que se quedan: El calvario silencioso de los feminicidios en Puerto Rico,” Univisión Noticias, Jun 16, 2021. URL: https://www.univision.com/especiales/noticias/2021/feminicidios-violencia-genero-puerto-rico-calvario-silencioso/index.html (accessed Jun 23, 2022). 

Redacción BBC, “Feminicidio en Puerto Rico: 4 claves para entender qué llevó a la isla a declarar un estado de emergencia por violencia de género,” BBC News Mundo, Jan 27, 2021. URL: https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-55820829 (accessed Jun 23, 2022). 

English

ACLU, “Failure to Police Crimes of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Puerto Rico,” ACLU website, n.d. URL: https://www.aclu.org/other/failure-police-crimes-domestic-violence-and-sexual-assault-puerto-rico (accessed Jun 23, 2022). 

Aileen Brown, “Dozens of murdered women are missing from Puerto Rican police records, new report finds,” The Intercept, Nov 16, 2019. URL: https://theintercept.com/2019/11/16/puerto-rico-murders-femicide-police/ (accessed Jun 24, 2022).

Brittany Valentine, “Puerto Rico courts face down the greater issue of gender violence on the island,” Al Día, Aug 16, 2021. URL: https://aldianews.com/politics/policy/femicides-puerto-rico-0 (accessed Jun 24, 2022). 

Carli Pierson, “She just wanted to be safe. Her femicide started a movement in Puerto Rico,” USA Today, Mar 13, 2021. URL: https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/opinion/2022/03/13/angie-noemi-gonzalez-santos-puerto-rico-usa-today-women-of-the-year/6795005001/ (accessed Jun 24, 2022). 

Cristina Corujo & Penélope López, “Puerto Rican families devastated by gender-based killings remain concerned about government’s approach to crisis,” ABC News, May 26, 2021. URL: https://abcnews.go.com/US/puerto-rican-families-devastated-gender-based-killings-remain/story?id=77739523 (accessed Jun 24, 2022). 

Cristina del Mar Quiles, “The children whose mothers were taken away by machismo,” Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, Dec 16, 2021. URL: https://bit.ly/3xNHd0Y (accessed Jun 24, 2022). 

Denise Oliver Velez, “The ‘other epidemic’ in Puerto Rico: Femicide and gendered violence,” Daily Kos, Jan 28, 2021. URL: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/1/28/2012301/-The-other-epidemic-in-Puerto-Rico-is-femicide-and-gendered-violence (accessed Jun 24, 2022). 

Jhoni Jackson, “Hundreds Take to the Streets of Puerto Rico to Protest Two Femicides,” Remezcla, May 3, 2021. URL: https://remezcla.com/culture/hundreds-take-streets-puerto-rico-protest-two-femicides/ (accessed Jun 24, 2022). 

Lillian Perlmutter, “Deadly Violence Against Women in Puerto Rico is Surging During Lockdown,” VICE, Dec 8, 2020. URL: https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjpj5d/deadly-violence-against-women-in-puerto-rico-is-surging-during-lockdown (accessed Jun 24, 2022). 

Nicole Acevedo. “Puerto Rico’s new tipping point: Horrific femicides reignite fight against gender violence,” NBC News, May 16, 2021. URL: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/puerto-rico-s-new-tipping-point-horrific-femicides-reignite-fight-n1267354 (accessed Jun 23, 2022). 

Raquel Reichard, “Feminicide in Puerto Rico: A History of Violence and Resistance,” Hip Latina, Nov 30, 2020. URL: https://hiplatina.com/femicide-puerto-rico-protest-violence/ (accessed Jun 23, 2022). 

A 17th Century French Missionary in the Middle East

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired a rare first edition of an account by a seventeenth-century French Carmelite missionary of his journey through the Middle East and India, Philippe de la Tres Sainte Trinite’s Itinerarium orientale…in quo varii successus Itineris, plures Orientis Regiones, earum Montes, Maria & Flumina, Series Principum, qui in eis dominati sunt, Incolae tam Christiani, quam Infideles Populi (Lugduni, 1649).

Philippe traveled through Syria, Armenia, Persia and India, describing the situation of Christians abroad as well as taking notes on the flora, fauna, and geography of the places he visited. The work contains ten chapters; the eighth and ninth offer descriptions of the various Christian missions to the Middle and Far East, including an account of the martyrdom of two Carmelite missionaries in Sumatra in 1638.

The author (1603-1671) eventually settled in Goa (India), where he taught until he was elected General of the Carmelite Order in 1665.

We have found only three other North American holdings of this edition.  

Representing Decoration Day in a 19th Century Political Magazine

“The 30th day of May, 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. …”

GENERAL ORDERS No. 11
May 5, 1868

What is now known as Memorial Day—a day to remember those U.S. military personnel who died while serving—was originally known as Decoration Day. Below are a selection of images from Harper’s Weekly published during the first decade after General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic first called for this official day of national mourning in 1868.

“Honoring Our Dead Heroes” from the June 6, 1868, issue of Harper’s Weekly (365).
Continued text from “Honoring Our Dead Heroes” (366).
“‘In Memorium’—Decoration Day, 1872” from the June 8, 1872, issue of Harper’s Weekly (441).
Caption text for “In Memorium” (442).
“Decoration Day” article from the June 14, 1873, issue of Harper’s Weekly (498).
Illustration from later in the same June 14, 1873, issue (501).

A happy Memorial Day to you and yours
from all of us in Notre Dame’s Special Collections!

2016 post: Memorial Day: Stories of War by a Civil War Veteran
2017 post: “Memorial Day” poem by Joyce Kilmer
2018 post: “Decoration Day” poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
2019 post: Myths and Memorials
2020 post: Narratives about the Corby Statues—at Gettysburg and on Campus
2021 post: An Early Civil War Caricature of Jefferson Davis


Rare Books and Special Collections is closed today (May 30th) for Memorial Day and will be closed on July 4th for Independence Day. Otherwise, RBSC will be open regular hours this summer — 9:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.

During June and July the blog will shift to our summer posting schedule, with posts every other Monday rather than every week. We will resume weekly publication on August 1st.

Four Works by a Controversial Augustinian Hermit

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has just acquired a rare and beautifully printed edition of Enrico Noris’s two controversial works, Historia Pelagiana and Dissertatio de Synodo V. Oecumenica (Patavii, 1708 and 1707) ; this volume also contains his Vindiciae Augustinianae quibus Sancti Doctoris scripta adversùs Pelagianos and is bound with his Opera Varia.

The first work, in which this Augustinian hermit (1631-1704) attacks Pelagianism and its emphasis on the efficacy of human free will and denial of original sin, was almost immediately suspected of propounding Jansenist doctrines; accompanying this copy is an extremely rare Inquisitorial broadside announcing the suspension of the title from the Spanish Index of Prohibited Books in 1758, accomplished after protracted lobbying by the Augustinian Order and the intervention of Pope Benedict XIV himself in 1748.

The second work on the church’s Fifth General Council deals with the Second Council of Constantinople (553) and supports the council’s condemnation of Nestorianism, which emphasized the distinction between Christ’s human and divine natures and denied that Mary could be called the Mother of God (in Greek, Theotokos).

Cardinal Enrico (or Henry) Noris, of Irish ancestry, held the Chair of Church History at the universities of Pesaro, Perugia, and Padua before gaining a position as Assistant Librarian in the Vatican in 1692; he became the full Librarian in 1700.

We have found only five other North American holdings of this edition.

A Physician Who Served Where He Was Needed

by Hye-jin Juhn, East Asian Studies and Metadata Librarian

Some RBSC visitors have asked about the Westerner in the Eighth Route Army uniform, who appears in two Cultural Revolution posters in the Keating Collection (EPH 5061).

He was Norman Bethune (1890-1939), a “surgeon, communist, humanitarian” from Canada, who volunteered to participate in three foreign wars outside of his home country. His role was not to fight and kill, but to treat the wounded and save lives.

In World War I he was a stretcher bearer of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. In the Spanish Civil War he organized and operated the Canadian Blood Transfusion Service, providing blood to the frontline wounded—an innovative concept that had not been tried before.

In late 1937, at the start of the Second Sino-Japan War, he joined the Communists’ side of the United Front, and was stationed in the Jin-Cha-Ji Border Area. According to his letters and reports, in the area of 130 million residents and 150,000 armed troops, he was the only qualified doctor. He again organized and operated mobile medical units, providing a medical care for the villagers in need, and training local medical staff. He started a medical school, and wrote books with hand-drawn illustrations on how to treat battle wounds. Lacking trained personnel and resources, he reportedly performed 110 operations in 12 days. When surgical gloves became unavailable, he operated bare-handed.

In spite of the challenging circumstances he was in, in his August 1938 report, he wrote:

“It is true I am tired but I don’t think I have been so happy for a long time. I am content. I am doing what I want to do. Why shouldn’t I be happy—see what my riches consist of. First I have important work that fully occupies every minute of my time from 5:30 in the morning to 9 at night. I am needed. More than that—to satisfy my bourgeois vanity—the need for me is expressed…”

(Page 153, The Mind of Norman Bethune)

He died in November 1939 in a small village near Baoding in Hebei Province. The cause of death was septicemia, caused by an infection from a bare-handed surgery he had performed a few days earlier.

Bethune, or Bai Qiu’en 白求恩, his Chinese name,  became one of the national heroes of China for his contributions to the defeat of the Japanese invaders and the founding of the People’s Republic of China. He was posthumously honored and eulogized by Mao Zedong. He became a popular role model during the Cultural Revolution. There are statues of Bethune found in parks, schools, and museums. The Norman Bethune Health Science Center of Jilin University was established to succeed his medical school in the Jin-Cha-Ji Border Region that had been destroyed during the war.

The first poster was printed by the Hebei People’s Publishing House in 1969. The original painting, by Zhang Xin’guo (张辛国, 1926-), is probably from the 1950s while Zhang was working for Hebei People’s Fine Arts Publishing House. The message at the bottom, “Time Is Life” (时间就是生命), is a quote from Lu Xun’s Outsider’s Chat about Written Language (门外文谈) (1934). Why Lu Xun? Lu Xu’s symbolic status as a “doctor” who tried to create a “literature that would minister to the ailing Chinese psyche” is pretty well-known. But what’s the connection between his essay about the Chinese writing system and Bethune? For now, we’d like to reserve this topic for our future researchers.

The second poster was made for a special exhibition at Dongfanghong (East Is Red) Park in Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province to commemorate Bethune. Though there is no year of publication or of the event, the poster was likely made sometime between 1968 and 1980. (The park had different names before and after this time period. See 石家庄长安公园.) The text in-between the images of Mao Zedong and Bethune is an excerpt from Mao’s 1939 eulogy:

“A foreigner selflessly took the liberation of the Chinese people as his own mission. What should we call this spirit? This is the spirit of internationalism, and the spirit of Communism. Every member of the Chinese Communist Party should learn from this.”

The most important message that this poster conveys is perhaps the wisdom of Mao, who recognizes the role model. Bethune’s image support that as he humbly looks up to Mao, while holding in his hand On Protracted War, a series of Mao’s speeches from 1938.

Bethune remained relatively unknown in Canada until the early 1970s. Today he is listed among the “100 Canadians in the First World War” on the Library and Archives Canada website. There are multiple biographies, and fictionalized versions of his life, some made into movies and plays. An annual interdisciplinary conference, the Bethune Round Table (BRT), is held to discuss “the challenges of providing accessible, high-quality surgical care to marginalized patients in low-resource settings.”

If interested in learning more about Bethune, check out the biographies, fiction, and plays about him that the Hesburgh Libraries offer. Notre Dame users can also watch a ten-minute documentary that has footage of Bethune in China in 1938-1939.

A Scholar’s Books: The Luce Collection of Berkeley

by Arpit Kumar, Ph.D. Candidate, Notre Dame’s Department of English

In 1993, Hesburgh Library acquired a part of Arthur Aston Luce’s George Berkeley collection, which contains a lifetime of scholarship centered on Luce’s protagonist, Irish philosopher George Berkeley (1685-1753). Luce (1882-1977) unearthed previously neglected or unknown materials that changed the course of Berkeley criticism. Berkeley’s reputation was of an erratic but energetic, insightful but inconsistent thinker but in Luce’s writings he emerges as a precise and disciplined intellect, conversant with a continental philosophical tradition, and committed to forwarding a considered theory of immaterialism. The collection also contains items from Luce’s library including rare early eighteenth-century editions of Berkeley’s works (printed in London and Dublin) as well as later landmark nineteenth-century editions. The Hesburgh Library has added to the collection over a period of time.

Luce’s own extensive work, replete with penciled notes and corrections, is also represented in the collection. This includes two of his hand-written notebooks which served as the basis for his edition of Berkeley’s Philosophical Commentaries. The collection also contains Luce’s celebrated biography of Berkeley. Luce’s annotations are useful for scholars interested in studying the progress of Berkeley’s mind from his early Trinity phase to the truncated Bermuda project and his mature thought. The collection will appeal to those researchers and students who wish to interrogate the unique clubbability of these two men who were clearly allied in spirit even if separated by time.

While the early Dublin edition(s?) of 1709 of New Theory of Vision are not a part of Luce’s collection, a copy of the 1733 London edition of great rarity is present.

Title page opening of the 1733 London edition of New Theory of Vision

For almost a century after Berkeley’s death his readers remained unaware of the edition’s existence. In this work, Berkeley produced what is still considered one of his great contributions to philosophy by examining the dynamics of human vision in the perception of distance and magnitude by the interaction of ideas of sight and touch. Berkeley’s explanation provided an alternative to the prevalent standard account of visual perception which required geometrical calculations. Adam Smith regarded Berkeley’s theory of vision as complete in itself and considered it “…one of the finest examples of philosophical analysis” (qtd. in Keynes, 7).

The collection also contains a copy of The Works (1871) edited by A.C. Fraser which is of interpretive value for Berkeley scholars and contains substantial annotations made by Luce especially in sections pertaining to The Theory of Vision Vindicated (1733).

The copy of Three Dialogues is in a beautiful and seductive modern calf binding of bookbinder Joseph Zaehnsdorf (1814–1886).

This work served Berkeley’s intentions of communicating the sum of his philosophical writings presented in New Theory of Vision and Principles of Human Knowledge in a more accessible and literary form: the dialogue. Luce believed that the dialogues “had a greater success than the Principles, and undoubtedly made an impression.” (qtd. in Keynes 27).

The Dublin and London editions of A Miscellany (1752) will also interest scholars, especially for containing the first printings of Berkeley’s “Verses on the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America”. The poem was originally received by Sir John Percival in a letter from Berkeley dated 10 February 1725/6 and some changes of interest are to be found in the printed versions (Keynes 252). Another edition of A Miscellany also contains penciled marginalia from Luce on De Motu, an essay in Latin on ideas of motion composed while Berkeley was visiting France in 1720/1. The Miscellany also contains Berkeley’s work from the period before the Bermuda College Scheme, including a tract titled, “An Essay Towards Preventing the Ruin of Great-Britain”(1721). Written in the aftermath of the South Sea Affair (1720), the tract proclaims Britain’s moral and economic decline while offering modes of redress. Berkeley mounts a scathing attack on the preference for trade over religion arguing that luxury and speculation have gripped the British nation leaving little space for honest industry. The tracts provide useful context for an analysis of Berkeley’s motivations when embarking on the Bermuda project.

 The Hesburgh Library has added gradually to the collection, including the significant arrival in December 2020, of Luce’s own copy of the Philosophical Commentaries published as a limited edition in 1943 as well as two hand-written folio volumes of transcription and notes.

Luce Notebook

The notes were the basis for Philosophical Commentaries, Luce’s version of Berkeley’s Commonplace Book. He styled the work as Philosophical Commentaries with the conviction that Berkeley’s text was less a standalone book of meditations and more a set of commentaries on previous writings. While critical opinion is often divided on Luce’s theorization about the existence of such previous work and on the status of the Commentaries as a text, the editio diplomatica is invaluable for capturing the vitality of Berkeley’s philosophical meditations. Luce held that the almost nine-hundred philosophical notes divided between two Notebooks (A and B) were composed by Berkeley in a short duration in 1707– as a “living and growing thing…a great system of thought in the making” (Preface, vii). The work was undoubtedly a workshop for the mature ideas that found their way into the New Theory of Vision as well as the Principles of Human Knowledge. As a diplomatic edition, it ventures to replicate in typography all essential features of the original Notebooks Berkeley composed as a young, ambitious scholar in his early twenties.

Luce’s Philosophical Commentaries brings alive Berkeley’s process of thinking and composition: giving the reader unparallelled access to his hesitations, doubts, habits of thought, doubts as he set about crafting his case against materialism. For instance, Luce notes the specificity of Berkeley’s use of capital letters in the notebooks: “…Berkeley uses the capital to express anti-thesis, stress, subtle shades of meaning, or turns of thought; one can often see the purport of an entry by a glance at its capitals, and the fairly systematic change of idea into Idea is decisive on certain textual questions.” (Introduction, xv).

Luce’s edition was aimed at the urgent correction of Berkeley’s status in the canons of philosophy: he specifically aimed to correct the notion, cultivated and propagated by A.C. Fraser’s work on Berkeley, that the philosopher was an “…ill-read young man from a semi-barbarous country, who in the ardor of youth hurried into print with an immature argument” (Preface, viii). Luce was determined to persuade readers through the diplomatic edition that Berkeley’s philosophy was carefully considered and systematized, even theorizing the existence of a prior work upon which Berkeley had been commentating in these notebooks. As Luce states of the notebooks, “[they are] systematic and highly particularized, comments focused upon a complex argument for immaterialism which was present in outline in Berkeley’s mind for some time before he began to fill the notebooks” (ix). Luce strove to reform scholarly consensus about the notebooks from impromptu, haphazard utterances into a precise record of an intermediate but pivotal stage of Berkeley’s philosophical progress.

Luce’s editorial work and criticism was instrumental in radically reconstructing the twentieth-century’s view of the Irish philosopher. Luce’s Berkeley collection will appeal to Berkeley scholars as well as all researchers interested in rigorous editorial practices.