Color Our Collections: Catholics in the Early American Republic exhibit

Today’s coloring sheet comes from our current exhibit, “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 and is curated by Rachel Bohlmann (U.S. History & American Studies)and Jean McManus (Catholic Studies).

The exhibit is open to the public through August 11, 2017.

Women’s History Month: A Woman’s Sardonic Eye

by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian

To honor Women’s History Month we are highlighting a new acquisition by a cartoonist who turned her sardonic eye on women and men in the WWII workplace.

Dorothy Bond drew on her working life in Chicago offices to create sarcastic, witty cartoons, which she turned into nationally syndicated comic strips after WWII. In 1940 Bond, a divorced mother of two, began working as the civilian executive secretary for a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. The result was this self-published Life with the Navy by Navy Nora, a wry, biting, and affectionate look at office life during wartime. Bond dedicated it to “those unsung heroes and heroines who work in shore establishments for the finest Navy in the world – the United States Navy.”

In one cartoon (seen here), Bond mocked male self-importance and tweaked gender expectations by portraying a female secretary’s hesitation to interrupt a group of men in conversation. While she delayed, Bond revealed the men’s mundane discussion—about clothes (where to buy the cheapest, best-quality overcoats). In the panel opposite Bond caricatured the government’s wartime production expectations and the gendered labor market it exploited. While the young woman secretary doubled down, using two typewriters simultaneously, her male superiors merely observed and rationalized her work speed-up.

Bond made a career of capturing, in drawings and words, the absurdities and gender politics in American offices. After publishing two more cartoon books about women and office work, she became a nationally syndicated cartoonist with a daily panel called The Ladies in 1945. From this success Bond created a comic strip that she dedicated to secretaries, Chlorine, Champion of the Working Girl. Her post-war office humor included cartoons like, “Whatever It Is, No!” and “Out Looking for a Man. Back at ___.” Bond continued to publish cartoon books on timely post-war topics like Life with the Boss (1947) and Your First or Second Baby? (1956), and later in her career, broke into advertising.


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Upcoming Events: March and early April

Please join us for the following events being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections (102 Hesburgh Library):

Wednesday, March 22 at 4:00pm | Exhibit Talk“Saint Elizabeth Seton: A Reading Life” by Catherine O’Donnell. Co-sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries and the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism.

NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED
Thursday, March 30 April 27 at 5:00pm
| The Italian Research Seminar“Living on borders: Cityscapes in transformation in Italian literature and cinema of the ‘Economic Miracle’ ” by Alberto LoPinto (Notre Dame). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

The current exhibits are:

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

Join co-curators Rachel Bohlmann (American History Librarian) and Jean McManus (Catholic Studies Librarian) for a guided tour Thursdays at 12:30 pm through March (excluding Spring Break, March 16), and learn more about American Catholic history held in the library’s Rare Books and Special Collections and ND Archives. Tours will last up to an hour.

To schedule a class or group tour, please contact Rachel Bohlmann via email or phone: (574) 631-1575.

Spotlight ExhibitsBram Stoker’s Lecture on Abraham Lincoln and The Nathaniel Rogers Sermon Notebook, ca. 1634-1645.

Research Finds: The Enduring Joy of Friendship for Young Women

While searching for primary sources she could access nearby to develop a seminar paper on the lives of women in the nineteenth century, Jenifer Blouin, a master’s candidate in History at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, ran across the online description of friendship albums and commonplace books at Notre Dame. Intrigued, she made the trek south.

As she read through seven or eight albums, Jenifer realized that they not only gave her, as she states in an email interview with Special Collections, “a really good look into the lives of young women in the 19th century—especially how their friendships played out”—but that they also provided unexpected access to the young women writers themselves. Her close reading of the texts told her “a lot about young women’s friendships,” but more interestingly, it revealed an interesting preoccupation these women had with “ideas of eternity and things that are everlasting.”

Given the dearth of scholarship on friendship albums, Jenifer’s project is a welcome addition. Her research, in particular, expands upon a topic that two historians, Anya Jabour and Catherine Kelly, according to Jenifer, only briefly mention, namely the enduring nature of friendship. During her analysis of the albums, Jenifer examined the messages friends left to the album’s owner as well as the physical artifacts themselves.

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One particularly fruitful investigation centered around the album of Harriet Curry. Jenifer noticed that a note, “drowned in Lake Erie,” after an entry by Abby Jane Williams differed in color from the ink used in the entry. This began Jenifer’s search to verify if Williams did drown in Lake Erie and to identify who wrote that note. Jenifer recounts:

After some online searching using the search terms “Abby Jane Williams” and “Lake Erie,” I found a book titled Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, and Disasters on the Western Waters (published 1856) that detailed the account the burning of the steamer Erie in 1841. Among the listed dead was a Mrs. Giles Williams. I was later able to corroborate that this was the same Williams who had left an entry in Harriet Curry’s friendship album by locating her record on ancestry.com and findagrave.com, which confirmed that Abby Jane’s husband was indeed named Giles. Giles apparently survived the boat’s burning.

Still to be resolved was who wrote the note. After further analysis of the album’s contents, Jenifer concluded that “drowned in Lake Erie” was written by Harriet Curry herself. This was in line with similar notes in the diary “denot[ing] when one of her friends had gotten married, moved away, or died.” Jenifer further explains, “This, to me, showed that even after years had passed, Harriet still cared about her friends. Her friendship lasted forever, just like many of her friends wrote in her friendship album.”

The Curry example was but one among numerous pieces of evidence that Jenifer located in the albums she consulted to argue that these albums contained an “exhortation to . . . trust in everlasting eternal things,” rather than “temporal things that would eventually pass away.” She identified that there were certain everlasting qualities valued by these women; these were “God, prayer, and friendship itself.” Her research brought her to the conclusion that these young women writers:

valued the everlasting over the ephemeral. Transitory things such as youth, beauty, and suffering were dismissed in favor of enduring communion with God and friends. Friendship, of course, was the ultimate enduring joy to these women, and the survival of their friendship albums through to the present day proves the unending nature of their affections.

The argument substantiating these conclusions can be found in Jenifer’s article, “Eternal Perspectives in Nineteenth-Century Friendship Albums,” published in The Hilltop Review, Western Michigan University’s journal of graduate student research.

Jenifer Blouin earned her BA in History from Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana in 2015 and expects to earn her MA in Public History from Western Michigan University in December 2017. Her research focuses on the historical significance of cemeteries as sites of memory and cultural resources. More generally, Jenifer is interested in gender and women’s history.

Special Collections thanks Jenifer for her time and for sharing the results of her research that brought the friendship albums in our collections to light. We also appreciate the review she wrote of our department for the American Historical Association’s Archives Wiki.

 


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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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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.

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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.

 

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.

Thanksgiving Humor by Mark Twain

Recalling his youth growing up in Hannibal, Missouri, Clemens recounts hunting with his uncle and cousins. A lousy shot, the young Clemens wouldn’t be embarrassed in front of deceitful mamma-turkey. Read on to find out what happened.

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Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), better known as Mark Twain, authorized Harper’s Magazine to print his “Hunting the Deceitful Turkey.” This short piece was an excerpt from the manuscript he had been working on, “My Autobiography (Random Extracts of It).”

Who’s Who in RBSC: George Rugg

The double-sided banner outside of Special Collections invites passersby to pop in and check out the new exhibit, Ingenious Exercises: Sports and the Printed Book in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800. For the curious who take a moment to stop, they find Domenico Angelo’s L’Ecole des armes (School of Fencing) opened to two fencers demonstrating the proper form to parry against an outside thrust under the wrist, known as a quinte thrust. Angelo’s book is accompanied by other early editions from the Joyce Sports Collection, highlighting various aspects of sports and physical culture including swimming, hunting, wrestling, and football.

Image of George RuggBehind the design of Ingenious Exercises is George Rugg, the curator for Americana and the Joyce Sports collections. As curator, George is responsible for the acquisition, care, and interpretation of collections related to the history and cultural heritage of the United States as well as sports and physical culture. He identifies and acquires materials available on the market or from private collectors that relate to existing collection strengths in Special Collections. Once these materials arrive, George ensures that all of the documentation is complete for the library to take physical and intellectual control of the materials. He assesses the condition and works with Hesburgh Library’s conservation staff to determine if treatment is needed to prevent deterioration and to address any special needs to protect the materials. George also researches and interprets the collections in order to help students and visitors understand the significance of the materials, show relationships between them, or contextualize them within our cultural heritage. The main ways he shares this knowledge with students and the public are through teaching classes and by designing exhibits.

Since becoming a curator, George has designed numerous exhibits that feature significant works from the collections. These exhibits cover a range of topics including Civil War manuscripts, Abraham Lincoln, American diaries from the 18th and 19th centuries, baseball literature prior to 1900, boxing literature, and cover art of college football programs. He has also created spotlight exhibits that highlighted the lithographs of the Scottish painter David Roberts (1796-1864), a historical map of the Great Lakes region by the renowned Italian cartographer Vincenzo Coronelli (1650-1718), and the manuscript business records of the Birmingham Black Barons, the elite black professional baseball team.

Also on current display is a spotlight exhibit featuring an important journal George recently acquired that enhances the Colonial Manuscript collection. The Nathaniel Rogers Sermon Notebook contains the sermon notes of Nathaniel Rogers (1598-1655), a Puritan minister who emigrated from England to Massachusetts in 1636. George offers visitors an opportunity to view this rare work while sharing his research on and curatorial concerns for the book. He includes Cotton Mather’s providential history of 17th century New England, the Magnalia Christi Americana (1702), opened to the beginning of Mather’s eulogy of Rogers which provides what little information is known about the minister’s life. George also describes the original condition of the sermon book and the treatments performed by Hesburgh Libraries Preservation to stabilize the notebook so that researchers may safely use it.

For each of these exhibits, George selects materials from Special Collections’ holdings that not only have significance but also capture the imagination. Selected items might represent important works in a bibliographic tradition such as Nicolaes Petter’s Klare Onderrichtinge der voortreffelijcke Worstel-konst (1674). This work is an illustrated self-defense manual that represents one of the finest examples in the tradition of illustrated martial arts manuals, a tradition traceable to a German fencing manual from the 1320s. In the case of the business records of the Birmingham Black Barons, the records provide a look into the history of American baseball in the era of segregation. They document financial transactions between the team and its players during the years when the Black Barons were full members of the Negro National League and before financial pressures generated by the Great Depression forced the team to return to the Negro Southern League in 1931.

George’s current exhibits, Ingenious Exercises and The Nathaniel Rogers Sermon Book, will be on display through December 2016. He will also be giving public tours of Ingenious Exercises on Wednesdays at noon during October and November.