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.

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.

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).

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.

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

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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Upcoming Events: December and early January

Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed for Christmas and New Year’s Break (December 23, 2016, through January 2, 2017). In addition, RBSC will be closed December 6, 11:00am to 2:00pm, and December 12, 2:30-5:00pm, due to Christmas celebrations.

We otherwise remain open for our regular hours during Reading Days and Exams, and welcome those looking for a quiet place to study.

The exhibits during December are:

Ingenious Exercises: Sports and the Printed Book in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800 | What was the nature of sports in the early modern era, before the widespread preoccupation with rules, records, and Reeboks? And what kinds of books did people write about them? “Ingenious Exercises: Sports and the Printed Book in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800,” addresses precisely these questions. This exhibit of volumes from the Joyce Sports Collection is open to visitors 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday.

Spotlight Exhibits: Birds! Winged Wonders in Naturalists’ Eyes and The Nathaniel Rogers Sermon Notebook, ca. 1634-1645

Upcoming Events: November and early December

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

Thursday, Nov. 10 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “The Dynamic Psyche: Italian Pragmatism and Fascism” — Francesca Bordogna (Notre Dame). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

The current exhibits during November are:

Ingenious Exercises: Sports and the Printed Book in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800 | What was the nature of sports in the early modern era, before the widespread preoccupation with rules, records, and Reeboks? And what kinds of books did people write about them? “Ingenious Exercises: Sports and the Printed Book in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800,” addresses precisely these questions. This exhibit of volumes from the Joyce Sports Collection is open to visitors 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday.

Spotlight Exhibits: Two Irish Bibles and The Nathaniel Rogers Sermon Notebook, ca. 1634-1645

 

Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed for Thanksgiving Break (November 24-27) and for Christmas and New Year’s Break (December 23, 2016, through January 2, 2017). We remain open for our regular hours during Reading Days and Exams, and welcome those looking for a quiet place to study.

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.