In his article “The Founding of the Notre Dame Archives” (American Catholic Studies Newsletter, Spring 2005), Fr. Thomas Blantz, CSC, described the collecting efforts of our first archivist, James Farnham Edwards, quoting in his conclusion the judgment of Philip Gleason and Charlotte Ames that Edwards was more a collector than a librarian or archivist. Edwards did not create any mechanism that would allow scholars to find out exactly what he had collected. His successors began the project of describing what Edwards had collected. Eventually they created a description on index cards that takes up nearly as much space as the collections themselves — the Notre Dame Archives calendar.
When Jay Dolan retired as director of the Cushwa Center, his administrative assistant, Delores Fain, came to work in the Archives. Among other things, she began to put our calendar cards into the computer. By the time she retired from her job in the Archives, she had finished all the undated documents, the years up to 1842, and the Civil War years. Brother Pascal Tomaszewski, CSC, also helped with this effort — he typed the descriptions of all of the undated documents.
When Delores retired we had nobody to continue this work. In 2005 we hired AEL Data to finish the job of digitizing the calendar. In August they turned in the last of their work, and we converted the files for presentation on the internet, indexed them, and made them available on our website:
A calendar is a finding aid that provides summaries of individual documents. Our calendar goes into greater detail than most. The calendar entries are all in English, and make note if the original document is in another language. Our calendar covers these collections (many of them mentioned in Fr. Blantz’s article): Archdioceses of Cincinnati, New Orleans, and New York; Diocese of Detroit and Hartford; Mount Saint Mary’s College, the Vincentians; James Roosevelt Bayley, Henry F. Brownson, Orestes A. Brownson, Richard H. Clark, James F. Edwards, Austin Ford, Daniel E. Hudson, Joseph H. McMahon, James A. McMaster, William James Onahan, Robert Seton, and John Gilmary Shea.
You can search the calendar by keyword or choose a particular year and month and read chronologically.
The internet edition of our calendar is a work in progress, an intermediate draft. The text comes to over fifty million characters. It will take years to proofread all the calendar entries. In general, though, the flaws in the text do not make the summaries unintelligible: better to make this intermediate draft available than to deny the resource to scholars for the years it will take to perfect it.
The calendar for the years up to 1803 provides access to our digital edition of the Records of the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas (which later became the Archdiocese of New Orleans). For this one collection, you can go beyond the summaries to see images of the documents themselves via the internet:
The collections described in our calendar represent something less than two percent of our holdings. To find a computerized index to and inventories of the other ninety-eight percent, see our home page:
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