The Archivist’s Nook: To Be or Not to Be – Shakespeare on Campus

One can imagine paper mache Hartke exhorting his Shakespearian thespians. Drama Department Records, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.
One can imagine paper mache Hartke exhorting his Shakespearian thespians. Drama Department Records, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

Perhaps the best known and most oft quoted line of legendary English playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” For the Drama Department of The Catholic University of America (CUA) the question was decisively answered with its founding in 1937 by the brilliant and charismatic Gilbert V.F. Hartke (1907-1986), the “Show-Biz Priest,” subject of a recent blog post by my colleague Maria Mazzenga. With the work of Shakespeare a staple, Hartke, a D.C. icon, directed over sixty CUA productions and many more for the National Players, his touring company. He also wrote five plays and toured with his students both nationally and internationally. Today, the theatre at Catholic University bears his name and is still performing Shakespeare on an almost biennial rate.

An eerie scene from the 1952 production of MacBeth. Drama Department Records, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.
An eerie scene from the 1952 production of MacBeth. Drama Department Records, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

The last play of the 2016-2017 season, coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the CUA Drama Department, is the return of MacBeth, otherwise known as ‘The Scottish Play’ or ‘The Bard’s Play’ to Hartke Theater for the first time since 1976. Anticipation of this event prompted me to examine the rich history of Shakespeare at CUA. While there were small scale performances of The Bard’s plays by various student groups before the Drama Department was created in 1937, the focus here is on the larger scale productions of CUA Drama since then, in particular because the CUA Archives preserves so many of the records, including photographs, programs, prompt books, reviews , cast lists, scene breakdowns, an and analysis of the plays. The 37 known Shakespeare plays are divided into three genres, with about a dozen each as comedies, tragedies, and histories. CUA Drama has performed nineteen of the plays, many multiple times in the eighty seasons culminating with MacBeth in 2017. 

An Irish looking Juliet from the 2007 Romeo and Juliet set in Fascist Italy. CUA Drama Department Records, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.
An Irish looking Juliet from the 2007 Romeo and Juliet set in Fascist Italy. CUA Drama Department Records, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

CUA’s focus has been primarily on the tragedies, performing nine of them to date:: Coriolanus 1938-1939 and 1961; Cymbeline 2011; Hamlet 1956; Julius Caesar 1953, 1962-1963, 1972, and an abridged version called Brutus, 2012-2013; King Lear 1948-1949; MacBeth  1952, 1976, 2017; Othello 1951,1960; Romeo and Juliet 1949-1950, 1960, 1980, 2000, 2007; and The Tempest  1951-1952, 1968-1969. The most performed play is Romeo and Juliet. A Washington Post reviewer found the first production in 1949 to be “performing smoothly” and ‘commendably faithful”¹, but more recent efforts have been quite innovative, including an interracial version in 2000, jointly produced with Howard University, and the 2007 show set in twentieth century Fascist Italy.

Program from the 2001 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which also marked the thirtieth anniversary of Harkte Theater. CUA Drama Department Records, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.
Program from the 2001 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which also marked the thirtieth anniversary of Harkte Theater. CUA Drama Department Records, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

The comedies are also well represented, with seven featured so far:  As You Like It, 1964-1965, 1986, 1997; Love’s Labor Lost 1986, 2005; Merchant of Venice 1957-1958, 1978, 2014; Midsummer Night’s Dream 1959, 1979, 2001; Much Ado About Nothing 1946-1947, 1993; Taming of the Shrew 1959, 1984; and Twelfth Night 1956, 1982, 2003. As with the tragedies, the comedies were generally well reviewed, with the Evening Star stating that the 1959 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream showed “a proper respect for the imagination of audiences.”² Less attention however has been paid to the histories, with only three performed to date: Henry IV 1953-1954, Richard II 1965-1966, and Richard III 1954-1955, 1988-1989. A finding aid, or collection guide, for the papers of Fr. Hartke is available online. For more information on the CUA Drama Department records please email

¹Richard Coe. The Washington Post, November 7, 1949, p. 12.

²Harry MacAthur. The Evening Star, December 7, 1959, p. C-6.

News & Events – October 17, 2016

Jointly-purchased print monographs begin to arrive at the WRLC HQ
Jointly-purchased print monographs begin to arrive at the WRLC HQ

WRLC Newsletter – The October 2016 edition of the Washington Research Library Consortium Newsletter is now available. In it, Mark Jacobs, Executive Director, shares that jointly-purchased titles from Oxford University Press are beginning to arrive at the WRLC headquarters. To subscribe to the newsletter, visit

Open Access Events POSTPONED – The Open Access Events about ORCID scheduled for October 25 and 27 have been postponed until further notice. Please check back for updates.

Distance Learners – If you are a student in one of CUA’s online programs through Engage, or if you are a graduate student completing your dissertation away from campus, please visit our page for Distance Learners. This page conveniently places all the tools you need to access the library’s resources from afar.

Center for Academic Success and Writing Center – The University Libraries is pleased to welcome the Center for Academic Success to Mullen Library. The check-in desk is located at the main entrance to the second floor. The Writing Center is also now located on the second floor in room 219. To learn more, please visit the Center for Academic Success’s website at or the Writing Center’s website at

The Archivist’s Nook: The Significance of Eddie Patterson’s Friends

Illustration for poem, “World Brothers” from These Are Our Horizons, by Sister M. Charlotte and Marry Synon (Ginn and Company, 1945). Note the multiple national and ethnic backgrounds of the images, intended to underscore an ideal of global unity after the Second World War.
Illustration for poem, “World Brothers” from These Are Our Horizons, by Sister M. Charlotte and Marry Synon (Ginn and Company, 1945). Note the multiple national and ethnic backgrounds of the individuals, intended to underscore an ideal of global unity after the Second World War.

Nineteen-thirty-eight was not an auspicious year as far as the stability of Europe went. Adolph Hitler’s invasion into non-German territories proceeded at an alarming rate. Benito Mussolini had been running Fascist Italy as a police state for over a decade. The Vatican held uneasy diplomatic relations with both powers. Further east, Josef Stalin presided over a Soviet Union unfriendly toward religion. In short, expansionism and totalitarianism appeared to be consuming Europe and, of course, a war would begin the following year to ensure it didn’t.

The year also marked the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic University of America, which is a fancy Catholic way of saying the University turned 50. Worried about the fate of Europe and, indeed, of Catholicism, Pope Pius took advantage of the University’s 50th birthday to make a request. “Christian doctrine and Christian morality are under attack from all quarters,” he said, adding, “dangerous theories which a few years ago were but whispered in conventicles of discontent are today preached from the housetops and are even finding their way into action.” As the representative educational institution of the American hierarchy, the Pope noted, the University was endowed with the “traditional mission of guarding the natural and supernatural heritage of man.” Toward fulfillment of that mission, wrote the Pope, “it must, because of the exigencies of the present age, give special attention to the sciences of civics, sociology, and economics” in a “constructive program of social action” that fit local needs.¹

Following the Pope’s directive, the Bishops instructed the University to prepare materials of instruction in citizenship and Christian social living for use in the Catholic schools of the United States. The Commission on American Citizenship was organized in 1939 to carry out the Bishops’ mandate. They decided that the Commission would outline a statement of Christian principles as requested by the bishops, create a curriculum for the elementary schools, and oversee the writing of a series of textbooks to embody the social message of Christ. According to Dr. Mary Synon, who oversaw much of the day-to-day operation of the Commission, while the Department of Education and the School of Social Science did much of the Commission’s work, practically every department and school of the University contributed significantly.

One product of this effort was a series of textbooks for elementary through high school students used in most U.S. Catholic schools from the 1940s through the 1970s. For Catholic school students from the first through eighth grades, the Commission designed the Faith and Freedom series of basal readers based on the principles espoused in the curriculum. Aiming to establish Christian principles in the minds of students toward their use in daily living, the writers of the readers–Sister Mary Marguerite for the Primary Grades and Sister Mary Thomas Aquinas, Sister Mary Charlotte and Dr. Mary Synon for the intermediate and upper grades–built a series on social education according to the principles cited as base for the work of the Commission.

Image from “Eddie Patterson’s Friend,” from These Are Our People (Ginn and Company, 1943). What’s wrong with Eddie’s friends? The story’s answer: not a thing.
Image from “Eddie Patterson’s Friends,” from These Are Our People (Ginn and Company, 1943). What’s wrong with Eddie’s friends? The story’s answer: not a thing.

According to a 1946 Commission report, these readers were used in more than 6,000 of the 8,000 Catholic elementary schools in more than thirty-five archdioceses and dioceses in the United States. Copies of texts in this series were officially requested by the military authorities who were revising systems of education in occupied Japan and Germany after World War II. Catholic publicists in Belgium, France and the Netherlands referred to this series for their future education plans. Missionaries in the Philippines requested the copies for children there, and nearly every Catholic school in Hawaii used the texts. Also, the Commission received many inquiries from educators about using the series as possible models for books to be used in non-Catholic schools. A key theme throughout the readers is cooperation across cultures and social classes and an emphasis on Christian democratic ideals in creating a less conflicted postwar world.

Which brings us to the significance of one 1943 text story titled “Eddie Patterson’s Friends.” Eddie was an extremely generous and open-minded young man who “finds the queerest people,” according to his rather judgmental sister Mary. Mary worried about Eddie’s strange friends with his birthday party coming up. The girls on the block where they lived would “laugh if we let Eddie ask anyone he wants to the party.” Mary went so far as to convince their mother to throw Eddie a surprise party for which she and her sister would control the guest list to keep out those she felt should be excluded.

Who were the excluded? “The smiling Yim Kee, whose father ran the Chinese laundry… Frank Bell, the boy whose father had been taken away by the police.” And, “Silas Jefferson, whose father worked as porter on a train.”² Clearly these are stereotypes of Chinese Americans, African Americans and a neglected and possibly impoverished child. But consider the year of publication: 1943. The Chinese Exclusion Act passed in 1882 barred Chinese immigrants from citizenship until it was repealed in 1943. African Americans were legally segregated from whites, and in fact segregated virtually everywhere in the U.S. Stories like this one pointed to the end of such practices and customs.

A Finding Aid to the Commission on American Citizenship records can be found here:

¹Maria Mazzenga, “More Democracy, More Religion: Baltimore’s Schools, Religious Pluralism, and the Second World War,” in One Hundred Years of Catholic Education: Historical Essays in Honor of the Centennial of the National Catholic Educational Association (National Catholic Education Association, 2003); Finding aid to the Commission on American Citizenship Records:

²“Eddie Patterson’s Friend,” from These Are Our People by Sister M. Thomas Aquinas, O.P., M.A. and Mary Synon (Ginn and Company, 1943), 44-56, 46.

Digital Scholarship: About ORCID

What is ORCID? from ORCID on Vimeo.


ORCID iDs ensure you get credit for ALL of your work!

Do you worry about getting credit for your research because your name is common or you have publications under multiple aliases? Do you struggle to keep track of all of your research outputs? Are you annoyed by having to enter the same information over and over in manuscript and grant submission systems?

To solve these problems, there’s now ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID. ORCID is registry of unique identifiers for researchers and scholars that is open, non-proprietary, transparent, mobile, and community-based. ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier to DISTINGUISH YOU from all other researchers, AUTOMATICALLY LINKING your professional activities. For example,

  • Funding organizations like the U.S. NIH, Wellcome Trust, and Portuguese FCT, and are requesting ORCID iDs during grant submission and plan to use it to reduce the burden of grant submission
  • Publishers are collecting ORCID iDs during manuscript submission, and your ORCID iD becomes a part of your publication’s metadata, making your work attributable to you and only you
  • Universities and research institutes such as Harvard, Oxford, Michigan, Boston, NYU Langone Medical Center, and Texas A&M encourage ORCID adoption, and many are creating ORCID iDs for their faculty, postdocs, and graduate students!
  • Professional associations like the Society for Neuroscience and Modern Language Association are incorporating ORCID iDs into membership renewal

Over time, this collaborative effort will reduce redundant entry of biographical and bibliographical data into multiple systems. Your ORCID iD will belong to you throughout your scholarly career as a persistent identifier to distinguish you from other researchers and ensure consistent, reliable attribution of your work.

To get started:

1. Claim your free ORCID iD at

2. Import your research outputs and add biographical information using our automated import wizards

3. Use your ORCID when you apply for grants, submit publications, or share your CV. Learn more at

Appy Hour: Settle It!

App: Settle It!  Settle It!

By: PolitiFact
Price: Free
Device: Reviewed on iPhone

If you’re planning to watch the second presidential debate on Sunday night, you’ll hear both candidates make a lot of claims about their opponent and cite a lot of figures. Sift the true from the false with Settle It!, an app from the independent, nonpartisan news organization PolitiFact.

Tap the Settle It! button and search for specific topics mentioned in the debate. You can also tap the browse button to look at subjects (e.g. economy) or speakers (e.g. Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump). There is also an option to search by target (e.g. Barack Obama), but the information there is sometimes sparse. Every fact has a truthfulness rating and an explanation with links to sources. If you’re not sure what you want to read about, head over to the trending section.

Additionally, you can take the PolitiFact Challenge, where you guess whether a statement is true, false, or outrageously false. A new quiz appears every week. Share your score on Twitter, Facebook, text message, email, etc.




Digital Scholarship: October is for Open Access!

8-5x11oaweek2016_revisedHave you been keeping up with Open Access?  

Start with Barbara Fister’s August article The Acceleration of Open Access. She points to the new preprint servers making open access available, including SocArXiv, MLA Commons and the new (coming soon!) Humanities Commons.

See what’s the buzz about Sci Hub in this article,  The Current System of Knowledge Dissemination isn’t Working and Sci-Hub is Merely a Symptom of the Problem.

Closely watch the publishing industry by reading Elsevier’s New Patent for Online Peer Review Throws a Scare Into Open-Source Advocates.

See what universities are doing. The Journal Flipping Project from Harvard is a 2015-2016 project to gather options and best practices on converting subscription-based scholarly journals to open access. Iowa State University Libraries published a new guide Understanding Predatory Publishers.

Now that you are up on all the news, stay tuned for Open Access Week October 24-30, 2016!




News & Events: October 3, 2016

Digital Arts Lab – Due to a change in staffing, the Department of Art’s Digital Arts Lab on the second floor of Mullen Library will now be open to the CUA community at the following times:

  • Monday – 10:00AM – 2:00PM
  • Wednesday – 10:00AM – 2:00PM
  • Sunday – 11:00AM – 5:00PM

Meet with a Librarian – CUA students can now schedule a consultation with a librarian through Meet with a Librarian. Our librarians are available to meet with you about finding useful information resources, using a citation style, developing a research strategy, and much more. Please allow at least 24 hours between requesting a meeting and your suggested meeting times.

WRLC and Beyond – When CUA doesn’t have the book or article you’re interested in, there are two services available to help you get what you need:

  • Consortium Loan Service (CLS) – CUA is a member of theWashington Research Library Consortium, a partnership between nine universities in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Our online catalog will show results from all nine WRLC libraries. When CUA doesn’t have the item you need, but another university in the consortium does, you can request that the book be delivered to CUA for you to check out at Mullen Library. To learn how to place a request through the Consortium Loan Service (CLS), check out thisshort video.
  • Inter-Library Lending (ILL) – If none of the WRLC institutions have the book you need, we can search beyond the consortium to find a library that is willing to lend us their copy through Inter-Library Lending (ILL). The easiest way to submit an ILL request is to first locate the book’s record on WorldCat. To learn how to submit an ILL request, watch this short video.

Appy Hour: VotePlz

App: VotePlz VotePlz
Price: Free
Device: Reviewed on iPhone

With the presidential race heating up, be sure you’re registered to vote with VotePlz. After you scan the barcode on your license or type in your information manually, VotePlz will tell you whether you’re already registered to vote. If you’re not registered, you can choose to register online or by mail. Note that some states don’t support online voter registration. If you choose to register online, you can fill out and submit your state’s registration form right in the app. If you choose to vote by mail, VotePlz will create the form based on the information you already provided and let you download a PDF or have it delivered by mail for free. Once you’re registered, you can request an absentee ballot if your state allows it.

VotePlz also has several other helpful guides:

  • How to vote for first-timers
  • An explanation of the down-ballot
  • A list of your voting rights

Finally, you can share this app on Twitter, Facebook, text message, email, etc. Sharing earns you points on a leaderboard and enters you in a sweepstakes. You get 25 points for every person who checks their registration via your referral link and you get 10 points for every friend your friends invite.

The Archivist’s Nook: A Labor of Love – Lantern Slides of T.V. Powderly

“Railroad Train” Lantern Slide #11
“Railroad Train” Lantern Slide #11

A treasure trove of almost 2,000 lantern slides belonging to labor leader Terence Vincent Powderly (1849-1924) resides in our Archive. These transparent glass slides, also referred to as “magic” lantern slides, are an eclectic mix of images taken by amateur photographer Powderly as well as commercially produced images he purchased. As a native of Carbondale, Pennsylvania, Powderly incorporated many images of creeks and mountains of the keystone state – as well as the occasional coal mine – into the collection. True to his roots as a leader of the Knights of Labor, many images of industrial technology are included, especially of locomotives. There are monuments and works of art from around the world, as well as personal portraits of the Powderly family at their home in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington D.C.

Short History of Lantern Slides

To get a handle on this collection, we first look to the history of the lantern slide format and how it was used. Photographic lantern slides appeared about a decade after the invention of photography in the mid-1800s, although projectable hand painted images existed long before. At about 3.25 x 4 inches, lantern slides are physically made up of a negative printed onto a sheet of glass as a positive, transparent image. The image could then be painstakingly hand colored or matted to achieve the desired effect. Next, an additional sheet of glass was placed over the transparency, creating a glass “sandwich” to protect the surface of the photograph. Finally, the two sheets of glass were taped together, and could be inserted into a magic lantern for projection and viewing.

Lantern slides were used for two purposes: entertainment and education. The primary purpose of our USCCB Lantern Slide Collection was educational, as they accompanied presentations detailing the National Catholic Welfare Conference’s work with veterans of the First and Second World Wars in the United States. The diversity and sheer number of slides in Powderly’s collection suggest he used his slides both for entertainment and educational purposes depending on the setting. While the family portraits could have been used as the equivalent of “family home videos,” the images of industry could have been part of his work with the Knights of Labor.

These original lantern slide boxes are a little worse for wear!
These original lantern slide boxes are a little worse for wear!

Additional information on the history of lantern slides:

Taking Inventory

At some point prior to the arrival of the slides at the Archives in 2009, someone attempted to reorder the collection into simple thematic groups, such as “Stone Monuments,” “D.C. and World” and “People.” In the archival world, “respect des fonds” (preserving the original order of a group of records), is an important and fundamental principle. Often, the original order shows relationships and provides insight into how the records were accessed and used. Presumably, Powderly had his own numbered list so he could easily keep track of his collection. Since we do not have this original master list, we will be reconstructing it as we process this large collection. Going through each of the slides, we will record basic information such as the slide number and title. This is also a good time to take note of any damage the slides might have sustained.

“American Group, Albert Memorial, London” Lantern Slide #817
“American Group, Albert Memorial, London” Lantern Slide #817


After completing the list, if we find it is more valuable for researchers to have the slides in the original order, we will reorganize them to match Powderly’s original intent. When handling the slides, we wear powder-free nitrile gloves to protect the images from fingerprints and hand oils.  During this phase, we will also remove the slides from their crumbling containers and place them in archival, acid free boxes. Before doing so, each lantern slide will be carefully enfolded in a four-flap envelope to protect the surface of the image. Lantern slides are surprisingly heavy, so we place no more than 70 slides in a small box. Even then, these boxes are like bricks! As of this writing, we are a little under half way through rehousing the slides.

Additional information on the housing of lantern slides:


Once a collection is organized and rehoused, the next question is to determine whether or not to digitize. Some questions to ask before choosing to digitize could include: Are these materials unique? Will digitization promote access to these materials? Will digitization help preserve the collection? In our case, digitization is not a high priority as many of the same images have already been scanned from prints available through the Terence Vincent Powderly Photographic Prints Digital Collection. However, should we choose to pursue digitization, many wonderful resources are available online to guide us through the process.

“Trinity College, D.C.” Lantern Slide #917
“Trinity College, D.C.” Lantern Slide #917

Additional information on the digitization of lantern slides:

Last Thoughts

Lantern slides are an interesting format with a rich history and a few special concerns, such as sensitivity to light, fragility, heavy weight, and need of specific housing materials. By taking a systematic approach to the various steps of the project, our large collection belonging to Terence Vincent Powderly will continue to be organized and rehoused as time and resources permit. For additional information about the life and times of amateur photographer, slide maker, labor leader, and former mayor of Scranton T.V. Powderly, check out the finding aid of his manuscript collection.

Digital Scholarship: Piles of Books!

By Judit Klein

This is the time of the semester, the reading is piling up. But, let us tempt you to take time to read for pleasure. Check out the CUA Popular Reading Collection!

Consider these thoughts;

“Last year, the average American over 15 years old spent around 3 hours watching television every day. In contrast, only 15 minutes a day were spent reading.” From Technology is Not the Death of Deep Reading by Emilie Hancock.

“Consider, however, the fact that, as Matthew Wilkens points out, in 2011 more than 50,000 new novels were published in the United States alone.  ‘The problem of abundance’ is a problem for every person who has an internet connection, and it is a professional problem in every corner of literary study.” From The Death, and Life, of Reading Have Been Greatly Exaggerated by Dr. Amy Hungerford

Our attention is divided and there is always more to read. The good news is, that while we may be spending less time reading, “People who read books regularly are on average more satisfied with life, happier, and more likely to feel that the things they do in life are worthwhile.” 2014 BookTrust Report.

Dr. Hungerford finishes,

My friend the Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis offers a culinary metaphor: The attention of readers is not, she says, “a boiled egg” but “an omelet.” This is a beautiful and generous thought. Treated with skill and respect, the mind of the reader — and the collective of many readers’ minds — can contain multitudes. In the face of a multitude of books curated most often by the profit motive, it is incumbent upon those somewhat protected from market imperatives — that is, scholars paid by universities to spend their time reading and thinking and teaching and writing — to stuff the omelet deliberately. To do that, we will all need to scour the shelves for the most delicious ingredients, and also set some loudly touted ones aside.

How do you keep up with your reading? No wonder you may need a late night snack to power you through!