President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 52 years ago this November 22nd. Kennedy, being the first Catholic president in the United States, earned the respect and admiration of many of his American co-religionists. Dorothy Mohler, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work when Kennedy was killed, captured the mood on the CUA campus in her journal entry that day:
The bells in the campanile of the National Shrine were ringing out, not tolling in the usual way yet not ringing with any joyful sound. Students, faculty, visitors, nuns, priests, religious, everyone—began moving toward the Shrine. Most went into the upper church but some to the crypt and I joined the latter so choked up I could not keep back tears.
Before his tragic death, even before his storied Presidency, Kennedy had his CUA admirers, among them the Chicopee, Massachusetts native, Edward “Eddie” Pryzbyla. Here on campus, we know Mr. Pryzbyla for the eponymous Pryzbyla Center built in 2003. Pryzbyla, a generous donor with a keen interest in campus beautification, graduated from CUA in 1925 and was an active member of the University’s Alumni Association for decades. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: About That Time Eddie Pryzbyla Nominated JFK”→
Each year November 11 is a special day in which we honor the nation’s military veterans. A previous blog post examined the American Civil War (1861-1865) relative to the grounds of what would become The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C. This post looks at the role of American Catholics in The World War, subsequently known as World War I that raged exactly one hundred years ago. Not coincidentally, the records and papers of many of the Catholic organizations and individuals mentioned hereafter are deposited in the Archives of CUA. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: For God and Country – American Catholics in the World War”→
This week’s post is guest authored by Chelsy Tracz, a CUA graduate student in Theology.
The twentieth century witnessed an explosion in the growth, development, power and influence of various forms of media in our world. While we might be most familiar with the digital revolution—which we, as archivists, are working to take full advantage of—the explosion of radio and television preceded the rise of the internet.
The development of radio and the advent of television didn’t just change the landscape of American popular culture, but had such influence that even the Catholic Church had to reckon with this new form of communication.
The highly influential Msgr. Frederick Richard McManus (1923-2005) was one of the many leaders of the Church that offered guidance about these new forms of media. Having received both his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from The Catholic University of America (CUA), he later returned to CUA, serving as the Dean of Canon Law from 1958 to 1993. McManus is most notable for his leadership in the twentieth century Liturgical Movement and for his role as peritus (or expert) on Sacred Liturgy at the Second Vatican Council. He would prove to be integral in implementing the reforms of Vatican II in the liturgy of the United States, celebrating the first official English-language Mass in 1964. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: From the Pew to Our Living Rooms – Broadcasting the Mass”→
The OFB – known until 1966 as the Legion of Decency – has all the makings of a Hollywood story. Big names, tales of morality, and the rise and fall of an organization. (Feel free to credit me in your script treatment.) As demonstrated in an earlier post, the OFB records contain correspondence between the organization and studios, directors, and Church hierarchy. However, if we are to fully envision the drama that is the OFB story, we need to further round out its primary characters, the reviewers themselves. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: A Priest, a Werewolf, and a Bunny Walk into a Theater…”→
It’s been awhile! This week, we’re going to talk about what has traditionally been an elephant in the digital archives room. That’s right – I’m talking about email.
First of all, consider offices of the past. Maybe you have filing cabinets and hanging folders; perhaps you have interoffice mail and external correspondence. I know I’m stating the obvious, but the common element here is paper, and as I mentioned in a previous blog, we’re pretty good at dealing with that. But let’s be frank. Do you have a work email account? Do you use it for official business? Do you see where I’m going with this? In the past, would that business have been conducted via paper correspondence? If so, what are you currently doing with those emails? Printing them? Nothing at all? What should we be doing? This stuff is important – you’d think we’d be doing something.Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: DELETED – Email Archiving, or Offices in the Age of Spam”→
Among the archival collections housed at The Catholic University of America (CUA) are the papers of Bruce Monroe Mohler (1881-1967) and Dorothy Abts Mohler (1908-2000), two of the most remarkable people ever produced by the American Catholic Church. Both epitomized the active participation of the laity as each contributed a lifetime of humanitarian service in regard to the crucial issues of immigration (Bruce) and charity (Dorothy). In addition to this legacy of service to their Church, they not only left their aforementioned papers but also a stupendous financial bequest to the CUA Archives to collect and safeguard archival collections to promote the study of American Catholic history.
Bruce Mohler was an Ohio native and graduate of Ohio State University who worked for the Minnesota State Board of Health supervising sanitary conditions of public drinking water until released in 1918 to serve in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in the First World War. As an army major in France, he was in charge of engineers purifying drinking water for the troops. After the armistice, he was the army representative to the American Red Cross relief effort in Poland and after de-mobilization was Deputy Commissioner of the American Red Cross in Poland. As conflict raged between Poland and Bolshevik Russia, he heroically took a relief unit to the war torn city of Kiev, earning accolades for his efforts from both Poland and the United States. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: Putting Their Money Where Their Hearts Were”→
History is filled with stories of near misses. Dewey (almost) over Truman. Pickett nearly breaking through at Gettysburg. Several horses nearly winning the Triple Crown. Maxwell Smart always missing it “by that much.” (Kids, Google “Get Smart” to know what I am referring to).
One near miss in sports history involved an alumnus of CUA and sports Hall of Famer. Wally Pipp was a standout first baseman for the Cardinals baseball team between 1911 and 1913. Although records during this time are incomplete, Pipp appears to have been a key member of the team during his time. Stats from a handful of games in the 1912-13 University Symposium list Pipp 14 hits with at least three home runs. In another symposium from 1911-12, in a game against Holy Cross, Pipp was said to have “played a splendid game in the field and led his team at bat, getting two scorching singles.” Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: The Pride of the Cardinals”→
As the campus of The Catholic University of America (CUA) and surrounding D.C. community basks in the afterglow of a momentous papal visit and canonization of a new saint, it is not out of order to reflect upon the Christian Savior, Jesus Christ. Now, before anyone gets the notion this archivist is about to impersonate a theologian, let me assure you my mission is an archival one, to study appearances by the Son of God on the covers of the Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact comic book housed in the CUA Archives.
As any user of the Archives, and, indeed, readers of this blog know (see ‘Hark! The Digital Angel Comes!’), Treasure Chest was a Catholic comic book, with over five hundred issues, distributed to the American Catholic parochial school system from 1946 to 1972. Moreover, it is CUA’s most popular digital collection, with visually stunning covers, including one in ten of all covers (53 of 508) featuring images of Jesus. The first verse of the 23rd Psalms tell us ‘The Lord is my Shepherd,’ but let’s reverse things and Shepherd the Lord through his various Treasure Chest incarnations by looking at some of the best examples. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: Treasure Chest – Your Own Virtual Jesus”→
At the time of this writing, Brookland is winding down after hosting North America’s first canonization mass. During his visit yesterday, Pope Francis canonized St. Juniperro Serra. While this new saint never set foot on the campus, this does not mean that CUA has no direct connections with any holy figures. In addition to visits from popes and presidents, several alumni currently have open causes for canonization.
Saints come in all shapes and sizes. A classic image of the saint may be one of a faithful martyr or a robed missionary, such as Serra. We may even think of them as primarily ancient or medieval figures. However, the modern age has seen a flourishing of canonizations. Yesterday’s ceremony was the culmination of decades of investigations, advocacy, and devotion. The process to being declared a saint is complex, with a number of steps and inquiries along the way. Beginning as a Servant of God, individuals with an open cause may eventually proceed to Venerable to Blessed and, finally, to Saint. Some figures, like Serra, may be held at one stage for decades (or even centuries!), while others may move along in the process more quickly. This process has a long history, stretching back to the earliest days of Christianity, although the papacy itself was not always directly involved. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: Are there any CUA Saints? – A Crash Course in Canonization”→
Believe it or not, U.S. Presidents once upon a time came to Catholic University for the most mundane of events. When the cornerstone for Caldwell (then Divinity) Hall was laid in 1888, President Grover Cleveland was there. When the University formally opened a year later, President Benjamin Harrison showed up for the festivities, despite the downpour. Friends with Rector Thomas Conaty, William McKinley visited him at CUA in 1900.
Quite by accident, Theodore Roosevelt meandered over to the University grounds on his horse in 1905, though he seemed to enjoy chatting up some of the CUA’s first undergrads once he found himself on what we today call the quad. The less loquacious Calvin Coolidge showed up for the dedication of Mullen Library in 1924—there are no reports of “Silent Cal” being shushed by librarians.