Enjoy the Thanksgiving break with some spicy offerings from our Popular Reading collection. You can browse the rest of our collection on the first floor of Mullen Library in the Reference Reading Room.
This week’s post is guest-authored by Mikkaela Bailey is a PhD student at CUA studying medieval history with special interests in women’s history, public history, and digital humanities. You can find her on Twitter: @mikkaela_bailey
Curation is a long, detailed conversation between individuals, offices, texts, and objects, as students from Catholic University’s History and Public Life class learned this semester.
It’s easy to evaluate an exhibit and poke holes in the choices made by its organizers. It’s far more difficult than I imagined to craft an exhibit.
With most of the logistics arranged long in advance by our professor for the class History and Public Life, Dr. Maria Mazzenga, our job as a class was focused on assembling and advertising the physical exhibit itself.
The first thing we had to do was break up the objects into thematic categories so we could decide what should be included in our display. Then, we had to plan how to best demonstrate the common themes between them and also establish continuity in the display. After that, we had to craft captions and marketing materials that communicated why our visitors should care about our work and choose to come see it.
One of the ideas about organizing the books rested on the idea that the Eucharist is a central and essential element of the catechism and one’s first Communion is an important life event. Since our audience is likely to be heavily Catholic, there is resonance with their own experiences in the exhibit here. This thematic approach connected well with the objects in the exhibit, and inspiration flowed from that idea as we assembled catechisms aimed at children and teens in the same display case. One thematic element of change over time was the implementation of more children’s catechetical education as the age for first Communion shifted from around 13 to around 7 years of age.
But, there were still two more cases to fill and many more objects to consider. In the first case, which we actually finished last, we installed the oldest books, including a Latin catechism from 1566. These 16th and 18th century books were connected by the vernacular languages in which they were printed. Printing educational materials in the vernacular was a very important emphasis of the Tridentine Catechisms, so grouping these non-English catechisms gave emphasis to the importance of the catechism worldwide, outside our own framework, and outside the Latin-based world of the church.
The central case features several interesting pieces, but it also provides context for the cases flanking it. This is where we chose to place the bulk of our textual engagement through questions we are asking the audience and a QR code linked to the digital exhibit.
At the end of this process, I am so thankful for teammates who were engaged from the beginning and expressed great passion for this project. I shudder to think of undertaking something like this alone! In fact, looking at the finished product, I feel as though no idea I had for the display was totally my own and I think almost every decision made was by committee. From the marketing materials to the captions and display case arrangements, this exhibit was completely collaborative and has benefitted from open communication and easy acceptance of constructive criticism. In public history, I think all of these qualities are essential for a successful, cohesive exhibit. This experience has been the highlight of my first semester as a PhD student at CUA!
During the Christmas break work will begin to create a larger group study space by merging the study rooms adjacent to Stacks 2 Center.
At the heart of Mullen Library, this area will be improved to restore original continuity, both visual and circulatory, between the front of the building and the Stacks. With views of the Stacks and both courtyards, this re-unified room will provide a unique intellectually inspiring group work space.
Unfortunately we will no longer offer a dedicated graduate study space. However, silent study space can be found in the third floor reading rooms where fifty-nine new carrels were installed last year.
The work to be done includes:
Interior partitions removed between the graduate study room, the group study room and the Stacks;
New lighting and relocation of electric outlets;
Carrels to the first floor Reference Room;
Group study tables from the Reference Room to the new space;
New carpeting; and
Wall repairs and painting.
We expect the room to re-open shortly after the start of the Spring semester.
Building on the previous OpenRefine workshop, we will work with regular expressions and construct a script from scratch and run some basic recipes for solving common problems. We will construct a simple API call to search for our data.
Instructors: Christian James, Web Application Librarian, and Kevin Gunn, Coordinator of Digital Scholarship
On November 15 the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of Saint Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus), Doctor of the Church, philosopher, and the patron saint of scientists. “Known as Albert the German, Albert of Cologne, and Albert of Ratisbon, Saint Albert was known as Great even during his lifetime”.  Being one of the most prominent scholars of the 13th century, he is also known for being a teacher of Saint Thomas Aquinas”. 
Saint Albert was born in 1206 in Lauingen, situated on the left bank of the river Danube in Germany . He comes from a wealthy military family and received education, which included arithmetic, grammar, and arts. His further education was in humanities and natural sciences in Bologna, Italy . This is where he became acquainted with Aristotle’s physics and ethics for the first time.”  Saint Albert was fascinated by science and was “gifted with special instinct for scientific investigation and research”.  The love of study and deep piety led Saint Albert to answer God’s invitation to join the Order of Preachers (popularly known as the Dominican Order). 
“Saint Albert studied and learned not just for the sake of knowing, but he also investigated and challenged the works and studies of others often conducting his own experiments”.  Because he was an expert in not just one branch of learning but in all, his contemporaries were so impressed by his knowledge that they conferred on him a doctorate that no other man ever received – the Universal Doctor (Doctor Universalis).  In his work on Saint Albert, Joseph Wimmer says: “Albert has studied and described the entire cosmos from its stars to its stones”.  Speaking in his own words about the wealth of knowledge he accumulated, Saint Albert says the following: “When there is a question of faith and morals Augustine enjoys the greatest authority; of medicine, Galen and Hippocrates; of natural sciences, Aristotle”. 
Having a lot of administrative work and various teaching assignments, and even when serving as a bishop of Ratisbon, Saint Albert was still able to find time to write lengthy multi-volume works about natural sciences, philosophy, and theology.  Among many works written by Saint Albert, some of the most prominent ones include a commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, Summa Theologiae, and commentaries on the Gospels and various books from the Scriptures.
Saint Albert the Great died on November 15, 1280 in Cologne, Germany.  He was beatified by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 and canonized in 1931 by Pope Pius XI.  Pope Pius XI proclaimed Saint Albert a Doctor of the Church and named him patron of students of the natural sciences.  Albert, the Pope said, “is precisely the saint whose example should inspire the present age, which seeks peace so ardently and is so full of hope in its scientific discoveries”. 
Mullen Library offers many resources on Saint Albert the Great. Please consult the library catalog or refer to the list of select resources below:
Alberti Magni Opera Omnia (database)
This is the critical edition of the works of Saint Albert the Great (Alberti Magni Opera Omnia, Editio Coloniensis).
Opera Omnia, Coloniensis Edition (1951-).
This 28-part set reproduces the complete works of Saint Albertus Magnus in Latin. This critical edition began in 1951 and lead by the Albertus-Magnus-Institut of Bonn. It is still unfinished. The text includes a critical apparatus, notes, and prefaces, in addition to bibliographical references and indexes. BQ 6334 1951 (Religious Studies and Philosophy Library Folios, room 314)
Opera Omnia, Vivés Edition (1890-1899)
This edition is based on Lyon’s edition of 1651. Edited by Auguste and Emile Borgnet. Parisiis: apud Ludovicum Vivès, 1890-1899. BQ 6334 1890 (Religious Studies and Philosophy Library, room 314)
Albert the Great: a Selectively Annotated Bibliography (1900-2000). BQ 6338 .M6 Z97 (Religious Studies and Philosophy Library, room 314)
 Weisheipl, J. A. “Albert the Great, Saint” New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., vol. 1, Gale, 2003, pp. 224-228. Gale eBooks, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3407700281/GVRL?u=wash31575&sid=GVRL&xid=a87a256e. Accessed 13 Nov. 2019.
 Butler, Alban, Farmer, David Hugh., and Burns, Paul. Butler’s Lives of the Saints. New full ed., vol. 11, pp. 118-120. Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Burns & Oates, 1996.
 Schwertner, Thomas M. Saint Albert the Great. New York: The Bruce publishing company, pp. vii-xi and 169-210. 1932.
 Sighart, Joachim. Albert the Great, of the order of friar-preachers: his life and scholastic labours., pp. 101-148. Dubuque, Iowa: W.C. Brown, 1967.
November 13, 2019 is GIS Day, an international celebration of geographic information systems (GIS) technology. “GIS is a scientific framework for gathering, analyzing, and visualizing geographic data to help us make better decisions” (GIS Day website). GIS is the technology that answers the fundamental question “Where?” GIS captures, displays, and analyzes geospatial data to assist in making decisions. For example, GIS helps understand where best to build a wind farm to avoid noise pollution, predict areas of flooding, inspecting space usage for available commercial space, or planning the most efficient truck routes.
Why is GIS important? Let Dr. Joseph Kerski explain:
CUA Libraries has delved into GIS projects in the past. In 2015, we did a GIS exhibit titled “A Brief History of Canon Law” that was part of the physical exhibit in the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library. The story map traces the origins of “The nature of the Church as a visible society existing in the world demands that there be a formal legal structure guiding and coordinating the faithful to the attainment of a common goal. The body of these ecclesiastical laws is called Canon Law. Since there is continual change in society, there is constant change in CanonLaw.” C. Vogel.
Some of the links are outdated so here is your chance to demonstrate your GIS prowess! Rebuild the online exhibit yourself by downloading the raw data files (CSV and text files). Send us a link on how you did! (You will need a Google mail account).
Come celebrate GIS Day (November 13th) by telling an interesting story using ArcGIS StoryMaps. Combine your map with narrative text, images, and multimedia content. We will create a StoryMap Tour and a Story Map Journal.
Instructor: Kevin Gunn, Coordinator of Digital Scholarship
Robert Lincoln O’Connell (1888-1972), a World War I Connecticut army engineer of Irish-Catholic heritage, was the subject of two of my previous blog posts. They explored his letters home to family while training for the military in Washington in 1917, and his active service on the western Front in France in 1918. The third and concluding post of this trilogy looks at his experiences in the U.S Army’s brief postwar occupation of the Rhineland, as well as victory parades in New York and Washington in 1919. As with previous letters, they are written by “Rob” primarily to his mother and his sisters, Ellen and Sarah, who lived in their hometown of Southington, Connecticut. O’Connell’s archival papers, which have also been digitized, are housed in the Special Collections of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
O’Connell served in the U. S. Army of Occupation in postwar Germany. His First Engineer Regiment was part of the First Infantry Division (later immortalized in the Second World War as ‘The Big Red One’). They crossed the Moselle River into Germany on December 1, 1918, and arrived at Coblenz, along the Rhine River, on December 12. During the occupation, which lasted until August 15, 1919, the engineers constructed shelters, improved sanitation, built pontoon bridges, and repaired roads. With ample recreation time, O’Connell engaged in hiking and sightseeing tours where he collected many colorful postcards. In one letter home he wrote(1):
“It took about an hour to reach the river near Coblenz” and “the place was crowded with 2nd Division men, mostly Marines, it seemed, and one of them threw a snowball into our truck. As we were jammed in and had no top, that ball couldn’t miss and we could only yell back, which started a barrage of snowballs…. I got one on the ear and we all had snow down our necks. I didn’t care much for the game because the mud made the ball slippery– and the 1st Division team needed a lot of practice. The score was 6 to 0 in favor of the second team.”
Unlike the aftermath of World War II, the U.S occupation of German territory in 1919 was short lived. O’Connell returned stateside with main elements of the First Infantry Division at Brest on August 18, and arrived at Camp Mills, New York, on August 30. He took part in victory parades in both New York City on September 10 and in Washington on September 17. The final (undated) letter in the collection, addressed to his sister Ellen from Camp Leach, part of the campus of American University in Washington, was probably written a few days after the parade in New York (2):
“This is a camp of 8-man tents on frames and they had been dumped on the floor…We got there at 10:30 and never was there such a disgusted bunch. About four o’clock some ice cream was brought around and the cook managed to get supper at 8:15…Now we are getting plenty of good eats and passes into town 7 c carfare and the K of Cs especially are doing all they can, lots of cigarettes, matches, hand kerchiefs, sightseeing trips around the city in busses and free beds. The papers and the posters rave about the famous or glorious First Division and the recruiting officers are making the most of it.”
The campus of American University was also the base of the Army’s Chemical Warfare Unit, which also had a sub-unit at nearby Catholic University. These facilities developed deadly chemical munitions, especially Lewisite Gas. This weapon of mass destruction was invented by C.U. student-priest Julius Nieuwland, though it was not ready in time for use during World War I. However, O’Connell’s visit to Washington had nothing to do with poison gas. It was his final military march. The soldiers paraded to great ovation from the Capitol along Pennsylvania Avenue. Marching past the White House, they were reviewed by the Vice President and members of the Cabinet, who were representing President Woodrow Wilson, while he was away canvassing the country on a doomed mission to sell ratification of the Versailles Peace Treaty. From Washington, the men were shipped to Camp Meade, Maryland, where many were demobilized. O’Connell went on to Camp Devens, Massachusetts, where he was mustered out on September 27, 1919.
After the war, O’Connell briefly returned to Southington, where he worked as a machinist in a bottling mill. He eventually settled in New York City where he married and worked in an auto garage. His story is quintessentially American, yet represents a slice of Catholic Americana depicting the struggles of soldiers and their families during war-time. In comparing O’Connell’s letters with those of soldiers from other wars, certain universal themes emerge, such as longing for home and excitement for new places. There are also references to music, movies, and opinions on race and gender that are very specific to place and time. War is essentially a young man’s game, but O’Connell, who turned thirty during the conflict, was relatively older. His account shows a maturity that is often absent in the surviving letters that were written by younger soldiers.
When working with your dataset, have you wondered how to remove ‘null’ or ‘N/A’ from fields, handle different spellings of words, or determining whether a field name is ambiguous? For this workshop, we will use the Open Access software, OpenRefine, to clean, manipulate, and refine a dataset before analysis. You are welcome to bring your own dataset.
Instructor: Kevin Gunn, Coordinator of Digital Scholarship
Time for some pumpkin pie and good reading! Check out some of our recent offerings from our Popular Reading collection. You can browse the rest of our collection on the first floor of Mullen Library in the Reference Reading Room.