The Archivist’s Nook: CatholicU Lays Down the Law

CatholicU’s Special Collections includes rare books, museum, university archives, and manuscripts. University archives and manuscripts, the latter donations of non-university institutional records and personal papers, document the American Catholic experience from  education and labor to politics and social justice, including secular and canon (church) law, which often overlap.  University archives include three sets of record groups relating to secular or canon law. These by nature are sensitive with restrictions, generally fifty years, and permanent for case files or personnel records, although access can be requested via the university administration. The first is the Office of the General Counsel, documenting university legal history, including property transactions.  The second is the law school founded at CatholicU (1897) and the separate Columbus University Law School (1922), with the two later merging on campus. The third is the School of Canon Law, whose centenary we covered in a recent blog post.

CatholicU First Law Dean, William C. Robinson, 1896. Special Collections, Catholic University.

Other institutional Records or Manuscripts Collections 

There are three non-institutional legal history donors, The Sisters of Life, the Thomas More Society of America, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USSC).

Sisters of Life:

Pro-Life materials donated by The Sisters of Life of New York were formerly part of their archives now concentrated at Harvard’s Schlesinger Women’s History Library. The Sisters of Life (Sorores Vitae), a uniquely American, Roman Catholic religious institute, include sisters in Canada, Australia, Ireland, and the Philippines.  The collections at CatholicU include the Abortion Parental Consent Legal Research Case Files from the University of St. Thomas Law School, Center for the Rights of the Terminally Ill Collection, The Long Island Grass Roots Pro-Life Collection, March for Life Memorabilia, National Right to Life News Complete Collection, Natural Family Planning Archival Collection, and Pro-Life Movement Newsletters and Periodicals.

CatholicU President William Byron, SJ, presents Gibbons Medal to Nancy Reagan, 1986. Special Collections, Catholic University

Thomas More Society of America (TMSA) 

TMSA is a non-denominational organization promoting interest in Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) relevant to contemporary moral issues. They confer with lawyers, judges, and other public figures and scholarly papers are disseminated through the newsletter and The Thomas More Gazette. London native More was an internationally recognized intellectual and government figure immortalized in literature and stage as “A Man for All Seasons”. Unfortunately, he famously lost his head by defying Henry VIII, over papal rights. The Society’s annual dinner has a notable list of speakers, including Antonin Scalia (1995), Michael Novak (1993), and CatholicU president William Byron, S.J. (1983). TMSA records at CatholicU, include board of directors minutes, correspondence, financial reports, photographs, and publications.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Legal Department/General Counsel and Office of Government Relations

The USCCB was founded in 1919 as the National Catholic Welfare Council. An original department was Laws and Legislation, becoming the Legal Department (1926) and split (1966) into the Office of the General Counsel and Office of Government Relations.  It represented the Bishops in litigation and promoted public speaking on policy issues affecting the Catholic Church, notably the 1920s Oregon School Case. Additionally, it recorded federal legislation provided extensive legal research and advice. Records include correspondence, publications, and subject files including education, social security, and taxation.  The separate and independent Office of Government Relations records document legislative activities such as migration, religious liberty, and social justice.

William Montavon lobbies Massachusetts Senator David I. Walsh, n.d. Special Collections, Catholic University.

Personal Papers

The collections of personal papers include William Bentley Ball, Mary Ann Glendon, Msgr. Thomas Green, Msgr. Frederick R. McManus, William F. Montavon, Msgr. Hugh L. Motry, Rev. James H. Provost, and Judge William C. Robinson.

William Callyhan Robinson 

Connecticut native Robinson (1834-1911) was a law professor, legal scholar, and judge who was also the first dean of CatholicU’s Law School. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he was a Protestant convert to Roman Catholicism who practiced law in New Haven, Connecticut, and was Dean of the Yale University Law School. He also was a prolific writer with his Notes on Elementary Law (1875), a textbook popularly used in American law schools.  Bishop John Keane, rector at CatholicU, contacted Robinson in 1891 requesting he organize a school of social sciences, which would contain a department of jurisprudence that was later expanded into a law school. The Robinson Papers include his genealogy and CatholicU has a lecture series in his name.

William F. Montavon

Montavon (1874-1959), Ohio native and Notre Dame graduate, also studied at CatholicU. He was superintendent of Philippines schools, a U.S. Commercial attaché and oil executive in South America, and thereafter (1925-1951) director of the NCWC Legal Department (now Office of the General Counsel). He accompanied Fr. John J. Burke, NCWC general secretary, and Ruiz y Flores, Archbishop of Morella, on negotiations with Mexican revolutionary leader Calles that eased religious restrictions in 1929. He was also an expert on church-state relations in Spain, traveling there as correspondent of the NCWC News Service. He was honored by the Pope as Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great (1929) and was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Association for International Peace. The Montavon Papers are mainly correspondence and addresses concerning the Church in Mexico and Spain.

Hugh Lewis Motry

Motry (1884-1952), a priest of Columbus, Ohio, was a CatholicU, alum, professor, and dean of Canon Law. He founded the Canon Law Society of America (CLSA) and the canonical review, The Jurist. Motry was also a Chaplain to the Army Corp of Engineers at Fort Belvoir and with the Richmond Diocese as Judge, Advocate,  and Procurator.  He was honored as Domestic Prelate the Pope Pius on the fortieth anniversary of his ordination. The Motry Papers includes correspondence, financial information, photographs, lecture notes, publications, and a number of Catholic University diplomas. There are also many transcripts, in both Latin and English, of Canon Law cases and doctrine.

William B. Ball in his office, c. 1970. Special Collections, Catholic University.

William Bentley Ball

Ball (1916-1999) attended Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University), where he was President of the Young Americanist League, opposing extremist groups. He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II. Thereafter, he taught at Villanova, and was general counsel for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. In 1967, he worked on his first Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) case, Loving v. Virginia, representing the Bishops against anti-miscegenation laws. The Pope made him Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great (1974) and Ball was considered for the SCOTUS associate justice seat that went to Antonin Scalia (1986).  The Ball Papers, contain case files, correspondence, and photographs. Additionally, there are research materials of Bruce Dierenfield and David Gerber for their 2020 book Disability Rights and Religious Liberty in Education.

Frederick Richard McManus

McManus (1923-2005) was a respected scholar, noted canonist, and tireless liturgical reformer. The Massachusetts native served in the Archdiocese of Boston before earning degrees at CatholicU. At the latter, he was professor of canon law, Editor of The Jurist, dean of the school of canon law, and Academic Vice President. Besides these duties, he served on the Bishop’s Committee on the Liturgy and was involved with the Canon Law Society of America (CLSA) and the Second Vatican Council. In addition, he published continuously, contributing to American Ecclesiastical Review, Commonweal, The Jurist, The Living Light, and Worship. The McManus Papers include correspondence, subject files, meeting minutes, printed material, photographs, and memorabilia.

Frederick R. McManus, 1960s, Special Collections, Catholic University.

James Harrison Provost

Provost (1939-2000), priest of the Diocese of Helena and educated in Louvain and Rome, headed the Canon Law Society of America, was Canon Law Chair at CatholicU, and managing editor of the The Jurist.  Provost addressed difficult questions, such as abortion, and his writings were challenged in the 1980s during his ultimately successful tenure battle at CatholicU when the Vatican criticized his assertion the Church “discriminates” against women by denying them entry to the priesthood.  The Provost Papers, contain materials related to tenure review, synod, and publications.

Thomas Green

Green (1938-2018), a priest of Bridgeport specialized in penal law and published  commentaries on the New Code of Canon Law (1983). Educated in Rome, he served as Bridgeport vice chancellor, then taught canon law at St. Louis University before going to CatholicU where he was Canon Law department chair as well as a consultant on the NCCB Canonical Affairs Committee and to the Board of Governors of the Canon Law Society of America. He became a Chaplain of His Holiness, with the title of Monsignor, by the Pope (1996) and also served as editor of The Jurist. The Green Papers include correspondence, reports, and publications on penal law, the revised code, and the role of women in the church.

Mary Ann Glendon with Pope Francis, 2013. Special Collections, Catholic University.

Mary Ann Glendon 

Massachusetts native Glendon practiced law in Chicago and served pro bono as a volunteer defense attorney for civil rights workers in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer (1964). She was the first woman faculty of Boston College Law School and later went to Harvard, developing a public profile through her writings, including Abortion and Divorce in Western Law (1987). In 1994, the Pope appointed her to the newly formed Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS), where she served as president, 2004-2014, only the second woman to preside over a pontifical academy.  Under Bush (43), she served on the U.S. President’s Council on Bioethics and was U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. The Glendon Papers include correspondence, speeches, and photographs.


This diverse assemblage of collections with both institutional records and personal papers is an important resource for the canon law and secular legal history of the American Catholic Church. For more information, please contact Special Collections at CatholicU at This post is a condensed version of the recent article:

Shepherd, William John. ‘Collectiones historiae iuris: Canon Law and Legal History Collections at The Catholic University of America Archives,’ U.S. Catholic Historian (41:4) Fall 2023, pp. 123-136.

The Archivist’s Nook: What’s Wrong With Freud? Catholic Professor Rudolf Allers Knows

December 14, 2023 is the sixtieth anniversary of the death of Dr. Rudolph Allers, Austrian born psychiatrist, surgeon, author, and professor of Georgetown and Catholic universities.  A refugee from Nazi occupied Austria, and, initially a Freudian, he became increasingly opposed to Psychoanalysis, notably publishing several critical articles and books based upon a Catholic philosophical perspective.

Rudolph Allers, Studio Portrait, 1942, Special Collections, Catholic University.

Allers was born in Vienna on 13 January 1883, the son of Mark Allers, a doctor of Jewish extraction, and Augusta Grailick. He was a graduate of the Vienna Gymnasium and university medical school, earning his M.D. in 1906. In 1908, Allers married Carola Meitner, a sister of famed nuclear physicist Lise Meitner, who, like Allers, later taught at Catholic University. He served as an assistant in the clinic for mental and nervous diseases at Prague and in Munich, 1908-1918, and head of the department of medical psychology at the Institute of Physiology in Vienna, 1919-1938. During the First World War, as a surgeon, he served in a military field hospital on the Eastern Front, and was honored with the Golden Cross of Merit with the Crown and the Medal of the German Red Cross.

Modern reprint of an Allers book critical of Freud, n.d. Special Collections, Catholic University.

After the war, Allers’ students included both Viktor Frankl and Hans Urs von Balthasar. Balthasar and Allers’ friend, the future saint, Edith Stein, both lived at his home in Vienna in 1931. A devotee of the method of St. John Bosco, Allers studied the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Italy, taking a Ph.D. in 1934. Allers was the only Catholic member of the Freud’s first Psychoanalysis group. Later, he and Alfred Adler moved away from Freud, with Allers eventually separating himself from Adler as well. Essentially, whereas Freud simplifies all neuroses into a physical common denominators, Allers argued mental disorders are radically metaphysical. Though not as prominently featured, Allers was also critical of Carl Jung view that God was not a transcendent reality of future life but an archetype of a subjective human need. Though born and educated as a Catholic, Allers stated he “had not developed a real faith” until later as his career progressed and study deepened. Eventually, he moved towards Catholic intellectual circles, becoming a dedicated follower of Scholasticism.

Rudolph Allers, Class Reading List, 1959, Special Collections, Catholic University

After the annexation Anschluss (annexation) of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938, Allers emigrated to the United States, where settled in the area of Washington, D.C., teaching first at Catholic University, 1938-1948, and then at Georgetown University, 1948-1963. Among the courses he taught at CatholicU were Psychology and Philosophy of Mind and the Seminar in Psychology. One wonders if a troubling incident involving Allers in the summer of 1948 had any bearing on his decision to leave CatholicU for Georgetown that same year. According to the 6-26-1948 issue of The Washington Post, Allers called the Police stating he had been called by a Major Francis Riley of Columbia road threatening to “kill some people and myself.”  After being promptly arrested, Riley admitted he had called Allers and threated to kill “some people,” but never claimed he would kill himself!

Allers became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1958 and was a member or high ranking officer of the Washington Philosophical Club, Metaphysical Society of America, New York Academy of Science, American Philosophical Association, and the Medieval Academy of America. He was fluent in German, English, French, Italian, and Latin, writing more than a hundred articles in German and dozens more in English. He also wrote several books, including two highly critical of Freud and his methods: The Successful Error: A Critique of Freudian Psychoanalysis. Sheed and Ward Inc, 1940, and What’s Wrong With Freud? A Critical Study of Freudian Psychoanalysis. Roman Catholic Books, USA, 1941.

Allers’ Article ‘Does Human Nature Change?’ in the CU Bulletin (14:2), September 1946, pp. 6-9. Special Collections, Cathoilic University.

Allers died at Carroll Manor, the Archdiocese of D.C. Home for the Aged and Infirm in Hyattsville, MD. Services were held for him at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown and burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Special thanks to Claudia Allers for her recent donation of Allers materials, and to Hannah Kaufman for everything else. For more information, please contact Special Collections at Catholic University.

The Archivist’s Nook:  Digital Dreams – New Deal and Postwar Era Labor Collections  

A previous blog post recounted CatholicU’s Gilded Age and Progressive Era Labor Collections, part of Special Collections that includes materials from the New Deal and Postwar Era. These include the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), 1935-1955; three high ranking CIO officials, Phillip Murray, John Brophy, and Harry C. Read; and Joseph Daniel Keenan of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Finally, there are collections connecting the Catholic Church and labor via ‘labor priests’ Msgr. John Augustine Ryan, Bishop Francis Joseph Haas, and Msgr. George Gilmary Higgins. CatholicU has online guides (or finding aids) to the collections, with select scanned content online, while others are being systematically digitized in partnership with ProQuest’s History Vault, as previously done with the Gilded Age and Progressive Era Collections.

Congress of Industrial Organizations (1935-1955)

In 1935, critical of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) refusal to organize industrial workers, disgruntled AFL leaders, including John L. Lewis of the United Mine Workers (UMA), formed the Committee for Industrial Organizations (CIO). Encouraged by worker activism and federal recognition, the CIO evolved into an independent federation confirmed by their 1938 name change to the Congress of Industrial Organizations. The CIO promoted collective bargaining in mass industries such as steel and auto and their commitment to organizing unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled workers, including African-Americans, demonstrated egalitarian goals. The CIO merged with the AFL in 1955 and CIO records were transferred to CatholicU in several installments between 1962 and 1976.

CIO leaders, with Lewis in the middle, Brophy far right, Murray second from left, 1937. Special Collections, Catholic University.

Philip Murray (1886-1952)

In 1904, Philip Murray, a young Scottish immigrant coal miner in western Pennsylvania, terminated from his job and evicted from his home, thereafter devoted his life to unionism. He became one of the most important labor leaders in twentieth century America as Vice President of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), 1920-1942; second President of the aforementioned CIO, 1940-1952; and first President of the United Steel Workers of America (USWA), 1942-1952. He supported civil rights, fought Communism, and smoothed relations with the rival AFL leading to the merger of 1955. His vision of social justice derived from family union tradition and Catholic faith inspired by papal encyclicals. A member of the NAACP, Murray was also a naturalized American citizen who spoke with a Scottish accent. His papers at CatholicU are described in an earlier blog post.

John Brophy (1883-1963)

The Lancashire born John Brophy began working in the coal mines of Pennsylvania in 1894. As a union activist, Brophy was elected president in 1916 of UMWA District 2, representing Central Pennsylvania and advocating for health care until 1926 when he unsuccessfully challenged John L. Lewis for the UMWA presidency. Brophy later worked for the fledgling CIO, often traveling abroad to meet with international labor organizations. His autobiography, edited and rewritten with the help of John Hall, was published in 1964 as A Miner’s Life. Like Murray, Brophy’s vehement advocacy for workers’ rights was influenced by his deep Roman Catholic faith. There is a previous blog post about his papers at CatholicU.

“Msgr. Higgins and George Meany, president of AFL-CIO. Picture taken at AFL-CIO convention in Atlantic City, 1958, before Mass for Catholic Participants.” Special Collections, Catholic University

Harry Cyril Read (1892-1957)

Read, a Chicago-born Catholic newspaper editor and author, was also a World War I soldier, noted labor leader, and oddly a friend of notorious gangster Al Capone. Read worked at several Chicago newspapers and after a CIO sponsored strike in 1938 instead began writing for several labor-affiliated newspapers. He was a member of the CIO delegation to the 1945 San Francisco United Nations Conference, and relocated that same year to Washington, DC. In 1948, he represented the CIO at the World Federation of Trade Unions in Rome, being received by Pope Pius XII in private audience. Read also served as a member of the Catholic Interracial Council of Washington, DC.  There is a related blog post about his papers at CatholicU.

Joseph Daniel Keenan (1896-1984)

Keenan, referred to by a biographer as ‘Labor’s Ambassador,’ was an important labor-government liaison during the Second World War and a key advisor to George Meany, long-time leader of the AFL-CIO. An electrician by trade, Keenan was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ (IBEW). In 1940, he moved to Washington, DC, to work with the National Defense Advisory Commission and later the War Production Board. Keenan served in postwar Germany as both an advisor to the American commander and as President Truman’s special coordinator between labor and industry. He later served as labor liaison with Democrat presidential campaigns, 1960-1972. He also was IBEW International Secretary, 1954-1976 and Vice President of the merged AFL-CIO after 1955. An active Catholic layman, he was honored with the papal medal, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 1973, and an honorary doctorate from CatholicU in 1974.  He supported civil rights and helped found Jobs Corps, which trained millions of the disadvantaged for employment.  The Keenan Papers are subject of an older blog post.

Labor Priests and Social Action

The notable pro labor activities of the aforementioned Catholic union men were tied to their Catholic faith and various Papal Encyclicals, including Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno, but also via the phenomenon of ‘the labor priest,’ working to mediate between owners and workers. Three of the most notable were Msgr. John A. Ryan, Msgr. Francis J. Haas, and Msgr. George G. Higgins. Additionally, we have the records of the Social Action Department (SAD) of the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC), later the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which Ryan and Higgins both headed.

Msgr. John A. Ryan, ‘Right Reverend New Dealer,’ ca. 1940s. Special Collections, Catholic University


Msgr. John Augustine Ryan (1869-1945)

Ryan was the leading expert on social and economic questions as well as one of the strongest advocates for workers in the American Catholic Church of the first half of the twentieth century. An alumnus of CatholicU, he also taught there and was the first head, 1920-1945, of the NCWC’s Social Action Department. He wrote sixteen books, including Living Wage (1906) and Distributive Justice (1916), and spoke frequently in public and on the radio. In 1936, he defended President Roosevelt against the rabble rousing priest Charles Coughlin. In 1919, Ryan wrote the draft of the Bishops’ Program for Social Reconstruction, which advocated national health and old age insurance, minimum wage, factory safety legislation, and labor’s right to organize. The Ryan Papers at CatholicU have recently been digitized by ProQuest.

Bishop Francis Joseph Haas (1889-1953)

Priest, educator, and labor relations advocate, the Wisconsin born Haas a Milwaukee priest and doctoral student of Msgr. Ryan at CatholicU. Haas authored Man and Society (1931), which reflected the social teachings of Ryan and recent Popes. In the 1930s Haas directed the National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS) and the School of Social Science at Catholic U, and was Bishop of Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1943-1953. He strongly supported the New Deal and served in several programs, including the National Recovery Act’s Labor Advisory Board, where he wrote codes for equal racial employment and child labor; Senator Robert Wagner’s National Labor Board where he mediated several labor disputes; and at the helm of the President’s Fair Employment Committee where he actively fought racial hiring discrimination. After becoming Bishop, he also served on President Harry Truman’s Committee on Civil Rights. The Haas Papers include both personal and professional correspondence, notebooks, publications, and photographs.

Msgr. later Bishop Francis J. Haas. 1936. Special Collections, Catholic University.

Msgr. George Gilmary Higgins (1916-2002)

Higgins, a priest of Chicago and alumnus of CatholicU, worked for the Bishops’ Conference, including the Social Action Department, as a specialist in Catholic social teachings and labor relations. He was a champion of farm labor where he was the moving force in the Church’s support for Cesar Chavez and his union movement and human rights for Latino workers as well as supporting Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement in Poland. He served on several committees, including the Bishops’ Committee for Catholic-Jewish Relations, the Bishops’ Committee on Farm Labor, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. He was especially noted for his published book reviews as well as his highly regarded syndicated column, ‘The Yardstick.’ The Higgins Papers comprise correspondence, sermons, reference files, publications, awards, and audiovisual materials.


As mentioned above, in addition to the earlier project with ProQuest to digitize the Powderly, Mitchell, and Hayes papers, similar work has been completed for Ryan and is currently in process for Haas. ProQuest, which includes Ex Libris, is well known for curating digital collections strong in coverage of social movements, especially racial justice, women’s rights, and organized labor.  The Ryan Papers and others will join the Powderly, Hayes, and Mitchell papers as part of a module Labor Unions in the US, 1862–1974: Knights of Labor, AFL, CIO, and AFL-CIO.  Original papers remain available for research at CatholicU’s Special Collections in Washington, D.C.(1)


(1)This blog post is a condensed version of the article, William John Shepherd. ‘New Deal and Postwar Era Labor Collections at The Catholic University of America,’ Pennsylvania History, 2023, Vol. 90 (3), p. 488-502. See also CatholicU University Libraries Labor Materials Guide.

The Archivist’s Nook: Consequor – Rare Books Acquisitions, 2022-2023

Several previous blog posts have highlighted select rare book acquisitions via purchase on an annual basis since the department joined Special Collections in 2019. The most recent reporting year, which ended April 30, 2023, saw three very significant additions. This was assisted in part by the welcome promotion of Alex Audziayuk from Rare Books Technician, where he had partnered with Special Collections Archivist, Shane MacDonald, to Rare Books Librarian. Both continue to work as key members of our Rare Books team, assisted by other Special Collections staff, and supported by the library administration.

Manuale parochialium sacerdotum, Title Page, ca. 1492. Special Collections, Catholic University.

The gem accession of this cycle, if not the last half decade, is the incunable Manuale parochialium sacerdotum, Reutlingen, Johann Otmar, ca. 1492, 12 leaves and six by eight inches, obtained from David Rueger of Antiquariat Inlibris Gilhofer Nfg., Vienna, Austria, in May 2022. This early edition of a manual for the Holy Mass, first published about 1483, was once part of a made-up volume and still contains early handwritten pagination. The title-page is browned and a little stained with an old library shelf mark in brown ink. The text has been preserved variously, in a 13th century vellum manuscript in the British Library and a 14th century manuscript in the Bürgerbibliothek in Berne. It was probably first printed in English in London in 1636 as part of an anonymous collection Fasciculus Florum. This Middle Latin poem also known as “Versa de monachis et clerico”, an example of the literary cliche of the wayward nun, has nine distichs forming a dialogue (“monialis dicit”/”juvenis respondet”) between a nun and a pious young man. She offers to throw off her habit and enter his bed, but he refuses, reminding her she is a Bride of Christ, and she demurs. While clearly out of place in a liturgical manual, this ironically placed depiction of a sensual woman of this era should be of interest to medieval and women studies scholars.(1)

Versa de monachis et cleric, Manuscript of the Poem of the priest and the wayward nun, ca. 1492, Special Collections, Catholic University.

The second arrival, purchased from the Roger Friedman Rare Book Studio of Tuxedo, New York, in October 2022, is the popular De Imitatione Christi (The Imitation of Christ) by a German-Dutch canon know as Thomas à Kempis, first composed circa 1410-1425, which was chronicled in a 2022 blog post as we already house several versions.  This newcomer was published in Venice, 1573, by Luigi di Granata da Thomaso Porcacchi da Castiglione Arretino, with nine full-page woodcut illustrations.  It has an extra gathering bound in after the text with manuscript material in two distinct hands. The author of the earlier pages wrote in a readable, italic hand discoursing on twelve virtues, probably aimed at prelates, including chastity, patience, mercy, simplicity, avoidance of sin, and correcting dangerous behavior. A second text in the same hand, dated 27 April 1577, is a translation of a papal decree that permits certain ritual acts, like the Rosary, to function as indulgences. A third text, still in the same neat hand, is a list of protections, such as forgiveness of sins, grace to resist temptation, and protection for pregnant women. It is followed by several benedictions, and more pages in a messier hand giving account of moments from the life of Christ, with the last leaf missing. This devotional book probably belonged to a prelate in the first decades after it was printed, with a second owner a close contemporary, who used the remaining blank pages to fulfill a perceived obligation to enumerate Christ’s life. The book is a living artifact of people committed to post Tridentine Catholicism in the era of Pope Gregory XIII. (2)

De Imitatione Christi (The Imitation of Christ), Collage of select pages, 1573, Special Collections, Catholic University.

The third purchased acquisition, from The Kelmscott Bookshop of Savage, Maryland, in February 2023, was, and this is a mouthful, Les Oeuvres du Bien-Heureux François de Sales, Evesque et Prince de Geneve, Instituteur des Religieuses de la Visitation de Saincte Marie. Revenuë; & Tres-exactement Corrigées sur les Premiers & Plus Fideles Exemplaires. Enrichies Nouvellement de Plusieurs Emblémes & Figures Symboliques; des Citations de l’Escritures Saincte, & d’Annotations en Marge; Avec un Abbrege de la Vie, & une Table tres-ample des Matieres, & des Choses plus Remarquables, qui Manquit -Cy-devant à cet ouvrage, an uncommon edition of work by St. Francis de Sales published in Paris by Sebastien Hure, 1652, with over 1,000 pages and measuring 10 by 15 by 3.5 inches. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) was Bishop of Geneva, revered as a saint for his deep faith and his gentle approach to religious divisions of the Protestant Reformation. He is also known for his writings on spiritual direction and formation, and the Hure edition is important as a comprehensive compilation of these writings, published after various complaints from religious communities about the multiple errors present in previous similar publications. Bound in contemporary full brown leather, there is a penned ownership name from 1751, and there is also a small stamp of the Library of the Sulpician Seminary of Washington. (3)

Les Oeuvres.. Francis de Sales, Collage, including title page, 1652, Special Collections, Catholic University.

As we begin yet another academic year in Rare Books, we are already in the process of adding new and exciting titles that will be shortly cataloged and described in our 2024 acquisitions blog. In the meantime, please direct any question about accessing these or other rare books to or check our webpage. Please note we also work with teachers and professors who wish to bring their classes in for tours or academic exercises.


(1)Antiquariat Inlibris Gilhofer Nf., Vienna, Austria, vendor catalog, and invoice, 2022.

(2) Roger Friedman Rare Book Studio of Tuxedo, New York, vendor catalog, invoice, and email, 2022.

(3)The Kelmscott Bookshop of Savage, Maryland, vendor catalog, and invoice, 2023.

(4) Special thanks to Alex Audziayuk, Shane MacDonald, and Hannah Kaufman of Special Collections for their assistance.

The Archivist’s Nook: Catholic U’s Centenary Alum and Scholar – Karl M. Schmitt

Karl M. Schmitt on rooftop of Gibbons Hall, 1942, Karl M. Schmitt Collection, Special Collections, Catholic University.

Kentucky born Karl Michael Schmitt (1922- ), a recent centenarian and alumnus of Catholic University, is a distinguished scholar and teacher on Latin American studies. Special Collections, which includes University Archives, is fortunate to have a small but important collection of Dr. Schmitt’s materials, mostly photographs, documenting his World War II era time on campus, with many outdoor group shots that are generally dated and persons identified. There is also an unpublished manuscript titled Changes at The Catholic University of America, 1940-2000:  Some Reflections of an Old Grad.

CU students (left to right): Kathleen Bowser, Anabelle Melville, Rita Bondi, Joan Chapman, 1946, Karl M. Schmitt Collection, Special Collections, Catholic University.

Schmitt entered Catholic University in 1940 where he was mentored by Professor Manoel Cardozo while working in the library with Latin American related books, including the Oliveira Lima Library. While Cardozo was a ‘Brazilianist,’ Schmitt was drawn to Mexican history because of his interest in its Revolutionary history and due to a lifelong Mexican friend he met at Catholic U.(1) Schmitt also pursued extracurricular activities in theater, acting in three plays, before entering the World War II draft in early 1943. He served in the United States Army until September 1945, re-enrolling at Catholic U. upon his discharge. Becoming interested in student government, he was elected President of the Baltimore-Washington Chapter of the National Federation of Catholic College Students (NFCCS). Graduating from CatholicU in 1947 with a BA in History, he then earned an MA there in 1949.

Karl Schmitt as Zachariah in performance of Athaliah, 1942. Karl M. Schmitt Collection, Special Collections, Catholic University.

After leaving CatholicU, Schmitt went on to a distinguished teaching career as a history and government professor, achieving his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1954. Leaving the U.S. State Department in 1958, he spent the majority of his career on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin. He was also a visiting professor University of California, Los Angeles, 1959 and at the University of Manchester, England, 1988-1989. Additionally, he taught at the National War College, 1970-1971 and was a member of Texas Catholic History Association, serving as president 1976-1977.

Book cover of Communism in Mexico by Karl Schmitt, 1965,

Schmitt authored several books on Latin America, most notably Communism in Mexico: A Study in Political Frustration (1965), studied from the perspective of domestic politics to describe the internal structure of the movement and its relations with government and labor. He observed the fidelity of the Mexican Communist Party (PCM) to Moscow and discussed the movement’s weaknesses as a competitor for power in the Mexican context of modified democracy in a single-party system.  He argued it was an orthodox Communist party whose membership was insignificant, blindly loyal to Moscow,  harassed by the government, and ineffective in its political activity.  The government combined toleration of deviant opinion with quick suppression of behavior threatening public order, with Schmitt concluding that Communism in Mexico would remain ineffectual unless a major depression occurred or the pressure of population increase became extreme.

See Dr. Schmitt’s extensive 2022 interview by Portal, the web magazine of the Llilas Benson Latin American Studies and Collections of the University of Texas  He also wrote a letter dated 1/11/2022 to CatholicU updating his recent life and his collection at CatholicU has been digitized. Please direct any questions to

(1) Portal, the web magazine of Llilas Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, University of Texas, 2022.

(2) Special thanks to Shane MacDonald for his work on the Schmitt digital collection.


The Archivist’s Nook: ‘Labor’s True Woman’ – Leonora Barry

Leonora Barry, n.d. Terrence Vincent Powderly Papers, Special Collections, Catholic University.

It is difficult for the twenty-first century mind to grasp the endless drudgery of the daily lives of nineteenth century workers, especially the masses of the poor, and particularly women. While the status of mother or wife was better than that of domestic servant, there was little else separating them from the constant toil of hauling and fetching, cooking and cleaning, child and elder care. Additionally, unmarried or widowed women worked in factories and other places of commercial employment with harsh conditions, low pay, and scant regard. Out of this challenging milieu arose the example of Lenora Barry, called ‘Labor’s True Woman.’ Born on August 13, 1849, in County Cork, Ireland, as Leonora M. Kearny, daughter of John Kearny and Honor Granger, she was the only woman to hold national office with the Knights of Labor, America’s first large and somewhat successful labor union during their brief heyday in the mid to late 1880s. She was a dedicated advocate for bettering the conditions of American working women and the progress of women’s rights, including suffrage, during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

Knights of Labor Assembly, Female Delegates, 1886. Terrence Vincent Powderly Papers, Special Collections, Catholic University.

Her Irish farming family immigrated in the wake of the Irish Famine to Pierrepont, a rural New York community, in 1852. Following her mother’s death in 1864, her father remarried to a woman barely Leonora’s senior, with the resulting tension prompting the younger woman to attend a teaching school. After receiving a teaching certificate at only age 16, she taught at a local school for several years. She married Irish immigrant William E. Barry, who was both painter and musician, in 1871 and they settled in Potsdam, New York, where their first child, a daughter, was born in 1873. Per state law and despite a chronic teacher shortage, she was forced to give up teaching because she was a married woman and forced by economic necessity into manual labor. She and her family moved constantly, with two sons born by 1880 when her husband and daughter both died. After years as a seamstress, she found work in an Amsterdam, New York, hosiery factory where she and fellow workers faced hard conditions, low pay, and long hours.

Leonora Barry to T V Powderly, July 26, 1887. T V Powderly Papers, Special Collections, Catholic University.

In order to take positive action on the issues faced by her fellow workers, Barry joined the women’s branch of the Knights of Labor in 1885, near the time of that organization’s zenith. Originally a secret postwar group of Philadelphia clothes workers, it was transformed into an association fighting for labor reform across trades and industries on a national level. Barry soon rose to become master workman or president of her local Knights branch of about 1,500 members, then head of District Assembly 65, which had fifty two local branches with over 9,000 members. The following year she served as one of five district delegates to the General Assembly of the Knights of Labor in Richmond, Virginia. Endorsed by the Knights national leader, Terence V. Powderly, whose archival papers hold pride of place in Catholic U’s Special Collections, Barry was voted by the convention delegates to lead the newly created Department of Women’s Work. She was the first woman to be paid as a labor organizer and the only one to hold national office in the Knights of Labor. Her charge was to investigate women’s employment conditions, build new Knights assemblies, agitate for equal pay.

Pro labor pamphlet that includes a chapter on Leanora Barry, 1975, Special Collections, Catholic University.

Barry travelled across the country investigating the lot of women workers, and her reports to the Knights General Assembly in 1887, 1888, and 1889 detailed abuse of both women and children. She also gave over 500 speeches during her career, with ‘The Dignity of Labor’ on July 4, 1888, in Rockford, Illinois, being long remembered. Nearly 65,000 women belonged to the Knights, who offered jobs and affordable goods as well as supporting boycotts in women workers’ interests. About 400 Knights locals included women but Barry found it difficult to build a strong following due to both apathy and divisions trying to organize women in a male dominated society. Employers denied her entrance to their work sites and better paid workers hesitated to join labor movements fearing their situations would decline. Barry began to support state and federal legislation to protect workers, with a notable success in Pennsylvania passing its first factory inspection act in 1889.

Commemorative Road Marker honoring Leonora Barry-Lake, n.d, State of New York.

Unfortunately, for both Barry and women workers, she became embroiled in internal disputes with Knights Secretary-Treasurer, John Hayes, who took control of the Women’s Department in 1888 and harassed Barry with tacit support from Powderly to her resignation in 1890, effectively ending the Women’s Department. Another factor though was her marriage to Obadiah Read Lake, a St. Louis printer and telegraph editor, that same year and her notion that women should not work outside the home unless there was economic need.  Barry continued to travel and agitate for women’s suffrage and temperance, though not ignoring labor as she spoke to the Congress of Women at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Later in life, known as ‘Mother Lake,’ she moved to Minooka, Illinois, and was active in both the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and Catholic Total Abstinence Union. Perhaps ironically, she died July 18, 1923 due to mouth cancer. While there are no papers of her own at Catholic University’s Special Collections,  her correspondence and reports feature prominently in the those of Terence V. Powderly and John W. Hayes, which can also be accessed digitally via ProQuest’s History Vault. For more on the Knights and/or women workers of the era, see the scholarship of Susan Levine, Steven Parfitt, Kim Voss, and Robert Weir.

The Archivist’s Nook: “God’s Litigator,” Disability Rights, and Religious Education Freedom

William Bentley Ball (1916-1999), subject of a previous blog post and whose papers reside at Catholic University, was a Pennsylvania based constitutional lawyer and devout Roman Catholic, dubbed “God’s Litigator” and “Religious Freedom Fighter” by the Catholic Press (1). Ball argued nine cases and advised on more than two dozen others, primarily related to religious freedom and the First Amendment, before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Ball was also an artist, poet, and author.

William Bentley Ball with his law books, n.d. William Bentley Ball Papers, Special Collections, Catholic University.

As a young man, Ball was a devout Catholic, anti-New Deal activist, and U.S. naval officer in World War II. After the war, he studied law at the University of Notre Dame, taught at Villanova, and served as general counsel for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. His first case before SCOTUS was in 1967 when he entered a brief on behalf of U.S. Catholic bishops supporting the overturn of prohibits on interracial marriage in the celebrated Loving v. Virginia case. Ball achieved national attention with the 1972 Wisconsin v. Yoder case in which that state tried to force Amish children to attend high school when the latter’s belief system found that unnecessary. Ball represented the family in question, the Yoders, pro-bono, arguing before SCOTUS that this prevented defendants from performing their religious obligation, and the justices agreed 7-2.

Honorary Degree in Latin from Catholic University to William Bentley Ball, 1989. W. B. Ball Papers, Special Collections, Catholic University.

Ball’s other most famous case was in 1993 with Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School District in Arizona. James Zobrest (b. 1974) and his family were Pennsylvania transplants and Catholics who had moved to Arizona seeking the best possible education for the hearing impaired. Although many in the Deaf Community favor separate schooling, the Zobrests sought to mainstream their son, which required a daily on site sign language interpreter in the school to facilitate young James’ communication and learning. Public funding of these interpreters was not a problem so long as James attended public schools but when he transferred to a Catholic High School, Salpointe in Tuscon, said funding was denied by the Catalina Foothills School District,  believing that it was a violation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which generally prohibits the government from establishing, advancing, or giving favor to any religion. Arguing this was religious discrimination, the Zobrest family went to court.

Legal Brief, SCOTUS, Zobrest vs. Catalina Foothills School District, 1992. William Bentley Ball Papers, Special Collections, Catholic University.

The federal district court in Arizona held that furnishing a sign-language interpreter violated the First Amendment the interpreter would via sign language promote James’ religious doctrine at government expense. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision, stating that the interpreter would have been the instrumentality conveying the religious message with the local school board, in effect, sponsoring the religious school’s activities. The court admitted that denying the interpreter placed a burden on the parents’ right to free exercise of religion, but it was justified to ensure that the First Amendment was not violated. The Zobrests engaged the services of the progressive Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. Their lawyer, Thomas Berning, teamed up with the Conservative Catholic litigator, Ball, the latter working again on a pro bono basis, to take the case to SCOTUS. Incidentally, Ball’s daughter had been young Jim Zobrest’s first sign language interpreter before the family had left Pennsylvania. In their landmark case, Ball and Berning were supported by the Department of Justice on the basis of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), Missouri Synod Lutherans, Southern Baptist Convention, National Council of Churches of Christ, and the National Association of Evangelicals. In opposition, were the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Jewish Committee, and the Anti-Defamation League (2).

On February 24, 1993, the case was held before the Supreme Court. Ball argued that the school district’s refusal was a violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as well as the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.  Chief Justice William Rehnquist authored the majority’s 5-4 opinion, ruling that the service of a sign-language interpreter in was part of a government program distributing benefits neutrally to disabled children under the IDEA regardless of whether the school was public, private, or religious.  Rehnquist further held that the only economic benefit the religious school might have received would have been indirect and that aiding the student and his parents did not amount to a direct subsidy of the religious school because the student, not the school, was the primary beneficiary.  The Supreme Court thus ruled that there was no violation of the establishment clause, and the decision of the Ninth Circuit was reversed. Zobrest vs. Catalina is a significant case because it  marked a shift in the court toward interpreting the establishment clause to allow government-paid services for students who attend religiously affiliate nonpublic schools and was notably followed by Agostini v. Felton (1997), in which the court held that remedial services financed by federal funds under Title I could be provided in parochial schools.

The academic study and best account of the Zobrest case, The University of Illinois Press, 2020.

Although Jim had graduated before the SCOTUS decision the family was nevertheless compensated for the thousands of dollars a year they had scraped together for his sign interpreters. For Ball, this was perhaps his finest victory in the twilight of his notable career. The definitive account of this notable piece of legal history is Bruce J. Dierenfield and David A. Gerber. Disability Rights and Religious Liberty in Education: The Story Behind Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School District. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2020. Much of the source material is available in the aforementioned papers of William Bentley Ball at Catholic U. For access questions, please contact us at


(1) Bruce J. Dierenfield and David A. Gerber. Disability Rights and Religious Liberty in Education: The Story Behind Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School District. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2020, p. 104.

(2) Ibid, pp. 131-132.

(3) Thanks to HK for her assistance.

The Archivist’s Nook: Robert Moore – Catholic U’s Man of Stage for All Seasons


Robert Moore with Carol ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ Channing, with her autograph. 1970s. Special Collections, Catholic University.

Father Gilbert Vincent Ferrer Hartke, O.P., founder of the Drama Department at Catholic University (CU) in 1937, is a campus legend who casts a long shadow. His legacy includes his archival papers that reside in Special Collections, ongoing stage productions including Shakespeare, and above all the long list of stage, film, and television luminaries taught or mentored by CU’s B.M.O.C. These include Jon Voight, Helen Hayes, John Slattery, Ed McMahon, Philip Bosco, Henry Gibson, Susan Sarandon, Lawrence Luckinbill, and Robert Moore. Moore (1927-1984) was a multiple Tony Award nominee director and actor who often collaborated with Neil Simon. Like Hartke, Moore also has a presence on campus, where his small collection, mostly entertainment industry related photographs, is housed in our Special Collections.

Poignant postwar letter from a German P.O.W. befriended by Moore when the latter served in the United States Navy in World War II. 1947. Special Collections, Catholic University.

Moore was born in Detroit and grew up in Washington. He attended public schools and graduated from Roosevelt High School where he was heavily influenced by drama coach Pauline Eaton Oak. He served for six months in the United States Navy in 1945, and then studied drama sans degree under Fr. Hartke at Catholic University. His first acting gig, to limited success, was in Jean Kerr’s Jenny Kissed Me in 1948. He also worked as typist for the United Nations and at Catholic University. In the 1950s, Hartke invited him to direct summer productions, at least twenty each, at Olney Theater in Maryland and Winooski, Vermont.

Robert Moore clowning on the set of TV’s Rhoda with star Valerie Harper, ca. 1974. Special Collections, Catholic University.

Moore made his New York directing debut in 1968 with The Boys in the Band, written by CU classmate Mart Crowley and which won Moore the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play. It ran for three years, simultaneously with Promises, Promises and Last of the Red Hot Lovers. His later stage directions, which garnered five Tony Award nominations, included Deathtrap, They’re Playing Our Song, Woman of the Year, and My Fat Friend.

Poster of The Cheap Detective, 1978. Internet Open Source.

He also directed many episodes of the television situation comedies, Rhoda, starring Valerie Harper, and The Bob Newhart Show. He also directed three films written by Neil Simon, Murder by Death, The Cheap Detective, and Chapter Two, as well as a television version of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and made for television film Thursday’s Game.

Robert Moore and boxing legend Muhammed Ali, 1970s. Special Collections, Catholic University.

As an actor, he played a disabled gay man opposite Liza Minelli in the 1970 drama Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon. He also appeared in episodes of the aforementioned Rhoda, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Diana Rigg’s Diana. He died at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York of pneumonia, due to AIDS complications, one of the early celebrity casualties of that dreaded malady.


The Archivist’s Nook: “A Puzzle, Wrapped in a Conundrum, inside a Perplexity” – Papal Relief to Russia

Winter in Russia. Fr. Edmund Walsh with two assistants and a Russian boy being fed by the Papal Mission. 1922. NCWC/USCCB OGS Papers, Special Collections, Catholic University

As explained in a previous blog post, Special Collections at The Catholic University of America consists of four departments: rare books, museum, university archives, and the manuscript collection, otherwise known as The American Catholic History Research Collection. Although ‘manuscript’ literally means handwritten, ‘manuscript collection’ is used by archivists, curators, and librarians to refer to collections of mixed media in which unpublished materials predominate, including correspondence, meeting minutes, typescripts, photographs, diaries, and scrapbooks. This describes personal papers but also the institutional records of our outside or non-Catholic University donors such as Catholic Charities USA, National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), including their earlier incarnations like their World War I era National Catholic War Council. Among the USCCB records the most important are those of the Office of the General Secretary (OGS), sometimes called the Executive Department, and these contain the American Catholic Church’s involvement in almost every major issue of the twentieth century.

Food Remittance slip in both Russian and English, 1922. NCWC/USCCB OGS Papers, Special Collections, Catholic University.

One of the most fascinating episodes recounted and inventoried in the OGS records, replete with detailed documents and photographs, is that of the American Catholic participation in the Papal Relief Mission to Russia, 1922-1923. Churchill’s famous 1939 quip defining Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” (1) could be aptly paraphrased as “a puzzle, wrapped in a conundrum, inside a perplexity” when applied to the Papal Relief Mission of a decade and a half earlier. This was the first international aid mission of the Roman Catholic Church, undertaken to alleviate the starving children of Bolshevik Russia, the core of the nascent Communist Soviet Union, the emerging archenemy of the Catholic Church. The Famine of 1921-1923, focused in areas of the Volga, Ukraine, and northern Caucasus afflicted as many as 16 million people, perhaps killing as many as 5 million. It is with bitter irony that we mark this one hundredth anniversary with a renewed war with attending death and destruction, not to mention looming hunger, in this same sad corner of Eastern Europe.

Food Kitchen in Krasnodar, Russia, 1922. NCWC/USCCB OGS Papers, Special Collections, Catholic University.

Prior to the famine, Russia had suffered three and a half years of World War I and the Civil Wars of 1918–1920 with millions of casualties, both military and civilian. The various warring elements arbitrarily seized food from civilians to supply their armies and deny it to their enemies. The Bolshevik government requisitioned supplies from the peasantry offer little in exchange, prompting peasants, especially the more wealthy ones, called Kulaks, to reduce crop production and sell any surplus to the Black Market. Initially aid from outside Soviet Russia was rejected. The American Relief Administration (ARA), formed to help victims of starvation of World War I, offered assistance to Lenin in 1919 on condition that they hand out food impartially, but Lenin refused this as interference in Russian internal affairs. He was, however, convinced by this as well as other famines and unrest to reverse policy and permitted relief organizations to bring aid. The ARA had an organization set up in Poland relieving famine that had started there in late 1919.

Vatican pamphlet describing the Papal Mission’s work, 1922. NCWC/USCCB OGS Papers, Special Collections, Catholic University.

Under the auspices of the ARA, headed by Commerce Secretary and future President, Herbert Hoover, the Papal Relief Mission to Russia by 1922 was feeding approximately 158,000 persons a day. The pivotal figure between American Catholics and the Roman Curia, and subsequently between the Vatican and the Bolsheviks, was Edmund Aloysius Walsh, S.J., founder of the first American School of Diplomacy, at Georgetown University. (2) Walsh served as papal emissary in charge of this mission, which, among other duties, entailed liaising with the ARA, keeping the Vatican informed, and negotiating with the Bolsheviks regarding the church’s position within a communist society. Stateside, Walsh was backed by the National Catholic Welfare Council (NCWC), ably led by Paulist priest and Catholic University alum, John Burke, who helped focus American Catholic relief efforts. Overall, Walsh’s experience provides a firsthand view of the Bolshevik world view and insight into the manner in which the Bolshevik Revolution was understood, or not understood, by the Vatican. Therefore, in spite of the good will that the mission’s success earned for the Vatican, efforts to establish diplomatic relations ultimately failed because the gulf between Catholicism and Communism was too great.

For more information on how to access NCWC/USCCB records, please contact us at

(1) See also Churchill by Himself (2013), Chapter 10, Russia, page 143, Broadcast, London, 1 October 1939.

(2) For more on Edmund Walsh, see also McNamara, Patrick (2005). A Catholic Cold War: Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., and the Politics of American Anticommunism. New York: Fordham University Press and Marisa Patulli Trythall, ‘”Russia’s Misfortune Offers Humanitarians a Splendid Opportunity”: Jesuits, Communism, and the Russian Famine, Journal of Jesuit Studies, 2018 (5:1), pp. 71-96.

(3) Thanks to SM, BM, and HK for their assistance.

The Archivist’s Nook: Adeptio-Rare Book Acquisitions, 2021-2022

Special Collections, including the Rare Books Department, like the rest of the world, is continuing to emerge from the shadow of the COVID Pandemic. We continue to purchase new books and related materials, which we reported on in our November 2020 and November 2021 blog posts, and are pleased to announce further acquisitions during the 2021-2022 fiscal year from reputable dealers in order to further enhance our collections. This was a banner year, with eight purchased Rare Book acquisitions, four of which are featured below. The others are listed in the footnotes and more information is available upon request.

[Reverendissimo patri domino] Hipolito Aldobrandino Mantuanorum feudorum Processus de partibus vigore compulsorialium generalium factus pro partas perillustris et reverendissimi Claudii et eius consortium de Gonzaga per compulsiv… Die30martii 1583…SpecialCollection,The Catholic University of America.
The first item is a Sixteenth century Italian manuscript, 11 x 8 inches, regarding a dispute between the Gonzaga family of Mantua and the Vatican represented by its auditor, Ippolito Aldobrandini (1536-1605), later Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605). The manuscript is a notarial deed concerning the February 4, 1583 trial held in Mantua in the San Pietro Cathedral.  It is a certified copy written in the Bishop’s Mantua palace on March 16, 1583 and given to Aldobrandini, who was representing the Holy See appearing in this trial as the judge commissioner. The trial, initiated at the request of Claudio Gonzaga, Abbott of the Benedictine Church of Santa Maria di Felonica in Mantua, addressed the validity of feudal rights claims by Felonica concerning properties used by the church. The manuscript has 90 leaves, or 180 written pages, with contemporary inscriptions on front cover and many pages with a notary stamp. This was purchased in June 2021 from Portuguese dealer Sandra Antunes, who in turn obtained it from Sotheby’s of Italy, in 2005.[i] Incidentally, it is often claimed that the spread of Coffee’s popularity is due to Pope Clement VIII’s influence. Supposedly responding to criticism of the beverage as ‘Satan’s drink,’ he tasted it, declaring it would be a pity to permit infidels to have exclusive use of it, so he blessed the bean, arguing it was better for people than alcohol.

Fifteen (15) items in one volume, 1682-1709. Bound in contemporary sheep with gilt title on spine (“Paneg[yrique]. Jans[eniste]. [et] Div[erse]. Autre Ecrits”. Special Collections, The Catholic University of America.
The second purchase is a remarkable Sammelband, 7.6 x 6 inches, of fifteen Jansenist tracts, 1682 to 1709, in contemporary binding titled “Paneg[yrique]. Jans[eniste]. [et] Div[erse]. Autre Ecrits”.  Several of the items are not recorded in any American institutional library. The rarity of these tracts may be due to their heterodox nature as at least seven were added to the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Books prohibited to Catholics) soon after publication. Many were written anonymously by Gilles de Witte (1648-1721) who followed Jansenist ideas of reading the Bible in the vernacular. He had already attracted the attention of the authorities by publishing a Dutch translation of the New Testament in 1696. He also wrote approvingly of Cornelius Jansenius with a biography of the Bishop of Ypres and an overview of the Jansenist conflict, affirming that many Jesuits has similar views and had not been condemned.[2] This was obtained in September 2021 from David Rueger of InLibris.

The Church Affirms its Stance on Abortion – Printed in Mexico Rodríguez, Mathías (active 17th c.); Innocent XI, Pope (reg. 1676-1689), 1684.

The third accession was a book printed in Mexico, then a province of Spain, by Por Dioego Fernandez de Leon in 1684, titled: Explicacion de las sesenta, y cinco proposiciones prohibidas por la santidad de N.M.S.P. Innocencio XI. mandadas publicar por el Excellentissimo Señor Don Diego Sarmiento de Valladares, obispo inquisidor general: y publicadas por el Santo Tribunal de la Inquisicion de esta Nueva España en siete de abril de mil seiscientos, y ochenta. Author el padre fr. Mathias Rodriguez, predicador, y confessor, de la Santa Provincia de San Diego de religiosos descalços de N.P.S. Francisco de esta Nueva España ; dedicada al Capitan Don Francisco de Alarcon, y Espinosa alcalde ordinario, que fue de la ciudad de la Puebla de los Angeles, su regidor, y thesorero general de la Santa Cruzada.  This is a first edition, 7.5 x 6 inches, with an armorial woodcut on the second leaf, bound in contemporary vellum with remnants of the original ties. The text was written by Fransican friar Mathias Rodriguez of San Diego, New Spain, examining a papal bull condemning sixty-five supposed heretical propositions or ‘laxism’ by Jesuits relating to fornication, gluttony, robbery, and usury. This includes the original Latin of the bull, the Spanish text of the heresies, and Rodriquez’s commentary. In order to expand their ministry, many Jesuits adopted a less stringent approach to theology (‘probabilism’), resulting in Pope Innocent XI’s condemnation in 1679 reasserting Conservative ‘rigorism.’[3] Among the condemned propositions in this book are two related to abortion. Obtained in January 2022 from Liber Antiquus.

Salesman’s Sample Book, Saint Etienne, les Succs de Bochard. Ca. 1935.

The fourth acquisition is a salesman’s sample book of sacramental textiles from the French firm of G. Bochard, which operated in St. Etienne from the late nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth century. The company focused primarily on embroidered silks, not only for vestments, but also table cloths, banners, and book braids. Examples in this volume include swatches of numerous priestly vestments, including cincture, maniple, stole, chasuble, cape, dalmatic, surplice, and cotta represented in vivid woven silks as well as embroidered and tapestry fabrics, many with stock notes, and other related marginalia in French. This burgundy board scrapbook, ca. 1935, has a string tied with matching silk braid, approximately 10.5 by 8 inches, containing 16 card stock leaves mounted recto and verso with 92 original silk sample swatches. There are also three black and white mounted photo illustrations of finished patterns.[4]  This was purchased in March 2022 from Type Punch Matrix.

In addition, there were four other purchased acquisitions, listed below. These new arrivals are a further enhancement to the diverse Rare Books Department of Special Collections at Catholic University. They are already making an impact via perusal by patrons and instructional purposes for various university classes. If you are a faculty, student, or alumni with interest and expertise in rare books and have acquisition suggests, please contact us. We can not make any promises but will seriously consider any proposals.

[1] Sandra Antunes, R. Dr. Augusto Jose da Cunha 9 Menos-2C,1495-240 Alges, Portugal.

[2] David Rueger, Inlibris LLC, 245 9th Ave, #166, New York, NY 10011.

[3] Paul Dowling, Liber Antiquus, 7306 Brennan Lane, Chevy Chase, MD, 20810.

[4] Type Punch Matrix, 1111 E. West Hwy, Suite 300, Silver Spring, MD, 20910.

[5] Small format Prayer Booklet to the Holy Family, partially titled, ‘Tierna, Y Dulce Memoria…’ printed in Puebla by Manuela de la Ascension Cerezo, 1753, purchased in June 2021 from W. S. Cotter Rare Books, 4615 Cedar Point Drive, Auston, TX, 78723.

[6] Broadside by Adolph Sutro, titled ‘Sutro and the A.P.A.’, printed in San Francisco, 1894, regarding the anti-Catholic American Protective Association, obtained in June 2021 from David Lesser, Fine Antiquarian Books, One Bradley Road, Woodbridge, CT, 06525.

[7] Two catechisms in English and Odjibwe, titled ‘Katolik Anamie…’ 1880, and ‘A Baltimore Short English-Odjibwe Catechism..’ 1896, bought in February 2022 from William Reese Company, 409 Temple Street, New Haven, CT, 06511.

[8] Collection of Sixteen Anti-Catholic Pamphlets from the Rail Splitter Press, ca. 1920-1935, acquired in April 2022 from Walkabout Books, P.O. Box 22, Curtis, WA, 98538.