The Archivist’s Nook: African American History-Related Collections

In his landmark 1990 scholarly work, The History of Black Catholics in the United States, Cyprian Davis presents a deeply researched history of African American Catholics in the United States. He proved that, while Black Catholics seemed invisible across U.S. Catholic history, in fact, the American Church has never been exclusively a white and European one. In fact, as he writes, “the African presence has influenced the Catholic church in every period of its history.” He concludes that for “[t]oo long have black Catholics been anonymous. It is clear they can be identified, that their presence has made an impact, and that their contributions have made Catholicism a unique and stronger body.”[1] In that spirit, we offer an overview of some of our richest materials related to the Black Catholic experience in the United States, including the papers of Father Cyprian Davis himself.

From left: Rothell Price; Bishop James Lyke, O.F.M, Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland; Father Cyprian Davis, O.S.B., and Leo Hodges, at a talk given by Bishop Lyke on the implementation of the Bishops’ Pastoral on racism, February, 1984. From the Davis Papers.

In 2015, Special Collections acquired the papers of Father Cyprian Davis. Davis, born Clarence John Davis (1930-2015) in Washington, D.C., was a historian and archivist. A convert to Catholicism in his teenage years, Davis expressed an early interest in the priesthood. He joined the seminary of St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana, where he became a novice in 1950, and took the monastic name Cyprian in 1951. Ordained a priest on May 3, 1956, Davis became the first African American to join the monastic community of St. Meinrad.

He began his academic career in 1948, studying at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where he received a Licentiate of Sacred Theology in 1957. Davis then studied church history abroad at The Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, where he obtained a licentiate in 1963. He taught church history at St. Meinrad before returning to Louvain for his doctorate degree in 1977. Father Davis authored and co-authored several pioneering monographs, including Christ’s image in Black: The Black Catholic community before the Civil War and The History of Black Catholics in the United States. Davis’s papers include many unpublished manuscripts on Black history and Black Catholic history, as well as correspondence, academic papers, printed material, audiovisual records, ephemera, and a range of awards and honors. A finding aid for the Cyprian Davis papers can be found here.

For insights into how white Catholics sought to promote interracial activities within the Catholic Church in the first half of the twentieth century, researchers can consult the records of the Catholic Interracial Council of New York (CICNY). Father John LaFarge, S.J., founded the CICNY in 1934 to promote mutual understanding and social justice among Blacks and whites. The CICNY disseminated information and held meetings and conferences on Catholic teaching and race. Through the 1940s, the CICNY addressed issues such as the Scottsboro Boys’ case, lynching, communism, and efforts to open the defense industry to Black workers. They also regularly honored Catholic civil rights activists with a number of annual awards and celebrations, including the annual John A. Hoey Interracial Justice Award. The idea of interracial councils led to their formation in Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. By 1954, 24 Catholic Interracial Councils had been created.

An undated photo of a gathering of members of the CICNY from the CICNY Records.

The CICNY continued well into the 1990s, but had declined markedly in activity and importance by the late 1970s. The Interracial Review, of full set of which can be found in the voluminous CICNY Records, one of its more important undertakings since its founding, ceased publication in 1966, although it was revived in a much less ambitious format in the 1970s. Several civil rights leaders, including A. Philip Randolph and Roy Wilkins, contributed to the journal. A finding aid for the CICNY can be found here.

Washington, D.C.- Related Collections

The Haynes-Lofton Family Papers are comprised of the personal papers of Catholic University of America alumna Euphemia Lofton Haynes, her husband Harold Appo Haynes, and their families. A native Washingtonian, Euphemia Lofton Haynes (1890-1980) received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Smith College in 1914, a Master’s in Education from the University of Chicago in 1930, and a Doctorate in Mathematics from Catholic University in 1943, making her the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics in the United States. She taught in the public schools of Washington, D.C. for 47 years and was the first woman to chair the D.C. School Board. She figured prominently in the integration of both the D.C. public schools and the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. The papers consist of correspondence, financial records, publications, speeches, reports, newspaper clippings, and photographs, and provide a record of her family, professional, and social life, including her involvement in education, civic affairs, real estate, and business matters in Washington. A finding aid for the Haynes-Lofton family papers can be found here. 

Educator and activist Paul Philips Cooke (1917-2010), a member of Washington D.C.’s Sacred Heart parish, lived most of his long life in the District. After earning a Master’s in English Literature from The Catholic University of America in 1942, and a Doctorate in Education from Columbia University in 1947, Cooke taught and served as president of the District of Columbia Teachers College until 1974.  He was an active member of the Catholic Interracial Council of the District of Columbia (CIC DC) for over 50 years. The collection includes correspondence, clippings, reports, meeting minutes, photos, pamphlets, and publications. A finding aid for the Paul Philips Cooke papers can be found here.

An image of the front page of the manuscript for Elliot Liebow’s 1967 book “Tally’s Corner: A Study of Negro Streetcorner Men,” from the Liebow Papers.

For more on African American life in Washington, D.C. in the second half of the twentieth century, researchers may also consult the Elliot Liebow Papers. Liebow (1925–1994) was an American anthropologist, best known for his 1967 book Tally’s Corner: A Study of Negro Streetcorner Men, a study of Black men in urban Washington, D.C. The book, based on his 1966 Catholic University of America Department of Anthropology doctoral dissertation “Behavior and Values of Streetcorner Negro Men” sold nearly a million copies, and though dated today in its methodology, was influential in its time. Beginning in 1990, he held the Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle Professorship at the National Catholic School for Social Service of the Catholic University of America. He died in 1994. Series 3 of the Liebow papers contains research material related to Tally’s Corner. Although some of the research material is subject to a 60-year restriction in order to protect the identities of the case study participants, the open material includes the original manuscript of Tally’s Corner, correspondence about the book, book reviews, and publicity material (e.g., ads and ephemera). A finding aid for the Liebow papers is currently underway and should be completed by early 2021. In the meantime, please contact the archives staff directly at lib-archives@cua.edu or 202-319-5065 for more information. 

Education Resource Websites

The Thomas Wyatt Turner and The Federated Colored Catholics website is one of our most well-used educational resources. The site revolves around Turner’s struggle to promote racial equality in the U.S. Catholic Church. In that struggle, we see how even people of good faith have often disagreed over the best strategies for winning the battle. Some have argued that African-Americans or other racial minorities have needed the chance to unite, gain power, and win respect from white majorities. Others have contended that convincing white, and indeed all Americans, to be colorblind—to not “see” race—has been the best plan. Such disagreements emerged among American Catholics in the 1920s and 1930s in debates between Dr. Thomas Wyatt Turner, an African-American layman, and Father John LaFarge, a white Jesuit and long time civil rights advocate. The Thomas Wyatt Turner and the Federated Colored Catholics website can be found here.

The Catholic Church, Bishops and Race in the Mid-Twentieth Century website features resources and documents related to the U.S. Catholic Bishops in the mid-twentieth century. While battles were waged against racist institutions in America in the decades prior, it was the 1940s–1960s that set the tone for the momentous changes in the history of African Americans. Often termed the “Second American Revolution,” the Civil Rights Movement of those decades sought the end of segregation across a wide swath of American society, including schools and other public organizations. The Catholic Church in the U.S. saw the struggle for equality within its own walls, and many church leaders were determined to not only free their institutions from segregation, but to work for its demise in the general population as well. While recognition of the Church’s work in civil rights has paled in comparison to the luminaries of the movement, several individuals and organizations made a mark nonetheless, overcoming resistance at times from within their own parishes and institutions. The website can be found here. 

In the 1930s and 1940s, comic books were one of the most popular forms of entertainment among the nation’s youth, combining as they did narratives, graphics, and low prices. Concerned over the possibility of the effects of such entertainment on the moral character of young people, the Commission on American Citizenship at The Catholic University of America worked with George A. Pflaum of Dayton, Ohio, to publishing a bi-monthly comic book, the Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact for distribution in Catholic Parochial Schools starting in 1946. The Treasure Chest was intended as a remedy to the sensationalism of traditional comics: it contained educational features, narrated the lives of saints, and presented adventure stories featuring realistic characters with what were considered wholesome values, like patriotism, equality, faith, and anti-communism.

By the early 1960s, the Treasure Chest was at the height of its popularity. In 1964, Joe Sinnott, the illustrator of Marvel Comics’ “The Fantastic Four,” teamed up with writer Berry Reece to produce a story depicting a U.S. presidential election. It was set in the future: the presidential election was supposedly that of 1976, the year of the nation’s bicentennial. “Pettigrew for President” lasted for 10 issues, following the campaign trail of the fictional Tim Pettigrew from the announcement of his candidacy through the national convention of his party. The candidate’s face was carefully hidden in every panel, until the final page of the final issue of the story, when Pettigrew is finally revealed: the first Black candidate for president of the United States! This site reproduces the entire “Pettigrew for President” series in a digital format. It places this unique comic book story in the context of the 1960s civil rights movement, and provides background information on the creators of the series. The website can be found here.

For more on these materials and more see our newly-created LibGuide on African American History-Related Collections.

 

 

[1] Cyprian Davis, The History of Black Catholics in the United States (New York: Crossroad, 1990), 259.

 

The Archivist’s Nook: New Acquisitions in Rare Books

Stacks in Rare Books, Mullen Library, May 2019, Taken by W. J Shepherd. Special Collections, Catholic University.

Rare Books was formally added to Special Collections in May 2019, joining the University Archives, Museum, and Manuscripts, also known as the American Catholic History Research Collection. New acquisitions have been a challenge while operating in a climate of budget and staff limits even before the onset of the COVID Crisis. However, we are pleased to report on four recent notable arrivals. Purchasing rare books, including pamphlets, is not a matter to be taken lightly. Several factors have to be accounted for, such as the reputation of the seller, price and provenance of the item, as well as whether the item has already been digitized or is available in print copies from other libraries. While the Rare Books collection at Catholic University is strong in many subject areas, we are looking to expand our Anti-Catholic literature, the Catholic Apologetics defending the Faith, and acquire more Spanish and indigenous language items from both North and South America.

A Sermon Preached in the Church of St. Augustine, in Philadelphia, on the 31st of May, 1829, at A Solemn, Religious Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the Emancipation of The Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland.’ By the Rev. John Hughes. Special Collections, Catholic University.

The first of the aforementioned acquisitions is a sermon pamphlet obtained in October 2019 from David Lesser of Fine Antiquarian Books in Woodbridge, Connecticut. Titled ‘A Sermon Preached in the Church of St. Augustine, in Philadelphia, on the 31st of May, 1829, at A Solemn, Religious Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the Emancipation of The Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland.’ By the Rev. John Hughes. Spanning 28 pages, it is in good condition and only lightly foxed. Born in Ireland, John Joseph Hughes became the fourth Bishop and first Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, serving from 1842 to 1864. He was known as ‘Dagger John’, both for his following of the Catholic practice wherein a bishop precedes his signature with a cross, as well as for his aggressive personality. At the time of this sermon, he was the pastor of a church located in Philadelphia. He dedicated his sermon to Daniel O’Connel, who was known as ‘The Liberator,’ due to his tireless lobbying for Catholic Emancipation in both Ireland and Great Britain.  Philadelphia had been a center of anti-immigrant political unrest. Hughes’s address to this largely Irish-American congregation reminded them of the oppression that was historically directed towards Roman Catholics, and celebrated the British Parliament’s recent granting of fuller civil rights towards Catholics.

Catecismo y declaracion de la Doctrina Cristiana en lengua Otomi, con un vocabulario del mismo idioma. Megico: impreso en la oficina de ciudadano by Joaquin Lopez Yepes in 1826. Special Collections, Catholic University.

The second new addition was a book purchased in February 2020 from Rulon-Miller Books of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Written by Joaquin Lopez Yepes and published by Alejandro Valdes in 1826 in Mexico, it is a Catechism and Dictionary (Catecismo y declaracion de la Doctrina Cristiana en lengua Otomi, con un vocabulario del mismo idioma. Megico: impreso en la oficina de ciudadano) in both Spanish and the indigenous language of Otomi. This first edition has 254 pages, with a dictionary spanning pages 93-251. It is comprised of red morocco backed marbled boards, and has a smooth gilt spine that is laid out in six compartments. Otomi differs in structure from other languages spoken in Mexico, as it strongly resembles the languages of Eastern Asia. Luis de Neve y Molina was the first to establish a system of characters in 1767, which has been retained. Otomi is a monosyllabic language, which is still spoken today by nearly two million inhabitants of central Mexico. The author was a native Mexican and a religious brother of the Franciscan College at Pachuca. Many consider his vocabulary to be the most complete ever published in this language.

A Relation of the Bloody Massacre in Ireland; Acted by the Instigation of the Jesuits, Priests, and Friars, who were Promoters of those Horrible Murders, Prodigeous Cruelties, Barbarous Villanies, and Inhuman Practices Executed by the Irish Papists upon the English Protestants: With an Account of the Spanish Inquistition. London: Rowland Reynolds, 1689. Special Collections, Catholic University.

The third recent arrival is a pamphlet from Paul Dowling of Liber Antiquus, Early Books & Manuscripts, located in Chevy Chase, Maryland. It was purchased in May 2020 and is titled A Relation of the Bloody Massacre in Ireland; Acted by the Instigation of the Jesuits, Priests, and Friars, who were Promoters of those Horrible Murders, Prodigeous Cruelties, Barbarous Villanies, and Inhuman Practices Executed by the Irish Papists upon the English Protestants: With an Account of the Spanish Inquistition. London: Rowland Reynolds, 1689. This first edition is bound in recent quarter calf and marbled boards and has a spine label. There are four known copies in the United States, residing in the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Newberry Library, and at Yale and Harvard universities. The first leaf is soiled with marginal repairs and is illustrated with five woodcuts, two show images of mayhem and three depict torture scenes as practiced by the Spanish Inquisition. The first part was apparently issued as a news report in 1641 while the second part on the Inquisition is original. In this sensational account, the Irish are alleged to have tortured Protestants by drowning thousands and compelling family members to kill their own kin: “Wives were forced to hang their own husbands, and mothers to cast their own children into the waters.” This book was published in response to the tumult in Ireland that followed the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Catholic Ireland had to accept the military occupation and endure the rule of the Protestant regime of William of Orange. In 1689 several London printing houses recirculated pamphlets that had originally published in 1641 during the Irish Rebellion. Although readers of the republished Relation of the Bloody Massacre in Ireland were not provided with an introduction, they were able to recognize its relevance towards the present situation.

Requeste Presentee au Roy par Messieurs les Cardinaux, Princes, Seigneurs, & des Deputez de la ville de Paris, & autre villes Catholiques associez & unis pour la deffence de la Religion Catholique Apostolique & Romaine. May 23, 1588. Special Collections, Catholic University.

The fourth new acquisition is a Catholic League pamphlet printed in French, dated May 23, 1588, and purchased in July 2020 from Robert Heron of Three Gables in Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom. It’s English title is Presentation to the King by Cardinals, Princes, Lords, and Deputies of the City of Paris and other Catholic cities associated and united for the defense of the Catholic Religion (Requeste Presentee au Roy par Messieurs les Cardinaux, Princes, Seigneurs, & des Deputez de la ville de Paris, & autre villes Catholiques associez & unis pour la deffence de la Religion Catholique Apostolique & Romaine). In 1576, Henry, duc de Guise, formed the Catholic League to eradicate all French Protestants. On May 12, 1588, known as the ‘Day of the Barricades,’ King Henry III was forced to flee Paris to escape a popular uprising called by de Guise. This rare 16-page pamphlet was most likely printed in Lyon from the original which was published in Paris. It was a plea to the King, now in refuge at the royal Chateau de Blois, to embrace the Catholic cause in the Wars of Religion, which developed as the Reformation spread across Europe into France. Although Henry III made a formal reply to this request, he also took direct action by summoning de Guise and his brother, a Cardinal, to de Blois before Christmas of 1588 where he had them both killed. This led to many more League pamphlets and Henry’s assassination on August 1, 1589 by a Dominican friar. This pamphlet is unbound, protected by a brown paper cover, and in good condition even though the first few pages are somewhat dirty from frequent handling over the past 400 years.

In conclusion, these four new acquisitions, published in four countries, in four languages, across four centuries, represent the diversity of our ever growing collection of Rare Books at The Catholic University of America. We are dedicated to providing preservation, maintenance, and above all, access, to these cultural treasures and we invite you to contact us with any questions you might have.

The Archivist’s Nook: What’s So Special About Special Collections?

Most major institutional libraries have Special Collections, but what exactly are Special Collections and why are they so special? A special collection is a group of items that includes rare books, museum objects, or archival documents. They are irreplaceable or otherwise unique and valuable. Special collections are usually housed separately from the mainstream library collections and are secured in locations with environmental controls that enhance preservation. Special collections include rare materials that are focused on specific topics such as labor relations, social welfare, and military history. They benefit researchers by consolidating related items together in one repository that are distinguishable from the other libraries. At The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., our Special Collections consists of four distinct departments that have converged over the course of the last century and longer. These departments include the Museum, Rare Books, University Archives, and the Manuscript collection named The American Catholic History Research Collection. This current configuration was created in May 2019, though each department has its own unique history.[1]

Brandi Marulli, Special Collections Technician, with a Statue of St. Francis from the CU Museum Collection.

The Museum’s first donations arrived before Catholic University opened its doors in 1889 and were displayed in Caldwell Hall until 1905. Thereafter, items were housed in McMahon Hall, Mullen Library, or put into storage. Management of the Museum was placed under the University Archives in 1976 and was primarily kept in the Curley Hall Vault. Since then, some items are kept stored in Aquinas Hall while many others are loaned out to various campus offices to use for decoration. Today, it includes art works and artifacts representing different periods and genres which total over 5,000 pieces. They are broken down into three main categories:  Art and Artifacts, History, and Anthropology. The first includes paintings, statues, terra cotta works, ivories, and triptychs, Asian objets d’art, a coin collection from the Classical World, lithographs, engravings, modern works by Gene Davis and S. Saklarian, as well as varied decorative arts and furniture. The second consists of portraits and busts of important religious figures, artifacts related to the university, and Catholic devotional objects, while the third is made up of Ancient Near East archaeological artifacts, Native American implements and pottery, and ethnographic items from Samoa, the Philippines, and North America. For additional information or to inquire about a loan, please contact lib-archives@cua.edu.

Shane MacDonald, Special Collections Archivist, with an Early Modern Choir Book from the Rare Books Collection in Mullen Library.

The Rare Books Department was created by donations from Arthur T. Connolly, the Clementine Library, and the Maryland Collections that converged from the 1910s to the 1950s. The holdings contain approximately 70,000 volumes, which range from medieval documents to first editions of twentieth century authors. Its primary holdings contain printed books and pamphlets dating back to the fifteenth century, over 100 incunabula[2], and 1,400 books from the sixteenth century. There are also over 100 manuscripts, spanning from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries, and include papal bulls, books of hours, choir books and, in particular, the Quodlibeta of Godfrey of Fontaines. A significant section is the Clementine Library, acquired from the remains of the Albani family library, of which a member of whom was Pope Clement XI. Other collections include Connolly’s eighteenth and nineteenth century books and pamphlets, Richard Foley’s modern literature, the Order of Malta materials, Michael Jenkins’ Maryland Collection, pre Vatican II pamphlets, and American parish histories. For additional information, or to schedule a tour or class visit, please contact-lib-rarebooks@cua.edu.

W. J. Shepherd, University Archivist and Head of Special Collections, with the 1885 Deed for Catholic U. signed by Frederick Douglass, D.C. Recorder of Deeds.

The University Archives officially opened on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1949, with an impressive ceremony that included Wayne Grover, who was Archivist of the United States; Archbishop O’Boyle, chancellor of the university; Ernst Posner, archivist of American University and a seminal theorist of archives; and Philip Brooks, president of the Society of American Archivists. They spoke about the importance of archives in regard to the preservation of culture as well as the Catholic Church’s long tradition as a keeper of historical records. As the official memory of the University, the Archives acquires and administers non-current records, organized by office, department, or program, which document institutional activities. Materials often include minutes, reports, correspondence, photographs, or digital materials.  The donating office controls access but may not destroy any records in the Archives. Any questions can be directed to lib-archives@cua.edu.

Dr. Maria Mazzenga, Curator of the American Catholic History Collection, with a photograph from the T.V. Powderly Papers of women delegates, including L. Barry with her infant daughter, to the 1886 Knights of Labor meeting.

The Manuscript Collection, also known as The American Catholic History Research Collection, was founded in tandem with the University Archives in 1949. It has the separate function of collecting personal papers and institutional records beyond Catholic University which document the heritage and history of the American Catholic people. Areas of concentration are social welfare, philanthropy, labor relations, immigration, and international peace, in addition to Catholic intellectual, educational, cultural, and religious lives. These manuscript collections contain unpublished primary sources such as correspondence, meeting minutes, diaries, photographs, maps, oral histories, electronic records, and sound and video recordings. Consisting of over 400 collections, they range in size of less than one linear foot for the Josephine McGarry Callan Papers to major organizations such as the National Catholic Education Association equally nearly 700 linear feet. The index of collections lists them all alphabetically, with further links to more detailed descriptions including finding aids or inventories. To inquire about remote or in person access, please contact us lib-archives@cua.edu.

Our full-time professional staff, whether working remotely or on site, and assisted by several graduate student workers or volunteer interns, are here and happy to assist researchers and other interested parties as needed. We are happy to present on our materials to classes either virtually or in-house in the Rare Books space in Mullen Library or the other departmental materials in Aquinas Hall. These include myself as University Archivist and Head of Special Collections; Dr. Maria Mazzenga, Curator of the American Catholic History Collections; Shane MacDonald, Special Collections Archivist; and Brandi Marulli, Special Collections Technician. Please see our ‘Contact’ page, our ‘Come Visit Us’ page, and our ‘Reproduction’ policies.[3]

 

  

 

 

[1] Additionally, there are also two other independent and highly specialized Special Collections: The Oliveira Lima Library dedicated to the history and culture of Portugal and Brazil and the Semitics-Institute of Christian Oriental Research Library supporting the languages and thought of the Bible and Ancient Near East.

 

[2] An incunable, or sometimes incunabulum is a book, pamphlet, or broadside printed in Europe before 1501. Incunabula are not manuscripts, which are documents written by hand. As of 2014, there are about 30,000 distinct known incunable editions extant, 

[3] Thanks to TKS, MM, and SM.

The Archivist’s Nook: Catholic University’s C.C. Chang and Why We Encourage You to Know Him

Our guest blogger is Tian Atlas Xu, who is a student worker at the University Archives and a PhD candidate in US history at the Catholic University of America. His research examines the role of white intermediaries between non-white minorities and the administrative state in turn-of-the-century United States. He has received support from various research institutions, including the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 

 

A man and his tornado machine caught our attention; a trans-Pacific life story was discovered behind the scene.

Dr. Chang’s interview in The Catholic University’s Envoy magazine, published in February 1973, was one of several rare accounts of his immediate reflection after the 1972 visit. Courtesy of ACUA.

The story begins in an ordinary afternoon last winter, when my supervisor brought a dated Catholic University magazine, the Envoy, to a dimly lit back office at Aquinas Hall. As the only Asian person working in the University Archives, I was simply intrigued to see an Asian face in that magazine. The article that caught our attention was entitled “Scientist Views Change in China,” and the scientist in question was Dr. Chieh-Chien Chang, a prestigious Chinese American scholar at Catholic University in the 1960s and 70s. The publication date was February 1973, one year after President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to mainland China. It was also several months after the scientist’s first trip to his country of birth in more than two decades. 

At that time, archives staff had been aware of Dr. Chang’s scientific achievements. After all, his photo with the tornado machine, a simulator of natural tornadoes to study “peculiar elements responsible for near-the-ground destruction,” has appeared in the University’s course catalogs and documentary histories since the late 1960s. We also knew he had co-founded the Space Science and Applied Physics Department at Catholic in 1963, and that he had laid the foundation of the University’s long-term partnership with NASA. According to the administrative accounts, students enjoyed his classes; and from his pictures with the tornado machine, he was clearly enjoying the passionate love affair between a lab and its creator. The 1973 article was not meant to add anything new.

But it did, in totally unexpected ways. We soon realized that Dr. Chang’s visit to China in 1972 was part of a larger-than-life moment in US-China relations: after more than two decades of intellectual blockade, it was the first time that a large number of American scientists and their colleagues in mainland China engaged in direct conversation with each other. More importantly, we discovered that Dr. Chang had witnessed many moments like this in his life. He was a village kid who carved his way into a warlord-sponsored Chinese university in Manchuria; at the age of twenty-three, he saw the mighty Japanese Imperial Army occupied his fertile but helpless motherland; he fled to Beijing with his schoolmates and, as a young lecturer in aeronautics at Tsinghua University, developed one of the first monoplanes in China with his Chinese colleagues; and in the 1940s, he became a student of Theodore von Karman, a key figure in the development of aeronautical sciences, not only in the United States, but also in the China as we know it today. The list goes on and on.

Dr. Chieh-Chien Chang and the Tornado Machine. Courtesy of ACUA.

We set out to piece together his life story through documents in English and Chinese. It was the early months of the pandemic, and Covid-19 was called by all kinds of names hostile to Chinese and Chinese Americanness. The pandemic caught the trans-Pacific academic community in the middle, and a new campaign for the decoupling between Chinese and American scientists appeared on the horizon. But at the same time, the turbulent experience of Dr. Chang and his generation of Chinese American scientists beckon to us all the more.

Dr. Chieh-Chien Chang and the Tornado Machine. Courtesy of ACUA.

His generation tells a story of difficult choices during the Cold War, of the damage done, not only by the revolutionary culture in China, but also by McCarthyism and xenophobia in the United States. It turns out that the tornado machine was a small piece of Cold War history, not about confrontation and fear, but about a Chinese American’s personal identity struggle and heartfelt yearning for peace: in the 1960s, Dr. Chang chose to move on from his earlier research of missiles, planes and military satellites; his attention turned towards the lives impoverished by natural disasters on the planet earth, such as tornadoes. His right to choose was profoundly American, yet his freewill bent towards love for both China and the United States. 

Dr. Chang (second row, first from the left) and his peer Chinese scientists during their studies at Cal Tech, early 1940s. Courtesy of the Online Museum of Chinese Academicians.

What was initially designed as a blogpost quickly develops into an online exhibit. Our technician braved the archives to dig up nuggets of Dr. Chang’s experience at Catholic in the 1960s and 70s. The scattered memories of him in American and Chinese sources were sifted and carefully knitted to recapture a trans-Pacific life that had touched on many. Emails were exchanged between us and Dr. Chang’s alma mater, the Northeastern University of China, which, after his unwavering mediation since retirement, had restored its long-lost name in 1993. We learned about his exile with other Chinese scholars during the Second World War and the group’s forced migration from the Bohai Bay to the mountainside of Tibet; we saw his sunny smile in the early 1940s, when he stood with a group of young Chinese scientists celebrating a wartime US-China alliance at Pasadena, California. We even discovered the picture of a symposium banquet in plasma physics in 1963, right here in Washington, where Dr. Chang, a typical husband of the Second World War generation, seemed to be the only scholar to bring his wife to the occasion. 

Plasma Space Sciences Symposium Banquet on June 13, 1963. This symposium marked the beginning of Dr. Chang’s career at Catholic University. Courtesy of ACUA.

We are now sharing these details with you. The online exhibit takes you to forgotten times and unfamiliar territories, where an aspirant young engineer built his career at a time of war and national humiliation. It also provides fresh insights into the history taking place here in America, a land of opportunities that offered this Chinese American the environment to thrive while driving many others away. It confirms that, at the Catholic University of America, Dr. Chang’s transnational career came to its most prominent fruition. Correspondence from Washington, Beijing, and Taipei competed in his Pangborn Hall office, and his busy itinerary connected friends and colleagues of two continents. The exhibit does not give easy answers to scholars’ choices amidst political storms and international strife. But one thing is certain: to attract more transnational talents like Dr. C.C. Chang, America must stick to the generous principles that have inspired them to come and persuaded them to stay. 

Find our new exhibit on Dr. Chang here.

 

 

The Archivist’s Nook: Saving Black Catholic History – The Cyprian Davis, O.S.B. Papers

Guest blogger, Dr. Cecilia Moore, is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton and faculty member of the Degree Program for the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana. Dr. Moore with Dr. C. Vanessa White of the Catholic Theological Union and Fr. Paul Marshall, S.M., Rector of the University Dayton, co-edited Songs of Our Hearts and Meditations of Our Souls: Prayers for Black Catholics, St. Anthony Messenger Press (2006).

Dr. Cecilia Moore with Father Cyprian Davis, taken by Kathleen Dorsey Bellow at St. Meinrad in December 2014.

In August 2015, Dr. Kathleen Dorsey Bellow, Father Kenneth Taylor, and I spent four days in the basement of the Saint Meinrad Seminary Library.  We were there to sort, curate, and pack more than 40 years of archives documenting the lives of black Catholics in the United States that Father Cyprian Davis, O.S.B. saved.  When we made the plans to do this work, we expected that Father Cyprian would be working alongside us, but he had died that May. Graciously and generously, Archabbot Justin Duvall, O.S.B.  allowed us to go forward with the plan and agreed to cover the shipping costs.    By the time we finished, Father Taylor had a van full of boxes containing the archives of the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus (NBCCC) to be donated to the Archives of the University of Notre Dame. There were also boxes of documents destined for the Archives of Xavier University of Louisiana for the Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS) Collection and for the Black Catholic Theological Symposium (BCTS) Collection, a small collection of documents for the Archives of the University of St. Thomas for the National Office of Black Catholics Collection, and a very large of pile of boxes containing documents, ephemera, papers, books, and material culture, that are now the Cyprian Davis, O.S.B. Papers of  the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives, part of Special Collections at the Catholic University of America.

How and why we came to do this work started a year earlier when Dr. Bellow and I visited Father Cyprian at Saint Meinrad in July 2014.  We both had studied with him at the IBCS and later became his colleagues as we joined the IBCS faculty and then served as IBCS administrators.  Over our years working together at the IBCS, we became friends with Fr. Cyprian, but it had been while since we had enjoyed his fine company in person.

Taken by Kathleen Dorsey Bellow at St. Meinrad in December 2014.

During our visit, Fr. Cyprian hosted us for refreshments and conversation in his spacious and comfortable office. It was filled with books, journals, works-in-progress, photographs of family and friends, and art.  It was the place where he wrote class lectures, homilies, articles, talks, and of course, The History of Black Catholics in the United States.  It was also where he engaged in his love of reading and conversation.  We had the best time with him.  Among the many things we discussed were his work revising The History of Black Catholics in the United States, politics, movies, books, and the need to find permanent homes for the NBCCC and BCTS archives which he had served as archivist for since 1968 and 1978 respectively.  These archives were held in a storage room in the basement of the Saint Meinrad Seminary Library.  When we volunteered to help him complete this mission, Father Cyprian gladly accepted our offer.

We returned to St. Meinrad in December 2014 to assess the work we needed to do. At that time, Father Cyprian took us to the storage room and we got our first look at the historical treasures he had saved over the past 46 years.  And, he had saved quite a lot.  A wall of deep shelves was loaded with large and small boxes of formal documents, letters, magazines, newsletters, bulletins, memos, conference programs, newspaper articles, books, tapes, films, photographs, event programs, manuscripts, notes, cards, etc.  It was amazing.  We spent hours taking boxes down and looking at their contents with Father Cyprian.  What a trip down “memory lane.” We knew many of the people attached to or responsible for the history that we held in our hands.  Many of the women and men at the heart of the contents of these archives had died, so we spent time remembering them, what made them fit for the battles they fought on behalf of black Catholics, and the personal qualities that made them so memorable and missed.  Others were still living, and we had a good time looking at their younger selves and discussing how their ministries in the black Catholic community had changed over the years in emphasis, intensity, and status. As we did this preliminary assessment, it became clear that there was a lot in the Saint Meinrad Library storage room that did not properly belong to the NBCCC, the BCTS, or the IBCS.

Cyprian Davis at his work. Courtesy of St. Meinrad Abbey.

There was a fourth archives that was hard to define because it was so eclectic.  It contained things that Father Cyprian had either written or helped to write and edit.  It documented the people and the places that over the past 50 years that had called on Father Cyprian to “tell” them their history.  Letters and cards revealed the vast network of people, from many different backgrounds, who reached out to him – to send him things that they thought were important to black Catholic history that he could use to write more of the history, to seek his advice about their work on black Catholic history, to tell him how much his work meant to them, their students, and their parishes, or to challenge him on points of the history he had written.  There were also dissertations, theses, conference papers, and articles written by people who were directly inspired to pursue research in black Catholic history by Father Cyprian.  By the end of the day, it was clear that Father Cyprian had an archives that needed a permanent home too.

When we suggested this to him, he demurred at first, but after thinking about it for a while he agreed with us and told us that he wanted his papers to be donated to the Catholic University of America.  He was happy that this trove of primary and secondary sources would assist future generations of historians committed to black Catholic history to continue researching, writing, and teaching an-ever more contextualized and rich history of Catholics of African descent in the United States.

OLL Blog – Tracing John Locke’s path to the Oliveira Lima Library

Tracing John Locke’s path to the Oliveira Lima Library

Henry Widener

Despite our living in the Digital Age,  Tumblr Share Your Shelf and articles such as the Washington Post’s These Books Spark Joy assert that a person’s bookshelf still has a lot to say about them. Peter Knox perhaps said it best: ‘Only a bookshelf can truly hold a reader’s history and future at the same time…Bookshelves are universal in that almost everyone has one, and unique in that no two collections are the same. They reflect much more than just the book-buying habits of their owner…” and can reveal our accomplishments, aspirations, associations, personal development, guilty pleasures, escapes, memories, interests and so much more.

The recognition of the deep connection between a person and their book collection is as old as the printed book itself. Just how intimately a book collector identifies with his collection can be observed most strikingly when that collector begins to sense the end of their bodily life approaching. Some collectors, such as Manoel de Oliveira Lima, desire to keep their collections entirely intact in perpetuity, somewhat of an attempt to communicate with posterity through a dialogue unadulterated by the passing of time. Other book collectors, whether by the constraints of economy, space or unsympathetic heirs, are forced to part with part or all of their books. Whatever their fate, book collections are inevitably linked to the memory of their former owners.

It is in this light that the personal library of John Locke has drawn attention from scholars. The most comprehensive study of the contents of Locke’s library is John Harrison and Peter Laslett’s The Library of John Locke (1971). This foundational text has served as a point of departure for an exploration into the intellectual influence of Locke’s library on his thinking, such as Richard Ashcraft’s John Locke’s Library: Portrait of an Intellectual (1969) and Ann Talbot’s The Great Ocean of Knowledge: the Influence of Travel Literature on the Work of John Locke (2010). Given Locke’s immense contribution to Modern Western thought, one might venture to say that the keener our knowledge of Locke’s personal library, the more we may understand about some of the thought processes that have influenced the world we live in today. 

However, Locke’s library as he knew it did not remain intact after his passing. In his will, John Locke divided his collection into two parts, the first going to his cousin Peter King, the other going to Francis Cudworth Masham, son of Sir Francis and Damaris Masham, on whose Otes estate Locke spent the last 13 years of his life after returning to England from his voluntary exile in the Netherlands. These two parts of Locke’s library, known respectively as the King and Masham moieties, would experience very different fates. The King moiety would eventually find its way to the Bodleian Library at Oxford, where Locke himself had studied and taught. The Masham moiety, following the course of the disintegrating funds of the Masham family’s decadent successors, would be gradually dispersed throughout the world via auctions and other sales, leading Harrison and Laslett to conclude, in an almost wistful admission of defeat, that “We shall never set our eyes on more than a score or two of the Masham moiety” (Harrison and Laslett, p. 61)

Figure 1 – François Pyrard’s ‘Voyage…’ (1679)

Various institutions have been doing their part to assuage the gloom of these Locke scholars. Just last year the New York Academy of Medicine revealed that its copy of De Miraculis Occultis Naturae (1581) was part of the Masham Moiety. Today, it is the Oliveira Lima Library’s honor to contribute to these efforts to bring the Masham moiety further into light. Though unbridled my giddiness might lead me to prattle on forever, I would like to briefly relate how OLL came to discover that it possesses one of John Locke’s books.

Several months ago – eons in pandemic terms – we here at OLL decided to comb through Ruth Holmes Bibliographical and historical description of the rarest books in the Oliveira Lima collection at the Catholic University of America (1926). If nothing else, we hoped to familiarize ourselves with the only description of the Oliveira Lima Library’s holdings published under the guidance of Manoel de Oliveira Lima himself, a greatly useful resource for the various projects on provenance currently underway here at OLL, such as research into our Camiliana

Figure 2 – The bookplate of Richard Palmer, Esq.

Entry n.102 in Holmes for Voyage de François Pyrard, de Laval, contenant sa navigation aux Indes orientales, Maldives, Moluques, & au Bresil (1679), (Fig. 1) states that “the fine copy in the Lima Library belonged to John Locke, and bears his autograph.” I immediately rushed to our Gale database to inspect every single page of the Oliveira Lima Library’s copy. While I did see the bookplate of a Richard Palmer Esq. (Fig. 2) I was unable to find any other provenance markings, much less an autograph, that could establish previous ownership by one of Modernity’s preeminent thinkers. 

The Oliveira Lima Library’s previous cataloger seems to have reached the same results, for at the time, the book’s bibliographic record contained a note that the Oliveira Lima Library’s copy ‘supposedly’ contained John Locke’s signature. As other projects came about, I decided to file this tantalizing little conundrum away in hopes of someday getting back to it.

Months later, I opened David Pearson’s Provenance research in book history : a handbook (2019), which has become required reading at OLL for its straightforward yet in depth approach to provenance studies. In his chapter on inscriptions and manuscript additions, Pearson notes ‘a multiplicity of different marks and signs that can be used to detect the ownership of the philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) is described in the published reconstruction of his library’ (p. 37) accompanied by a footnote directing readers to Harrison and Laslett.

Figure 3 – Entry n. 2411 in Harrison and Laslett.

 

My interest was piqued again. A bit of Google sleuthing put me in contact with Sarah Wheale, Head of Rare Books at the Bodleian Library, who not only confirmed to me that François Pyrard’s Voyage (1679) did appear in Harrison and Laslett’s inventory, entry n. 2411 (Fig 3), but  also attached Harrison and Laslett’s addendum on identifying Locke’s markings.

Figure 4 – Underlining on the last two digits of the publication year.

As I checked Harrison and Laslett’s addendum against the Oliveira Lima Library’s copy, my heart started beating quicker. Just as Harrison and Laslett state, on the title page the last two digits of the year of publication were underlined (Fig 4). Likewise, the page number on the last page of each of the book’s three parts was overlined. (Fig 5; Fig 6; Fig 7) After relating my findings to her through email, Sarah Wheale suggest I speak to Dr. Felix Waldmann, who confirmed that OLL’s Pyrard did previously belong to John Locke. At this point I was (figuratively) doing backflips!

Apart from all of the markings I had matched to Harrison and Laslett’s addendum, Dr. Waldmann pointed out that the bookplate of Richard Palmer, Esq. was further evidence of its having been part of the Masham moiety, for Palmer had been a creditor to the late Lord Masham and had thus taken possession of Masham’s library upon his death. Dr. Waldmann also provided me with a wealth of resources on Locke’s personal library, many of which I have cited here.

Figure 5 – Overlining on the final page of part 1

As a young professional, this incredibly gratifying process has given me firsthand experience of how exciting the field of bibliography and provenance studies can be, though they require a vast network of resources and often a meticulous attention to detail. It has also taught me some important lessons.

First of all, one should never hesitate to talk to colleagues in the field. It took me a good bit of time to build up the courage to send emails to the Bodleian Library, mostly out of fear that I might be bothering them with the pedestrian concerns of such a plebeian librarian as myself. However, I got over that fear by reasoning that there was potential mutual benefit to each of our institutions in locating another piece of John Locke’s library. To my delight, both Sarah Wheale from the Bodleian Library and Dr. Waldmann were incredibly helpful, vastly knowledgeable and just a joy to correspond with. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly express my gratitude to them both.

Figure 6 – Overlining on the final page of parrt 2

Secondly, I learned that one should think long and hard before rebinding their books. As I learned in conversation with Dr. Waldmann, OLL’s Pyrard may have been deprived of at least two other markings of Locke’s simply because it was rebound. For starters, John Locke’s unique shelf listing system – almost a dead giveaway for Locke provenance – is visible on the spines of all books from his library which have retained their original binding. Apart from the exterior of the book, rebinding can also alter the book itself. Oftentimes, and as is the case with OLL’s Pyrard, a book’s cover will be discarded and replaced with new endpapers once it has been rebound. This might explain the absence of Locke’s signature on OLL’s copy because, as Harrison and Laslett note, on the occasions that Locke did sign his books, his signature was always located on the back of the front cover. 

Figure 7 – Overlining on the final page of part 3

Lastly, and this has become somewhat of a mantra among myself and OLL Director Dr. Nathalia Henrich, just because the Oliveira Lima Library’s holdings are strongest on the subject of Luso-Brazilian history does not mean that they are only of use to students of Portugal and Brazil. The Americas, both broadly as an immense swath of land rich in natural and cultural resources and more specifically as colonies, were inextricably linked to their European metropoles and inflamed the imaginations of the most diverse array of people throughout Europe, moving the march of history on either side of the Atlantic. Furthermore, the product of a life’s worth of collecting by a dedicated bibliophile, the Oliveira Lima Library has much to offer the fields of provenance research and bibliography, areas of research which in turn give proof that every collection is unique and deserving of study. The digitization of one copy of a book may provide access to the general contents of an edition, but it is no substitute for the study of the book as artifact. I can think of no better testament to this than the Oliveira Library’s copy of François Pyrard’s Voyage, a 17th-century description of travels through the New World written by a Frenchman and formerly owned by one of the greatest thinkers of the Enlightenment in England.

 

The Archivist’s Nook: Anti-Catholic History Resources in Special Collections

Letter from a Romish priest in Canada to one who was taken captive in her infancy, and instructed in the Romish faith, by Francois Seguenot, Boston, 1729, Rare Books, Special Collections, The Catholic University of America.

Catholic University’s Special Collections Department has a vast quantity of documents which encompass the sentiment of Anti-Catholicism in America that spans from colonial times to the dawn of the twenty-first century. Our rare books collection includes eighteenth century works such as Letter from a Romish Priest in Canada to one who was taken captive in her infancy, and was instructed in the Romish faith by Francois Seguenot (1729) and A specimen of a book, intituled, Ane compendious booke, of godly and spiritual sangs,collectit out of the Scripture,with sundrie of other ballates changed out of prophaine sangs, for avoyding of sinne and harlotrie by Robert Wedderburn (1765). Nineteenth century examples include Popery: the foe of the church and of the Republic and Popery Unmasked, while the twentieth century contributes entries such as Priest Baiting and Jesuits: Religious Rogues. Additionally, we have archival documentation on the 1834 burning of the Ursuline Convent in Massachusetts, as well as Anti-Catholic Literature that was collected during the 1928 presidential campaign. The Catholic response to counter this bias included a newspaper column titled Catholic Heroes of the World War, 1928-1933, and the National Council of Catholic Men’s Catholic Hour radio and television programs.

Anti-Catholicism in America grew from the attitudes of Protestant immigrants who were fleeing religious persecution by the Church of England whose doctrines aligned with the Roman Catholic Church. Anti-Catholic rhetoric such as the Biblical Anti-Christ and Whore of Babylon was derived from the theological heritage of the Reformation which criticized the perceived excesses of Catholic clerical hierarchy in general and the Papacy in particular. Theological differences were compounded by secular xenophobia and feelings of nativism towards these increasing numbers of Catholic immigrants, particularly those coming from Ireland and later, eastern and southern Europe and Latin America. Catholic support for the American Revolution helped alleviate notions of the inherently treasonable nature of Catholicism. George Washington staunchly promoted religious tolerance as a means of public order. He suppressed anti-Catholic celebrations in the Army while our reliance on Catholic France and Spain for military aid helped reduce anti-Catholic rhetoric. By the 1780s, Catholics were extended legal tolerance in many states and the anti-Catholic tradition of Pope Night was discontinued.[1]

An account of the Conflagration of the Ursuline Convent. Boston 1834. Ursurline Convent Collection, Special Collections, The Catholic University of America

Anti-Catholicism peaked in the mid nineteenth century as Protestant leaders accused the Church of being an enemy to republican values. The Catholic Church’s silence on the subject of slavery also raised the ire of northern abolitionists. In 1836, Maria Monk was published to great commercial success. It was the most prominent of many scurrilous pamphlets that were published even though it was later revealed to be a fabrication. Numerous supposedly former priests and nuns went on an anti-Catholic lecture circuit telling lurid tales that usually involved sexual depravity and dead babies. Intolerance again exploded in 1834 when a mob burned the Ursuline convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts. The resulting nativist movement morphed politically into the Know Nothing Party, which unsuccessfully backed former president Millard Fillmore as its presidential candidate in 1856. But during the Civil War, widespread enlistment of Irish and German immigrants into the Union Army, as well as the dedicated service of priests acting as chaplains and nuns serving as nurses, helped demonstrate Catholic Patriotism.

After the Civil War ended, tensions were again raised by a proposed amendment to the Constitution which stipulated that no public money could be used to support any sort of religious school. Although President Ulysses S. Grant supported this amendment, it was defeated in 1875. However, it was used as the basis for dozens of successful state amendments that prohibited using public funds for parochial schools. The early 20th century brought about a new appreciation of Catholicism, especially in western states where Protestantism had not yet become deeply ensconced. Examples of this show how California celebrated the history of Spanish Franciscan missions, which later became popular tourist attractions and in the Philippines, which was newly occupied by the United States, Catholic missionary efforts were praised. Catholic mobilization efforts during World War I by the National Catholic War Council and the Knights of Columbus were also appreciated by many non-Catholic Americans.

Anti-Catholic political cartoon of the 1928 U.S. Presidential Election. Anti-Catholic Literature Collection, Special Collections, The Catholic University of America.

Nevertheless, anti-Catholicism continue to rage in the interwar years as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) continued to argue that Catholicism was incompatible with democracy and that parochial schools prevented Catholics from becoming loyal Americans. In 1922, Oregon voters passed the Oregon School Law, which mandated attendance at public schools. The law outraged Catholics and in 1925 the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. In 1928, Democrat Al Smith of New York became the first Roman Catholic to gain a major party’s nomination for president. Many Protestant ministers warned that the nation was at risk because Smith would take secret orders from the Pope. Another strike against Smith was his opposition to Prohibition, which had widespread support in rural Protestant areas. Despite his loss, Democratic voting surged in large cities as ethnic Catholics, including recently enfranchised women, went to the polls to defend their religious culture. Catholics made up a major portion of the New Deal Coalition that Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted four years later and which continued to dominate national elections for decades.

The Second World War and the Holocaust brought religious tolerance to the fore. Despite Eleanor Roosevelt’s feud with the Archbishop of New York, Francis J. Spellman, over federal aid to Catholic schools, the 1950s promoted a unified front against communism. National leaders appealed to the common values of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews alike. The so-called ‘Catholic Question’ continued to be a key factor that affected voting in the 1960 Presidential Campaign. To allay Protestant fears, Catholic John F. Kennedy, who narrowly won the office, kept his distance from Church officials and publicly stated “I do not speak for my Church on public matters—and the Church does not speak for me.”[2] After 1980, historic tensions between evangelical Protestants and Catholics dissipated as the two groups often saw themselves allied in regard to contentious social issues like abortion and gay marriage. By 2000, Catholics made up about one half of the Republican Coalition with the rest being comprised of a large majority of white evangelicals.

John F. Kennedy receiving Catholic U’s Gibbons Medal, 1956. Although pictured prominently with Church members here, Kennedy would distance himself from his faith when running for President four years later. Special Collections, Catholic University.

Please see the new Catholic University of America Library Research Guide on Anti-Catholic Resources which are held in our Special Collections and was created by William J. Shepherd and Amanda Bernard.

[1] Pope Night was an anti-Catholic holiday celebrated annually on November 5 in colonial America. It had evolved from Guy Fawkes Night in Great Britain that commemorated the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 by prominent Catholics to blow up the British Parliament. The rowdy celebration included drunken street brawls and the burning of the Pope in effigy.

[2] NPR Web site at https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16920600

[3] As always, special thanks to TSK.

The Archivist’s Nook: Never Say NEVER

Redskins quarterback “Slingin’” Sammy Baugh in 1937, the year that the NFL team moved from Boston to Washington, D.C. Baugh’s passing game is credited with revolutionizing the sport.

On July 13, 2020, the Washington Redskins announced that they would finally be retiring the team name—a move that the team’s owner, Dan Snyder, had repeatedly resisted, perhaps most vehemently in 2013. His exact words: “We’ll never change the name. […] It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

Controversy over the team’s name and logo stems not only from the term “redskin” but from the use of American Indian iconography in mascots, in general. My own high school in Montgomery County, Maryland—Poolesville High School—used the Indians as its mascot from 1911 all the way up until 2002, when the community’s vote to keep the problematic mascot had to be overruled by the county’s Board of Education; at that time Poolesville reluctantly adopted the Falcons as its new mascot. The term “redskin,” meanwhile, has been likened to the N-word: a term denoting skin color which through years of derogatory use has become offensive. Wikipedia has an entire page devoted to the Washington Redskins name controversy; it traces the dispute back to the 1960s, when it was presumably raised in connection with the Civil Rights Movement.

Since the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, however, calls for racial justice have been falling less on deaf ears. Dr. Maria Mazzenga, Curator of the American Catholic History Research Center, sees the reconsideration of the team name as part of a broader “historical consciousness shift generated in part by Floyd’s murder and the demonstrations that followed”; the reconsideration came about in earnest after the @Redskins participated in #BlackOutTuesday on June 2, at which time others were quick to call out the team’s hypocrisy. A team with a racial slur for a name had no leg to stand on when it came to standing against racism, critics argued.

Located in the nation’s capital, The Catholic University of America (CatholicU) has a short but momentous history with the Washington, D.C., NFL (National Football League) team. Established in Boston as the Braves in 1932, the football team was renamed the Redskins in 1933; the new name was devised to help avoid confusion with a local pro baseball team (which was also called the Braves) without giving up the reference to indigenous Americans. In February of 1937, the Redskins relocated to Washington, D.C., where the CatholicU Redbirds were enjoying a heyday.

Octagonal orange invitation to the Orange Bowl Victory Dinner, February 3, 1936. The CatholicU Flying Cardinals narrowly defeated Ole Miss in Miami the month before—hence the play on words.

In his centennial history of Catholic University, C. Joseph Nuesse refers to the arrival of athletic director Arthur J. “Dutch” Bergman in 1930 as the beginning of “a new era” (Neusse 274). Under Rector James H. Ryan and Dutch Bergman, ““Big time” intercollegiate football became a prime objective of the university’s athletic program” (Neusse 274). According to CatholicU alumnus and local historian Robert P. Malesky, “Bergman was paid a higher salary than any faculty member, causing considerable consternation, though his winning record over his decade at the school caused an equal amount of joy” (Malesky 91).

On New Year’s Day, 1936, the CatholicU Cardinals narrowly defeated Ole Miss in the second-ever Orange Bowl (the first was held on January 1, 1935). The score was 20–19. Malesky describes the game as a nail-biter: “CUA jumped out to a 20–6 lead, but then Ole Miss came back strong, scoring 13 points late in the game. A missed point after a touchdown for Mississippi was the critical difference” (Malesky 92). At the helm was Bergman. The 1936 yearbook also lists the Assistant Backfield Coach as recent alumnus Thomas Whelan—a star athlete who entered Catholic University in 1929 on a football scholarship and who upon graduation (in 1932) played professionally for the Pittsburgh Pirates, soon-to-be Steelers. Incidentally, Whelan and Bergman also teamed up off the field; between 1936 and 1938, the two ran a tavern together in the Brookland neighborhood adjacent to the CatholicU campus.

“Former Stars Coach Catholic Eleven,” reads the Associated Press caption. Pictured left to right: Dutch Bergman, Sammy Baugh, Wayne Millner, and Forrest Cotton. Associated Press Photo, 1939.

A 1939 photograph shows the thickset Bergman standing alongside his assistant coaches in the CatholicU stadium, which had been dedicated in 1924 under Rector Thomas J. Shahan and which was situated more or less in the area now occupied by the Pryzbyla Center and the Columbus Law School. The two coaches standing in the center of the photograph were contemporary “stars with the Washington Redskins football team”: quarterback “Slingin’” Sammy Baugh—a “future hall of famer”—and Wayne Millner, an offensive and defensive end who had played for Notre Dame before going pro (Malesky 91). According to Malesky, “Baugh was not a full-time coach but did come out a few afternoons during the season to instruct CUA’s quarterbacks” (Malesky 91). The fourth man in the photograph is Forrest Cotton, another Notre Dame alumnus. Of course Bergman was himself a noted alumnus of the Fighting Irish. Standing about five feet eight inches tall and weighing 145 pounds, he earned the nicknames Little Dutch and The Flying Dutchman for his quickness. His roommate was the legendary George Gipp, a fact which he joked would overshadow any of his own accomplishments.

In CatholicU history, Bergman goes down as the “all-time winningest varsity football coach” and to this day holds “the highest winning percentage (.649) in school history” (McManes). According to the same article from CatholicAthletics.com, “CUA dropped football in 1941 because of the outbreak of World War II and didn’t field another team until 1947.” In that interim, Bergman went on to coach the Redskins in the 1943 season (at which time Sammy Baugh was still quarterback). In 1948, Bergman became the manager of the D.C. Armory—the corporation that lobbied for the construction of RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. At the time of his death in 1972, Bergman was still managing the D.C. Armory and RFK Stadium. As Washington Post sports writer Bob Addie mused, “The handsome silver-haired man who died Friday night (August 18, 1972) got his wish—he never retired.”

Dutch Bergman, pictured third from left. The handwritten note on the back of the photo states: “Sports writers & Eddie La Fond. Orange Bowl – Jan. 1, 1936.” La Fond, pictured in the center wearing a light-colored hat, succeeded Bergman as CatholicU athletic director under the administration of Joseph M. Corrigan (1936–1942).

 

Works Cited

Brady, Erik. “Daniel Snyder says Redskins will never change name.” USA TODAY Sports. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/redskins/2013/05/09/washington-redskins-daniel-snyder/2148127/. May 9, 2013. Accessed July 20, 2020.

Malesky, Robert P. The Catholic University of America. Charleston, SC, Arcadia Publishing, 2010.

McManes, Chris. “Former coach Dutch Bergman distinguished himself in all walks of life.” Catholic University Cardinals. https://www.catholicathletics.com/sports/fball/2012-13/releases/dutch_berman_feature_story. December 14, 2012. Accessed July 20, 2020.

Neusse, C. Joseph. The Catholic University of America: A Centennial History. Washington, D.C., The Catholic University of America Press, 1990.

OLL Blog – Un acercamiento a la historia africana a través del Vocabulario de Bluteau – Andrea Guerrero-Mosquera

Un acercamiento a la historia africana a través del Vocabulario de Bluteau

Andrea Guerrero-Mosquera

Profesora en la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco

E-mail: guerrero.andrea10@gmail.com

Twitter: @Andreag1086

La Biblioteca Oliveira Lima posee una importante colección de libros raros, en los que se puede encontrar rastros de la histórica relación entre Brasil y África, y, no es para menos, la historia africana y brasileña comparten una historia común marcada por la trata de africanos.

Pero ¿qué podemos encontrar en la Biblioteca Oliveira Lima al respecto? Entre otras cosas, la Relaçam annual del jesuita Fernão Guerreiro (1605), De gedenkwaardige voyagie de Andrew Battell (1706), entre otros textos que nos permiten introducirnos e iniciarnos en la historia de África como lo es el texto de Olfert Dapper (1673). En esta ocasión, nuestro interés se centrará en este último texto en mancuerna con el diccionario de Bluteau.

Semanas atrás, la Dra. Nathalia Henrich nos mencionó: “No collection of literature of the Lusophone world worthy of its name is complete without the presence of Camilo Castelo Branco”; a lo que quisiéramos agregar, ninguna col

Bluteau, Rafael. Vocabulario portuguez…1716. Oliveira Lima Library, The Catholic University of America.

ección lusófona está completa sin el Vocabulário portuguez e latino de Bluteau (1716). Este reconocido erudito de la lengua portuguesa escribió ocho tomos de un diccionario lexicográfico que nos permite entender algunos aspectos relevantes del uso del portugués del siglo XVIII e incluso, de años anteriores.

La relación entre estos dos textos radica en que Bluteau cita, en varias ocasiones, el texto de Dapper (la versión francesa de 1686), en las que menciona algunas palabras que hacen referencia directa a África. Por ello, en esta ocasión, sólo mencionaremos dos vocablos: pombeiros y mandingas.

En la primera, hace referencia específicamente al comercio esclavista al mencionar que los portugueses en Angola les enseñaron a leer, escribir y contar a los pombeiros para que pudieran negociar en los pumbos(1720, 588) que estaban en sertão. Más adelante, hace referencia a Dapper (1686, 359) para anotar que los pombeiros solían estar fuera de “casa de seus senhores” años enteros dado que se encontraban “ocupados em comprar escravos, marfim, cobre, & outras mercancías” (Ibíd.). Esta definición en particular, no sólo nos ofrece el contexto geográfico: Angola; si no que, además testifica la trata negrera era realizada por mediadores que previamente habían sido “entrenados” para esa labor.

Este aspecto es muy importante a la hora de conocer parte de la historia de la trata negrera por tres razones: primero porque nos muestra que el comercio iba de la mano de otras actividades comerciales; segundo, porque nos ilustra el periodo que podría tardarse todo el proceso, lo que nos ubica, de una u otra manera en otra dimensión del proceso comercial que va más allá de lo popularmente se nos enseña en los libros de textos; y, tercero, nos reseña cómo se desarrolló la trata negrera en África central, actividad en la que estaban involucrados los europeos y sus mediadores, en este caso los pombeiros.

El segundo vocablo se aleja un poco del contexto esclavista y nos sumerge en la herencia africana en América. Cuando Bluteau intenta definir qué es Mandinga no se limita con ilustrar acerca del origen de este grupo de personas, sino que va más allá, y, retomando el texto de Dapper (1686, 245), los describe como grandes hechiceros (feiticheros) que, según Fromont (2020, 7), es una acepción derivada de un lusitanismo que los marineros portugueses acuñaron de la palabra “fetiche”, que a su vez fue un vocablo usado en Guiné para nombrar a los “ídolos”.

Posteriormente, hace referencia a las bolsas mandingas, elementos a los que otorga poderes de protección que “fazem impenetraveis às estocadas, como se tem experimentado nesta Corte, & neste Reyno de Portugal em varias ocasiones” (1716, 286).

Vendedoras con amuletos colgados al cuello y la cintura

Pero, ¿qué son las bolsas mandingas? Se dice que eran amuletos usados en el contexto atlántico portugués, e incluso se dice que llegaron al Caribe hispano y a la India. Estos elementos consistían en pequeños paquetes de tela cosida; podían contener semillas, cabellos y papeles con oraciones. Dichos amuletos eran usados como protección, y, en el caso de las personas esclavizadas, se sabe que las bolsas eran usadas como ayuda para evadir los abusos de los esclavistas y, también se usaron en cuestiones del “bien querer, es decir, en situaciones de tipo amoroso. También servían, como ya lo ha citado Bluteau, para evitar que las armas penetraran en el cuerpo ya fueran puñaladas o heridas de bala, y, asimismo, se usaban para evitar picaduras de serpientes.

Carlos Julião, Negras vendedoras de rua, (s.f.) Biblioteca Nacional de Brasil.

En líneas generales, las bolsas mandingas sirvieron a la población como forma de protegerse ante diversos eventos. Estos elementos hacen parte de la cultura material de la herencia africana, y su presencia es indiscutible en el mundo atlántico portugués, e incluso, más allá. De ahí la importancia de conocer su origen y su utilidad dentro de la población de origen africano.

Por todo lo anterior, en esta pequeña entrada quisimos explorar algunos aspectos de la historia de África que se pueden consultar en la Biblioteca Oliveira Lima, que, como se pudo ver en el texto, indagar sobre las culturas africanas en las colecciones de la biblioteca es factible. Lo anterior, teniendo en cuenta que el acervo documental es extraordinario, y, por medio de este, podemos acceder a algunos textos que nos pueden ayudar a entender el entramado comercial de la trata negrera y, al mismo tiempo, son textos que nos permiten comprender de dónde provenían algunas de las manifestaciones culturales africanas, cómo eran representadas en la literatura y cómo estas están enmarcadas dentro de un contexto narrativo particular: el de los viajeros.

Bibliografía citada

AHU, Fundo do Conselho ultramarino, Série Angola, Cx. 8, D. 959. Consulta do Conselho Ultramarino ao rei D. Afonso VI sobre o requerimento dos oficiais da câmara e moradores de Angola.

Battell, Andrew. De gedenkwaardige voyagie van Andries Battell van Leigh in Essex, na Brasilien : en desselfs wonderlijke avontuuren, zijnde gevangen gebragt van de Portugijsen na Angola, alwaar en waar ontrent [sic] hy by-na 18. jaren gewoond heeft. Ao. 1589. en vervolgens. Te Leyden: By Pieter Van der Aa, 1706.

Bluteau, Rafael. Vocabulario portuguez, e latino, aulico, anatomico, architectonico, bellico, botanico … autorizado com exemplos dos melhores escritores portuguezes e latinos e offerecido a El Rey de Portugal D. Joaõ V. Coimbra, No Collegio das Artes da Companhia de Jesu, 1716.

Bluteau, Rafael. Vocabulario portuguez, e latino, aulico, anatomico, architectonico, bellico, botanico … autorizado com exemplos dos melhores escritores portuguezes e latinos e offerecido a El Rey de Portugal D. Joaõ V. Coimbra, No Collegio das Artes da Companhia de Jesu, 1720.

Dapper, Olfert. Die Unbekante Neue Welt, oder, Beschreibung des Welt-teils Amerika, und des Sud-Landes. Darinnen vom Uhrsprunge der Ameriker und Sudländer und von den gedenckwürdigen Reysen der Europer darnach zu.  Wie auch von derselben Festen Ländern, Inseln, Städten, Festungen, Dörfern, vornähmsten Gebeuen, Bergen, Brunnen, Flüssen und Ahrten der Tiere, Beume, Stauden, und anderer fremden Gewächse; Als auch von den Gottes-und Götzen-diensten, Sitten, Sprachen, Kleider-trachten, wunderlichen Begäbnissen, und so wohl alten als neuen Kriegen, ausführlich gehandelt wird Zu Amsterdam: Bey Jacob von Meurs, auf der Keysersgraft, in der Stadt Meurs, 1673.

Fromont, Cécile. “Paper, Ink, Vodun, and the Inquisition: Tracing Power, Slavery, and Witchcraft in the Early Modern Portuguese Atlantic.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion Vol. 88, No. 2, 2020, pp. 460-504.

Guerreiro, Fernão. Relaçam annal das cousas que fezeram os padres da Companhia de Iesus nas partes da India Oriental, & no Brasil, Angola, Cabo Verde, Guine, nos annos de seiscentos & dous & seiscentos & tres, & do processo da conuersam, & christandade daquellas partes, tirada das cartas dos mesmos padres que de là vieram Em Lisboa: Per Iorge Rodrigues, Impressor de liuros, 1605.

OLL Blog – Visual Depictions of Amazonian Boundary Commissions – Jeffrey Erbig

Visual Depictions of Amazonian Boundary Commissions

Jeffrey Erbig

Assistant Professor

University of California Santa Cruz

Department of Latin American & Latino Studies

Within the walls of the Oliveira Lima Library there sits a unique collection of watercolors attributed to Spanish mapmaker Francisco Requena y Herrera. The watercolors depict Luso-Hispanic mapping expeditions commissioned under the 1777 Treaty of San Ildefonso to draw a border between Brazil and Spanish South America. Requena was the ranking official of a Spanish mapping team sent to the Amazon, one of many that stretched the ten-thousand-mile border. His watercolors are perhaps the only visual records that portray the labors of the boundary commissions and were likely part of Manoel de Oliveira Lima’s original donation to the library. Oliveira Lima reportedly purchased them in 1914 from Dutch poet and essayist, Martinus Nijhoff, who in turn had acquired them in Spain (Smith, 33). If this account holds true, then Requena most likely brought them with him upon his 1795 return to Spain. Meanwhile, Requena’s maps are scattered across libraries in the United States and Europe, and while some include the same figures as the watercolors, most omit them entirely (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Francisco Requena, Mapa geográfico de la mayor parte de la América Meridional, 1796. Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center Collection.

Beyond being a unique media, Requena’s watercolors are significant for the information they present. Whereas the boundary commissions’ maps provide little indication of the labor involved in their production, these watercolors affirm what is more readily apparent in the diaries of demarcation officers, the expeditions’ account books, and administrative records of the spaces through which they traveled. They demonstrate complex sociocultural interactions that go far beyond Luso-Hispanic diplomacy or scientific knowledge (Siquiera Bueno and Kantor, 253-61). More specifically, they point to the actions of Indigenous and African Americans in response to Iberian efforts to partition the continent. Whereas several dozen diplomats, geographers, cosmographers, astronomers, engineers, and other royal officials produced the expeditions’ documentary corpus, each of the dozens of mapping teams included as many as several hundred guides, contracted laborers, slaves, and armed escorts. Moreover, they traveled through lands claimed and controlled by Indigenous peoples, who alternatively offered resistance or aid (Costa, 117-23).

Take for example the ninth watercolor in the series, titled Cascadas del Río Cuñaré (Fig. 2). From left to right, Requena identifies “Indios Omaguas” rowing a canoe full of provisions, Portuguese officers surveying the landscape with the support of numerous laborers, and Requena himself consulting with an Indigenous man while an African descendant interpreter conversed with two Native women. The image alone provides few details to explain the scene, but in his correspondence, Requena recounted having consulted with Omaguas men and women via a guide (prático do país) named Fernando Rojas. According to Requena, Omaguas communities maintained deep ties to nearby Franciscan missions, trading frequently with them in captives and in goods, and ostensible animosity toward the Portuguese (Quijano Otero, 192-93). Rojas, along with Juan de Silva, were Black men who had reportedly escaped slavery in the Brazilian captaincy of Pará, were fluent in nearby Indigenous languages, and had become principal guides for the Spanish demarcation teams (Roller, 119-20).

Fig. 2: Francisco Requena, Cascadas del Río Cuñaré. Oliveira Lima Library, The Catholic University of America.

Cascadas del Río Cuñaré captures much of what I found in the research for my book, Where Caciques and Mapmakers Met: Border Making in Eighteenth-Century South America, and for that reason I chose it as the cover image. While Requena’s teams and their Portuguese counterparts surveyed the Amazon, most of the expeditions worked farther south, in the Pantanal (Mato Grosso, Paraguay, and Bolivia) or in the grasslands and forests of southeastern South America (Santa Catarina/Rio Grande do Sul, Argentina, and Uruguay). By situating the southern expeditions within a deeper spatial history of this last region, I found that Native peoples engaged the boundary commissions with their own territorial imaginaries. Rather than part of an ever passing landscape or mere informants, as Iberian mapmakers depicted them to be, Indigenous peoples engaged the boundary commissions to advance their own interests. Guaraní mission-dwellers tend to garner the most attention in this regard, due to a three-year war that they waged against Spanish and Portuguese armies in response to the first attempt at partition. Yet all throughout the purported border, sovereign Native nations asserted their own claims, a fact that forces us to reframe border-drawing not merely as interimperial politics, but rather as interethnic affairs.

 

Bibliography

Costa, Maria de Fátima. “Viajes en la frontera colonial: Historias de una expedición de límites en la América Meridional (1753-1754).” Anales del Museo de América 16 (2009): 113–126.

Quijano Otero, José María. Límites de la República de los Estados-Unidos de Colombia, vol. 1. Sevilla: Francisco Alvarez y Cía, 1881.

Roller, Heather F. “River Guides, Geographical Informants, and Colonial Field Agents in the Portuguese Amazon.” Colonial Latin American Review 21, no. 1 (2012): 101–126.

Siquiera Bueno, Beatriz Piccolotto, and Iris Kantor. “A outra face das expedições científico-demarcatórias na Amazônia: o coronel Francisco Requena y Herrera e a comitiva castelhana.” In Oliveira, Francisco Roque de, ed. Cartógrafos para toda a Terra: Produção e circulação do saber cartográfico ibero-americano. Lisboa: Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, 2015, 243–64.

Smith, Robert C. “Requena and the Japurá: Some Eighteenth Century Watercolors of the Amazon and Other Rivers.” The Americas 3, no. 1 (1946): 31–65.