The Kenrick Conundrum

Dan Snow returns with another profile of a vendor supplying Missouri Province Jesuits with Catholic books in the mid-nineteenth century. His research reveals an important question about how we interpret economic data from the book trade.

I’ve gone back to the Jesuit book order ledger, again looking at the vendors that the Missouri Jesuits in the 1840s were buying from. In my last post, I wrote on two priests – Fr. Lutz and Fr. Timon – whose orders comprise less than half of those placed through clergymen. Of these fourteen orders made through priests, eight were placed through Bishop Kenrick, the Bishop of Philadelphia.

Francis Patrick Kenrick (1791-1863) was one of the early leaders in the American Catholic Church. Born in Dublin in 1797, and ordained in Rome in 1821, Kenrick accepted a call from Bishop Benedict Flaget in Bardstown, Kentucky for priests to come to aid the US Church. A skilled speaker and educator, Kenrick was asked by Bishop Flaget to give public lectures around the diocese, which at that time covered a ten state area. Kenrick was made coadjutor of the Diocese of Philadelphia and became its bishop in 1842, overseeing extensive growth in the diocese, especially in Catholic education. In 1851, Kenrick was transferred to Baltimore, and became archbishop there. He would serve in this capacity until his death in 1863.

Francis Patrick Kenrich

Francis Patrick Kenrick, Bishop of Philadelphia, 1842-51 (Image: Archdiocese of Baltimore)

Kenrick’s place in this ledger is not all that surprising. As an important figure in the American Catholic network, Kenrick would have been known nationwide and would have had a good pool of resources available to him. The bishop was the author of the first American-published textbook on Catholic moral theology, and numerous other theological works. As such, it isn’t odd to see Kenrick’s name in this order record; he would likely have been a good source of texts for the Jesuits.

All the same, Kenrick’s orders in the ledger do raise a few questions. Namely, it seems as though the bishop was charging more for his products than other publishers at the time. Comparing Kenrick to Baltimore-based publisher Fielding Lucas, and Philadelphia-based Eugene Cummiskey, Kenrick on the whole charges more for his texts. For example, per copy of the Holy House of Loretto (which was written by Kenrick’s brother, a fact I’ll address later), Kenrick charged 75 cents, whereas Lucas charged 50 cents per copy. Granted, Kenrick sold 12 copies, and Lucas only six, and Kenrick’s order in April 1842 took place nearly a year before Lucas’s.

Yet, Kenrick’s prices seem consistently higher. Kenrick sold three copies of a text at 75 cents in April 1842, and a month later Cummiskey sold six copies of the same text at 50 cents. In this example, time and quantity do nothing to explain why Kenrick would charge more, and the question is compounded by the fact that Cummiskey and Kenrick were both operating out of Philadelphia. Moreover, it should be noted that the text in question was written by Bishop Kenrick – in this case it was his treatise on justification, but in other orders Kenrick also sells his textbook on moral theology and his treatise on baptism to the Jesuits.

One of Bishop Kenrick's many works, his work on justification made its way to the Jesuits.

One of Bishop Kenrick’s many works, his work on justification made its way to the Jesuits.

The case is the same with nearly every publisher that sold the same texts as Kenrick. The more surprising thing to me was that Kenrick also charged more than other clergy, namely Fr. John Timon. In April of 1842, Kenrick sells three copies of Alban Butler’s Lives of the Saints and six copies of Visit to Rome (likely the Trappist Ferdinand Géramb’s account), charging 50 cents and 75 cents respectively. In the same year, Fr. Timon sells three copies of the Lives of the Saints at 40 cents, and two copies of Visit to Rome for 50 cents. For the majority of comparable texts between Kenrick and other vendors, there seems to be a clear pattern of the bishop charging more for his texts.

It could very well be that Kenrick’s prices were competitive in many cases. I have found a few examples wherein his prices were lower than other publishers (though these are in the minority of my findings). Looking at a price catalogue from the back of one of Eugene Cummiskey’s works from 1841, one can see that for a copy of Visit to Rome, Cummiskey charge the same price (75 cents) as Kenrick did. Compared to the whole gamut of Catholic publishers, it could be that Kenrick’s prices were not out of the ordinary. However, even if his prices were generally higher than other publishing firms, this does not necessarily suggest impropriety.

In comparing Kenrick’s prices with Cummiskey’s, it is worth noting that in 1841, the bishop published seven works, and each one was published through the firm of Eugene Cummiskey. Peter Kenrick, Francis’s brother and a fellow bishop, published two works that year, which were also published through Cummiskey. It seems likely that the relationship between Kenrick and his publisher would have had an effect on the prices each offered. Due to Kenrick’s status as a frequent customer of Cummiskey, Cummiskey could have sold Kenrick copies of the bishop’s works back to him at a discount price. In these dealings with Cummiskey, Kenrick appears to have bought works other than his own, such as the copies of Visit to Rome. Cummiskey may have offered Kenrick a discount across the board, encouraging the bishop to order from him, and encouraging Kenrick to buy these works and distribute them across the country. Yet, lacking the resources of a publisher, he would have had to charge more.

Bishop Peter Richard Kenrick, the eventual Archbishop of St. Louis from 1847 until 1895 (Image: Archdiocese of St. Louis)

Bishop Peter Richard Kenrick, the eventual Archbishop of St. Louis from 1847 until 1895 (Image: Archdiocese of St. Louis)

There are many reasons why Kenrick would have charged more for his works, and these reasons speak to the nature of publishing trade in the 1840s. The most logical reason to me would be the fact that Kenrick was not a publisher and would have had higher operating costs. As he needed to buy his works from other firms before reselling them to the Jesuits, it is understandable that he would charge more in order to make a profit. Publishers would have had an apparatus and staff for receiving orders and shipping them, something Kenrick could have lacked. While other publishers may have had contacts or branch offices in or near St. Louis that made shipping easier, Kenrick would have had to rely on Church structures to facilitate his orders. It is worth pointing out that Francis Kenrick’s brother, Peter Richard Kenrick, was a bishop in St. Louis from 1841 until 1895, serving as Archbishop from 1847 onward. Peter Kenrick likely had contact with the Jesuits in St. Louis, and could have been a middle-man for any dealings with his brother in Philadelphia, possibly after being approached by the Jesuits.

Perhaps as a prelate, Kenrick did not have a good sense of the publishing trade, and lacked information on pricing. It is possible his prices weren’t higher, but that the firms I’ve compared him to were selling at lower, more competitive prices. The issue of wholesale pricing may also come into play, although I struggled to establish a pattern with this in my examples. Maybe Kenrick’s books were bound differently, in leather, board, or paper. Leather bound works would have cost more than board, which in turn would cost more than paper bound texts.

In all, there are a few reasons to explain the differences in prices observed in the order ledger, none of which can be seen as definitive. With a good database of all the information in the ledger, it would be very easy to compare the prices between publishers for any given text. Still, in regard to non-publishers like Bishop Francis Kenrick, we are left to speculation. The circumstances of his situation, as a writer and a clergyman, help to explain why his prices varied compared to other firms. From a wider view of the trade, these differences do not seem out of place. If Kenrick kept notes of these transactions on his end, or had correspondence with the Jesuits he was selling to, such records would help in viewing not only these orders, but the Catholic book trade overall. Kenrick was one of the most important American Catholic writers and leaders of this time period. Understanding his place in this trade could shed light on both his works, the trade he participated in, and the groups that utilized his books.

On the Benefits of Similar Sources

The following post is the third in a series about Kyle Jenkins’ project to create curriculum around the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project that can be used in the high school classroom.

The success of the Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed video game series, if nothing else, proves that history can’t be considered universally boring. Otherwise, why would someone bother spending their precious free time romping about 1940s Philippines or Renaissance-era Italy? And yes, an obvious answer would be, “because you get to shoot people and level up.” But there is definitely some other factor involved, something about the allure of forgotten time periods that make people want to explore them for all their worth. As a history teacher, the challenge not only becomes finding those time periods, but those nuggets of information that make a student’s eyes light up. Teaching the theory behind Andrew Jackson’s spoils system is always going to be a tough sell. However, talking about the President’s swearing parrot that had to be removed from his funeral service is not. Engaging students with unexpected sources and stories can be accomplished in many ways, two of which I will share from this week’s research.

In reading about how immigrant Catholics changed and adapted to their urban settings, a constant thread of “us and them” becomes increasingly apparent. During the labor unrest of the 1870-80s, the attempted religious revivals of Protestant and Catholic believers ran head first into the demands of socialist, irreligious city dwellers. Preachers saw a problem not with so much with the anarchistic element of these protestors, but rather their atheism. As noted in Bruce C. Nelson’s article “Revival and Upheaval: Religion, Irreligion, and Chicago’s Working Class in 1886,” sometimes the bishop’s sermons took a dark turn. One, in particular, told his congregation,

“’whenever you see an enemy of God, point right at him and shoot him on the spot, but don’t hit him in the knee; if you hit him anywhere but here (the heart) apologize to him and tell him you meant to send a side shot.” (page 244)

That alone would stir some level of interest among students. It’s not every day a leader of men, especially one from a major religion, openly advocates for violence. What’s more, you can’t mince words; this is drawn from a real speech, not another person’s summary of the events where artistic liberty can take over. To be honest an entire lesson could be based around this source alone, with proper context of course. But to really seal the one-two historical punch, you can then throw in this Pinkerton Flyer:

Pinkerton Picture Number 3

While the two sources don’t match word for word, their sentiments are frighteningly similar: deviate from what’s expected or break the rules, and you’re dead. Plain and simple. This isn’t just death, it’s officially sanctioned death. The difference is this isn’t someone’s Call of Duty, such speeches and posters could be found within Chicago’s city limits, not the Pacific Islands during wartime! And this is where you pose the discussion questions in class: in this environment would you feel concerned meeting a foreigner? discussing someone’s religious beliefs or weekend plans? even walking outside?

Opinions in class are a dime a dozen: ask any room what they think about certain facts, and there’s an 80% chance you’ll get a room full of blank stares. Though I find the comparison between these two sources extremely interesting, a run-of-the-mill history student may just be counting the minutes till class ends. Because the analytical piece is so essential to history, some historians have thought of a simple yet endlessly entertaining solution: put students directly in the past. No, we cannot physically go back to the future (or past), but we can use certain tactics to force students to consider what life would be like if they were in a particular time period, and how their actions and opinions would fit in with the social landscape. Outlined by Meg Gorzycki and Linda Elder, the concept of “historical thinking” can be as simple as asking students to write a diary entry from the point of view of an Irish immigrant who stumbles across a sermon like the one listed above, or as complex as asking students to develop a proposal to the city council about a new diversionary poster for the Pinkertons to use in their war on crime.

HT Number 3

From A Thinker’s Guide to Historical Thinking, p.19

It seems too easy to just say “think like they would think,” but this allows for a whole range of creative responses. Since it is all based in the facts, sources, and context of a particular time period, students can think rationally as opposed to strictly academically. They can respond organically, tackle new challenges, and consider alternatives better than a textbook can provide. What’s more, this can serve as a basis for projects, essays, or other products that the C3 Framework of last week calls for. Students are intimately involved, and are skillfully “communicating and critiquing conclusions.” It’s these kind of lessons I hope to have, that engage students beyond grades and get to true Assassin’s Creed levels of interest. And with the outlining done, it’s time to find more sources like the Pinkerton Flyer that are able to spark that interest. On to the next week of research!

Works referenced in this post:

Gorzycki, Meg and Linda Elder. A Thinker’s Guide to Historical Thinking: Bringing Critical Thinking Explicitly to the Heart of Historical Study. Tomales: The Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2011

Nelson, Bruce C. “Revival and Upheaval: Religion, Irreligion, and Chicago’s Working Class in 1886.” Journal of Social History 25, no. 2 (1991): 233-249.

“This Book is Full of Lies”: A St. Ignatius College Student vs. the American Tract Society

When modern American college students want to look at book reviews, they can generally turn to online databases like JSTOR that provide unparalleled access to peer-reviewed evaluations. In the nineteenth century, however, such criticism was not as easy to come across. That is why one of our recent findings in the library storage facility is so intriguing. The book is called The Spirit of Popery: An Exposure of its Origin, Character, and Results, in Letters from a Father to his Children, and a St. Ignatius College student seemed to have some very strong opinions about it.

Picture 4     Picture 3

On the front pages, the student inscribed the simple yet powerful phrase “This book is full of lies” multiple times. What author could have elicited such harsh commentary? Actually, The Spirit of Popery cannot be attributed to a single author. It is one of thousands of religious tracts published and distributed by the American Tract Society into the nineteenth-century print marketplace.

The American Tract Society was founded in 1825 as an amalgamation of several smaller evangelical organizations. Even in its earliest years, the Society expressed contentious opinions about popular print in the United States. Particularly abhorrent to their adherents were romance novels. One member warned, “To yield to such a hellish charm is like the voluntary sacrifice of one’s body and soul on the drunkard’s altar. Mental delirium tremens is as certain a consequence of habitual intoxication from such reading, as is that awful disease the certain end of the inebriate. Beware of it!” However, while the Society was quick to castigate what it considered sin in contemporary literature, it was equally quick to adopt print as a mechanism in its evangelical designs.

Operations began on a relatively modest scale. The American Tract Society initially published and printed works on its presses, then offered them to local religious organizations at wholesale prices. By the 1840s, though, the Society became more aggressive in its distribution strategy. It was then that it began to employ colporteurs (essentially company sales representatives) to travel across the country promoting and selling their products. This strategy proved incredibly successful. Reports published every year after 1841 celebrated the sale of millions of books and the complementary dispersal of millions more. The Spirit of Popery dates to this period.

Determining when The Spirit of Popery entered the American print marketplace proved a minor challenge. The St. Ignatius College copy, at the very least, does not include a publication date. It does, however, list the American Tracy Society’s address, which actually narrows down the release window to sometime past 1832. A second revelation regarding the book’s publication is that it received distribution in the United Kingdom before the United States. The Spirit of Popery was originally released by the Religious Tract Society, a British precursor to its American counterpart, in 1840. Furthermore, a review for the work first appears in the evangelical Christian Review in 1844. The reviewer praises the tract, stating, “The account of Popery, as it is, is fitted to impart to every reader, old or young, an accurate idea of the vanity of the pretensions of such a scheme to the character of a system of faith, revealed from God, and designed for the suffering and the guilty.” The St. Ignatius College student who scrutinized the same pages did not agree.

Picture 1     Picture 2

The images above demonstrate that the student had a far more strident response to the American Tract Society that simply, “This book is full of lies.” He elaborates that, “This little book is one of infamous lies,” and “such books…are used to poison…young minds.” The cursive is difficult to decipher, but the student’s primary concern seems to be that The Spirit of Popery provides a dishonest interpretation of Roman Catholic dogma. In addition to summarizing his grievances with the work opposite the title page, the student also inscribed footnotes throughout to pinpoint his criticisms.

Some footnotes seem rather superficially heated. On page 242, for example, the author quotes Genesis 48:15-16: “The God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads.” The student places a strike through the word “which” and replaces it with “who.” The quotation, of course, comes from a King James translation of the Bible. Thus, the student was presumably so offended by his Protestant adversary’s choice of scriptural source material that he felt it necessary to correct its grammar.

Other annotations are more theologically intuitive. On page 261, the author argues, “Purgatory, like many parts of the Romish system, is derived from heathenism.” The student retorts, “This is false. The dogma is derived from the Bible.” Regarding more earthly matters, the author criticizes the Roman Catholic belief in transubstantiation during the Eucharist. On page 206, he asserts that when Jesus spoke of bread becoming His body and wine becoming His blood at the Last Supper, “The mode of speaking thus common, is peculiarly so to the Syriac tongue, in which our Lord most probably conversed with his disciples, and to other eastern languages, which have no term expressive of ‘to signify’ or ‘represent,’ according to our sense of the word.” The student counters that it is “a pure falsehood” that “eastern languages” lacked the capacity to convey metaphor. The student provides longer, more elaborate-looking explanations in other chapters, but after more than a century the ink in these areas has bled enough to render what were likely even most concise criticisms illegible.

It is fascinating to uncover a work so antagonistic towards Catholics in Chicago’s first Catholic college library. Furthermore, it is not the only book of its kind. There is second book published by the American Tract Society listed in the library catalog called Infidelity. What can we conclude from this? Perhaps Jesuit educators believed that if students were to develop the skills necessary to defend their spiritual identities in a secular world, then they should not be insulated from evangelical criticisms widely available in the American print marketplace.

For more on the American Tract Society, I would recommend two articles by David Paul Nord. First, “Systematic Benevolence: Religious Publishing and the Marketplace in Early Nineteenth-Century America” from the anthology Communication and Change in American Religious History (1993). Second, “Religious Reading and Readers in Antebellum America” from the Journal of the Early Republic, vol. 15, no. 2 (1995). The Democratization of American Christianity by Nathan O. Hatch provides an excellent overview of American Christianity’s relationship with the print marketplace.

– Michael J. Albani, Provenance Project Coordinator

Priestly Procurement

The following post is written by junior Dan Snow, one of this semester’s interns and a 2015-16 Ramonat Scholar. It is the second in a series by the interns about an important ledger that reveals the previously unappreciated role played by Jesuits in supplying the communities of the upper Missouri and Mississippi Valleys with Catholic books in the mid-nineteenth century.

For the past few weeks, I have been looking at the book trade ledger maintained by the Society of Jesus in Missouri from 1842 until 1850. These records detail the book orders of the Jesuits, and show what texts they bought and from whom they purchased them. Hundreds and hundreds of books can be found here, offering information not only on the reading tastes of mid-nineteenth-century Catholics, but also on the Jesuits’ ability to oversee the distribution of these texts within the Western United States. The ledger offers insight on the texts the Jesuits were buying and on the men who sold these books to them. The vendors of these books were primarily American firms and individuals: of the 127 orders between April 1842 and April 1850, just fourteen orders were from European firms. It is interesting to note that while many of the books the Jesuits were buying came from traditional Catholic publishing houses like Sadlier in New York or Benziger in Switzerland, a few of their orders were placed through other clergymen. Only fourteen were made through Catholic priests, yet this reveals an interesting scenario wherein clergymen bought and sold books to other clergymen who then resold these books throughout the country.

A typical page in the ledger, this specific one showing the order from Fr. Lutz. (Collection of St. Louis University)

A typical page in the ledger, this specific one showing the order from Fr. Lutz. (Collection of St. Louis University)

Two priests in particular stand out. Fr. Joseph Anthony Lutz (1802-1861) was a German-born priest assigned to the Diocese of St. Louis. In 1828, he performed missionary work near what would become Kansas City, MO and established a small school there. Lutz was then appointed assistant pastor at the Cathedral of St. Louis under Bishop Joseph Rosati. As a secretary for the diocese, Lutz secured books for its parishesas part of his responsibilities: in July of 1834, Fr. Saint Cyr (founder of St. Mary’s, Chicago’s first Catholic parish) wrote to Bishop Rosati asking for him to send Lutz to Chicago with a collection of books that would be of the “greatest utility” in the growing town.

Lutz appears only once within the ledger, but the books that he provided reflect his German heritage. In April 1842, nearly all the books the Jesuits ordered from him were German texts. Most of the works are different variations of prayer books (Gebetbuch): for brides (für Braute), for young Christians (für junge Christen), for prisoners (für Gefangene), etc. Though the quantities are small (the greatest number of copies for any text ordered being 26 copies of a prayer book for craftsmen), it speaks to the needs of a small but steadily growing German presence in Missouri. Hermann, the traditional German center in the state, is located just outside St. Louis. German settlers called this region of Missouri Deutschheim, or ‘German Home’, reflecting the intent of Hermann’s founders who aimed to create a distinctly German town on the American frontier. Through the work of these settlers and a promotional booster work by Gottfried Duden called “Report of a Journey to the Western States of Northern America”, thousands of German immigrants settled in the rural areas around Hermann from 1820 to 1860. From 1830 to 1837 alone, nearly 7,000 German settled in the St. Louis area. It seems likely that the Jesuits’ need for German texts during this time period reflects the growing presence of a sizeable Catholic German community in Missouri.

Seated on the Missouri River, Hermann was favored by German immigrants for its similarity to the Rhineland (Image Source: Hermann Area Chamber of Commerce)

Located on the Missouri River, Hermann was favored by German immigrants for
its similarity to the Rhineland (Image Source: Hermann Area Chamber of Commerce)

The next priest I looked at was Father John Timon (1797-1867). Timon was appointed the first American provincial of the Vincentian Fathers (the Congregation of the Mission) in 1835, and in 1839 was made the prefect apostolic for the newly independent Republic of Texas. In 1841 the Holy See promoted Texas to an apostolic vicariate, and Timon lost his position. The Metropolitan Catholic Almanac and Laity’s Directory lists Timon as Vicar General in the Diocese of St. Louis in 1844, though he likely had held this position for some time prior and was in contact with the Jesuits in the region since at least 1842.

Fr. Timon as he appeared as Bishop of Buffalo (Image Source: Diocese of Buffalo)

Fr. Timon, as he appeared as Bishop of Buffalo (Image Source: Diocese of Buffalo)

The Jesuits placed five orders with Timon between July 1842 and April 1844. The types of books ordered vary greatly – most are theology works (different Bible editions and translations, prayer books, etc.) but many history and philosophy works appear as well. Also worth noting are the large numbers of French texts (the final order in April of 1844 is particularly French in nature) and German texts that Timon sells. One of the more striking things to note is that two of his best sellers remain consistent across the years: Catechisms and something called the “Christian’s Guide” (likely The Christian’s Guide to Heaven: or, A Manual of Spiritual Exercises for Catholics). In July 1842, Timon sold 2,000 catechisms and 500 guides to the Jesuits, accounting for half the cost of that order. In November he sold 200 more guides, and in April 1844, the Jesuits purchased 1,000 more Catechisms and 100 guides. The significance of these texts lies in their content and volume.

One probable reason why the Jesuits would have needed such a high volume of texts covering the doctrine of the church is education. Looking at an 1844 copy of the Christian’s Guide, it seems as though this text would have been used in the religious education and instruction of those entering into the Catholic faith, or for strengthening the knowledge of already baptized Catholics. I can imagine that these texts would have been bought by the Jesuits and spread across the Midwest to growing parishes and missions, but also used in Catholic schools as textbooks for religious study. In this way, the Missouri Jesuits would have played an important role in the fostering of the Catholic faith in the Western United States. With further research into who the Jesuits were distributing these books to, it would be possible to track Jesuit involvement in Catholic communities and educational institutions.

Cover of an 1844 edition of The Christian's Guide (Image Source: Internet Archive)

Cover of an 1844 edition of The Christian’s Guide (Image Source: Internet Archive)

By focusing on Fr. Lutz and Fr. Timon, and the types of books they were selling, one can gain insight into the operation of the Society of Jesus and into the condition of Catholics in America during this timeframe. With more research, we could gain a greater understanding of the persons involved in this trade and their intentions. It would be interesting to see where Lutz and Timon bought their books. Did Lutz order specialty German books that would have been hard to find in the United States? Did Timon place orders for the Jesuits with publishers they were unfamiliar with? It is also interesting to note that the clergy in the Jesuit ledger only appear during a limited time. The Jesuits first place an order through a priest with Lutz’s order in April 1842, and their last order with a clergyman is with Bishop Francis Kenrick in September 1845. The orders continue for another five years without any being made through a priest. The Jesuits ordered books through priests 14 times during their 50 orders from April 1842 to September 1845. What does it say that so many of these early orders were made through priests, and that no priest sells to the Jesuits from 1846 to 1850? Does this reflect a growing Jesuit relationship with the publishing houses that would have removed the need for a middle-man such as Lutz or Timon? By looking further at the books Lutz and Timon were buying, and who the Jesuits were selling these books to, it should be possible to answer some of these questions and better understand the complex factors at play in the Jesuit ledger.

For more information on Fr. Lutz and/or Fr. Timon, visit the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Texas State Historical Association, respectively

Follow the Framework!

The following post is the second in a series about Kyle Jenkins’ project to create curriculum around the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project that can be used in the high school classroom.

I now find myself early on in the project, but quite far into the school year for Loyola. By the middle of the first semester (or end of the first quarter, if that makes more sense), I am still plowing through secondary sources and background information for this project. This isn’t to say I haven’t done other work as well. I just did too much other work. See, after spending three years creating lesson plans, writing history essays, and essentially living in the library during finals week, I thought I had this project in the bag, as it were. But as my last post noted, this subject is entirely new to me. So when I began looking at diaries of immigrants and objects from their journey, I felt completely lost.  Who even is this? What were they talking about? Why were they talking about it? All questions I should have asked and answered in the beginning stages of my research. Thankfully, I have managed to get back on the right track, and I am diligently creating rough outlines for each facet of urban Catholic life to be covered in this project. Ambition drove me to take on this challenge, and by golly I won’t let it sink me.

This was a harsh lesson for me to learn, and oddly enough, one that students who engage with the material will probably have to learn as well. In this beautiful Age of Google, it is all too easy to forget to check if one’s source is reliable, or worth looking through, or even related to your topic at hand from reading a brief one-and-a-half blurb found beneath a hyperlink. The undercurrent of library research methods in these lesson plans will hopefully address that problem head on. It is better to get practice researching reliable sources now than the night before a massive essay is due (again, from personal experience, but that’s a story for another blog post).

I have also experienced a distinct change in my researching procedure. While taking notes, I now focus less on how certain facts or sections would fit into an essay, and more on what kind of lessons could help others best learn those facts. Early in my collegiate career it seemed easy. “Just let kids read the paper, and then discuss it! How hard can that be?” In a perfect world, yes, it would be just that easy. But when you need to account for different reading levels, worksheets to guide learning, relevance to tests (both school-wide, state-wide, and national), what standards it would fulfill, and even interest levels, it becomes a lot less easy. So what’s a history/education double major to do? Easy! Follow the framework.

The emergence of Common Core State Standards, no matter how controversial, represent a change in the basic process of planning for educators. Where before, they may have been required to devote X amount of time on Y subject, now they are held accountable for historical skills. They run the gamut of sophistication; they are as complex as proper primary/secondary source analysis, and as simple as knowing word definitions in context. And yes, U.S. History teachers are all probably going to teach Christopher Columbus, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and World War II. But to what extent they cover each facet, or whether they place more emphasis on battles or homelife is up to the teacher. And rightfully so! It focuses more on knowledge of students in their classroom and less on adhering to uniform goals, when it’s known full-well that students aren’t uniform.

CCSS Standards Blog Post 2

Common Core Standards

The Common Core doesn’t provide a framework of how to meet said standards. Everyone wants students to be able to churn out research papers and presentations like Facebook posts, but how to get from point A to point B can be quite confusing. Many methods exist, but the one I prefer, and will use for this project, is the C3 Framework. Developed in 2010 by a wide array of social studies teachers, professionals, and state leaders, it highlights the importance of College, Career, and Civic-minded education. It starts by forcing students to ask questions about the content and topics at hand, or tackling teacher-developed question. Wherever they come from, they represent the crux of the issue, and by answering it one can understand some of the complexities inherent with the subject matter. Much like Common Core standards, they can be as simple as “Was the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement a success?” or as complex as “Why are there rules?”

C3 Framework

C3 Framework

By then focusing on one or multiple subjects within the social sciences, namely economics, geography, civics, and/or history, teachers can plan units that slowly build up content knowledge and skills in a way that answers that question. Anyone can learn who George Washington was, but it takes careful planning to ask and answer whether or not his American Revolution was actually revolutionary. And by ending with a tangible product, either with a report that summarizes a student’s answer and own spin on the question, or a move to physically act and get involved in an ongoing version of the issue (say through a unit on immigration), the lesson reaches a full conclusion. The student’s experience isn’t one of rote memorization, but rather full involvement with the subject matter. These “inquiry arcs,” as the C3 Framework calls them, are exactly the kind of classroom I want to run as a teacher, and I feel are exactly the kind of framework that will best inspire students to learn more about this subject matter.

Moving forward I plan on building up the project in a number of different ways. First and foremost I will organize the sources with full citations and brief abstracts to be used by anyone looking for a killer resource in class. Next, for the teacher interested in specific topics related to nineteenth-century Catholic Chicago, I will be developing around 3-5 lessons around such lessons as “Processes of Immigration,” “School Debates,” “Urban Life,” and others. Finally, I will construct an inquiry arc from the various topic lessons. Students will have a goal in mind, a question to spark their interest, and the sources to get them there. Next on my list is to finish planning those topic lesson plans. See ya in a week!

Want to learn more?

If you want to read more from the educational planning materials in this blog post, there are a number of resources you can access. The Common Core State Standards for History can be found at this website, broken into 9th/10th grade standards and 11th/ 12th grade standards. Here you can find the skills that students are supposed to have at particular benchmarks, and the focus of teachers when planning lessons, units, and the like. The C3 Framework Method can be downloaded and viewed as a PDF here, which details one of a number of methods teachers use for structuring unit plans. And if you want a more in-depth look at pedagogy itself, I highly recommend Jack Zevin’s book Social Studies for the Twenty-First Century: Methods and Materials for Teaching in Middle and Secondary Schools (New York: Routledge, 2007). The first two chapters in particular deal with the struggles of defining social studies and the benefits of cross-disciplinary activities.

How to Navigate in a Field of Ignorance

The following post is written by senior Kyle Jenkins, one of this semester’s interns. It is the first in a series about Kyle’s project to create curriculum around the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project that can be used in the high school classroom. This is an exciting new venture aimed at expanding the audience for the Provenance Project!

Even though the demands of student teaching kept me from enrolling in the 2015 Ramonat Seminar, I am working closely with the same documents and subject matter – Catholic immigrants in nineteenth-century Chicago – as part of my directed study this semester. My mission, as it were, is not to write a massive essay that changes the field of study. I’m not that lucky (see also: I’m actually that lucky). Rather, I will be creating a series of lesson plans around the topic for use in high schools, incorporating a whole host of primary source documents drawn from the JLPP, Newberry Library, and other Chicago institutions. Since much of the curricular instruction for this age group on the nineteenth-century U.S. is devoted to the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Progressive Era (for good reason, I might add), the lesson plans I am designing will serve a dual purpose of introducing students to a too little discussed facet of U.S. history, as well as providing an opportunity for important lessons in library research.

As a double major in History and Education, it stands to reason that I would have at least been exposed to this time period. Well, this is the one case where reason fails us, because much of what I am learning is completely new. My past experience with history projects were with subjects I had just taken a class about (the Civil War) or had a personal connection to (blues music). While it is an uphill climb to stay on track with the other Ramonat Scholars, I am extremely excited to do so. I hope I will be exposed to a host of other disciplines and opportunities through this project, just like the students that will eventually be taught these lessons. But enough about that, let’s get to the good stuff.

I know the first unit will be on immigration, specifically how and why primarily Irish and German Catholic immigrants flooded Chicago in the mid-nineteenth century. In my first trip to the Newberry, I began searching through the Immigration Laws of the United States (State and National) compiled by William C. Endicott, and published in 1887. Not only did it list a variety of reason that made the U.S. a prime destination for immigrants, like the Irish potato famine, the California Gold Rush, and European political upheaval, but, as the title suggests, it broke down the policies of each state. It was done for two reasons: to clear up procedures on Southern states who recently rejoined the Union following the Civil War, and to give due diligence to New York, whose policies “[could] make a volume in itself” (p.1975). Certain states, like New York, go into meticulous detail. Others, like Alabama, list ways that immigration could be encouraged, such as through reports on land availability and quality. And still others, like Nebraska below, have no rules:

Nebraska Immigration Laws SM

That’s it. One paragraph for Nebraska saying “Yep, there’s no rules here, do whatever you want.” This is striking because it shows how vastly different the experience of immigrants could be depending on where they settled. Yes, you can’t sail a ship to Nebraska, but you can move there. Which makes Chicago that much more appealing. As an eventual transit hub to the West, with a connection to the Gulf of Mexico by way of the Mississippi and the Great Lakes canals, and with the appeal of big city life, Chicago must have seemed like prime placement for immigrants of any background. Oddly enough Illinois wasn’t listed in this volume, so I will have to track down its immigration laws, but it’s exciting to start down this road with no preconceived notions as to what I will find. I’ll be going through the same process as future students, which is pretty awesome to think about.

Jesuits and the Book Trade

The following post is written by senior Brendan Courtois, one of this semester’s interns and a 2015-16 Ramonat Scholar. It is the first in a series about an important ledger that reveals the previously unappreciated role played by Jesuits in supplying the communities of the upper Missouri and Mississippi Valleys with Catholic books in the mid-nineteenth century. Unlocking the secrets of this volume is one of the initiatives of the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project this academic year.

As a history and finance major it seems appropriate that the first document I’ve been looking at this semester is a ledger from the Jesuits’ Missouri Vice Province now in the collections of the Archives of St. Louis University (Missouri did not become a full Province until 1863). For a little context: the volume is catalogued as “Library. Financial Records. 1847-49” in the SLU Archives’ finding aid. It actually documents book trade transactions for much of the 1840s and has separate sections for a “Cash book,” “Ledger,” “Bill book,” “Sales book,” and “Expense book.” The sales section reaches back to April 1842, but I haven’t found a specific reason why.

Table of Contents for Book Trade Volume in the Archives of St. Louis University

Table of contents for book trade volume in the Archives of St. Louis University

These sections act differently than their modern equivalents:

  • The Cash section seems only to deal with cash outflows. A modern cash flow sheet would account for cash inflows and outflows;
  • The Ledger seems to be a record of books purchased, which would line up with a modern ledger (other than the style of book-keeping, which will be discussed later);
  • The Bills are grouped under the individual they were given to, as opposed to the modern concept of tying bills to the work that created them;
  • The Sales section is a record of sales, which would be grouped with a ledger in a modern context;
  • The Expenses section operates similarly to the Bills section in this volume, and in a modern context they should be grouped together. Hopefully with more examination I’ll be able to understand the reason behind the separation.

The volume uses single-entry bookkeeping, and keeps track of the individual or business exchanging assets with the Vice Province. Single-entry bookkeeping is recording the financial effect of an entry, but does not tie it to any other asset. Double-entry bookkeeping is tying each entry with another asset to better see its financial effect. The fact that single-entry bookkeeping is used is not unusual, as standards for bookkeeping from professional accounting societies start around the mid-nineteenth century. However, single-entry bookkeeping makes interpreting a document of this size a challenge.

I’ve been looking through this volume for the past couple weeks in an attempt to understand what it can tell us about the financial operation of the Jesuits in the Missouri Vice Province. I know that the Jesuits kept track of the people they interacted with well. Every person has been named and a cost assigned to the transaction. In the sales section each month’s total sales are added up, but I haven’t found the added total anywhere else in the document.

Examples of the listings from the Sales section of the volume.

Examples of the listings from the Sales section of the volume.

At this point in my investigation it makes little sense to speculate, but I do have some specific questions I would like to answer about it over the coming weeks. First, why does this document exist? The records fill up 480 pages, which seem to be a lot of transactions for a short span of time. Second, what conclusion are the numbers leading to? Sales are added up monthly, but other sections are added up by client. The totaled numbers don’t seem to go anywhere in the volume to indicate a profit or loss from operation. Third, can these records be compared to the others kept by the Vice Province at the time? Are all the records similar to this volume or are they adding up numbers to record financial well being?

These are the initial questions I seek to uncover about this document and about the operations of the Missouri Vice Province as a whole during this period of time. I will dive into the document more thoroughly in the coming weeks to answer these questions. Stay tuned!

What Is in a Book?

Originally posted on Ramonat Seminar 2015:

In week two, the Ramonat Scholars looked at various books from Loyola’s original college library that had been identified by the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project. To prepare them for these sources, the students were given a seminal essay by Robert Darnton, now University Librarian at the Harvard University Libraries, on “What is the History of Books?” and had a choice of several titles on a reserve shelf in Loyola’s University Archives and Special Collections.

Books Some of the books from the original St Ignatius College Library. Image from Claire Blankenship’s blog post.

The Scholars’ blog posts reveal the richness of history of the book studies: no two people look at a book in the same way. Each uncovers different elements of the stories these surviving texts have to share:

  • By looking through several books from the original St Ignatius College library, Bianca thought not only about how the content but…

View original 238 more words

Horace on His Head: An Error in the St. Ignatius College Library

Many bibliophiles would agree that there is nothing quite like cracking open a new book and marveling over its perfectly printed pages. Printing, however, is a process overseen by humans. It is bound to encounter error every now and again. In some instances, printing errors can be quite profitable. An 1885 edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with the word “saw” swapped with “was” could earn a collector up to $18,600! Sometimes, though, the value of a printing error cannot simply be measured monetarily. Take the obvious one recently discovered in our 1767 copy of The Works of Horace in English Verse:

The Works of Horace - Loyola University Chicago Copy

This copy is currently held in the Special Collections of the Elizabeth M. Cudahy Memorial Library.

Classicists are most assuredly familiar with Quintus Horatius Flaccus, the Roman lyric poet known to anglophones as Horace. His ancient works were frequently translated into English throughout the eighteenth century, and several poetical and prose interpretations found new homes in the nineteenth-century library at St. Ignatius College. Samuel Johnson celebrated the transliterating prowess of Rev. Philip Francis in particular as the finest of his generation. He said succinctly, “The lyrical part of Horace never can be perfectly translated;…Francis has done it the best.” Chicago’s Jesuit educators must have concurred to some degree. In the coming week, we will be featuring not one, but two editions of Francis’s work noted in Loyola University Chicago’s first library catalogue. The subject of the present posting, though, is a blank verse version of Horace by William Duncombe.

William Duncombe

Portrait of William Duncombe by Joseph Highmore (1721)

Courtesy of the British Library

Courtesy of the British Library

Duncombe’s first recorded translation of Horace dates back to 1715, but it was not until 1757 that he began releasing his most comprehensive English collection. The 1767 publication in our possession is a second edition of this vernacular compilation. The publishing information reveals that Duncombe did not undertake this update alone. He called upon the assistance of his only son, John Duncombe, a notable British author in his own right.

While the new four-volume set advertised having “Many Imitations, now first published,” its most distinct aesthetic additions were illustrations for each title page. We have amassed samples of the second volume from several other institutions such as the British Library (left) and the University of Michigan (below). Notice anything? Their opening images are right-side up! This demonstrates that our copy’s printing error – the upside down image – was not ubiquitous to the run of the publication. It is likely that Fleet Street printers caught their initial mistake early enough to properly reposition the image’s engraving for subsequent reproductions. However, this did not seem to prevent already erroneous editions from escaping into the market, giving Loyola University Chicago a true literary treasure.

The Works of Horace - University of Michigan Copy

Courtesy of the University of Michigan

It is also compelling to consider that English-speaking consumers had a second new translation of Horace to choose from in 1767. Christopher Smart completed his own four-volume series that year which he specifically targeted to students. Like Duncombe, Smart was well experienced in translating Horace. He penned a prose compilation in 1756 that classicist Allen R. Benham claimed was the most widely used translation of Horace in that era. Still, Benham harshly criticized this work as “frankly a ‘pony’ or ‘trot,’ a help to school boys struggling with their Horace.” Was Smart’s 1767 revision just as juvenile? Dr. Leah Orr argues not. She attests that Smart was similarly dissatisfied with his earlier interpretation and attempted to both improve upon his original work and Christianize Horace’s Latin text in his later publication. Nevertheless, St. Ignatius College’s librarians opted to order Duncombe’s translation rather than Smart’s. Perhaps the former offered a greater quality and aesthetic appeal that Jesuit educators were seeking at the time.

– Michael J. Albani, Provenance Project Coordinator

Upcoming Conference Opportunities

Conferences offer a fantastic way to share your scholarship and to keep up-to-date with the work of others who share your interests.  There are two upcoming conferences sure to be of interest to followers of the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project.  Below is a description of each conference, the deadline for submitting a paper proposal, and the date of the conference.  Members of the Provenance Project team will be at both and look forward to seeing you there!


Second Annual Jesuit Research Student Symposium

The Jesuit Archives: Central United States, Saint Louis University College of Arts and Sciences, Saint Louis University Department of History, and Saint Louis University Libraries will host a joint research symposium 10-11 November 2015 to explore the history of Jesuits and race.

Undergraduate and Graduate students from all disciplines are warmly invited to submit a proposal for a twenty-minute presentation.

Proposal abstracts should be no more than 250 words, and are due to the selection committee by 3 August 2015. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. David P. Miros, Jesuit Archives, at, or Dr. Silvana R. Siddali, History Department, at More information, the symposium flyer, and abstract submission form are available here.

Encounters Between Jesuits and Protestants in the Americas

The 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation (1517) and the shifting Christian landscape of the Americas today provide an opportunity to reflect on the historical relationship between Protestants and Jesuits in the Americas. This international conference at Boston College on June 14-18, 2017 is partnered with two other conferences—at the Ricci Institute in Macau (November 9-11, 2016) and at the Jesuit Historical Institute in Nairobi, Kenya (June 28–July 1, 2016)—in an effort to better understand the historical encounters between Jesuits and Protestants around the globe.

The Jesuits, one of the most influential missionary orders, have been at the center of a flourishing body of scholarly literature. The relationship between the Society of Jesus and Protestants in the Americas, however, has not been sufficiently studied. Did Jesuits and Protestants interact in the American setting, and how? Did the encounter with Protestantism and the Reformation affect the Jesuit approach to Native American peoples? In the Americas, the ambitious colonies of expansive European empires confronted each other through colliding religious visions, programs, and propaganda. The image of the Jesuit, so prominent in European confessional conflict, similarly inspired Catholics and provoked Protestants throughout the Americas. The patterns set by the Reformations have continued during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Following the restoration of the Society of Jesus in the nineteenth century, its members participated in missionary and educational projects throughout North America and the heavily Protestant United States. In the late twentieth century, Evangelical and Pentecostal missionaries have led a sweeping Protestant revival throughout Catholic Latin America, changing a religious landscape that had endured for half a millennium. Supported by the monarchies of Spain and Portugal, the Jesuits were instrumental in bringing Catholicism, and with it, European art, sciences, and culture to the Americas. Protestant and Jesuit interactions in the Americas are part of a larger study of comparative European colonialism as Portuguese, Spanish, French, Dutch, and English empires staked claims to the Americas within a one-hundred-year period. Europeans did not intend to separate Christianity from military might, political savviness, and economic necessity (or extravagance).

How did Calvinists, Jesuits, and Puritans approach the conversion of indigenous peoples? Did Protestant models of evangelization draw on Jesuit practices or vice versa? Do inter-religious relationships in the twenty-first century reflect the conflicts of the past 500 years? The questions to be asked of Jesuit and Protestant encounters in the Americas from the sixteenth century to the present are many; the answers, however, are few. To participate in this discussion, email a short (200-250 words) abstract of a proposed paper to the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies ( before 31 May 2016, and if accepted, the full paper before 31 December 2016. Please indicate “2017 Symposium” in the subject line. The abstract and conference presentation should be in standard academic English. Selected papers will be published either in a dedicated volume or in the Journal of Jesuit Studies (Brill).  For more information, follow the link here.