Extraordinary finds in Cudahy Main Stacks

As we finish uploading the remaining books from the Main Stacks of Cudahy Library and move to Library Storage, we thought we would share with you two of the more remarkable finds we have made over the past month. I remind you to keep in mind that these books were (until recently moved to special collections) still circulating in the library! Take a look:


The text in the photograph, from The Elementary Treatise on Natural Philosophy, reads “James Sullivan – Rhetoric Class.” Who’s James Sullivan you ask? Well, our project supervisor Dr. Roberts did a little detective work searching through the St. Ignatius College course catalogue and found out that a “James Sullivan” did indeed take a Rhetoric class at St. Ignatius College from 1876-1877. Interestingly, this is the only instance Mr. Sullivan is mentioned in the course catalogue at St. Ignatius College. Thus, he must not have been particular fond of college, nor his Rhetoric books which he left behind! (Click here to view all the photographs from this book)

civil war

If you look very closely you can make out this inscription, which comes from The History of the Popes: “taken from the house of the reverend Jos. (Joseph) A. Harrold – Falls Church Fairfax County, Virginia – Late rector of the St. Andreas (sp?) Free Church, Washington – Now in the rebel service”

What we can at least assume is this: this book was looted from a reverend (who joined the confederate cause) by a union soldier from the 30th New York Regiment. What we do not know is why the soldier’s name is smudged out in the lower left hand corner, or how it got to St. Ignatius College.

Nonetheless, the date of October 5th, 1861, is interesting. While Virginia joined the Confederacy in June of 1861 (two months after the start of the war), the state’s citizens were relatively split on whether to stay with the Union or to join the new Confederate States of America. On October 24, 1861, less than three weeks after this inscription, a group of Unionists in Virginia held a successful vote to secede from the Confederate state of Virginia. This territory would ultimately enter the Union as the state of West Virginia in 1863. Thus, this book was looted during one of the most tumultuous times in Virginia and United States history. (Click here to view all the photographs from this book)

Stay tuned next week for a brand new set of photographs. Until then, please help us identify these inscriptions!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s