Building an Interpretation of the World: Mary Louise Pratt and the Dangers of Travel Writing

Sophomore Mark Neuhengen returns with another post about his project to study travel literature in the original St. Ignatius College Library catalog. Here he reflects on how the work of a leading scholar of travel literature, Mary Louise Pratt, helps him think about the issues around his own research topic.


One of Bayard Taylor’s many titles in the original library collection of St. Ignatius College.

When I first starting looking at the St. Ignatius College’s collection of travel literature, I felt that I proved J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic words, “Not all those who wander are lost,” wrong. Wandering through titles ranging from Washington Irving’s The Adventures of Capt. Bonneville, U.S.A. in the Rocky Mountains and the Far West to Bayard Taylor’s Egypt and Iceland in 1874, I felt that I was very much lost. Travel literature seemed such a diverse and expansive genre to the point where any book with a character on a journey could qualify! This overwhelming feeling was quickly allayed after reading the brilliantly written Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation by Mary Louise Pratt.

Throughout her book, Pratt explores how the writings of European explorers created an image of foreign lands that shaped the popular imagination. Pratt’s book is divided by era into three parts. She begins by analyzing scientists who worked between 1750 and 1800. Where previous generations had focused on oceanic exploration in their efforts at circumnavigation of the earth, this new group shifted their attention to interior exploration and laid the foundation for the modern travel literature movement. In the second part, Pratt discusses explorers in the first half of the 19th century who increasingly popularized a new planetary consciousness that reinvented whole regions of the globe, but typically on European terms. She concludes her book by investigating 20th century travel literature and the tropes they utilized. Since the books contained in the St. Ignatius College library were published prior to the 20th century, the first two parts of Pratt’s book were the most useful.

The work of Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) inspired generations of scientists to explore the world.

The work of Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) inspired generations of scientists to explore the world. Source: Wikimedia.

Pratt begins with Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), who the reader might remember from biology class as the scientist who developed an expansive classification system for all living organisms (Homo Sapiens, Bradypus variegatus, Solanum tuberosum). His system, laid out in Systema Naturae (1735), inspired many scientists to set out to categorize the world. These scientists traveled the globe and wrote about the places and things they saw albeit in a scientific context. In other words, the work of these scientists contained descriptions of locations and people, but these descriptions were told in a highly scientific manner. This work, however, created lasting problems. Linnaeus’ students categorized not only beavers and pine trees, but also decided to “categorize” different groups of humans! The categorization charts of these scientists reveal their Eurocentric prejudice: they proclaim the White European governed by laws as the pinnacle of the human species. Encountering and observing people of other races and ethnicities, they assumed them to be driven by emotions or customs instead of law, placing them below the European ideal. While it is easy for people today to look back upon these scientists and condemn them for their bigotry, I believe it is important to take note of their historical context. Being trained in the sciences, these explorers were taught to look at their environments as categories. One should also their note the cultural context in which they were taught. In their post-Enlightenment world, these scientists saw their society as governed by laws, but the people they encountered in other parts of the world had not experienced the same burst of philosophical thought, and subsequently were not seen as governed by the same laws. These writers were not able to move away from their historical context, and subsequently created a hierarchy of humanity.

It would make sense for a scientific endeavor to kick off the age of travel literature. The scientific drive to understand and explain the natural world would be the perfect catalyst to set off this new “Age of Exploration.” Due to the Scientific Revolution, science was becoming a force of change. The racial problems created by Linnaeus’ work bring up an important point that has implications in many fields of study. It is disturbing that the “objective” system of science pushed individuals to create something, in hindsight, as subjective as a racial hierarchy. I find it important to consider that science is another tool of fallible humans that subsequently makes science vulnerable to grievous error. This error subsequently affected the travel literature of later time periods by creating the racial hierarchies mentioned earlier. With the supposedly objective system of science backing them up, future explorers would travel to new places with the idea of superiority already engrained into their thinking. I believe that this potentially created a vicious cycle in which new explorers reiterated the racial hierarchies to their audiences.

An example of the "objective" classification systems designed by scientists inspired by Linnaeus. Source:

An example of the “objective” classification systems designed by scientists inspired by Linnaeus. Source: William & Mary University, Institute for Historical Biology

Alexander von Humboldt was one of the 19th century's most popular travel writers. Source: Wikimedia.

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was one of the 19th century’s most popular travel writers. Source: Wikimedia.

I find the phenomena of the travel literature creating the image of foreign lands in the minds of native-born Europeans to be fascinating. In a world without extensive media, it is almost mind blowing to consider that these travel books would be the only exposure to these lands that Europeans would experience. In the contemporary period, if one wanted to learn about the Great Pyramids of Giza one could easily find thousands of online articles and photographs. This is not a privilege shared by those in the 19th century who would have to wait for a travel writer to write a book on the pyramids. Pratt explores the very real consequences of explorers’ framing lands in specific ways. For example, the Prussian explorer Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) traveled extensively throughout Latin America and subsequently wrote about his journeys. It is important to note that Humboldt was working within the Romantic era, which emphasized the emotional aspects of existence. This and other reasons influenced his decision to describe Latin America as “primal.” While Humboldt extensively described the minerals, plants, and trees, he barely mentioned the inhabitants of the land. As a result, he opened the door for two general categories of explorers. One was the romantic explorer who traveled there for more or less sentimental reasons to experience the destinations in all of their “primal” glory and majesty. The other was the capitalist who saw every tree and mineral as product to extract and sell. Thus, these images of the world could be disastrous in the hands of tourists and capitalists who knew Latin America only as a land of valuable minerals instead of a land of diverse and beautiful cultures.

Everyone believes that his or her interpretation of the world is the correct one. European explorers ended up creating an image of the world, while true in their eyes, which did not reflect the actual reality of the lands they visited for the people who lived there. It is also fascinating that the images constructed by the explorers, many of which revolved around racial stereotypes, end up contradicting themselves. Pratt explores how Mary Kingsley portrayed the Congo as a place of wonder and excitement. “Kingsley depicts herself discovering her swamps not by looking down at them or even walking around them, but by sloshing zestfully through them in a boat or up to her neck in water and slime, swathed in thick skirts and wearing her boots continuously for weeks on end,” Pratt writes (p.209). But such an image of the Congo does not mesh well with Joseph Conrad’s description of the Congo as a dangerous and harsh environment in The Heart of Darkness.

A final point to notice in Pratt’s work is that there were female explorers in this time period. When one thinks of historic explorers he or she probably is reminded of famous names such as Christopher Columbus and Francisco Pizzaro. These explorers are typically male. One can also look at popular fictional explorers, such as Indiana Jones, and again see the archetype of the male explorer. While this image still is powerful in the popular imagination, it is important to note that there were also female explorers. English traveller Maria Graham (1785-1842) wrote extensively about her travels through South America and the Indian subcontinent, and the half-Peruvian Flora Tristan (1803-1844) wrote about Peru and poor areas of Europe. Pratt explains how the viewpoints of female travellers differed from their male counterparts, but does not believe that there was generally a single “feminine” perspective in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travel literature. Through learning about these female explorers, my original hypothesis, that women were not traveling, was proved false. I had based this upon my first examination of the library’s catalog. While the St. Ignatius College library did not feature travel books written by female authors, there were women writing about their travels during the same time period. So why are female travel writers not to be found in this Jesuit college library? This question requires further research.

Following my reading of this book, I will now be going through the titles book by book so that I can categorize them by the period in which they were written, their date of publishing, and the motivation of the author for travelling (such as going on a pilgrimage, scientific exploration, or commercial mission). Finding the motivation of the author may be the most daunting aspect because nearly a third of the titles are in French, a language in which I am not fluent. While the language barrier may be difficult, I never let anything get in the way of learning something new.

It seems that I am not wandering and lost any more! Through reading Pratt’s book, I have learned much about the nature of modern travel literature and its historical roots. By exploring how the predominantly white, male Europeans ended up developing the image of foreign lands in the minds of their fellow Europeans, I believe that I have come to appreciate the real consequences books can have. What might this have meant for the Jesuits of St. Ignatius College who were educating their students in a rapidly growing city full of immigrants. It would be important for them to create a strong identity for the students in relationship to other groups in the world. What effect did the travel literature in the St. Ignatius College library have on this process of identity formation? Moving forward I am excited to look at each book and learn why the author decided put his pen to paper – and what the repercussions of that might be for his audience on the west side of Chicago in the late nineteenth century.


Index Librorum Prohibitorum

In the second installment of CCIH Fellow Gustav Roman and intern Roman Krasnitsky’s research into heretical books in the original library collection at St. Ignatius College, Roman looks at the presence of two copies of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum in the collection and their significance over time.

“Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads.” – George Bernard Shaw

The nineteenth century’s mammoth surge of Papal Encyclicals concerned with the devilish workings of conspiracy, sabotage, heresy, and the reactive necessity of censorship from the Catholic Church presents an interesting backdrop for the building of the St. Ignatius College library. In trying to understand the ideas that would be classified as heretical in a Jesuit college’s library, we discover no easy path in coming to a sound definition grounded in historical Catholic understandings of general literary and theological indecency.

Where the Encyclicals give us an easy sense of context in theory, what was done with them in practice is less clear. We know by looking today that our excerpts of Papal authority on the matter of censorship are not proud moments for the church—it seems to be an era of deeply realized but unfocused Church hysteria. Our question is how these missives from the global church were received on a local level.

The Encyclicals directed at the censorship of particular content in books are never wholly limited to that. They are often interested in such a variety of fears that it’s hard to see what nineteenth-century Jesuit faculty and students would make of them; not that a piece of rather hysteric intrigue directed at uncovering plots made by dastardly Prussian bishops wouldn’t have interest, but it may not be a directly preached social reality to anyone in an American Jesuit college in 1870 in the heart of a growing metropolitan landscape. This would be a question for the Bishop of area. Bishops were the real means of distribution for Encyclicals, based on varying levels of importance found in the place where they are stationed. Just as Bishops today empathize or underplay various statements from the Vatican, so, too, did Bishops have the authority to do so then. Unlike today, however, in 1870 clear alternative means of distribution for those who sought it out did not so easily exist.

Cover of the 1870 edition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum given by the Missouri Province to St. Ignatius College.

Cover of the 1870 edition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum given by the Missouri Province to St. Ignatius College. Collection of Loyola University Libraries.

The clearest framework and tangible point of reference in trying to understand a Catholic worldview of limited literary intake and the harsh didactic language of the harmful repercussions of these “books which openly oppose the teaching of Christ” would rest in the reception of the fittingly titled Index Librorum Prohibitorum (translating eloquently to the List of Prohibited Books). At least this would seem to be the case. The book gives us exactly the clear hard facts that the Encyclicals themselves were often blurry on. That is to say, it tells good Catholics what they should not read. A dry, seemingly never quite exhaustive—even if exhausting—Latin text of well over 350 pages of small-font print by 1870, the Index stated title upon title, from Immanuel Kant to Martin Luther to the ominous sounding independent titles like The Spirit of Popery.

The Index had been in the works well since the ninth century, as early Christian tradition shows us, in unofficial productions of lists restricting various blasphemous or simply untrusted texts. Drafts were produced until the 1559 appearance of Pope Paul IV’s clear incarnation known as the Pauline Index. A slight refinement during the Council of Trent produced the more relaxed (in the inquisitional definition) and fittingly titled, Tridentine Index. It aimed to clear up any controversy produced by Paul’s draft. Twenty different editions appeared up until 1966 when the gigantic list ceased to be added to and was never again republished.

Much scholarship has been done on the Index to show its evolution and the patterns in how it grew, as well as who added the most. Our question for the Index by the time of 1870, within its last century of existence, is just how relevant it was to the library and what it can tell us about the definition of heretical texts. Two editions of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (1841 and 1870) resided on the shelves of the library of St. Ignatius College. We know from the surviving 1870 edition that it was gifted to the college by the Missouri Province, the Jesuits who founded St. Ignatius and, at the time, oversaw most of the schools and houses in the middle portion of the country.

In the c.1878 catalog, the two editions of the Index were shelved with other "miscellaneous" titles like The Magician's Own Book (1857). Image from Hathitrust.

In the c.1878 catalog, the two editions of the Index were shelved with other “miscellaneous” titles like The Magician’s Own Book (1857). Image from Hathitrust.

The surviving 1870 copy is clean and undamaged. No marginalia reveal the thoughts of Jesuit commentators or anyone else. There is no apparent evidence of it being checked out extensively or closely read by any possible librarians or censors. What exists in the library is a tightly bound and only slightly age-worn work in which the large list of titles stretches well across pages and pages of text. The work itself was not easily dealt with by anyone, or so it would seem. It was placed on a shelf of seeming misfit titles, sandwiched between books like Excelsior, or, Essays on Politeness, Education, and the Means of Attaining Success in Life (1873), The Elements of Tachygraphy (1874), and The Magician’s Own Book, or The Whole Art of Conjuring (1857). Not even considering the possible heretical fit that the final title could stir, the library appeared not only to be unsure of where to place the Index, but also seem not to have been phased by its very existence.

Likely displayed on library shelves more as a reference tool, or a gesture of outward piety and obedience towards the Province, the Index gives a sense of infallible authority shelved amongst oddities and superstition. Not that 1870 gives us a golden age, if you will, for the Index. Papal shifts find this and the years leading up to it as quieter times in the Catholic discourse on censorship. Although a reason for this shelving of the book can just as easily be placed toward the internal reason of Jesuitical rebellion, another reason could just as easily be from the Vatican itself. The very language of censorship as a main focus had calmed down drastically by 1870, with the Papacy of Pius IX focused more on housekeeping than possible conspiracy. The harshest of his 16 Encyclicals to a modern reader is likely Levate, which deals with affliction in the Church and harshly condemns the secular, governmental college—something St. Ignatius escaped.

Still unclear is how Bishops and Provincials interacted with and how a rising college navigated these patterns of Papal thought. In the face of professors’ orders, librarians’ meddling, and students’ desires, how might the Jesuits have possibly challenged the constructs of censorship to produce such a well-rounded library? These questions remain as we further explore these modes of textual interaction. The Index Librorum Prohibitorum gives us an exhaustive list of heretical candidates, but our question coming out of this is what the library considered to be heresy and obscenity in the face of this seeming dismissal—intentional or otherwise—of such an authoritative source.

The Letter of the Law

Over the course of the semester, Erik Berner has been researching the books in the Legislation section of the St. Ignatius College library catalog to determine if the Jesuits intended to found a law school in the 1870s. In a previous post he concluded they did not have the books to do so in 1870. In wanting to understand why the Loyola Law School was founded nearly forty years later in 1909, he looked at the motivations of another Jesuit school, Marquette University in Milwaukee, in founding its law school for inspiration. Since that post, Loyola’s Assistant University Archivist Ashley Howdeshell brought a very interesting letter to Erik’s notice …  

Since my initial research and blog post on the history of Loyola’s law school, I have found, at the recommendation of Ashley Howdeshell, Assistant University Archivist at Loyola, a helpful book entitled, The First 100 Years: The Centennial History of Loyola University Chicago School of Law by Thomas M. Haney, detailing the history of Loyola’s law school. In 1906, the Trustees of what was then St Ignatius College considered expansion of the college into a university after thirty-six years of established success among the immigrant population of Chicago. A group of Catholics practicing law in Chicago (two of them graduates of St. Ignatius and another a graduate of Georgetown’s law school) approached President Henry J. Dumbach, S.J. and the Trustees about founding a law school as the first professional school in the expansion. Below is a copy of the letter that they sent to the Trustees. The request was unanimously approved.

These ambitious lawyers were ready to establish the law school immediately in 1906, but St. Ignatius had already begun classes for the year. It was also at the start of a period of transition that would lead to the renaming of the institution as Loyola University in 1909 and the transfer of the college from Roosevelt Road to Rogers Park in 1912. Rather than immediately establishing itself as the Loyola University Department of Law (which it would be re-christened upon its incorporation into the university in 1909), the institution opened in September 1908 as the Lincoln College of Law, the first law school in the United States named after Abraham Lincoln. Classes were, much as at Marquette, offered at night at the new school’s surprisingly prime location near City Hall and the Cook County Courthouse. The new law school catered to working Catholics and immigrants who could not receive an education at the exclusive Northwestern or University of Chicago. Though what would eventually become the DePaul University College of Law had been in operation (as Illinois College of Law) since 1897, it was not incorporated into DePaul until 1912, making the Loyola University Department of Law the first Catholic law school in the city of Chicago.

Letter to Fr. Dumbach requesting a Law School, page 1 date original: January 13, 1906 date digital: May 2016 Loyola University Chicago Archives and Special Collections. Vice President's Diary of St. Ignatius College. page 171-172. Scanned at 600 dpi color

Letter to Fr. Dumbach requesting a Law School (13 January 1906), page 1
Courtesy of Loyola University Chicago Archives and Special Collections. Vice President’s Diary of St. Ignatius College. page 171-172.

Letter to Fr. Dumbach requesting a Law School, page 2 date original: January 13, 1906 date digital: May 2016 Loyola University Chicago Archives and Special Collections. Vice President's Diary of St. Ignatius College. page 171-172. Scanned at 600 dpi color

Letter to Fr. Dumbach requesting a Law School, page 2
Courtesy of Loyola University Chicago Archives and Special Collections. Vice President’s Diary of St. Ignatius College. page 171-172.

Exploring Travel Literature at a Jesuit College

A plate from volume 5 of Heinrich Barth's Travels and discoveries in North and Central Africa (London, 1857-58)

A plate from volume 5 of Heinrich Barth’s Travels and discoveries in North and Central Africa (London, 1857-58)

This summer rising sophomore Mark Neuhengen will be studying travel literature in the original St. Ignatius College Library catalog. Mark is double majoring in History and Religious Studies with minors in Islamic World Studies and Arabic Language and Culture. He is excited to join the JLPP team and to learn all he can about how nineteenth-century Europeans and Americans saw and wrote about other nations.

Ernest Hemingway, that icon of American literature, once said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” A quick overview of the “Travels” section of the c.1878 St. Ignatius College library catalog reveals a plethora of amazing and meaningful journeys. By looking at the destinations found in the titles, one can imagine the sights these European explorers must have seen in person, and readers experienced vicariously. One can only begin to imagine how explorers accustomed to the European and American countryside felt about exploring such exotic (to them) new lands as Palestine, China, Central Africa, and Iceland.

While one can detect a sense of romanticism and adventure through the titles, one also anticipates the negative sentiments these authors might have held as indicated by their harsh and racist terminology. It is hard for me not to cringe a little at titles such as The Lands of the Saracens: or Pictures of Palestine, Asia Minor, Sicily, Spain and Wah-to-yah, and the Taos trail: or Prairie-Travel and Scalp Dances. While we might find this language outdated and derogatory today, I believe that it is an important window into the mindset of nineteenth-century world travelers. It will be interesting to learn about how European and American explorers and missionaries saw people who they deemed “non-western.” In my opinion, to learn how Europeans and Americans saw the “other” in the nineteenth century can help us learn about how the “other” changes throughout history. What was deemed the “other” in nineteenth-century America may not be the same at twenty-first century America, but we might be able to take what we learned from nineteenth-century Americans and Europeans and apply it to studying today’s “other.”

Another important thing I picked up from the book list is the lack of female voices. Whether this is due to the patriarchal nature of nineteenth-century society or the lack of women on these travels will only be discovered out through more research. If I had to guess the reason why there are no women writers, I would say that it was because they did not travel. Using the little preliminary knowledge I have, I would assume that husbands would be wary of bringing their wives to faraway and potentially dangerous locations. This sentiment towards women can be seen as a sign of the patriarchy. I am usually against broad generalizations, so it may be possible that the Jesuits did not collect the writings of female explorers. The reason for this may relate to St. Ignatius College originally being a men’s college, and the Jesuits wished the students to be familiar with male literature. In light of this, I’m interested to see how these predominantly male explorers portrayed foreign women. Did the same societal conventions shape their view? One can relate this back to the study of “the other” mentioned earlier.

A final aspect that I found enjoyable in the catalog was the inclusion of familiar American authors. Throughout the section I found works by Washington Irving, Henry David Thoreau, and Lewis and Clark. It is interesting that even by 1878 these authors were already becoming classic authors. While I am not familiar with him at the writing of this blog, the name Bayard Taylor appears nine times in a row. He should be someone to keep researching.

A plate from Bayard Taylor's A Visit to India, China, and Japan, in the year 1853 (New York, 1872)

A plate from Bayard Taylor’s A Visit to India, China, and Japan, in the year 1853 (New York, 1872)

I believe that the Travels section of the library catalog will be an interesting one to research over the next few months. I have a feeling that it will be intriguing to see how these European and American travelers saw their world. It should also be fascinating to see what they felt was important to include and to ruminate on what they felt was unimportant. In general, I hope you will join me on my adventure into the world of nineteenth-century explorers and missionaries — and the teachers and students at a Jesuit College that read about them!

Ancient Irish Histories

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we are reprinting a post about a rather anti-Irish book from the blog of Jim Naughton ‘15, who was a JLPP intern in the summer of 2014. Jim is now enrolled in Loyola’s Law School.

Another great book has surfaced in Loyola’s University Archives and Special Collections that raises some interesting questions about authorship, provenance, and readership. The book, Ancient Irish Histories, includes the work of four separate authors complied and edited by Sir James Ware.

Front cover of the 1809 reprint of the 1633 first edition of Sir James Ware's Ancient Irish Histories.

Front cover of the 1809 reprint of the 1633 first edition of Sir James Ware’s Ancient Irish Histories.

So who was Sir James Ware and why did he decide to take the time to compile and edit this set of Irish histories? Ware was born in 1594 in Dublin to a British administrator (also named James Ware) who served as a Secretary to the Lord Deputy of Ireland and later as an MP (Member of Parliament). Due to his father’s high position in government, Ware attended Trinity College studying Latin and Greek as well as gaining an interest in Irish history. After college, Ware began a political career but still tried to publish scholarly tracts, a process that was interrupted by violent conflicts that erupted in Ireland and Britain.

This conflict was known as the War of Three Kingdoms. (In the Irish theatre of the war, it was more commonly known as the Eleven Years’ War.) For more detailed information on the War of Three Kingdoms you can visit the BBC who published a concise and interesting article on the War. So what side did Ware fall on during this conflict? He supported James Butler, the 1st Duke of Ormond, who fought for the British monarchy against the various other factions in Ireland. For a fuller account of Ware’s life and his activities during the War of Three Kingdoms follow this link.

Sir James Ware (1594-1666)

Sir James Ware (1594-1666)

We now know that Ware supported a Duke, who in turn supported the British government against the Irish. Now we have to ask ourselves: what were the other authors attitudes towards Ireland? Did Ware’s stance bias his version of Ireland’s history?

Edmund Spenser, author of A View of the State of Ireland, was an English poet who moved to Ireland to serve English nobility. Spenser was notably opposed to the Irish and argued that it would take the destruction of Irish language and customs to put Ireland under England’s rule. Alongside Spenser’s works were the works of St. Edmund Campion S.J., author of A History of Ireland, which was “written from an English standpoint it gave much offence to the native Irish, and was severely criticized…” (from the Catholic Encyclopedia)

Meredith Hanmer and Henry of Marlborough are both included in Ware’s Ancient Irish Histories but their views are not as clear as Spenser’s and Campion’s. However, it is obvious that Ware’s history has a fair amount of British bias and an interesting story behind why Ware would pick these particular authors of Irish history.

How did this book made it to Loyola? Perhaps you can help us answer that question by making sense of the inscription below:

Inscription on the flyleaf of Loyola's copy of Ware's Ancient Irish Histories. It looks like an address, but where?

Inscription on the flyleaf of Loyola’s copy of Ware’s Ancient Irish Histories. It looks like an address, but where?

Finally, who would have been interested in this title when it was brought to Loyola? This book could have been used in a history class centering around Ireland, but do you think the professors at Loyola would have used a book that has this sort of bias? Perhaps this book was used and some of the inflammatory remarks found in its pages were meant to spark discussion? What do you think this book was used for and who do you think would have checked this book out?

Want to read a copy of Ware’s book for yourself? There is a copy available on Hathitrust for free. Click here.

Did the Jesuits intend to found a law school in 1870?

This is the second post in Senior English and History major Erik Berner’s series on his research into the Legislation division of the original St. Ignatius College library catalog this semester.

First annual banquet of the Lincoln College of Law, St. Ignatius College. Held at the Great Northern Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, on February 12, 1909. Collection of Loyola University Chicago Archives and Special Collections.

First annual banquet of the Lincoln College of Law, St. Ignatius College. Held at the Great Northern Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, on February 12, 1909. Students at Loyola had to wait nearly forty years after the 1870 founding for a law school. Collection of Loyola University Chicago Archives and Special Collections.

So far, based on my research, I believe that upon the establishment of St. Ignatius College in 1870, the Jesuits had no intention of establishing what we would call today a law school. In order to understand why this is, I had to delve into the history of legal education in the United States. Key to my conclusion about the Jesuits initial intentions are three major threads: the state of law education prior to 1870 (both the year Loyola was founded and the year that marked the start of Harvard Law School’s method of “modern” legal education), the subsequent development of more modern and professionalized modes of legal education, and the history of Loyola’s own law school (which was eventually founded in 1908). The parallel founding of a law school at fellow Jesuit university Marquette in Milwaukee can help us conjecture the purposes of Loyola’s law school when it was finally established.

Prior to 1870, law schools as we know them know, as entities affiliated with universities, were very few. The major method of legal education was through the apprenticeship system, which often produced lawyers of dubious quality. Apprentice standards and reading lists were far from standardized and bar admission officers were often more concerned with granting favors to their friends than with the quality of the lawyers they admitted to the bar. Supplementing this were some startup law schools of various educational methods not associated with universities and not required for admittance to the bar, as well as lectureships on legal issues at established colleges and universities that often served more to prepare students to proverbially “not sound like an idiot” when talking about law than to actually train lawyers. It was in 1870 that Christopher Columbus Langdell instituted his influential case method of instruction at Harvard, revitalizing the professional school within the university with a new pedagogical approach devoted to the production of lawyers trained on case precedents in the classroom rather than in the courtroom.

Reactions to, and variations of, this mode would be integral in the subsequent founding of many other law schools around the country. Some were founded with the intention of being part of a university while others would later be subsumed by one. While St. Louis University’s law school dated back to 1843 and Georgetown launched its law school in 1870, the Jesuits in Chicago appear to have been focused on liberal arts education instead. It is likely that their collection of secular and canon law was more for their own philosophical and educational use; Jesuits are notorious for their desire to learn everything about everything, and teach it as well.

The next question that I would ask about Loyola’s law school, founded when St Ignatius College became Loyola University in 1908, is what caused the Jesuits to wish to create it then? It is helpful to look to the north. The Jesuits were doing the same thing at the same time in Milwaukee. In 1908, Marquette also became a university, with a law school being established. Both Loyola and Marquette’s schools were primarily night schools at first. According to Hugh C. MacGill and R. Kent Newmyer, Marquette’s law school was established to give often poor ethnic Catholics from Milwaukee a legal education (albeit, one that was viewed less favorably by the Anglo establishment) which was refused to them by the rural University of Wisconsin. The next step in my research about the history of Loyola’s law school will be to decide whether I think the same dynamic was happening in Chicago, in reaction to different influential Anglo-Protestant schools, Northwestern and the University of Chicago. Complicating Loyola’s perceived parallel to Marquette is the existence of the Illinois College of Law at the time, which would, in 1912, be subsumed by DePaul. I hope to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the two by the time I am done with my research.

Want to learn more? Helpful readings include Robert Bocking Stevens’s Law School: Legal Education in America from the 1850s to the 1980s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983) and Hugh C. MacGill and R. Kent Newmyer’s essay, “Legal Education and Legal Thought, 1790-1920,” in the Cambridge History of Law in America Volume 2: The Long Nineteenth Century (1789–1920) ed. Michael Grossberg and Christopher L. Tomlins (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 36-67. You can also find a short timeline history of the Loyola School of Law here.

The Benziger Bibliothek: One Book in the Mississippi Valley

Ramonat Scholar and JLPP intern Dan Snow delves into the curious history of one of the many hundreds of books listed in the 1840s Jesuit booktrade ledger that he and Brendan Courtois have been working on this year.

On February 25th, Heinz Nauer from the University of Lucerne gave a talk on the international reach of the Benziger publishing house at KU Leuven. Benziger was one of the nineteenth-century’s major international Catholic publishing houses. It was based then in Einsiedeln, Switzerland (though they still operate today, they are based in Cincinnati). In our work with the 1840s St. Louis book trade ledger, we have encountered Benziger numerous times. In light of Mr. Nauer’s talk last week, I decided to look into the dealings the St. Louis Jesuits had with Benziger.

From January 1843 to June 1849, the Jesuits placed seven orders with the firm. These sales are attributed in the ledger to Nicholas and Charles Benziger, sons of company’s founder Joseph Charles. Though there are not many orders throughout the ledger, each one is significant, often times taking many pages to cover and costing hundreds of dollars. The largest order was the first one, placed in January of 1843.

A typical work published by Benziger in 1910, though the name “Benziger Brothers” suggests the company was then named after Nicholas and Charles (Image: PaxHouse)

A typical work published by Benziger in 1910, though the name “Benziger Brothers” suggests the company was then named after Nicholas and Charles (Image: PaxHouse)

This order took up nine pages of the ledger, and covered a huge amount of texts, most of which were in German (though some French and English texts can be found). While trying to compare this order to the books the Jesuits sold, one work in particular stood out. Only one copy of “Bibliothek vorz Predigten” was bought from Benziger in January 1843, making it easier to track its movement from the publishing company to the Jesuits and to whoever purchased it. The interesting thing about this specific book, however, is that it seems to have moved around quite a bit: the Jesuits marked it as returned when they first sold it, and then sold it again a few months later.

Bought from Benziger as “Bibliothek vorz Predigten,” our book was likely Neue Bibliothek vorzüglicher Predigten des In- und Auslandes, a multi-volume collection of religious sermons (Copy on Google Books here). I’m not sure if the listed dates in the ledger are when orders were made, or when books arrived, but regardless, it took the Jesuits a few months to sell their new copy of the Bibliothek. Sell it they did, though, in March 1843 to a Rev. Mr. Dahmen, who is listed as working in a seminary. Fr. Francis Xavier Dahmen, C.M. was born March 23, 1789 in Düren, in the modern German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. He had fought in the Napoleonic Wars, and – perhaps seeking a respite from Europe – was sent as a missionary to the Mississippi Valley, arriving in Baltimore in July 1816. Traveling across land and by flatboat, Dahmen crisscrossed the US before reaching Bardstown, Kentucky in late 1816. Dahmen would first become a deacon, and then decided to become a Vincentian priest and received ordination on September 5, 1819. Dahmen spent the next few decades working as a priest for various parishes in the Mississippi Valley, including posts at Sainte Genevieve and Old Mines, Missouri.

The Parish Church of St. Vincent, completed in 1845 (Image: City of St. Louis)

The Parish Church of St. Vincent, completed in 1845 (Image: City of St. Louis)

The ability to speak French, German, and some English made Dahmen a versatile priest in the St. Louis Diocese. He could tend both to French colonists who first dotted the region and to the influx of German settlers who came later in the 1830s and 1840s. With the appointment of Peter Richard Kenrick as coadjutor bishop in 1841, the diocese pushed for a new seminary closer to the city proper and separate from the Vincentian seminary in Perryville, Missouri. In a small building next to what would become St. Vincent’s Church in St. Louis, Kenrick established a separate diocesan seminary. However, the seminary shared the same lot that was designated for the new church of St. Vincent’s and the placement of Fr. Dahmen, C.M. as pastor of that church in 1845 ensured the Vincentians would play a heavy role in this seminary as well. This is where we would find Fr. Dahmen in 1843, serving the not-quite-finished St. Vincent’s Church and working at the seminary next door. This is where the Jesuits sent the book the Bibliothek that he ordered. However, the book soon found its way back to the Jesuits from the Vincentians. It did not move again for a few months.

In May 1843, the Bibliothek was sent to another German priest, a Fr. G. H. Ostlangenberg (sometimes written as Ortlangenberg, sometimes with the names C.H., C.J., and sometimes as Caspar or Jasper). There is less information available on Father Ostlangenberg, but we do know that he served in the Mississippi Valley region during the late 1830s and into the 1840s. In the early 1830s he served at St. Stephen’s Church in Indian Creek, Missouri, and found himself in Saint Clair County, Illinois working at Shoal Creek and then St. Libory in the early 1840s. According to the Metropolitan Catholic Almanac and Laity’s Directory for 1844, Fr. Ostlangenberg was one of two priests working in the parish of St. Michael’s in Galena, IL. This is where the Benziger Bibliothek would end up, finally ending its trip across the Mississippi region.

While there is much to be gained from a macro view of the book ledger, the story of the movement of this one text across Missouri is also valuable. It highlights the individuals who were actually using the books that the Jesuits ordered, and lends insight into the uses of these texts. Rather than just seeing the names of books and customers, we can use specific works like the Bibliothek to learn about formation of St. Vincent’s Parish in St. Louis and the seminary that Fr. Dahmen worked at, or the parish of Fr. Ostlangenberg in Galena. These figures speak to the varied character of the Mississippi Valley in the 1840s, and personalize a ledger that on the surface appears statistical and cold, but in reality contains a multitude of personalities and stories. By comparing the orders the Jesuits made and the sales they listed, countless stories like this could easily be drawn from the data of the ledger.

Censor Librorum

This semester, CCIH Fellow Gustav Roman and intern Roman Krasnitsky are researching the place of heretical books in the original library collection of St. Ignatius College.  In what he calls “Part 1 of the JLPP Heresy Saga,” Krasnitsky reflects here on the idea of the heretical book and the role of papal encyclicals in shaping Catholic responses to “bad” books.

“Books which openly oppose the teaching of Christ are to be burned. Even more importantly, the eyes and minds of all must be kept from books, which do so more stealthily and deceitfully.”

Pope Pius VII, Diu Statis, 1800

To many, the concept of religiously-driven literary censorship is a wholly foreign and antiquated one. On the rare occasion when someone actually thinks of it, it is usually in the ambiguous context of seemingly irrelevant events occurring centuries ago, or in some backwards dictatorship on the other side of the globe. My experience with this issue is much more immediate.

In 2013, I entered Loyola University as a seminarian for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. The summer between my freshman and sophomore year, I got a job at the seminary, working maintenance. Halfway through the summer, my janitorial duties took a somewhat unusual turn. I was pulled away from scrubbing and vacuuming and tasked with a different sort of “cleaning:” purging the seminary’s library of all “questionable” books. The library had inherited a 2,000 book donation after the death of a benefactor theologian, and I was to weed out the heterodox from the orthodox, simultaneously combing through the library’s existing collection. While this was a welcome break from the usual physical labor, deep-down I was perturbed; it seemed an unhealthy anachronism to engage in such censorship. My internal dilemma only grew when I learned that while some of the rejected books would be sold, others (ones deemed especially pernicious) would be destroyed.

Luther, Chittister, and Küng went into sealed black bags and eventually to the landfill. Theologians of non-Christian religions were consigned to the flames. Any who have been through the seminary system know the danger of questioning orders; you’re likely to be branded a heretic yourself if you do. So I feigned eagerness and did as I was told, secretly wincing each time I sent a book to its demise. During times when my clerically-clad overseer was out of the room, I would pick up an interesting looking tome and read little sections; a few books I even managed to smuggle out and save on the false pretext of “wanting to use them for kindling at home.”

A few months afterwards, I left seminary, no longer able to put up with the repressive atmosphere imposed within. My experience as censor librorum stayed with me. When I got the internship with the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project, and discovered that my friend Gustav, also an intern, was starting a sub-project to examine the role of heterodox books within the library of St. Ignatius College (founded in 1870), I signed on right away to work alongside him.

Initially, we intended to start by identifying the heretical books within the reconstructed collection of the library, but immediately realized it wouldn’t be so simple. To get to that point, we needed to take a step back and first form at least a working definition of what the Catholic Church considered “heretical” in the period in question. This restricted the sources which could be used to assemble such a definition to the 1870s on the late end (disqualifying such otherwise tempting, damnatory papal documents as Pius X’s Pascendi Dominici Gregis and Lamentabili Sane). The early cutoff point was set at 1800, marking the ascent to the Petrine throne of Pius VII and the Pope’s return to Rome after his predecessor’s capture and removal from the Eternal City by Napoleon. This gave us approximately 80 years of sources to work with (78 to be exact, as we set the end point at the death of Pius IX in 1878).

The 1800s being the era of the codification of papal infallibility, and the continuing centralization of the Roman Church, we decided that the best place to start would be the official declarations of the popes themselves – the papal encyclicals. Five popes reigned between 1800 and 1878: Pius VII, Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, and Pius IX. Between them, they promulgated a total of 59 encyclicals. Going through all 59, we identified 20 which had at least some relevance to our topic of literary censorship in conjunction with the wider topic of heresy. Reading through those 20 was truly an eye-opening experience where we were able to glean an insight into the state of Church, the threats facing it, the fears of its leaders and their sometimes knee-jerk reactions. The very language of the encyclicals was defiant and militant, with lines peppered throughout such as: “…see that they are on their guard against seduction, so that they may shudder at the evil opinions propagated by these miserable times and at the books inimical to religion, morals, and public peace, from which this foul crop of wickedness has grown.” (Leo XII, Charitate Christi, 1825)

Pius VII went even further by ordering the sequestering and burning of any books deemed contrary to Christian teaching (see quote at start of the article). It seems that the general sentiment in the Church of the time (at least as expressed by the Roman Pontiffs) was that of distrust, pessimism, and condemnation. The frantic censorship of books was more-and-more imposed on the universal Church by the highest religious authority in existence with mandates like “…take from the faithful both the vernacular Bibles which have been published contrary to the sanctions of the Roman Pontiffs and all other books which are proscribed and condemned.” (Gregory XVI, Inter Praecipuas, 1844) After parsing the encyclicals, we found that the most referenced guide for censorship therein is the Index Librorum Prohibitorum – a list of books (first compiled in 1559 under Paul IV) forbidden to be read by Catholics. Leo XII references the Index by name in Ubi Primum, Pius VIII in Traditi Humilitati, and Gregory XVI in Mirari Vos, and Inter Praecipuas.

The significance for our project of these references to the Index are considerable. A cursory inspection of the St. Ignatius collection revealed an 1873 edition of the selfsame Index. Moreover, the delicate tome appears to have been given to St. Ignatius College by the Midwest Jesuit Province. Was this perhaps a subtle suggestion from the provincial superior to the fledgling Jesuit university? And how did the Jesuits in charge of the growing collection respond? Did they wholeheartedly accept the papal charge to “…destroy the plague of bad books” and ensure that the “…criminal sources of depravity perish in flames?” (Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, 1832)

Stay tuned as we assemble our 1870s definition of “heretical” and find out how our very own Jesuits treated the works unfortunate enough to fall under that demarcation.

(Trying to) Balance the Books

This is the second blog post in a series by senior History and Finance major Brendan Courtois on an ledger documenting the Jesuit-run booktrade of the Missouri Valley in the 1840s.

In order to better understand the book trade of the Jesuits of the Missouri Province from 1842 to 1849, I applied modern accounting methods to the data recorded in the surviving ledger. I identified a two years period (April 1842 to March 1844) to use as a test case. Rather than employing the specific techniques utilized by companies today, which require precision in timing and amount, I turned to modern accounting concepts, such as cash flow and inventory turnover. (These specific terms are anachronistic to the period of the ledger, but were understood in terms of the amount of cash and inventory.) If Jesuits ran this book trade today, their financials would have to keep track of the inventory, sales, investments, and overhead. They would have to make sure they correctly attributed these numbers to the time period in which they occurred or were assigned. The surviving data from the book trade, however, does not allow for such a full reconstruction, so I have to scale back my analysis to what is actually recorded.

This ledger covers the years 1842-1849 throughout its five sections (Cash, Ledger, Bills, Sales, and Expenses). As I mentioned in my previous post, these sections don’t exactly line up with our modern definitions of the words. The sections all cover different timelines as illustrated in this chart.

Sections of the Jesuit Book Trade Ledger, collection of St. Louis University.

Sections of the Jesuit Book Trade Ledger, collection of St. Louis University.

There are several different things going on in the ledger, but a rough reordering of the data reveals that the Jesuits used it to record a) the books they purchased from wholesalers and printers and b) the books they sold to various Catholic individuals, parishes, and institutions throughout the Midwest.


In order to gain some insight into the operation of the Jesuit book trade, I compared several years from the Bills and Sales sections of the account because they generally represent the revenue and cost of the financial transactions of the trade. I have ignored other expenses, such as shipping, that would increase costs because I haven’t found an efficient way to allocate them, or how the creators of the ledger allocated them. It is possible that these expenses were thought of as separate and not rolled into the overall cost as the accounting practices of the time were not yet standardized. In addition, the Bills and Sales sections have the longest spans of corresponding data in common, which make them a good starting point to compare income to costs for the trade.

As a test case, I compared the monthly costs for the Bills and Sales sections from April 1842 to March 1844. In order to gather these number totals I had to make some assumptions about the allocation of the numbers into particular months. It is sometimes difficult to tell in the account which transaction belongs in which month because the labeling on months and transactions is not consistent. On multiple occasions a transaction has a particular date that is in a different month than the one listed at the top of the page. In these cases, I utilized the date next to the entry for the time of the sale. (I used the overriding header of the page as date of sale in all cases where the individual transaction date was not recorded.) In addition, the presentation of numbers is not consistent throughout the document. For example, from June 1843 – July 1845 in the Sales section the sales are not totaled for each page, but for the rest of that section they are. Finally, for ease of addition, I did not include any ½ cent entries to my calculations and rounded down, which may also skew the numbers.

While the numbers in the test case are not conclusive, they suggest general trends in the data. From April 1842 to March 1844, the Bills section totaled $4,039.37 and the Sales section totaled $4,624.18. (PDF of breakdown by month Accounts 1842-1844.) This broadly means the Jesuits took in more money than they spent. Of course, this is not counting any other attributed expenses such as labor, shipping costs, maintenance, and other indirect expenses such as lighting/ heating. Labor is a cost I won’t be able to attribute. It is possible that only Jesuits, who did not draw a salary, worked in the trade. They incur labor costs, but if they are tracked at all, they are not attributed anywhere in this account. Shipping costs are directly placed in the Expenses section, but that section only runs from May 1849 to September 1849, so it is a relatively small window, and beyond the test case. Maintenance, heating, and lighting costs are not going to be reflected in this account as they represent indirect costs that would not be consciously thought of as a cost of doing business in this time period. These combined expenses of running the trade may outweigh the revenue from the sale of books, but based on the raw differential between revenue and sales it seems that the book trade was making money over this two-year period.

Snapshot of the Expenses section of the ledger on page 470. This is an example of the accounting of freight expenses as separate from the cost of the goods themselves.

Snapshot of the Expenses section of the ledger on page 470. This is an example of the accounting of freight expenses as separate from the cost of the goods themselves.

The two-year test case provided insight into the month-to-month operations of the book trade. Specifically, the sales account had more consistent transactions month-to-month than the bills account. There are six months over the two-year period that the bill account has no transactions associated with it. In addition, the bill book records two instances of large orders over the test case (April 1842 at $606.87 and September 1843 at $531.76) while the highest month for sales is $379.11 (in May 1843). In all likelihood this means that sales were recorded close to or at time of transaction, while the bills account were recorded as the orders were made with book suppliers. Based on the inconsistencies in the numbers, it seems that the Jesuits handling the book trade were ordering based off inventory stock rather than anticipating needs of certain books. This makes sense, given their accounting capabilities.

Brendan Chart 4

Graph of the two-month moving average trend line for both the sale and bill accounts, April 1842 to March 1844.

In the months I’ve spent looking over these financial records I’ve uncovered a lot more questions than answers. However, I do have some initial findings and thoughts. Primarily, there are differences in data totaling. Sometimes the account totals numbers for each order, at the end of the page, and for a whole month. However, the comparison of numbers never extends beyond the month benchmark. Any time a month is added up, it is done off to the side (pictured below), and that number does not appear anywhere else in the account. In addition, these differences in addition seemingly occur at random, and at times the account has full pages dedicated to missed entries. The sections cover different months, another instance of irregularity. The Bills section features a few entries from larger clients that reference other pages in the document, but this is the only time the sections interact with one another directly. There is one instance of comparison of revenue to costs in the account, which occurs on page 74, near the end of the cash section.

The one instance of comparison of revenue and costs in the account on page 74.

The one instance of comparison of revenue and costs in the account on page 74.

From the frequent changes in presentation, addition of transactions, and references, I am led to believe that the person(s) responsible for this document was primarily concerned with record keeping and not with demonstrating financial solvency. It is fair to say that in this time period, before widespread formal accounting standards, those responsible for this account simply did not possess the methods necessary to answer the financial solvency questions they had. Today, accounting methods are able to answer a number of questions such as profitability, inventory turnover, and risk of businesses with equations and large amounts of data. A business in the 1840s would be able to notice relative demand and profitability of their endeavors but not much else after calculations. But considering the inconsistency throughout the account in the treatment of numbers I would say it is more likely that the author(s) did not feel required to invest time into doing such.

An instance of the Ledger section referencing the Bills section of the account, p.80.

An instance of the Ledger section referencing the Bills section of the account, p.80.

In the coming months I plan to look at the cost of the items purchased by the Jesuits and the amount they charged for the books. I also want to look more closely at the cash flow for the full time period the account covers.

Winter 2016 Update

5000th Image Uploaded

An 1828 edition of Collet's

An 1828 edition of Collet’s Treaty on the Holy Mysteries

We are very proud to have reached an important milestone this past week: we uploaded the 5000th image on our Flickr site.  It has been a little more than two years since we began tracking down and photographing books.  I don’t think any of us expected to have accomplished as much as we did in the intervening time.  The 5000th image is of A Treaty on the Holy Mysteriesa work on the Lord’s Supper by prolific French Vincentian Pierre Collet (1693-1770). Collet wrote theological treatises, ecclesiastical law texts, biographies, spiritual guides, and Anti-Jansenist works. A biography of St. Vincent de Paul by Collet was also in the library’s collection.

Back in December 2015 we reached another milestone: we completed tracking down and photographing the 1750 titles that had been identified as books possibly in the original library catalog. We are still editing these images and generating metadata for them, and we will be posting them on the site for months to come.  Analysis of these titles will take a little longer.  We are also thinking about the second phase of the JLPP. More to come on that later!

Saying Goodbye, Saying Hello

The Fall 2015 semester saw the largest number of undergraduate and graduate students yet — seven in total — working on topics related to the JLPP. Aaron Kinskey and Gustav Roman tracked down the final volumes from the original St Ignatius College library which Michael Albani processed, generated metadata, and uploaded. Kyle Jenkins, Brendan Courtois, Dan Snow, and Melanie Zagorski all undertook mentored research projects on topics as diverse as secondary education curriculum development, the history of library classification, and Jesuit financial systems.

Aaron graduated at the end of the fall semester, but the other team members are continuing their work in the Spring semester. All current students will present at Loyola’s Weekend of Excellence in April. They are joined by two new team members: undergraduates Roman Krasnitsky and Erik Berner. Roman is working with Gustav on an exciting new project to uncover heretical books in the original library collection.  Intrigued by the books in the Legislation Division, one of six divisions in the original library catalog, Erik is exploring those books on secular and ecclesiastical law to better understand why they might have been collected.  Check back for updates on this site about how their research is progressing.

JLPP on the Road: New York and Washington, DC

The last week of January is always Book Week in New York, where bibliophiles from across the country and around the world descend on the city for a series of programs.  The JLPP was ably represented at at a symposium at the New York Society Library on January 27th entitled Library Records in a Digital Age: A Symposium on Teaching and New Research.  Project Director Kyle Roberts gave a presentation on the ways in which the JLPP has offered a range of experiential learning opportunities for Loyola undergraduate and graduate students interested in book history, library history, and the intellectual and spiritual history of Jesuits. Undergraduate intern Kyle Jenkins, a History and Secondary Education double major, presented on his project to develop curriculum that brings the JLPP into the high school classroom. His curriculum will be published on this site later in the spring. Both presentations were well received.

The next day, Kyle Roberts made a longer presentation on the JLPP at Georgetown University as a precursor to the Jesuit Heritage Week celebration.  You can watch a video of the presentation below:

Lauinger Library holds two important historic collections of Jesuit books: the original Georgetown Library, which is held in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections on the fifth floor, and the Woodstock Theological Library on the first floor.  Both collections are filled with historic books with fascinating provenance marks. Karen O’Connell, Preservation Coordinator, and Asheleigh Perry, Metadata Librarian, shared a cover of a 1676 edition of Paolo Sarpi’s History of the Council of Trent from the original Georgetown Library with a fascinating piece of marginalia at the bottom!

1676 edition of Paolo Sarpi's History of the Council of Trent with some handwritten advice about where the book should be shelved!

1676 edition of Paolo Sarpi’s History of the Council of Trent with some handwritten advice about where the book should be shelved!

St. Ignatius College also had a copy of this edition of Sarpi’s text which you can see here.  It also had marginalia in it, but of a different kind.

Two Belgian Events

Readers of the JLPP blog who will be in Belgium this month will find there is an exhibition and a talk that may be of interest.

Pierre-Jean_De_Smet_-_Brady-HandyThe Provinciaal Cultuurcentrum Caermersklooster in Ghent is hosting the exhibition, The Call of the Rockies – Pieter Jan De Smet and the Indian Tragedy, from 2 February to 1 May 2016.  The exhibition focuses on De Smet (1801-1873), the pioneering Belgian-born Jesuit missionary who was one of the founders of the Missouri Province. This exhibition, which features items that were included in the groundbreaking 2014 exhibition Crossings and Dwellings at the Loyola University Museum of Art, explores De Smet “not only as a missionary, but also as defender of the Indians themselves, an advocate for peace and a mediator with the American government.” De Smet at first had attempted to establish the Rocky Mountain missions on the model of the pre-Suppression Paraguayan reductions, as Frederic Dorel explains in the forthcoming volume from the conference that closed the Crossings and Dwellings exhibition.  That model failed, but De Smet spend his life working on behalf of native peoples. Admission to the exhibition is free.  Thanks to David Miros, Archivist of the Jesuit Archives Central United States for a copy of the exhibition brochure.



On 25 February 2016, Heinz Nauer of the University of Lucerne will be giving a paper in the Religion and Society Seminar Series at KU Leuven. Nauer’s talk is entitled “Pious industry: The modern production of the Benziger publishing house in its international context, 1800-1920.”  The Benzinger publishing house specialized in the production of Catholic prayer books, devotional images, and religious magazines.  Initially based in Einsiedeln, Switzerland, the firm later opened branches in the United States, Germany and France.  A leader in the mass production of Catholic media, Benzinger employed more than one thousand people in the nineteenth century.  The JLPP Interns who have been studying the 1840s St Louis book trade ledger have uncovered that Jesuits ordered books from the Benzingers at Einseilden on seven different occasions.  Each transaction lists the quantity, author and short title, and price paid for every book. One transaction alone goes on for seven or eight pages.