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Ann Kenne

Libraries, News & Events, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, Special Collections and Archives

Treasures from the Rare Book Collections – The Father Brown Mysteries

 

G. K. Chesterton’s fictional detective Father Brown is one of his most popular fictional creations. While initially produced as contributions to periodicals like the Pall Mall Magazine and McClure’s Magazine, the Father Brown stories soon gained great popularity and were later compiled into anthologies.

The hero of the stories  –  a short, squat, helpless appearing Catholic priest – was based on an actual priest, Father John O’Connor.  O’Connor was a lifelong friend of Chesterton and contributed to his conversion to the Catholic faith.

The original inspiration for the stories was Chesterton’s discovery of Fr. O’Connor’s profound knowledge of the depths of human depravity.  This came about through a conversation at a dinner party at which two Cambridge University students commented sarcastically about the naïveté of modern Christian priests.  Chesterton was struck by the paradox of the outwardly innocent appearance of his priest friend and a his friend’s deep understanding of sin and evil.

Father Brown’s detective pursuits are truly Chestertonian in that they shun the techniques of science and the undiluted rational powers of man. “Mere facts are commonplace,” says Father Brown. The sleuth depends on a deep knowledge of the human heart instead of methodical observation to solve mysteries.

The Chesterton-Belloc Collection housed the Department of Special Collections features over 1200 works by the English author G. K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936).     Among the materials in this collection, you will find a variety of editions of works from his Father Brown detective series.

 

 

Database Highlights & Trials, Libraries

Trials – Digital National Security Archive & History Vault

During October, the UST Libraries are trialing two 20th century primary source collections :  The Digital National Security Archive and the History Vault.   The Digital National Security Archives collection provides access to significant primary documents central to U.S. foreign and military policy since 1945.  The collections in History Vault provides access to digitized letters, papers, photographs, scrapbooks, financial records, diaries, and many more primary source materials taken from the University Publications of America (UPA) Collections.

This trial runs through October 31, 2017. Please send your comments on this resource to Ann Kenne.

Libraries, News & Events, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, Special Collections and Archives

Tales from the Archives — 40th Anniversary of Coeducation

Did you know that University of St. Thomas was officially an all-male school in its undergraduate program for the first 92 years of its history?  It wasn’t until September 1977  that women were first admitted as full members of the undergraduate class.   While the school’s administrators anticipated that only 100 – 125 women would enroll in the first year, St. Thomas welcomed 221 women students for the Fall Semester.

 

From the Aquin, September 7, 1977

To accommodate the women undergraduates, the physical campus underwent a bit of a facelift prior to their arrival.   Bathrooms and locker rooms were remodeled in existing buildings to provide spaces for women. But the most visible change to the campus landscape was an addition to Murray Hall.  Constructed during the summer of 1977, housing for up to 94 female students was created.

Construction of the Murray Hall residence addition June 1977. 

The transition to a coeducational institution went very smoothly by all accounts.  By the 1980-81 academic year, 40 percent of the undergraduate student body were women.  That same year, Rachel Wobschall was voted the by the student body to be the first female Tommie Award (formerly the “Mr. Tommy” award) winner.

Two female students in a Murray Hall residence room, May 1978. 

To explore more of the history of the University of St. Thomas, visit the University Archives webpage.

 

News & Events, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, Special Collections and Archives

Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Celtic Collection!

Join the Department of Special Collections and the Center for Irish Studies in celebrating 100th Anniversary of the founding of  Celtic Collection.  This celebration will be a part of our annual St. Patrick’s Day Open House to be held Tuesday, March 14th from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm in the Special Collections Department (LL09 O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library).  In addition to a display of some of the treasures from the collection, a short program featuring Irish poetry will be held at 12:15 pm.

(image from The Fair Hills of Ireland by Stephen Gwynn, Maunsel Press, 1906)

The Celtic Collection can trace its origin to a September 1916 vote by the Minnesota chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians to provide funds to establish an Irish Library at the College of St. Thomas.  From this initial gift of $600, the collection has grown to over 14,000 volumes containing significant materials related to Irish local history and antiquities, folklore, art, music, Irish language and literature and modern Irish poetry.

(image from The Irish Fairy Book by Alfred P. Graves, T.F. Unwin, 1909.)

  For more information on the UST Libraries rare books and manuscripts collections see our website.

News & Events, Special Collections and Archives

#ColorOurCollections at St. Thomas

It’s Color Our Collections Week!

If you have ever visited the Special Collections Department, you know we have a strict pencils-only policy.  But during the week of February 6 – 10,  we are joining libraries and archives from around the world to share images from our collection for you to color.  Break out your stash of crayons, colored pencils, and gel pens to color the images and make them your own.  It is a great way to relieve stress and exhibit your creativity!

See what other institutions have posted for #ColorOurCollections or download a PDF  of images from St. Thomas’s collection below.

Download seven pages of images from the St. Thomas Special Collection to color.

News & Events, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, Special Collections and Archives

Treasures from the Rare Book Collection – The Lapidary of King Alfonso X

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The Rare Books collection contains a number of facsimlies of medieval manuscripts.  One of the most unusual is the Lapidario del rey d. Alfonso X , a photo-chromo lithograph of a medieval lapidary.

A lapidary is “treatise on (precious) stones.”  Works such as this were popular in the Middle Ages when many people believed that certain gems held inherent powers and the wealthy accumulated jewels to store and transport capital.

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Commissioned by King Alfonso X of Castille and Leon, a group of Jewish scholars translated this work from an Arabic texts into the Castilian language. The content of the manuscript is different from more common lapidaries of the time in that it discusses the relationships between specific stones and the planets and other astrological bodies.  The work is divided by the Signs of the Zodiac with the various medicinal and magical properties of a stone (as it relates to a specific astrological sign) described and illustrated.

 

 

For more information on the UST Libraries rare books and manuscripts collections see our website.

News & Events, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, Special Collections and Archives

Treasures from the Rare Books Collections : The Book of Common Prayer (1904)

Another beautiful book found in the UST Library’s Rare Books collection is authorized American edition of The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, & other rites & ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Church of England published by M. Walter Dunne in 1904.  This edition is a replica of the English edition of this title published in 1903 by the Essex House Press.

 

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The Essex House Press was founded by C R Ashbee (who also ran the Guild of Handicraft).   After William Morris’s death,  Ashbee bought the Kelmscott Press’s Albion printing presses and employed one of the Kelmscott’s compositors to work for him. This private press captured the sentiment of the Arts and Crafts movement that ‘art was for the people’ and that it was created ‘by the people’ to beautify their own lives.

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The masterpiece of the Essex House Press was the Book of Common Prayer which was produced to celebrate the coming to the throne of King Edward VII.  Ashbee designed the type used within the volume  and drew the illustrations used throughout the work.  The wood block illustrations were cut by the artists Clemence Housman and W. H. Hooper.

For more information on the UST Libraries rare books and manuscripts collections see our website.

Libraries, News & Events, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, Special Collections and Archives

Tales from the Archives – St. Thomas in 1916

Have you ever wondered what St. Thomas was like 100 years ago?   Well — the University Archives recently acquired a photo album created by a student who attended the college in 1916.   Browsing through it is an interesting peek into the past!

There were some obvious differences between the College of St. Thomas in 1916 and the University of St. Thomas in 2016.  For example, in the past only male students were enrolled and they were required to take military training.

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And many of the campus buildings (like the old wooden Chapel and the Administration Building) no longer stand on the Saint Paul campus.

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But, it turns out that there are several similarities between the time periods.  Students lived in Ireland Hall (although it was called the “New Building”).

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They attended football games on the site of the O’Shaughnessy Stadium / Palmer Athletic Field.

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And students wore apparel with the St. Thomas logo.

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I wonder what people in 2116 will think of images of St. Thomas from 2016?

To find out more about the history of the University of St. Thomas, visit the University Archives webpage.

 

 

News & Events, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, Special Collections and Archives

Tales from the Archives – The Tommy/Tommie Mascot

You have likely encountered Tommie, the St. Thomas mascot, at various campus events.  But do you know that Tommie is the descendant of a series of St. Thomas mascots?

As early as 1947, students were asking in the college newspaper (The Aquin) why the school didn’t have a mascot when many of our rival schools had one.

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It wasn’t until the mid-1950s that the first mascot, Tommy Tiger, appeared on the scene.  Originally managed by the Letterman’s Club, this orange and black cat made appearances to boost school spirit at sporting and social events on campus.  By the early 1970s, interest in keeping up this tradition alive waned and Tommy Tiger disappeared from the campus scene.

Homecoming queen candidate with Tommy Tiger, 1957. C57-061

Tommy Tiger with the Homecoming Queen, 1957

Msgr. Terrence Murphy poses with Tommie and unknown outside against football stands. RS: 02.13.03. C-71-287-38.

Msgr. Murphy with Tommy Tiger, 1971.

The St. Thomas mascot was revived by the college the mid-1980s.  Instead of returning as Tommy Tiger, the mascot was renamed Tommie (a feline of undetermined origin).  Since its comeback over 30 years ago, Tommie has changed its appearance several times.   I would guess the purple fur from the 1980s is one look Tommie would like to forget!

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Tommie with a future St. Thomas student, 1984

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Tommie at a football game, 1997

Today —  Tommie remains an ambassador for St. Thomas and promoter of school pride and spirit at campus events.  Be sure to get a high-five from Tommie next time you meet it!

St. Thomas vs. St. John's football game, O'Shaughnessy Stadium, November 12, 2005. Tommie mascot

Tommie at the St. Thomas vs. St. Johns football game, 2005

To find out more about the history of the University of St. Thomas, visit the University Archives webpage.

Libraries, O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library, Special Collections and Archives

Tales from the Archives – First Female Professor @ UST

March is Women’s History Month and it is a perfect time to introduce you to a significant figure in the history of women at the University of St. Thomas.

St. Thomas was as you may recall was officially an all-male school at the undergraduate level until 1977.   Its full-time faculty reflected that nature and was comprised wholly of priests and lay male instructors.  On occasion, a woman (generally the wife of a male faculty member) would be hired to teach a specific course.

That changed when Dr. Mary Keeffe came to the College of St. Thomas in 1947 as an Assistant Professor of Biology. Originally from Rhode Island, Keeffe knew little about the college when she heard about the job opening.   When she discovered there were no women on the faculty, she was initially skeptical that she would be hired.  But when she relayed her doubts to Fr. Vincent Flynn (president of the College of St. Thomas at the time) during her interview, it is said that he thought it over for a minute and then replied  “Why, I’m not so sure.  Maybe it would be a good idea.”

 

Biology Department, 1951  Dr. Mary Keefe with the Biology Department, 1951

Working in a single-sex environment was not unusual for Dr. Keeffe.  She was one of the first lay woman to receive a bachelors degree from Providence College in Rhode Island.  Plus, she received her M.A. from Columbia University and Ph.D. from Fordham University, both institutions which were all-male at the undergraduate level at that time.

Dr. Keeffe taught at St. Thomas for five years before returning to Rhode Island in 1952.  For the remainder of her career, she served as a professor of biology at Rhode Island College.

To find out more about the history of the University of St. Thomas, visit the University Archives webpage.