Alexandra Muck | January 25, 2017
The new Catholic American exhibit in the Rare Books and Special Collections section of Hesburgh Library tells the story of early American Catholics trying to find a place in both the American and global communities. The exhibit, titled “Preserving the Steadfastness of Your Faith: Catholics in the Early American Republic,” was curated by Rachel Bohlmann, American history librarian, and Jean McManus, associate librarian, who began the project in the fall of 2015.
“We started this project with a question about what kinds of materials we had in the collection about Catholics in the early period of the United States’ history,” Bohlmann said.
The final result is an exploration of the connections between Catholics and other Americans, and American-Catholics and Europeans.
“It’s a really interesting sense of how ideas are circulating around the transatlantic community,” Bohlmann said.
While some parts of the exhibit — such as the maps of Catholic and Protestant paper distributions — show the spread of Catholicism in the U.S., other parts — such as the “Flying Pamphlets” section — highlight the transatlantic communication between Catholics in America and Europe, which brought new ideas to both sides.