Tour of Newberry Library Exhibit, Religious Change and Print: 1450-1700

The Newberry Library's exhibit Religious Change and Print: 1450-1700
is open through December 27, 2017. 

On November 17, 2017, eight people, including five CARA members, gathered for a guided tour of the Newberry Library's exhibit Religious Change and Print: 1450-1700which explores how religion and print challenged authority, upended society, and helped make the medieval world modern. Christopher Fletcher, Program Assistant for the Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies, was a wonderful guide, and offered knowledgeable and lively commentary on the various books, manuscripts, and artwork in the exhibit.

A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, printed in Germany around 1454.
Image courtesy the Newberry Library.

Tour participants gather around a case holding a first edition King James Bible
printed in 1611.

Christopher Fletcher points to texts used by early missionaries to the
Americas in the "Converted and Reconverted" section of the exhibit.

Christopher Fletcher explains the significance of a map showing
a battlefield from the Thirty Years War.

This alphabetical table for children from 1544 highlights how important literacy was for the
spread of religious reformation.
Image courtesy of the Newberry Library
This is an excellent exhibition, well worth seeing in person, but if you cannot make your way to the Newberry Library, you can still experience the materials via a digital exhibition on the Newberry website. Many thanks to Christopher Fletcher for sharing his expertise and enthusiasm during our tour.

CAA/CARA Joint Meeting: Endangered Archives

CARA Steering Committee member Jerice Barrios (standing at podium) moderated
the Endangered Archives panel discussion.
Panelists (l. to r.): Jane Kenamore, Wanda Dole, Anita Mechler, Malachy McCarthy.
Photograph by Merle A. Branner.
On Thursday, November 9, 2017, Chicago Area Archivists (CAA) and Chicago Area Religious Archivists (CARA) co-hosted a meeting on "Endangered Archives." Twenty five attendees gathered at the Claretian Building at 205 W. Monroe Street to hear a panel discussion on strategies for identifying and preserving at-risk archival collections.

The first panelist to speak was Malachy McCarthy, Claretian Missionaries Archives USA-Canada, who introduced the archival issues confronting Catholic religious communities. As many are facing reduction and completion, Malachy commented on a national conference to find solutions.

Jane Kenamore, Kenamore & Klinkow, LLC, spoke about her work with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the value of their archives to general researchers. She also discussed the importance of archives consolidation and its process.

Wanda Dole, Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, talked about the results of a survey and inventory of the archival collections of congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and presented the challenges of conducting survey research within non-profit institutions that may not be familiar with conducting surveys.

Anita Mechler, Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC), spoke about the evolution of the programs developed and facilitated by the BMRC, such as the Survey Project, Color Curtain Processing Project, the Summer Short-term Fellowship Program, and the Archie Motley Archival Internship Program, and how these all contributed to the importance of advocacy for endangered archives.

For copies of the panel presentations, please contact Jerice Barrios at

Religion and Culture in the Americas Seminar at the Newberry Library

The Newberry Library is hosting a Religion and Culture in the Americas Seminar on Friday, November 10, 2017. Unlike other seminars, this one provides an opportunity for attendees to read the paper before the seminar and participate in the discussion. Neither presenter reads the paper at the seminar but rather comments on the goals of the work. A respondent critiques both papers and then the seminar is open for discussion.

The sponsors of the seminar are Albion College, the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Wheaton College. More details below:

When: Friday, November 10, 2017 / 3:00pm to 5:00pm / Room 101
Where: The Newberry Library / 60 West Walton Street / Chicago IL 60610

Two papers will be presented:

The Benedictines, Sugar and Slavery: Texts, Contexts and Material Culture from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Worlds
James Krippner, Haverford College 
This paper will present an overview and some initial archival and visual culture research findings from Brazil and Portugal from what is ultimately intended to be a multi-volume study of sugar, slavery, and Christianity and in the Portuguese colonial world. The paper will emphasize the network of Benedictine monasteries within the Portuguese empire and especially colonial Brazil that developed from the late sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, though I shall also consider the Benedictine presence in the late medieval Mediterranean world and early modern Angola. The paper will conclude with a brief discussion of the role played by Benedictines in terms of the abolition of slavery in Brazil. In 1871 Benedictines freed all their slaves, seventeen years prior to Brazilian emancipation in 1888.

Quaker Institutionalism and the Success of Antislavery Legislation:
The New England Yearly Meeting, 1760-1784
          Kevin Vrevich, Ohio State University
After declaring slavery incompatible with Truth and the Inner Light in the 1760s, Quakers worked tirelessly over the next three decades to eradicate slaveholding within their meetings and in the states where they lived. Yet while Quaker beliefs and Revolutionary rhetoric tend to receive credit for the success of gradual emancipation, Quakers’ institutional nature and past experience in politics played a far more vital role in securing antislavery victories. This paper seeks to examine the importance of Quaker institutions and activism to antislavery success through an examination of the New England Yearly Meeting in Rhode Island from 1760-1784.

The respondent for this session will be Aaron Fogleman, Northern Illinois University. Newberry Scholarly Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically. For a copy of the paper, email Please only request a paper if you plan to attend.

For more information on the seminar series, please visit the Newberry website.