Saturday, March 17, 2012

Women's History Month

In honor of March being Women's History Month, here are a sample of Ade Bethune's drawings of women saints.  There are more images available as part of St. Catherine University's Digital Collections.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Are You Curious About Archives?

Have you been reading this blog and wondering "Just what is an archives or special collection anyway? Is it the same as a library?" Or maybe you are familiar with what archives are, but not sure how to identify collections and use them for research. The Society of American Archivists has a new online publication that can help.

Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research provides helpful information to acquaint you with archives. Topics covered include the differences between archives and libraries; how to find archives and evaluate what materials they have; and considerations and procedures for using archives to do research, either remotely or by visiting in person.

The Guide is available both on the web, or as a single pdf document you can download and print.  Explore the world of archives!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"I Feel Like I've Seen Mecca"

Among her many interests, Ade Bethune was a proponent of the teachings of Maria Montessori. Bethune's St. Leo Shop became an outlet for Montessori's books, which were imported from India in the late 1950s and 1960s. In addition, Bethune sold her own booklets for writing instruction--"Teaching the Child to Write" (originally published in Jubilee magazine) and Uniscript: A New Method for Teaching Handwriting--which were based on Montessori's principles. The Ade Bethune Collection has copies of both of these, along with a set of plaster letters for children to trace with a finger.

I had been meaning to let the Montessori department at St. Kate's know the connection between Ade Bethune and Montessori's work, and had an opportunity to do Friday. One of their faculty members was visiting the Archives for another reason. I told her that Bethune had sold Montessori's books in her shop and we had those and other Montessori-related items in the Collection. After seeing the plaster letters and looking through the writing booklets, she told me she was speechless and wanted to come back later to spend more time looking through the materials.  Her comment in the heading is how she described the experience to a colleague.

This encounter reminded me, yet again, how many hidden treasures are in the Ade Bethune Collection. Bethune herself was a complex and talented woman whose work and interests went far beyond her more commonly known tag of "Catholic Worker artist." There are gems to be explored by those involved in many fields, and it is my job to make them more widely known--to the St. Kate's community and beyond.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rita Corbin, Catholic Worker artist

Rita Corbin, whose art has illustrated The Catholic Worker newspaper since 1954, died on November 17th as the result of a car crash.  She was 81 years old.  Corbin was the last surviving member of what one Catholic Worker editor called the "Holy Trinity" of artists: Ade Bethune, Fritz Eichenberg, and Rita Corbin.  Together, their illustrations give the paper its visual impact, especially in its earlier years.
Rita Corbin: Works of Mercy / Works of War
More information:
Obituary from the National Catholic Reporter

Monday, November 14, 2011

45 Years of Community Activism

Another set of materials in the Ade Bethune Collection has been organized and is available for research.  The Newport Community Organizations Materials document Bethune's involvement with the Point Association, East-West Point Committee, Citizens Advisory Committee, Foundation for Newport, and other groups in her adopted home of Newport, RI.

This part of the Collection covers almost a half-century of Ade Bethune's activities, from the late 1950s to her death in 2002.  During this time, Bethune was active on the Board or in other leadership positions for many of these community groups.  Her involvement with them centered on supporting Newport's citizens; she wanted to ensure they had good homes and neighborhoods.  In this effort, Ade Bethune addressed multiple road and redevelopment issues--working for or opposing proposals based on the impact they would have on the community.

At a February, 1970 public hearing regarding a proposed highway that would bisect Ade Bethune's Point neighborhood, she prefaced her questions and comments with the following statement:
"I will speak in the name of families, and children, and mothers, of the elderly, of the poor people, of the pedestrians on both sides of the Point. People who have no advocate to plead their cause and defend their rights. . . People who are not here tonight because they are too young to be here, or too old, like my mother, people who are working tonight and can't come."
Through her work, Ade Bethune made sure that everyone in the community would have a voice.

Organization of the Newport Community Organizations Materials and production of a finding aid for them was made possible by a CLIR "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" grant with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.