This conference celebrated a major five-year initiative that will make the Newberry Library one of the nation’s premier centers for research on early modern religion, by conserving and cataloging some 6,000 titles relating to religion, primarily from the early modern period. The initiative honors Sister Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, a Newberry Trustee, former president of Mundelein College, and renowned Chicago educator.
Religion infuses most subject areas that fall within the scope of the Newberry collections. The library’s overall collecting in this field focuses on original source material from Western Europe and the Americas, spanning the late Middle Ages through the early twentieth century. Holdings in religion include rare and significant bibles; liturgical and theological works; sermons; histories; biographies and autobiographies; sacred music; and congregational, family, and personal papers.
In recent years the Newberry has acquired rare books and manuscript materials from several religious institutions, among them the Dominican Friars of the Province of Saint Albert the Great, the Catholic Theological Union, the Divine Word Seminary, and Concordia University. These collections, rich in patristics and early modern theological and devotional literature, will be cataloged as part of the Gannon initiative.
Thursday, September 15
Session 1: Opening Keynote Address
David Spadafora, President and Librarian, The Newberry Library
Sister Ann Ida Gannon, BVM (by audio link)
“Taking the Long View: Jaroslav Pelikan and Heiko Oberman”
David Steinmetz, Kearns Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the History of Christianity, Divinity School, Duke University
Dr. Steinmetz’s talk was read by Susan Schreiner, Professor of the History of Christianity and Theology, Divinity School, University of Chicago, as Dr. Steinmetz was not able to attend.
Friday, September 16
Overview of the Newberry Religion Collections
Paul Saenger, George A. Poole III Curator of Rare Books and Collection Development Librarian, The Newberry Library
Session 2: Rhetoric and Reform
Moderator: Ronald J. Corthell, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Purdue University Calumet
“Martin Luther’s Heart”
Susan Karant-Nunn, Regents’ Professor of History, University of Arizona
“What Do You Hear in the Pew? Some Notes on Calvin’s First Corinthians Sermons by an Attentive Parishioner”
Elsie Ann McKee, Archibald Alexander Professor of Reformation Studies and the History of Worship, Princeton Theological Seminary
Session 3: Images in Christian Theology and Devotion
Moderator: Laura Aydelotte, Interim Assistant Director, Center for Renaissance Studies, The Newberry Library
“Framing Books and Reading: An Exploration of Sixteenth Century Title-Page Borders”
M. Patrick Graham, Margaret A. Pitts Professor of Theological Bibliography, and Director, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
“Scriptural Authority in Word and Image: Cornelis Cort’s The Annunciation Broadcast by Prophets of the Incarnation of 1571”
Walter S. Melion, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Art History, Emory University
Session 4: Music and Reform
Moderator: Richard Freedman, John C. Whitehead Professor of Music, Haverford College
“Music across the Boundaries of Early Modern Religion”
“The Uses of Bells in Counter-Reformation Bavaria”
Alexander J. Fisher, Associate Professor of Music, University of British Columbia
“Bible Reading, Lectionaries, and the Function of the Sixteenth-Century Motet”
David Crook, Professor of Music, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Saturday, September 17
Session 5: Roundtable on Teaching Early Modern Religion with Primary Sources
Moderator: Brian Sandberg, Associate Professor of History, Northern Illinois University
“New Wars of Religion? Interpreting the European Wars of Religion in an Age of Religious Violence”
“Raphael’s School of Athens: the Timaeus, Vision, and Art”
Mary Quinlan, Associate Professor of Art History, Northern Illinois University
“From Reformation to Revolution: The Politics of Devotion in Early Seventeenth-Century England”
Scott M. Stevens, Director, D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies, The Newberry Library
“Sacramental Poetics: John Donne and George Herbert”
Regina M. Schwartz, Professor of Literature, Religion, and Law, Northwestern University
Session 6: Closing Keynote Address
Introduction: Paul F. Gehl, Custodian, John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing, The Newberry Library
“The Religion Archive and the Advancement of the Humanities: Some Immodest Proposals”
Lori Anne Ferrell, Professor of English and History, Claremont Graduate University
About Sister Ann Ida Gannon
Sister Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, is a Newberry Trustee, former president of Mundelein College, and a renowned Chicago educator. Sister Ann Ida has received 26 honorary degrees and more than 28 prestigious awards for service in education or as an outstanding woman, including the Laetare Medal, University of Notre Dame. Through the years, she has served on 21 boards, ranging from the Association of American Colleges and Saint Louis University to Scott Foresman and Company, often as the first woman to do so. She has also served on many panels, committees, and task forces dedicated to education, women’s, church, or civic needs, as well as chairing or participating in accrediting teams.
Two decades ago, the Newberry received more than 700 books from Mundelein College, a gift spearheaded by Sister Ann Ida, who by then was a Newberry trustee. A good fit with the Newberry’s already large collection of early modern religious materials, the Mundelein books led to a series of gifts of similar collections from other Chicago-area religious institutions, transactions that were fostered by Sister Ann Ida. Over time, such collections came from the Divine Word Society, the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Albert the Great, Concordia University, the Passionist Monastery of Chicago Northside, and, most recently, McCormick Theological Seminary and the Catholic Theological Union. All of these collections are rich in religious materials, of course; most are richest in printed books and manuscripts from the early modern period.
Learn more about Center for Renaissance Studies programs.