Monday, July 12, 2004

First day today. I got a tour of the St. Louis Room, home of the rare books and archives, and got an intro to archiving crash course.

I also started looking over some material Fr. Ong had sent over throughout the years (we just got the space cleared out today, so the rest of the collection will hopefully be moved over in the next few weeks). I mostly just browsed today to start getting a feel for things. Among other things, I came across:


  • A few audio recordings of lectures and interviews, mostly on audio cassette but at least one recording burned to CD,


  • An archive box full of typed lectures, many with handwritten annotations and corrections. Most, but not all, according to the letter from Fr. Ong, have been published in one form or another. Can't wait to dig more deeply into that box.

  • 7 slide boxes. 6 boxes taken during 1950-53 while in Europe doing research in Europe and includes a few slides of the only oil panting of Peter Ramus known to Fr. Ong. There are also slides from a trip to the USSR in 1968 and the 1968 Wenner-Gren Foundation conference.


  • Two small index card boxes with bibliographic references (sometimes annotated or with a quoted passage) for Orality and Literacy, Milton, Logic, and Fighting for Life.


The hope is that the collection's finding guide will be our first done using Encoded Archival Description.

Cool quote, from Neilsen, Mark. "A Bridge Builder: Walter Ong at 80." America Nov. 21, 1992. 13-14:

"The seminal discovery of his long career came nearly 40 years ago. 'It happened while I was doing my dissertation research in France,' recalls Ong. 'I was reading Rudolph Bultmann, the Protestant theologian, who made reference to the idea that knowing, for the Hebrews, had to do with hearing and sound, while for the Greeks thought of knowing was related to seeing. I guess it took me about a day, but suddenly, I could see how the whole thing fit together.'

"[....] Working in the reserve book room of the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris, Ong saw for the first time that print, and writing before it, located knowledge in space, in words on a page, rather than in the temporal world of sound."

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