Thursday, April 28, 2005

Yesterday was my intern's last day. She has been a great help. She's worked through over 2/3 of the books, entering their bibliographic information into a computer. I still don't know the exact number of books in the collection, and it will ultimately depend upon whether or not some of religious books (such as books on the Spiritual Excersises; rules of the Jesuit Order; handbooks for the various rituals, rites, and ceremonies priests perform; Bibles; etc.) go back to the Jesuits or the Midwest Jesuit Archives, but either way the books number well over 1,000. She's also translated a number of pieces in French, and she's done a wonderful job helping put the exhibit together.

The BBC has a piece on how parents play a role in their children's internet literacy. Thanks to tengrrl for bringing this to my attention.

And, finally, here's the second interview question and response:

Q2. In your research, what have you discovered about him as a person?

First and foremost, I think, what I've already mentioned about how he saw himself as a Jesuit always working for the greater glory of God. I've also learned that he was incredibly well organized, which has made my task of processing and describing the collection that much easier. His files include the 23 articles he wrote for a Kansas City newspaper in 1929 when he attended the Boy Scout World Jamboree in Birkenhead, England. At the age of 16! He also saved the class notes he took from Marshall McLuhan's classes in the late 1930s and early 1940s as well as the exam questions Marshall McLuhan gave them. (While at Saint Louis University, McLuhan, who was himself fresh from studying under F.R. Leavis at Cambridge University, taught Practical Criticism/New Criticism rather than media studies.) There are also thousands of note cards in the collection. He used note cards for research, as syllabi, for class lectures, as an address book, and to keep a record (place, date, topic, and what happened) of every public talk he gave. And the amount of correspondence in the collection is huge. Often he has not only letters sent to him but his responses to those letters as well.

I've also learned about his hobbies and his interests. He loved nature and considered himself a biologist at heart. He loved bird watching and fly-fishing, and he has well worn field guides of both flora and fauna. He also loved plants and was well known for caring for plants in both the Jesuit residence and in the University library. In fact, I've come across a cartoon from the student newspaper, dating to the 1970s, in which Fr. Ong is in the library dressed as a farmer. The caption reads "Don't worry, that's just Fr. Ong!"

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