From the Boston College Chronicle:
It’s not often when a librarian has the opportunity to personally save a piece of history. Yet those three words set in motion a series of events leading to the preservation and digital renewal of an all but forgotten newspaper that chronicled Boston, the Catholic Church and the New England region during the turn of the 20th century.
The digitization of the Sacred Heart Review is the latest project to bolster Boston College Libraries’ expanding digital collection, searchable by researchers and academics throughout the world.
Published from 1888 through 1918, the Sacred Heart Review was edited by Rev. John O’Brien, pastor of the Sacred Heart Church in East Cambridge. Far from a church bulletin, each edition of the paper was 16 pages that reported on religious news, the church community, regional and world events and editorials that pointedly defended Catholicism.
It took years for a small team at University Libraries to do the painstaking inventorying, assessment, cataloging and digitization required before making the collection available to the public. Boston College is the only institution to have the complete holdings of the Review.
“What we, as librarians and archivists, do is quite noble work: the prevention of cultural Alzheimer’s,” said [Burns Library Rare Books Librarian and Senior Cataloger David] Richtmyer softly. “We do an exercise at the library where we pass around a book from the 15th century to students at a table. At first, they all look like scared fathers who have just been handed a baby. I tell them, ‘this book has held up for 500 years and when we’re all dead and gone, it will still be here strong.’ It’s wonderful to see that moment of recognition in their faces, when they feel the book – touch, smell and turn the pages – that these materials are really monuments to the people who created and owned them.”
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