On Thursday, December 2, Monica Mercado, Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department will be sharing some work from her dissertation in a presentation entitled:
“Home Reference, Home Religion: Catholic Almanacs and Family Reading in Nineteenth-Century America”
Time: 12:00, Thursday, December 2, 2010
Place: Swift Hall, Room 400
Food: Snacks provided, feel free to bring your lunch!
Paper: Copies of the essay are available via email by contacting
Although the history of denominational print is largely a Protestant one, by the middle of the nineteenth century, American Catholics had joined the crusade to publish—putting their own religious publications into wide circulation and encouraging laypeople to engage with the teachings of their church via reading. Joining the bibles and Catholic serials that were already in circulation since the Revolutionary era, American Catholic publishing – of imports and new works – exploded during the 1850s and 60s. New reference books, often marketed to the Catholic family, capitalized on the renewed popularity of devotions, magazines, Catholic fiction, art and holy relics increasingly finding their way into the home.
This paper explores one way that nineteenth-century American Catholic families encountered a religious world outside the boundaries of their local church or parish: through the printed word. By focusing on a unique example of the reference genre – the Catholic Publication Society’s Illustrated Catholic Family Almanac (1869-1878) – I have begun to ask what role did print and its distribution play in teaching new, Catholic arrivals and a more settled middle class to form religious selves in an American context? Unlike a prayer book, bible, or even novel, the explosion of these kind of reference books also suggest an interest in developing a sense of an American Catholic history, while maintaining ties abroad. How might we interpret reading at home as an important activity for defining the religious identities of a scattered people?
See you there!
Persons with a disability who believe they may need assistance, please contact Paul Chang in advance at email@example.com.