The Catholic University of America

CUA Libraries Online

Index of Issues

Book Reviews

Gjelten, Tom. Bacardi and the long fight for Cuba : the biography of a cause. Viking, 2008. (Mullen: HD9394 .C94 B334 2008)

The story of the Bacardi rum company is so blended with Cuban history, it's like rum and coke, a drink said to be invented by a Cuban bartender to appeal to American tourists.

The Bacardi family have been Cuban patriots since 1862 when the Barcardi brothers migrated from Catalonia to seek their fortune. The family supported the fight to free Cuba from its colonial ruler, to repel the U.S. occupation that followed , and initially supported the Castro revolution to free Cuba from its long-ruling dictator, Fulgencio Batista. When, however, the revolutionaries turned around and confiscated the rum company and all the Barcardi Cuban assets, they were forced to leave their beloved Cuba.

This book is so superbly written that, although a two-page family tree is provided, there is little need to refer to it, because the family relationships flow in the narrative so smoothly. Tom Gjelten, a National Public Radio reporter, has made what could be a deadly, dull business history into an exciting tale of intrigue and loss.

Includes photos, bibliography, and an index.

~ Anne Lesher, Reference Librarian for Reference Services

Mazzenga, Maria (Editor). American Religious Responses to Kristallnacht. Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Editor Dr. Maria Mazzenga , Education Archivist at the CUA American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives, has put together a wide ranging work containing important recent scholarship from Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish historians regarding American religious responses to one of the seminal events in the 20th century, the first major shot in the Nazi war against the Jews. The collected essays, based upon scholarly presentations at a 2007 workshop organized by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, are also accessible for more general readers as well. Mazzenga's Toward an American Catholic Response to the Holocaust: Catholic Americanism and Kristallnacht and Mathew Bowman's Persecution, Prophecy, and the Fundamentalist Reconstruction of Germany, 1933-1940, are especially good.

Dr. Mazzenga's research, as well as that for some of the other contributors, was based on materials here in the CUA Archives.

~ W. John Shepherd, Associate Archivist

Garvey, Mark. Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. Simon & Schuster, 2009. (Mullen: PE 1408.S7724 2009)

The Elements of Style, first published in 1959, is familiar to aspiring writers, students, and anyone who seeks to improve their writing skills. People may disagree with Strunk and White's guidelines on good grammar but they dismiss them at their own peril.

Writer and editor Mark Garvey has been a devoted user and collector of The Elements of Style since high school. He states in his introduction that he loves the book's history, execution, attitude, and it's trim size.

The Elements of Style functions not only as a manual for creating better prose, it also urges the reader to remember the virtues of clarity, simplicity, and truth in writing. Elements is also a celebration of the unique voice in us all. To tell the story of this classic and controversial guide, and the men behind it, Garvey pored over the personal letters of "Cornellian's" E. B. White and his professor William Strunk Jr. in the Cornell University archives. If E.B. White's name sounds familiar that's because he is the author of such classics as Charlottes Web and Stuart Little.

Stylized is an interesting history which includes chapters entitled: "The Steel and the Music", "The Happiness Boys" and "As Elusive as a Rabbit". It traces the tale from academia to the offices of The New Yorker magazine and the days of old Hollywood. In so doing, we get a glimpse into the minds of some of the most respected contemporary writers.

Stylized includes photos and a short bibliography.

~ Anne Marie Hules, Reference Librarian for Library and Information Sciences

Duffy, Eamon. Fires of Faith: Catholic England Under Mary Tudor Yale University Press, 2009. (Mullen: BXZ 1492 .D83 2009)

From just after the death of Queen Mary until the twentieth century, there has been a consensus that Marian Catholicism was outdated, weak, and brutal. In Fires of Faith, Eamon Duffy endeavors to show that this unchallenged view is based heavily on polemical literature of the time, and can be refuted by a close examination of surviving texts. English Catholicism under Mary has been accused of reverting back to pre-reformation ideas and practices with little regard to the wider "counter-reformation" surrounding the Council of Trent (1545-1563). Duffy's main argument against this idea is based on the prominence of Cardinal Reginald Pole, a participant in the early sessions of Trent. He shows evidence that Pole's ideas were not only informed by the ideas already emerging in Rome, but also that Pole, and those he influenced, added significantly to the later reforms throughout European Catholicism.

Critics of Marian Catholicism have relied on such arguments that preaching and printing were not effectively used by the Catholics who, instead, relied on fear of punishment, both corporeal and spiritual, to persuade the people to reject their entrenched Protestant faith. Duffy shows many examples of how Catholic preaching was used as an integral tool employed both from the pulpit and in other public squares, including executions. He also points out that, while the number of works published by Catholics is relatively small, the material itself was widely available, being printed in relatively large quantities. Duffy also points out that a majority of bishops - both those who recanted to remain in power during Mary's reign, and those appointed by her - refused to take the Oath of Supremacy upon the accession of Elizabeth.

The reputation of "Bloody Mary" has been even harder to erase. Duffy cannot deny the sheer number of so-called heretics burned by the regime. While he does point out that burning was accepted as punishment for heresy, the scale of the persecution, as well as the zealousness with which some executed it, cannot be glossed over as products of their time. Foxe's Actes and Monuments, published in 1563, remains the best historical source of the burnings, and, despite its obvious Protestant agenda, Duffy finds much evidence that the burnings were used by many as a last resort and that very basic proclamations of faith were, at times, accepted as evidence of recantation. Duffy also heavily uses Foxe to refute the idea that the burnings strengthened opposition to Catholicism rather than weakening it. Foxe's own examples of demonstration and defiance at the sites of execution are frequently admitted to have been organized protest, rather than spontaneous outbursts. Duffy also interprets a general decline in burnings as evidence that there were fewer Protestants, or, at least, fewer that were willing to die for their cause.

Overall, Duffy makes a strong case that the traditional view on Mary's Church is too heavily based on what was written by its enemies. His many examples of specific events give the reader a much more textured and complex picture of Marian Catholicism than has been accepted. Duffy is not seeking to defend the actions of the Church- he points out many mistakes made by Mary, Pole, and others. Instead he is interested in presenting a case against the infallibility of the widely-accepted views that have cast the regime in such poor light.

~ Dustin Booher, Religious Studies Librarian

Soskice, Janet. The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels. NY: Knopf, 2009. (Mullen BS 2351 .A1S67 2009)

Twins Agnes and Margaret Smith were born in the village of Irvine, Scotland in 1843. Their mother died shortly after their birth, and they were raised by their lawyer father. Strict Presbyterians, they were educated at the local school (unusual for its time, boys and girls were taught together, both receiving a "classical education."). They displayed a talent for languages at an early age, and their father encouraged it by rewarding them with a trip to the native country of each language they mastered. In addition to the major European languages, they learned Latin and Hebrew. Under the tutelage of J.S. Blackie of the University of Edinburgh, they later studied ancient Greek as a spoken language - using modern Greek as a guide to pronunciation. After an unhappy experience traveling in Egypt, they learned Arabic.

Both sisters married late in life. After a 13 year courtship, Margaret married James Gibson in 1883. He died three years later. To distract her from her grief, Agnes took her to Cambridge for a visit. There, they met Samuel Savage Lewis, the Librarian of the Parker Library (a collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, papers and printed books). Lewis and Agnes were married within the year. Among their Cambridge circle was William Robertson Smith, a controversial young Professor of Theology at Aberdeen who had come to Cambridge as Professor of Arabic, and the Rabbinics Reader, Solomon Schechter. But after just three years of marriage, Lewis died in 1891.

As before in grief, the sisters decided to travel, crossing the Sinai to the Monastery of St. Catherine, from which Constantin von Tischendorf had brought the Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest and most complete Bible then known. Another scholar, J. Rendel Harris, had recently discovered a long lost text, the "Apology of Aristides," in the monastery's library. Fascinated by the discovery, Agnes began to study Syriac. Harris was intrigued by the sisters' plans and provided them information about the monastery and its inhabitants. He also told them of a dark closet off a chamber beneath the archbishop's rooms with chests full of Syriac manuscripts.

Traveling to the Sinai in 1892 involved trains, steamers, and finally a 7-day camel caravan. Arriving at the monastery, they were welcomed into the library and shown books and manuscripts which were stored all over the monastery. Eventually, Agnes asked about the little room, and they were led down. One of the manuscripts they took up for closer inspection was a book whose leaves were nearly stuck together by dirt and age. The text, a collection of the lives of female saints, was written on top of another Syriac text - a common practice, called a palimpsest, when vellum was rare. The top text could be dated to AD697. The underwriting would have been centuries older. And it appeared to be a nearly complete copy of the Gospels. If it was, it would be the oldest known Gospel in Syriac. Over the course of their forty day visit to St. Catherine's, the sisters carefully separated and photographed the pages of the palimpsest. Upon returning to Cambridge in 1892, they developed and printed the photographs. Then they tried to get the professors interested (no easy task as they were generally dismissed as amateurs with no formal education and thus no possible knowledge). Eventually, Robert Bensly and Francis Burkitt agreed to examine the photographs. They were immediately excited by the find and started planning another trip - encouraging the ladies to stay behind, an idea they of course rejected. Rendel Harris was also one of the party.

During their return visit, the party divided duties. The men transcribed the palimpsest while the two sisters agreed to create catalogs of the library - one of Greek and the other of Syriac materials. Disagreements over whose find the palimpsest was caused problems during the trip and even more upon the party's return. Bensly and Burkitt downplayed Agnes's discovery - she had found the thing but didn't realize its importance (patently untrue).

Agnes and Margaret received honors from universities and scholarly societies all over Europe and North America, but not from Cambridge which did not grant degrees of any kind to women until 1921. They gave lectures and wrote several monographs on their discoveries, and served as general editors of the Cambridge University Press's Studia Sinaitica and Horae Semiticae series. They traveled repeatedly to Egypt, Syria, Israel, and other parts of the Middle East. As tourism grew, they made a point of purchasing manuscript fragments that made their way onto the market. Most notably, they worked with Solomon Schechter to track down the source of Hebrew texts that were appearing in fragments - the Cairo synagogue's genizah, now recognized as the world's foremost archive of medieval Jewish materials. They were actively involved in the founding of the first Presbyterian College at Cambridge, Westminster (they purchased the land and donated substantial sums for building). Margaret Gibson died in 1920. Agnes Lewis lived for six more years. In their last years, they were largely forgotten.

Soskice has written a carefully researched but readable book on a little known topic. The "Sisters of Sinai" deserve to be rediscovered. The publisher has posted an interview with the author which may be of interest.

~ Kitty Tynan, Assistant Director for Public Services

Back to top

Graduate Library Pre-Professional Students


L to R: Eben Dennis, A. Michelle Bolger, Miranda Mims, Emily Stark, Glynnis La Garde, Francesca Bruno, Samantha Saporito, Elizabeth Dodson, and Gena Chattin.

GLP stands for Graduate Library Pre-professional Program(GLP). GLPs are Library Science students who have been accepted into the GLP program in exchange for tuition assistance and the chance to get hands on experience in a specialized area within CUA Libraries. The GLP program allows candidates to gain professional experience while simultaneously earning their Masters of Science in Library Science (MSLS) at the CUA School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). GLP students work with experienced librarians who mentor them throughout their stay. The following is a list of CUA Libraries' 2009 class of GLPs. Please visit Mullen and the campus libraries to meet them (and ask them for help)!!

Eben Dennis

Eben is from Round Hill, Virginia, and he is a second year GLP in the University Archives. He received his undergraduate degree from Gilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he double-majored in Music and Environmental Science. Eben enjoys his position at the Archives where he likes to organize collections and create finding aids so that researchers can find the information. His GLP experience includes a project that took him 8 months to complete. Eben enjoys archiving so much that, upon graduation from CUA, he would welcome an opportunity to work as an archivist in another academic or research library. Eben's interests are music and wood working, as well as reading American fiction.

Elizabeth Dodson

"Lizzy," is 25 years old and is the GLP at the Engineering and Architecture Library at Pangborn Hall. Her undergraduate career was at Virginia Commonwealth University where she studied history. Her GLP position requires her not only to supervise 16 students, but also to work at the Physics Library. Lizzy does a little of everything; she likes the variety of reference questions from the engineering and architecture students and faculty. She likes learning about work and school simultaneously, as she likes "living in a library world," where she enjoys the people and the variety of daily activities. Lizzy's favorite things to do are camping; sitting on the porch with family and friends; playing cards; hanging out with people; and...laughing!

Emily Stark

Emily is from Toms River, New Jersey. She received her undergraduate degree from The College of New Jersey in Ewing, New Jersey. She majored in Sociology and Urban Planning. Her official title as a GLP at the DuFour Law Library is Government Documents Assistant. DuFour is a selective library in the Federal Depository Library Program. Emily's job is to help maintain the library's government documents collection. She processes the new materials and disseminates and organizes them. Her experience has taught her about technical services and what goes on behind-the-scenes, as her previous library experience was focused on public services. She also had the opportunity to attend the Federal Depository Library Council Meeting and Conference which helped to broaden her perspective on her position at the library. Emily's favorite part of the GLP position is opening new shipments, because she likes to examine the new materials. Her future goals include being a librarian at an academic library or a law library. Emily is getting married next September!!!! Needless to say, her interests right now concern wedding planning. Emily also likes yoga, and plays the harp.

Francesca Bruno

Francesca is from East Greenbush, New York. She received her undergraduate degree in Public Communications from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York She likes living in the DC Metro area and takes advantage of all cultural and entertainment opportunities here in the city. As the Cataloging GLP at the DuFour Law Library, Francesca does copy cataloging and original cataloging, and she also supervises one student. She has learned some cataloging in foreign languages, and by using dictionaries from reference, has learned some legal jargon. Her favorite thing about her GLP position is her work experience, work that she can document on a resume for future jobs. For the future she hopes to continue developing cataloging skills and to expand her horizons into library reference and public services in order to acquire a job that has a variety of tasks. Francesca is friend to the outdoors. She loves to hike, run, and ski. She also cooks and bakes, knits, reads for fun, and she loves doing "touristy stuff around DC."

Gena Chattin

Gena is originally from West Virginia but she has lived and worked in Kentucky for many years. Gena earned a degree in Equine Studies at Midway College in Kentucky, a bachelors degree with a double major in English and French from the University of Kentucky, and a Master's Degree in French from the University of Maryland. Gena is the Electronic Services GLP. Her tasks at CUA Libraries include: identifying and fixing basic hardware problems, installing software, updating the libraries' web page, reorganizing microfilm, keeping the photocopiers working, setting up and taking down laptops for library instruction sessions in the MERIC classroom, fixing microfilm readers, library instruction and she also works at the Information Desk. She has learned a lot, especially how Electronic Services helps support the library and librarians, and she welcomes new ideas to help the library fulfill its mission. She hopes to have a career that involves archiving, digitally preserving older works, and researching. Gena has a lot of hobbies: animals, writing (fiction and non-fiction), reading comic books, bicycling, and hiking. She also enjoys translating from French to English.

Glynnis La Garde

Glynnis is from Vicksburg, Mississippi, and she is the Circulation GLP at the DuFour Law Library. She received her undergraduate degree from CUA in English Literature. Glynnis works at the circulation desk, processes interlibrary loans, and maintaining course reserves. She also acts as supervisor to one assistant. She has learned a lot about the day-to-day operations of the library working in Circulation which she considers to be the central hub of activity. What she enjoys most about her job is her experience and contact with her supervisors and other staff members who have a wonderful rapport with one another and who have mentored her throughout her experience at DuFour. She likes to watch how they provide services to students and faculty alike, as this teaches her how to be a better librarian. In the future she hopes to work in an academic library environment. Glynnis' many talents include playing the piano, drawing, and painting in watercolor.

Michelle Bolger

Michelle is originally from North Carolina. As an "army brat" Michelle lived in West Germany, and received her Associate of Arts from the University of Maryland in Munich. She finished her undergraduate degree in English at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut. She has a Master of Arts in Literature and Language from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. She is the Reference GLP, and her favorite job at Mullen is working on the Information Desk. What Michelle has learned as RIS GLP is that there is a wide variety of resources to draw from. She hopes to find a job as a reference librarian, hopefully, at the Library of Congress. Other future plans include getting her PhD in English at the University of North Carolina. Her hobbies are reading, writing, cooking and baking, listening to music, and walking her dog.

Miranda Mims

Miranda, the Semitics and ICOR GLP student,is from Rochester, New York. She received her undergraduate degree from SUNY /Binghamton in Africana Studies. She went on to pursue a Master's Degree in African Studies at Howard University, where she received a graduate certificate in International Relations. As a GLP she manages serials in the Semitics/ICOR Library, where she is currently doing archival work with Lantern slides, which will eventually become digitalized. What she enjoys most about her position is that she can work with specific materials that have evolved from the study of Christianity in the Near East. She also enjoys working with Dr. Monica Blanchard, who has a PhD in Near Eastern Christian languages and literatures and a Master's in Library Science, and who is a great source of knowledge. She sees herself working in digitalization, and preservation in the future. Her interests include writing and professional organizing. Her talents include knitting creative tapestries to hang as decorations.

Samantha Saporito

Samantha is from Olney, Maryland. She received her undergraduate degree from CUA in May 2009. She majored in Greek and Latin, and she double-minored in Philosophy and Religious Studies / Theology. As a GLP in the Religious Studies and Philosophy Library, she works with gift books and Lib Guides (Spanish Language and Literature, Italian Language and Literature, German Language and Literature, and Art and Art History.) Samantha is not sure in what area of library science she would like to focus her studies because she and is enjoying all of her classes at SLIS. She hopes future course work in the curriculum will help her decide.

She has created a web page and blog she would like to share

Back to top

Staff Notes

Baby Israel Kitrell Clarke Mary Mathews and Isadore Mizell
Israel Kittrell Clarke Mary Mathews and Isadore Mizell

Jo'Ann Kittrell and her fiancé Tony Clarke welcomed a son, Israel Kittrell Clarke, On Sept 22, 2009.

Mary Mathews and Isadore Mizell were married in Las Vegas, NV on July 14, 2009. Congratulations to the happy couple!

Jamie Banister had a few small Biblical Studies-related works published under the name "Jamie A. Banister":

Articles Published:
"'Ομοιως and the Use of Parallelism in Romans 1:26-27." JBL 128 (2009): 569-90.

Entries in Bible Dictionaries/Encyclopedias:
Sakenfeld, Katharine Doob, ed. New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. Nashville: Abingdon, 2009. Five entries in Volume 5: "Sedheq," "Shalem," "Zenan," "Zephath," and "Zephathah."

Vol. 5 of the NIDB was just released in August. The JBL article is in the latest issue (#3) that is out.

Rachel Barham (Assistant to Music Librarian) made her New York City solo debut on October 15. She sang the role of Medea in a concert of scenes from operas by Mikis Theodorakis, most known for his music to the film Zorba the Greek. The concert represented the North American premiere of the works. In November, she will portray Mrs. Simpson and the Angelic Voice in the world premiere of Music Librarian Maurice Saylor's church opera Unfinished Sermons: a parable for church performance. The performances will take place on November 13 and 14 at Walker Chapel United Methodist Church in Arlington.

Maurice Saylor and his Snark Ensemble will be performing at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Tuesday, November 24, at 6PM. The Snark performance schedule can be found at their homepage:

Back to top


The editors would like to the thank the following contributors to the Fall 2009 Newsletter:

Dustin Booher, Anne Lesher, Maurice Saylor, W. John Shepherd, Kitty Tynan

Content Editor: Anne Marie Hules, Reference Librarian for Library and Information Science

Web Editor: Jonathan M. Smith, Electronic Services Librarian

Back to top

Previous Page

Search the University Libraries' website