Those wishing to know more about the soon-to-be canonized convert can access hundreds of once-hidden documents.
Anyone familiar with the 19th-century thinker John Henry Newman, who is to be declared a saint this fall, knows that the Anglican-turned-Catholic wrote a great number of books, essays and letters.
They may be in for a pleasant surprise when they see the extent of his writings online.
The National Institute for Newman Studies (NINS) this week launched a database that it says is the largest and most comprehensive digital archive of Newman-related works in the world. The interactive, online platform is home to more than 250,000 Newman archives, including letters, library records, photographs, maps, manuscripts, and more.
“The database brings to life digitized versions of Newman’s handwritten papers, published books, and never-before-seen manuscripts directly from the Birmingham Oratory archive, which revolutionizes the way scholars can access and study Newman,” NINS said in a press release.
The Birmingham Oratory is the religious house Newman founded in England in 1849, just a few years after he became a Catholic. It houses much of Newman’s original work, but, according to Daniel T. Michaels, NINS’ Chief Technology Officer, spatial and financial constraints meant smaller staff with limited public access, “so thousands of letters, diaries, photos, and more were packed into boxes and tucked away. Thus, with exception to the published Letters and Diaries (Oxford University Press), which only account for a fraction of the collection, access to Newman’s correspondence remained hidden for over a century.”