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  • Kathleen Comerford

Taking stock after quite a year

I end this year on a bittersweet note. I haven't been able to recruit a new graduate student for the project, so things will slow down considerably after about mid-May. I'm not yet sure whether or not I'll have any summer interns.


On the other hand, I've had a very productive year at the EJLPP: in addition to a smooth transition from my first to my second (current) graduate student, I have employed a total of five undergrads. They've brought a great deal to the Project, and I'm truly grateful for them. I hope that in the near future, I'll have more students.


Last year at this time, Rudy Bond (1st grad student) and I were anticipating the publication of a blog post at Histoire du Livre, so we began 2019 on a high. We continued with a successful presentation at Emory University and closed off the year with Rudy's finishing touches on the EJLPP intern manual. In the meantime, undergrad Jasmine Webb had joined us and began the Digital Commons archive. Over the summer, undergrads Samantha Sanchez, Nesha Wright, and Michael Sullivan took up the reins; in August, we welcomed undergrad Chris Camp and MA candidate Lauren Della Piazza Hartke. It's wonderful to see how much we have accomplished during this time.


I've had the strange opportunity to see just how far we've come because I'm currently updating an article I submitted about 18 months ago, which has been held up at the editing stage for a variety of reasons. At that time, which was just when Rudy was beginning, the full database contained about 1,875 entries and we had barely begun processing the photos from our Yale University collection. Now, the database has over 4,350 entries, and we've made great strides in uploading the thousands of photographs taken at Yale, the Folger, and Emory.


I've thought since the beginning that the data set I've compiled affords many opportunities to understand the history of the book, of education, of the Jesuits, and of libraries, and every now and then it's good to take some time to crunch the numbers. The approaching end of the year spurs me to look into what those 4,350 books tell us, and here's a little taste.


SUBJECTS:

About 6.6% of the books are about martyrology, hagiography, or spiritual biography

About 1.8% are spiritual exercises

About 5% concern Jesuit mission activity

The largest single category is exegetical theology, accounting for over 7%


LANGUAGES:

*Exactly* 2/3 (really-66.66666...%) are in Latin alone

The second most popular language is Italian (13.4%), followed by Spanish (7.8%), French (5.2%), and German (1.4%)

Other European languages are Albanian, Catalan, Croatian, Dutch, English, Greek, Polish, and Portuguese

Non-European languages are Arabic, Chinese, Guarani, Hebrew, Japanese, and Persian--but in total, amount to less than 0.5%


PRINTING:

The vast majority were printed in Europe, but the data base does include one book each printed in Macao, Mexico, and Peru

France is the kingdom responsible for the largest group of books: approximately 20% were printed there. Roughly equal numbers were printed in the Low Countries and the Republic of Venice--about 13% each

About the same number of books were printed in Paris as in Rome (about 9.7% each), but the city which accounts for the largest number was Venice, with 13%.


JESUIT PROVENANCE:

The best-represented institutions are the colleges in Alcalá, Augsburg, Madrid, Messina, Munich, Paris, Prague, and Rome, and the professed houses in Madrid, and Messina Over 22% come from institutions in Spain proper, and another 11% from Spanish possessions in Europe Over 55% come from European territories ruled by Habsburgs

About 13.5% come from territories in the Italian peninsula and islands


I am looking forward to using these numbers, and the underlying data, over the coming years and, of course, collecting more titles. Happy holidays to everyone. Be sure to give books as presents!

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