Being Catholic, Being American, Volume 2
The Notre Dame Story, 1934-1952
522 pages, 0.00 x 0.00
Hardcover | 9780268021634 | October 2000
Mary and Tim Gray Series for the Study of Catholic Higher Education
- Press Kit
- Author Bio
An archive-based account of the developmental years of the University of Notre Dame. During these years, university leaders strove to find the additional resources needed to transform their succesful boarding school into an ethically diverse modern Catholic university. The history of the University of Notre Dame from 1842 to 1934 mirrors in many ways the history of American Catholicism during those years. For reasons having to do more with football than religion, most Americans think first of Notre Dame when they think of Catholic universities. Burns, a former Notre Dame faculty member and longtime columnist for U.S. Catholic magazine, traces the emergence of American Catholics from a minority status in society to the elevation of Notre Dame as a great American university. He argues that having one of the most successful college football teams in history helped establish Notre Dame's popularity and reputation in American culture and history. Burns keeps the reader entranced with a narrative filled with lively characters and events. Here we meet Notre Dame founder Reverend Edward Sorin, the KKK in Indiana, Knute Rockne and a host of other heroes and cowards, mountebanks and millionaires, all of whom played a part in the astonishing years covered by this story.
Robert E. Burns came to the University of Notre Dame in 1957 without previous exposure to Catholic education or commitment to it. He remained at the University for 39 years, serving as a teacher, working historian, and administrator of the College of Arts and Letters.
Burns, a teacher and administrator at Notre Dame for four decades, has written an entertaining, useful history of the university from its founding in 1842 through 1934. The first section concentrates on the institution's growing pains, including the debate over hiring lay faculty and the beginnings of the phenomenally successful football program under Knute Rockne. The second section treats the virulent anti-Catholic sentiment of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana and its influence on the university and its football team, whose national championships gave American Catholics something to be proud of as they moved toward assimilation into the mainstream culture. The third section examines the impact of the Great Depression on the university's finances and enrollment and the effect of Rockne's untimely death in a plane crash in 1931. This book is an important contribution to the history of one of America's most important Catholic universities, a story that often mirrors the history of American Catholics in the 19th and 20th centuries. Highly recommended. ~Pius Murray, Pope John XXIII National Seminary, Weston, MA