University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"The first printing press at Notre Dame was established in the old Professed House, which stood on Mt. St. Vincent, (site of Community House). It was worked by hand, but sufficed to do the work that was needed."

-- J.F. Edwards.

"The infirmary had been begun in the Autumn of 1844, finished 1845. A brick building, 60' X 20', two stories. Part of it at first occupied by printing office.... Close printing office in 1846."

-- Sorin. 1844.

"Badin's donation, the value of which we don't yet know (from 25 -- 30,000 francs) furnished us with an occasion to buy a printing press on which we pay 1,500 francs in tuition and 3,000 in money, in May 1846. Brother Joseph has already printed half of the Constitutions of the Brothers, with the aid of two little orphans. This appeared to me so advantageous (It had cost 7,000 francs) that I presumed on your permissions to make it ours; kindly deign to approve it at this time."

-- Sorin to Moreau, -- General Archives, 1845, p. 54 Oct. 13, 1845

"Need of having the Constitutions of the Brothers in English, wished to have it done by themselves. Other printed matter to be given out to the Community. Plan to print classical works at low prices for sale. Administrators of Lake decided to buy at Niles for 3,500 francs, with three years schooling.

"First issued Rules and Constitutions of Brothers, which were printed by Brother Joseph under direction of a local printer. Abridgment of Murray's Little Grammar, the Epistles and Gospels, a volume of stories by Mrs. Herbert, Rules of the Archconfraternity, etc.

"Couldn't continue work as it ought to be done. Expenses too great. In January 1847, press sold, Attempt abandoned for present. Lack of experienced printer dashed our hopes. Would have given employment to apprentices Father Sorin lamented." 1845.

In January 1847 the press was sold again for almost the same price for which it was bought, and the idea of printing at Notre Dame was abandoned, at least for a time. No doubt with a man who knew how to judge and conduct the thing, there would have been besides the press a considerable profit. The lack of such a man obliged us to abandon the enterprise and to remove all hopes that it had allowed us to conceive. It is regrettable that the Institute couldn't support at its own expense all these charges -- there would have been work for two or three apprentices. In this there would have been more advantage for they would have learned a profitable trade."1847

"... it was decided to have windows placed in the printing office, the printers helping if possible."

-- Trade Council Minutes.

"Brother Joseph shall have six pounds of glue and molasses that he may be able to print 16 Pages at the same time."

-- Trade Council Minutes., p. 3Sept. 20, 1845

-- "Brother Joseph worked at the Constitutions and is to continue printing them next week." Nov. 15, 1845.

"Brother Stephen's class and the apprentices shall use the grammar printed here."

-- Council of Professors. 1845.

"Brother James shall print 150 copies of the Constitutions." Sept. 1, 1845.

"The press shall be placed over Mr. Blackford's room." Mar. 2, 1846.

"Lists of premiums, etc., printed by Brother James." July 27, 1846.

"Now we are going to have a printing press, we first print our Constitutions. If you have not as yet had yours printed, kindly arrange matters so that I may make you this slight present."

-- Sorin to Superior, St. Mary-of-the-Woods, April 30, 1845.

"The printing office was under Brother Joseph. Father Sorin was an enterprising man, and one of the first things he did was to purchase this office, and Brother Joseph was busy with two apprentices there."

-- Scholastic. 28:609 , Rev. E. Kilroy

"Brother Joseph said he wanted many things for the printing office."

Jan. 24, 1846.

"Ce petit ouvrage est le premier qui ete imprime a Notre Dame de Lac." (Manuscript note on lining-paper of Library of Congress Copy. A Catalog of Books represented by Library of Congress Printed Cards, 1943, pl. 183.)

-- Rules and Prayers... bound in flowered calico, poor printing. Bought at an auction in Montreal, about 1936. In rare book room Library of Congress. Part of Collection of mission press rarities. Inscription: 'This is a copy of the first book printed at Notre Dame and is presented to Very Rev. E. Sorin. 1846.

"Father Cointet shall tell the printers to finish the grammar without delay." Council of Professors, April 15, 1846.

"Brother Joseph wants the printer's guide and twenty reams of paper."

-- Trade Council Minutes., p. 21 1846.

"The printers made a form of the Grammar, but very little work was done there being no paper."

-- Trade Council Minutes., Page 26, 1846.

"Brother Joseph said that Fr. Cointet by his corrections made them lose time and that in no printing office were so many proof sheets required as he pretended. He said Mr. (Father) Shawe should be corrector."1846.

"The latter book (Murray's Grammar) came to be, for several decades, the most popular grammar in the country, and was widely used in Catholic schools."

-- Growth and Developments the Catholic School System, p. 137. Burns:

"Mr. Shawe (Rev.) was appointed corrector for the printing office, if he should be willing to undertake it."

-- Council of Administration, 1846.

-- "As soon as time will permit the infirmary shall be moved to the printing office and the press then taken to Father Badin's room." Sept., 30, 1846.

"Approves of acquisition of printing Press."

-- Moreau to Sorin. Sept.,, 30, 1846.

"The first reading book will be sent to the printing office at Niles to be there completed and our printing office paper will be used for that purpose."

-- Local Council, July 8, 1847.

"Brother Gatian, who was lately sent as Visitor to Brooklyn, N.Y., shall during the time of this visitation have the Constitutions of the Brothers and of the Sisters together with those parts of the Directory, which are of more frequent use, printed and bound at the price fixed in the letter of Mr. Drennigan."

-- Local Council, Feb. 26, 1849.

"We have also here (Notre Dame de Ste. Croix) Brother Amadeus for three or four months, doing business in the interest of Notre Dame du Lac, and attending to the printing of our rules in English; in a few days he will start again for America.

-- Rev. F. Dussaulx to Sorin. 1850.

"Decided by Local Council that we should try to print catalogues here before sending them to a printer."1857.

-- "Provincial Chapter of August 11, 1861, considered feasibility of composing and translating books, school books, and publishing same. Commission appointed." 1861.

"Sorin speaks of the 'Metropolitan Reader' and says the fifth reader will be ready soon. Besides the English Grammar is being prepared here; a new algebra will be ready at the same time by one of our own professors. Sorin desires to add yearly some new school books to the series already commenced. Asks if he is ready to publish them?" 1864.

"The Council decided that the Pedagogy be printed as soon as possible." August 23, 1858.

"A printing press is to be purchased. Father P. Dillon to go to Chicago with Mr. Tally for that purpose."

-- Local Council Apr. 3, 1845.

"The new press will be a big help in absorbing boys of Manual Labor Bindery to be added soon. Brothers who can run both."

"Except for boot and shoe shops, where twenty hands are busy, Manual Labor School had to limit number admitted."

Sorin to Bishop Purcell. Cincinnati, 1860.

"Advance sheets of the 'Ave Maria' almanac for 1869 received by editor of St. Joseph Valley 'Register'." Nov. 12, 1868.

Report of Provincial Chapter committed:

1. To leave old 'Metropolitan' series on the market as they are.

2. To make arrangements with Catholic Publishing society of New York to publish a new series as to matter and title.

3. To edit series by ourselves alone.

4. Series to have 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Readers and a Book of Oratory new on market. Brown's essay on Voice culture. To add three spellers. Afterward to issue grammar, rhetoric, logic (already prepared) and others to make a complete set for Colleges and schools. July 7, 1864.

"It was decided that a building should be erected for the Printing Establishment, 18' X 40', two stories high." July 10, 1865.

"Eight hundred copies of the 'Scholastic' to be printed weekly." Local Council. Sept., 25, 1869.

"Under this title are comprised three divisions: the printing office proper, the 'Ave Maria' office, and the binder,. The printing office is conducted by the Brother Stanislaus, aided by one Brother, three young men, and three apprentices." 1869.

(Sorin to Purcell) "Sorin says in a letter to Bishop Purcell, April 9, 1865, that the Very Rev. Julian Benoit, Fort Wayne has kindly volunteered to give us a press, valued at $250, which will be here in a few days."

"In February, 1873, the actual printing was turned over to the Sisters who received their first lessons from Brother Stanislaus." Sr. M. Renatus,

-- Our Provinces. p. 62.

"Suggestion of Father Bigelow to place the contract made between Sadlier and Co. and Sorin in relation to the Metropolitan Readers' in the hands of Derlin and Company, New York, was approved."

-- Local Council, March 8, 1878.

-- "'Ave Maria' largest circulation of any paper in the state -- 6,000 copies distributed weekly."

-- The National Union, South Bend, Jan. 27, 1869.

"Total volume issued from press in 1870 was 51,000."

-- Scholastic, 3, p. 142.

Ave Maria. 6,000

Scholastic 800

Gold Wreath 15,000 200 pg. copies

Dead, Suffering and Abandoned 6,000 100pg. copies

four annuals:

Almanacs 32,000

University Catalog 3,000

"The Printing Office is furnished with an Adams book press, run by steam power; a hand press, and a large assortment of type and other materials.

"The 'Ave Maria' a four to sixteen Page paper, published weekly, and devoted to the honor of the Blessed Virgin, issued 30,000 volumes during the last five years. It has 6,000 regular subscriptions." 1870.

"Notre Dame Scholastic, a semi-monthly publication issued 2,000 volumes in three years, 800 subscribers. Books and pamphlets are also published here."

"It was resolved that the apprentices who were employed necessarily in the printing and binding offices while the others were attending school be allowed to attend school during these three months (Feb., March, April) and during that time they shall board and study in the College."

-- Minute Book, Brothers of St. Joseph. Feb. 21, 1866.

"There are three Brothers in the 'Ave Maria' office regularly aided by six apprentices. "They mail the 'Ave Maria', correspond with the subscribers, etc. The order in this place is better than it was. Silence might be kept better. The young men employed here should have regulations, viz., not to remain in town at night, attend all public offices in the church.

"Brother Romuald has charge of the bindery. He is rather easy in his ways, too easy, and has no control over boys. It is believed that this department is a burden to the house."

-- Minutes of Father Provincial Granger's Visit.

"Includes printing office, 'Ave Maria' bindery. Printing office is under Brother Stanislaus, one other Brother, 3 young men, 3 apprentices. Bindery under Brother Romuald."

-- Granger's Visit.

Building erected July 10, 1865, 18' X 40', two stories.

New Printing Office finished Dec. 1, 1881.

"Old Building north of the infirmary was razed."

-- Scholastic, 24:16, p. 253.

"Old Building used as tin shop"

-- Scholastic, 24:16, p. 253.

"Brother John (Joseph) finished the Constitutions and printed a form of the Gospels. Next week Brother Joseph shall continue."

-- Council of Trades Jan. 3, 1846.

The Printing Office shall be stopped."

-- Archives of Notre Dame. 49, p. 9. Aug. 29,1846.

-- "March 21, 1846: The printers made a form of the Grammar but very little work was done, there being no paper."

"Next week they shall bind Bossuet and some books belonging to Father Badin." April 4, 1846.

"The printers made a form of Mrs. Herbert, began 'Protestant Misconceptions' and the pamphlet of the Archconfraternity."

-- "They shall continue next week and besides shall commence printing 600 copies of the Reader by the Brothers of the Christian doctrine."

"Brother Joseph said that Father Cointet by his correspondence made them lose time, and that in no printing office were so many proof sheets required."

(January 8, 1847) "The Press to be sold for $600, $500 to be in cash and $100 in trade." Archives N.D., 30, p. 59.

"The first reading book will be sent to the printing office at Niles to be completed there and our printing paper will be used for that purpose."

-- Minor Chapter, July 8, 1847.

-- "As soon as time will permit, the Infirmary shall be moved to the Printing Office, and the press shall be taken down to Father Badin's room."

Aug. 23, 1846.

"Council decided that Brother Joseph should become a colporteur in conformity with Bishop Hailandiere's desire."

-- Administrative Council N.D. 30-042.

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›