Monday, November 28, 2011

Whom to believe

THE NEWLY UNEARTHED trove of historic miscellany includes a carbon of a 9-page, double-spaced typewritten document titled simply, "Mount St. Mary's College."

In pencil at the top are three notes:
  • 1954?
  • Sr. Dolorosa Mannix
  • Contains many inaccuracies
It's a short history of the first few years of the College, 1925-1931, from the first idea to moving into the Chalon Campus, and it was written by someone who was here throughout -- Mother Dolorosa Mannix, CSJ, a founding faculty member who served as president and provincial from 1937 to 1943.

Some of the "inaccuracies" seem to be corrected in additional pencil by the same hand, although I counted only a few and they're quite minor -- misspellings, an added date, an amended roster.

I wonder who edited Mother Dolorosa -- was it Sister Germaine McNeil, one of my predecessors in the Archives and author of the "official" history of the College? Sister Germaine's book, Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles, 1925-1975, has also been described to me as "full of inaccuracies." And yet she relied heavily on Mother Dolorosa's journals from the early years (and both sisters taught in the same department, Classics). Did another Mount founder take exception to written history?

This should give all bloggers pause. I rely heavily on Sister Germaine. Like Mother Dolorosa, she's the authoritative source.

Let me close with my sincere apologies in advance for any inaccuracies I may be introducing in my poor attempts to recreate a little Mount history. I can well imagine the comments: "Oh, that blog. It contained many inaccuracies."


  1. I doubt there are any inaccuracies here, Vicky. Your journalism training coupled with the librarian/archivist work I'm sure makes for solid reporting and accuracy. By the way, maybe it is time for a second volume of Mount history from 1975 to the present. I can think of no better person to write than you. Thanks for all your hard work to preserve the history of this truly unique college.

  2. Very funny, Paul. I guess if I blog trivia for the next 14 years, we'll have something for the 100th.