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Roman Catholic Modernist Movement

Images of the Roman Catholic Modernist Movement collection

As the influence of historical and scientific methods grew in the academic world and the implications of the new social and psychological sciences impinged on traditional academic disciplines, Roman Catholic scholars, toward the end of the 19th century began to propose that their own communion should adopt what was best in the new disciplines to enhance the presentation of their faith to the contemporary world. Friedrich von Hugel, the scholar at the centre of this group, directed that at his death his papers and library should pass to the University of St Andrews. As a consequence the Library became the favoured repository for the papers of others who contributed to the modernist debate. By gift, loan, bequest or purchase, the library has come to hold papers of Wilfrid Philip Ward, Frank Rooke Ley, Alfred Leslie Lilley, and George Walter Young. At various times, for the convenience of scholars, various researchers in the field have deposited copies of original, related, papers held in other archives, notably the Archives Bremond in Lyon, the Stadtbibliothek, Trier, (Francis Xaver Kraus) and the Byzantinisches Institut of Abtei Scheyern, Bavaria (Albert Ehrhard).

In addition the Library has acquired material relating to Evelyn Underhill, not herself a modernist, but a close disciple of von Hugel.

The Library also holds von Hugel's books: see Rare Books page.

Wilfrid Ward, a leading apologist for the Roman Catholic Modernist Movement in the UK, left a large body of material - some 3,500 letters, plus photographs, notebooks, diaries, essays, and a large volume of papers relating both to his academic and theological activities and to personal and family matters. The papers are of major interest in the light they shed on Ward himself as well as the Modernist Movement in general, and on organisations and publications such as the Synthetic Society (1896-1908) and the Dublin Review (which Ward edited from 1906 to 1916).

See Cataloguing the Papers of Wilfred Ward on the Projects page.

Manuscript or muniment?

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Collection development policy

Discover how the Special Collections Division makes decisions on the development of its manuscript and muniment collections.

Current projects

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