The Catholic University of America

June 23, 2010

Exhibit Displays “Treasures” From CUA’s Collection

  The "Treasures From Our Attic" exhibit will be in Mullen Library through Aug. 13.

Never before seen items from the University Archives and the University Museum Collection are on display through Aug. 13 on the first floor of the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library in an exhibit titled “Treasures From Our Attic.”

The items — many of them of a religious nature — are displayed in four separate cases in the lobby of Mullen Library.

The theme for the exhibit is meant to reflect the diverse holdings in the university’s collection. Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., university president, came up with the idea when he was giving a tour of his residence at Nugent Hall to Leslie Knoblauch, records management archivist at CUA, and medieval history doctoral student Paul Wesley Bush. Knoblauch and Bush set up the exhibit.

Below are some of the pieces featured in the exhibit.


A CUA land deed signed by abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, who was also recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia from 1881 to 1885. The land deed records the transfer of the property on which CUA is located.

This carved statue, titled "Blessed Mother, Queen of Heaven," was part of the estate of Monsignor James A. Magner, former vice rector of CUA and director of the university press. Magner bought the piece, circa 1950, during his journeys throughout Mexico.


This Spanish Colonial Ivory Statue of the Madonna and Child is from the 18th or early 19th century. It was donated to the university by the Right Rev. Arthur T. Connolly in 1917. Connolly was a Boston priest, a noted book collector and a trustee of Boston Public Library . His extensive travels enabled him to become an expert in rare books and art.  In 1917, Connolly began to send boxes of books and art to CUA librarians and curators. Within 10 years, Connolly sent 16,000 books and 70 ivories, engravings and paintings to CUA.


Former university rector Monsignor Thomas Shahan donated this plaster cast depicting three angels who visited Abraham as well as scenes from the Gospel. This replica is from a 17th-century Russian-Greek ivory reliquary cover.  It was given to the university in 1926 by Monsignor Shahan, who served at CUA from 1891 through 1928.


Also donated by Monsignor Shahan in 1926, this is a plaster cast of an ivory panel titled the "Nativity and the Flight into Egypt." This replica is from a very rare original panel of ivory in the Cathedral of Salerno in Italy.


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