Gargan Hall Stained Glass Audio Tour

Library staff has created a self-guided audio tour of the stained glass windows in Bapst Library’s Gargan Hall.

The next time you are in the Bapst Library, check out the new audio tour of the Gargan Hall stained glass windows. Glass artist Earl Edward Sanborn designed the windows based on correspondence with then president, Father James H. Dolan, who established the theme of the curriculum of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. He finished them in 1928. A book about all of the stained glass at BC–Transforming Light: The Stained-Glass Windows of Boston College, by Virginia Chieffo Raguin and Gary Wayne Gilbert–is available at the Bapst Library information desk.

Logic in Transforming Light: The Stained-Glass Windows
Detail, Images from the east wall, Philosophy alcove. Page 73: Logic in Transforming Light: The Stained-Glass Windows of Boston College, by Virginia Chieffo Raguin and Gary Wayne Gilbert
QR code
Scan this QR code for a sample audio tour of the philosophy window

In addition to the website with the complete tour, each window has a descriptive sign with a QR code. Just point your phone’s camera at the QR code, and the text and audio about that window will open. Don’t forget your headphones, they will keep you from getting displeased looks from those who are studying nearby!

The idea for this tour started with our planning for Parents Weekend. Rather than offer guided tours which require people to show up at a specific time, we thought a self-guided approach would be logistically easier. Having the tour online also provides the same information to anyone who visits Gargan Hall. So, if students need a distraction from their studies, they can open the tour and learn about the stained glass window next to them, which might picture a whimsical frog or a man seeming to summon lightning.

Stained glass image of a frog
Detail, Images from the west wall, Poetry and Drama alcove, Gargan Hall, Bapst Library. Page 48: The Frogs, in Transforming Light: The Stained-Glass Windows of Boston College, by Virginia Chieffo Raguin and Gary Wayne Gilbert
A stained glass detail
Detail, Images from the East wall, Useful Arts alcove. Page 64: Engineering, in Transforming Light: The Stained-Glass Windows of Boston College, by Virginia Chieffo Raguin and Gary Wayne Gilbert

Much of the information came from existing guides to the Bapst Library windows.  During the summer, those narratives were enhanced (and sometimes corrected) by library staff. The team that worked on this project includes Nina Bogdanovsky, Sonia Ensins, Laurie Mayville, Steve Runge and Scott Britton.

more ornate stained glass details
Detail, Images from the East wall, Natural Science alcove. Page 68: Astronomy, in Transforming Light: The Stained-Glass Windows of Boston College, by Virginia Chieffo Raguin and Gary Wayne Gilbert

Digital Scholarship Workshops, Fall 2019

This fall, the Digital Scholarship Workshops will engage with emerging digital humanities technologies using census data to gain digital and data strategies, and also to present a picture of how digital scholarship research can engage with social justice issues.

Abstract background image

Every semester, the digital scholarship team launches a series of workshops to assist students and faculty with Library resources and tools. This year, as the campus and BC Libraries take a sharper look at social justice issues, our workshops will use race and diversity data (e.g. US Census) to explore the affordances and constraints of tools and strategies for transforming data into narratives and images. Our first two workshops, which take place in September, will provide introductions to digital exhibitions and Geographical Information Services (GIS).  

As the year kicks off, our workshops will focus on acclimating students to the new digital arsenal they have access to. See the table below for quick reference. More detailed descriptions follow.


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Decades of Historic Boston Newspaper Now Online and Searchable

BC Libraries has digitized 80 years of the Pilot. Learn about the publication’s history of different titles and editions, and get an inside look at the digitization process.

Whether in the business of creating fake or real news, every outlet is constantly looking for its base – a group of people with combined or similar interests who may see objective realities from particular perspectives. This was very much the case with the Boston Pilot. As Irish immigrants arrived in droves in the years leading up to and through the famine and troubles, the burgeoning Irish Catholic working class was struggling to find its way in Boston, much less America. The Boston Pilot served as a beacon for this community, spreading political and social ideas, while also providing a resource for reconnecting families, divided by cross-continental travel.

In 1829, The Jesuit, or, Catholic Sentinel, started publication as a periodical for Irish immigrants, and under the guidance of the Archbishop of Boston, Joseph Fenwick, Jesuit started to find its identity,  eventually changing its name to the Literary and Catholic Sentinel in 1835, before becoming the much more well known Boston Pilot in 1836. Readership rose and fell as the decades brought the paper through the famine, troubles, and American Civil War until the archdiocese took over the paper officially in 1908.

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Ignatian Reflections for the Fall Term

Tom Wall, University Librarian, reflects on the hope and renewal that the start of the fall semester brings, with special emphasis on Ignatian principles relevant to scholarship and BC Libraries.

A portrait of Tom WallThe fall term always seems to bring a feeling of hope and renewal to college campuses. For many people the season also begins a period of anticipation, with the holidays, the beauty of autumn, and meetings with family and friends. In some respects, it’s the time of year that most embodies the adage that “happiness is having something to look forward to.”

The influx of young minds to the academy brings new ideas and expectations as well, and if I could borrow an Ignatian metaphor, these emerging ideas and conceptions symbolize the heart; and conversely the University with its history and stability are more akin to the mind. Together, the convergence of the students (heart) and University (mind) form a compelling dynamic that is at once challenging and punctuated by optimism. When it works, we have the meta-instance of Ignatian consolation; when it struggles, we have desolation.

Ignatius offers a number of concepts I’ve been reflecting on lately in the context of anticipating change. In addition to consolation: accompaniment, mobility, and indifference.

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Egan Irish Harps: Neoclassical Art Meets Traditional Music

Burns Library helped to sponsor the publication and first American launch of Nancy Hurrell’s groundbreaking study The Egan Irish Harps: Tradition, Patrons and Players in conjunction with the Irish Georgian Society.

The harp has been the symbol of Ireland since the Middle Ages, not quite as long as the shamrock and St. Patrick, but long before its appearance on the label of that other Irish icon, Guinness stout. Yet it may never have become the national instrument played in Ireland today had it not been for the ingenuity of an early 19th-century Dublin harp maker named John Egan.

Unlike concert harps, Egan’s new-style harps were small and portable. They retained the characteristic bowed pillar of medieval Gaelic wire harps on which they were modeled, but used gut strings and modern mechanisms to change keys. Recognizing the excellence of Egan harps, George IV granted the maker a royal warrant. Although patronized by royalty, Egan’s Portable Irish Harp, painted green with golden shamrocks, was also viewed as an emblem of Irish nationalist pride in post-Union Ireland.

Cover of Nancy Hurrell’s 2019 book on Egan Irish harps. Courtesy of Four Courts Press.

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