About the Collection
The Ade Bethune Collection occupies some 400 linear feet consisting of manuscript and printed materials, as well as 75 cubic feet of nontextual materials (graphic, sound, and artifact).
The current holdings of the Collection include: correspondence; original manuscripts of books, articles and lectures; over 2,000 drawings; published writings; memorabilia, sketchbooks, and photographs; approximately 1,500 architectural drawings; books and journals from Bethune's personal library; about 400 small wooden, copper, and zinc engraved printing blocks; 100 audiotapes, 800 slides, and 3 16mm films; and multiple artifacts of wood, bronze, pewter, tempera paint, silkscreen, stained glass, textiles, rubber, and clay.
- Correspondence with Dorothy Day and others in the Catholic Worker movement
- Correspondence with Graham Carey regarding the Catholic Art Association and views on liturgical art in general
- Papers and architectural drawings of the Church Community Housing Corporation, an organization providing affordable housing in Newport, RI, including Newport's first solar house
- Papers, architectural drawings, and photographs of many of her church design and renovation projects
- Design drawings for the bronze candlesticks used on the outdoor alter for the solemn closing of the Second Vatican Council
- Manuscripts and published writings on liturgical and social justice topics
- Six complete nativity scenes and scale models of her architecture projects
- Examples of her work in many media: paper, metal, wood, textile, clay, and stained glass
Topics of Special Interest
- Sacred art
- Liturgy and art
- Church architecture and furnishings
- Graphic arts, calligraphy, lettering, illustration
- Icon painting, stained glass, mosaic
- Theology of imagery, sacred scripture and liturgy in art
- The Liturgical Movement, especially the role of women
- Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement
- Catholic Church history
- Christian social movements
Ade Bethune's relationship with St. Catherine University began in 1939. She was asked to speak at the third meeting of the Catholic Art Association held on campus in October of that year. While only 25, she had already made a name for herself as a published artist and writer. However, this was her first large-scale, formal lecture, and she was petrified about speaking.
While at St. Catherine's, Ms. Bethune also spoke at the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and painted a large Saint Joseph with the novices. This visit began a life-long friendship with Sr. Cyril Clare Casey, Mistress of Postulants. Later she was to develop friendships with art faculty member Judith Stoughton, CSJ, and library director Elizabeth Delmore, CSJ. These two women were instrumental in convincing Ms. Bethune to donate her personal papers, books, and artworks to St. Catherine University.
The Ade Bethune Collection, opened in 1984, has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Grotto Foundation, and the Bush Foundation. In November 2009, the Collection was awarded a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources as part of CLIR's "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" program. More information about that grant can be found here. The Collection has also received support from the Friends of the Libraries, Myser Intitiative on Catholic Identity, Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, and St. Catherine University Centers of Excellence.