What’s in a signature, um, I mean, name?

In 1932 Sr. Mary Joseph, Sister of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross, librarian at Webster College in Webster Groves, Missouri, had a dream to collect photos, letters, and manuscripts of living Catholic writers into a Gallery of Living Catholic Authors. The Gallery created a definitive list of Catholic authors to be honored.


The National Catholic Book Week display in the Academy Library.

This collection inspired schools throughout the United States to create their own similar collections and branch out to additional authors. Students at Mount St. Joseph Academy and Junior College took part in this program and for many years students wrote to authors asking for a photograph and letter for their collection. They would then create a display in the library for the annual National Catholic Book Week.

Below are a few examples from the Catholic Authors Scrapbook. Click on the images for a closer view.

Booth Tarkington is most famous for writing Alice Adams and The Magnificent Ambersons.

Few letters are as amusing as this, sent by playwright Reverend Will Whalen. He was so prepared he even had his tombstone ready before his death.











Sigrid Undset is a Norwegian author most famous for her historical novels Kristin Lavransdatter and The Master of Hestviken.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was a favorite at Mount St. Joseph and his radio broadcasts were a community event. His signature is in the bottom right hand corner.

Lillian Barker wrote The Dionne Legend: Quintuplets in Captivity, about the Canadian quintuplets who became wards of the government and were followed closely by the media.











Covelle Newcomb was a varied author, writing on subjects from Leonardo da Vinci to John Henry Newman to cowboy adventures in the Old West.







William Thomas Walsh wrote many great historical books on figures such as St. Teresa of Avila, Isabella of Spain, and Phillip II.












  1. Gert Patterson

    This is a wonderful blog. I read Fr. Will Whalen’s letter, and it left me smiling. God bless Lillian Barker for her endeavor to help and rescue the Dionne Quints. Their story truly is about government control, using people, and then kicking them to the curb! Covelle Newcomb with her matter of fact humility, and William Thomas Walsh may have missed his other calling to be a doctor, judging by his writing.

    I loved, loved, loved this blog, and I think that maybe someday we will see YOUR name, Sarah, as someone who was approached and asked for their signature!! God bless and job well done!!

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