The Friends of the Spring Hill College Library is a volunteer group established to support and promote the Spring Hill College Library, Archives and Special Collections. The Friends raise and contribute funds through a variety of projects including the voluntary operation of the Book Nook used book store. The Friends encourage gifts and bequests of books and manuscripts to the Library and to the Archives and Special Collections and promote awareness of the Library and the college.
Since the Friends’ inception in 1990, Patrice Baur has been a Board member. She is both a lifetime member and one of 17 charter members. Beyond those numbers, however, is an unparalleled gift of service. She initiated the Memorial and Honoree Book Program, which resulted in donations exceeding $48,000.00, and the Faculty Wish List Program, which contributed more than $6,000.00 to purchase library materials requested by faculty, a program that morphed into an annual gift of $500.00 for new faculty library requests. She took the lead in numerous fundraising events: the 1990 Festival of the Books, the 2002 Dining with Shakespeare gala, and the 2004 Rewriting Shakespeare festivity.
Fittingly, she earned the Friends' Special Volunteer award in 2000, but only Patrice Baur could do even more. As Hospitality chair, she orchestrated 24 special events for Book Nook special sales and provided the same special ambiance for more than 67 literary events. As Annual Dinner chair, she planned more than 12 dinners. As Historian, she prepared numerous annual reports, including the anniversary report: Friends of Spring Hill College Library: Celebrating 25 Years of Service. She was instrumental both in securing the Bishop Portier will and for commissioning the portrait of Dr. Charles Boyle for the Library Archives/Rare Book Room. As President from 2002 to 2004, her creativity and dedication moved the Friends forward. During that time, she secured the Valentine Swider bequest of $56,000.00, which enabled purchase of a jumbo scanner and other equipment, software, art work, and, in 2016, two custom archival display cabinets.
Patrice may be retiring from the Board this year, but not from ongoing service to the Friends in her newly elected position as Board Member Emeritus, with voting rights.
In 1831 Morris Gates was a student at Spring Hill College, attending classes and keeping a composition notebook. How, after more than a century, his notebook ended up in the collections of the Oneida County Historical Society (NY) is partly a mystery.
Some parts of the puzzle are clearer than others. Mrs. Frances Nash (Kingston, NY) uncovered the notebook in her late great aunt Frances Alida Griffins belongings and donated it to the Society. Her great aunt, who became one the earliest trained nurses, had been educated and raised by Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Gates.
Although the relationship between Morris and Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Gates isn't known, the notebook is back where it belongs-on the Hill.
Special thanks are due to Jeana Ganskopf, Director of Collections and Outreach at the Oneida County Historical Society (NY), who contacted Library Director Gentry Holbert about returning the work to the College.
The Friends of the Library of Spring Hill College are sponsoring a lecture by author and Civil War scholar Katherine Bentley Jeffrey. The lecture, entitled "The Lives and Legacy of Two Civil War Chaplains Buried in Mobile: Father Darius Hubert, SJ and Father Abram Ryan," will take place at 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 30th in the Barter Room on the second floor of the Burke Memorial Library at Spring Hill College.
Fr. Ryan, who achieved a good deal of fame, was nonetheless an unfulfilled and semi-tragic figure, partly because he never reconciled to the loss of the Confederacy. Fr. Hubert, by contrast, who knew Lee and Jackson personally and was the last to speak at the funeral of Jefferson Davis, was able to come to terms with the Lost Cause in a manner that did not unsettle his faith or his joyful and generous demeanor.
Jeffrey is the author of newly-published Two Civil Wars: The Curious Shared Journal of a Baton Rouge Schoolgirl and a Union Sailor on the USS Essex.
Michael Portier (1795-1859) was SHC's founder and
Mobile's first Roman Catholic bishop.
Born in France in 1795, he immigrated to the United States in 1817. After completing his studies at St. Mary's Seminary (Baltimore), he was ordained for the priesthood in the Diocese of St. Louis and was consecrated bishop in 1825. He remains today a central figure in Mobile's history. In addition to founding what is now Spring Hill College, he also established the Visitation Convent and girls' school in Mobile, oversaw construction of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, and founded a hospital, presently known as Providence.
Representing a private collector, The Neal Auction Company (New Orleans) contacted the College to determine its interest in obtaining the Portier will. Immediately, the Friends of Spring Hill College Library purchased it. The will outlines the Bishop's wish to give his estate to Spring Hill College, and directs the College to provide $50 yearly to each of his two sisters. The document is housed in the College Library Archives