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Friends of the Library: Home

Our Mission

Our Mission

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.

It is Easy to Join or Give to the Friends of the Spring Hill Library

Now is the perfect time to make a tax deductible gift or become a member of the Friends of the Spring Hill Library. 

Avoid the rush and make your qualifed tax deductions for 2012 now. Simply click on the appropriate link listed here or the tab at the top of the page.

In addition to memberships and monetary gifts, donations of your time and new or gently used books are always welcome at the Book Nook.


For Your Reading Pleasure

SHC Friends to host Dale Keuter

The Friends of the Spring Hill College Library is hosting an evening presentation on the importance of preserving family stories.
Conversations with Dale Kueter is Thursday, Feb. 26at 6 p.m. at Stewartfield.
Kueter’s book The Smell of the Soil addresses the importance of looking beyond the family tree, recording the stories of all the people in one’s life, which is a step beyond the normal genealogical process. In addition, the book contains helpful hints on getting story writing efforts organized and meeting some of the major impediments. After a brief presentation on story writing as a means of sustaining family history, he will take questions.
The author is a retired newspaper writer. Kueter has written two non-fiction books and is currently working on a novel.
He will have books available for purchase.
The public is invited, and a small donation is suggested.
For more information, contact Julie A. Kraft at 251-380-2284 or

1831 Notebook Returns to Spring Hill College

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 Griffin's 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 & Outreach at the Oneida County Historical Society (NY), who contacted Library Director Gentry Holbert about returning the work to the College.

Undergraduate Research Award Recipient

Abbey Roam received the Charles Boyle Friends of the Spring Hill College Library Undergraduate Research Award ’s for her paper entitled “What Page was I On? An Example of Book Navigation in the Vulgate of 1600”.  This year’s award was given to the best research that demonstrated substantive utilization of the Burke Library’s special collections.  She received a certificate and check for $250 from the Friends. 

Abbey wrote her paper on the newly discovered Slotkin Book Leaves Collection in the SHC Archives.  The Slotkin leaves are from rare biblical and antiquarian books (1496-1876) from works in several different languages and include the Koran, the Bible, Greek, Hebrew, other religious texts. Each original item is mounted on a sheet with a reproduction of the original book’s title page and a short description of the work that it came from.

Abbey’s award was given by Father Salmi at Honors Convocation on April 19, 2013.

Can You Identify This?


In the June 2012 issue of our electronic newsletter, Bookends, we asked our friends and alumni if they were able to identify the object pictured here.  Among the clues offered, was that the object was the property of one of the present board members of the Friends of the Library.

In fact, this is a freshman beanie that was worn by Dr. John Hafner, Professor Emeritus, during his freshman year at Spring Hill College.   Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures.

We had just a few entries in the contest, and while Phillip A. Brady of Fairhope, AL correctly identified the object he didn't  guess the owner.  He was awarded with a Spring Hill College flash drive.

Homecoming and a Special Remembrance in honor of Dr. Charles Boyle



Dr. Boyle's wife, Roberta, poses with the artist, Ms. Stephanie Morris (at left) during the Homecoming dedication.

Ms. Stephanie Morris, Mrs. Roberta Boyle, and incoming FOL President, Dr. Hafner.

This year's homecoming was truly a special occasion as we honored the memory of Dr. Charles Boyle, beloved educator, archivist and friend with a specially commissioned portrait.  Dr. Boyle's family and friends were on hand for the unveiling on April 21, 2012 in the Barter Room at Burke Library.

Next time you are in the library, be sure to visit the archives for a personal viewing.

For more information about Dr. Boyle, simply click on the link below.

Friends Acquire Portier's Last Will and Testament

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

Scotty Kirkland: January 2015

History Museum of Mobile curator Scotty Kirkland' s knowledge of his subject is extensive. His passion for it is infectious. Drawing upon the Museum's extensive collection of one of Alabama's most important artists, Roderick Mackenzie, he has curated a fabulous exhibit and a companion book: The Ark of India.  Both commemorate the Museum's 50th anniversary.

Although he made his home in Mobile, MacKenzie was to be an international citizen. Born in London in 1865, he left Scotland in 1871 for Mobile.  After his mother died, he was sent to Episcopal Orphanage Wilmer Hall.

In 1893 he and his wife left Mobile for India, staying for 12 years. He completed major commissions there-painting the Durbar of 1903, an elaborate procession and ceremony in Delhi commemorating the coronation of Edward VII, and also tiger hunts in central India's jungles. Thereafter (in 1896), he forsook future commissions to pursue his real passion: understanding and capturing the lives of the regular people of India.

Although he would become better known as the painter of the Birmingham steel series, MacKenzie's greatest gift was embracing the broader world and recognizing the basic humanity of us all.

He returned to America in 1913,  opening a studio on Dauphin Street, rebuilt it after a fire, and died in 1941.

This is a must-see exhibit, running through September 6, 2015 (111 S. Royal Street, 251.208.7569). The Museum is open Tuesday  through Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The book of MacKenzie's drawings, paintings and beautiful prose is available at the Museum. For more information and a virtual exhibit, visit

Dr. Dewey Weiss Kramer: Nov. 2014

As we waited for Dr. Dewey Weiss Kramer to begin her presentation, we knew it wouldn't be a typical evening for the Friends of the Spring Hill College Library. Musica divina filled the Stewartfield ballroom, St. Hildegard's octave-jumps drawing our thoughts to the Trinity.

Dr. Weiss Kramer put down her recorder and continued to enlighten us, now with words. Few of us were familiar with the work of Hildegard of Bingen, despite the fact that she is only one of four women named a doctor of the church. Quickly, our German scholar and Benedictine guide demonstrated how Hildegard earned that designation. Through visions, God commanded the saint to unlock the mystery of the universe in exuberant language. St. Hildegard wants us to re-cover, un-cover, and dis-cover the ancient truth of God's relation with creation.

Hildegard of Bingen-monastic, theologian, poet, artist, feminist, ecologist-was perhaps the first to embrace multi-media. In addition to contemplative prayer and lectio divina, Hildegard added musica divina and visio divina. And to our delight, rather than simply lecturing us about these methods of prayer, Dr. Weiss Kramer played her recorder and shared color reprints of Hildegard's illuminations, bringing us into the actual prayer process.

St. Hildegard teaches a holistic approach to God. Not only is God present in all of creation, but also we participate in His ongoing creation. Hildegard teaches an "exuberant incarnation," the purpose for which the world is made. The reason for the incarnation is not the result of sin; rather, the purpose of the incarnation is for God to move closer to His creation. Thus, Satan is the culprit in Eden, because he envies Adam his magnificent voice and Eve her fertility. Hildegard emphasizes the feminine dimension of creation and the ecological, since creation is full of the divine spark.

Through St. Hildegard's words, music, and art, Dr. Weiss Kramer helped us to appreciate the wonder of the Trinity. To conclude the evening, we examined another of Hildegard's illuminations. The Holy Spirit embraces the world, wrapping arms around Adam and the new Adam, Jesus Christ, the exuberant incarnation, the Father's son, willed into being before all time, to bring God close to His creation. Guest column by Ron O'Gorman, M.D., cardiovascular surgeon andauthor of Fatal Rhythmten weeks on Amazon's Best Sellers lists for Medical Thriller and Christian Suspense. 

Dr. David A Burke: Oct. 2014

Dr. David Burke's (SHC '94) recent book, Atomic Testing in Mississippi(LSU, 2012), was born from his early interest in nuclear history. The tests the book covers were the only nuclear ones conducted east of the Mississippi. That fact surprised even some of Burke's doctoral advisors. 

The genesis for underground testing in Mississippi had its origins in the 1960s during the Cold War. Both Russia and the U.S. were embroiled in a public relations battle, each championing its ability to be a nuclear military superpower. Remember ducking under your desks to survive a nuclear attack? While this PR campaign held sway, third world countries expressed concern that above-ground nuclear testing was compromising the health of their citizens. Dr. Linus Pauling was in the forefront of those raising concerns. 

Sensitive to these issues, the U.S. considered underground testing both because it could eliminate the health risk of atmospheric fallout and also help answer questions about the effectiveness and reliability of underground testing. Would it provide a safer alternative? Would the underground signals provide reliable results or be compromised by the effects of detonations?what kind of seismic signals would result and if  by detonations? Would detonating into an underground chamber muffle the device and provide a way to cheat? Mississippi became the selected site because its salt domes provided an easier, cheaper way to create an underground chamber-much easier than excavating granite.  

In closing, Dr. Burke made the following points: 

  •  Historians don't need to travel the world for research topics.  Fascinating stories exist in their own backyards. 
  •  The tests were never secret; they were front page in local and  international papers. 
  •  Rather than supporting Cold War PR strife, the tests fostered  a pathway for dialogue.
Burke Memorial Library I Spring Hill College I 4000 Dauphin Street I Mobile, AL 36608 I 251-380-3870