Pittsburgh institute launches largest online Newman archive in the world | TribLIVE.com
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Stephen Huba

A Pittsburgh institute is now the largest curator of digital archives for Cardinal John Henry Newman, who will be canonized by the Catholic Church in October.

The Oakland-based National Institute for Newman Studies this week launched the NINS Digital Collections, an interactive, online platform that is home to more than 250,000 Newman archives. The collection includes letters, library records, photographs, maps, handwritten papers, published books and never-before-seen manuscripts.

The collection is free and open to the public and can be accessed by creating an account at https://digitalcollections.newmanstudies.org/.

Previously, scholars had limited access to the resources and often had to visit the Birmingham Oratory, the religious house founded by Newman in 1849, to study them.

NINS, along with the Birmingham Oratory, its partner organization in the United Kingdom, scanned nearly 250,000 folios from more than 165 boxes to create the largest single digital collection of works on and by Newman in the world.

“The NINS Digital Collections allows scholars and Newman enthusiasts across the globe unprecedented access to Newman’s works without the burden of travel,” said Ryan Marr, NINS director. “This project is more than five years in the making, and we are thrilled to see it come to fruition just in time for his canonization on Oct. 13.”

Other features of the Digital Collections include thousands of letters written to Newman by figures ranging from ordinary working people to key 19th-century religious and political leaders.

An Anglican clergyman, Newman (1801-1890) was a founder of the Oxford Movement in the Church of England. He converted to Catholicism in 1845 and was later made a cardinal. Among his most famous works are “Apologia pro Vita Sua,” “Grammar of Assent” and “Idea of a University.”

The cause for Newman’s sainthood dates back to 1958. He was declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1991 and was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. He will be the first Briton to be canonized since 1976.

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