The Catholic University of America

Joseph Conrad Plumpe

An inventory of Rev. Joseph Conrad Plumpe Papers at The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives


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Mailing Address: The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064

Telephone: 202-319-5065

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Descriptive Summary

Repository: The American Catholic Research Center and University Archives
Creator: Rev. Dr. Joseph Conrad Plumpe, April 12, 1901-December 8, 1957
Title: Rev. Joseph Conrad Plumpe: Editorial Files from the Ancient Christian Writers Series
Dates: 1946-1957
Extent: 2 linear feet; 4 boxes
Abstract: The Fr. Joseph Conrad Plumpe papers are a reflection of his years as editor of the Ancient Christian Writers series. This series was created to translate famous Latin and Greek works of the Church into English for the first time. This collection includes book reviews, in the form of newspaper clippings, for many volumes of this series. Also included are correspondence with translators and other business in publishing this series.
Collection Number: 065
Language: English

Biographical Note

Fr. Joseph Plumpe was born on April 12, 1901 in Cloverdale, Ohio. He came from a large German-American family. His parents, August and Mary Plumpe, were average Ohio farmers and had a family of eight. Plumpe would come to enjoy nature because of his years on his family farm. From an early age Joseph was passionate about learning and attended St. Barbara's Parish parochial school from 1908-1916 before being admitted to the Josephinum Seminary by Monsignor Joseph Soentgerath. During his time at the Josephinum, he exceled in his studies and became an avid Latin and Greek scholar. He would earn his B.A. and M.A. in 1922 and 1924, respectively, before being ordained in Toledo on June 2, 1928. Plumpe went to the University of Berlin in the fall of 1928, after being accepted to the faculty of the Josephnium, to earn his doctorate in Latin and Greek language and literature. He would earn his degree in classical philology in 1932, and would teach Greek and Latin at the Josephinum from 1932 to 1941.

In 1941 Plumpe joined the staff of The Catholic University of America (CUA) as a Research Associate in Latin from 1941-42 before becoming a Professor in Latin and Greek. Plumpe received tenure in 1949 and due to ill health left The Catholic University of America in 1953. In 1954, he rejoined the staff of the Josephinum as a seminary professor until the day before his death. Plumpe was also a brilliant scholar who was known for his abilities in translating and analyzing early Christian literature, Greek and Latin. Plumpe was devoted to bringing these texts to the English speaking world, which led to the creation of the Ancient Christian Writers series. This series began publication in 1946 in Westminster, Maryland, and London, England, with twenty-six volumes published at the time of his death in 1957.

This series would consume most of Plumbe's scholarly efforts from 1946-1957. His devotion to this series is seen through his personal letters and to his close attention to detail in his writer's translations, as well as the publication of these translations. Also, he worked closely with other English speaking scholars within the Catholic Church in order to get the scholars to translate these texts. An example of this was his 1950 recruitment of Anglican translators who were experts in Greek and Latin. Despite the hard work Plumpe's health was failing by the early 1950s; in 1953 he experienced a complete physical collapse that kept him hospitalized until the fall of 1954. Despite his ill health he remained active in editing the Ancient Christian Writers series. His recovery in 1954 however would be short lived, Rev. Joseph Plumpe died after a failed operation in 1957.

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Scope and Contents

The Rev. Joseph C. Plumpe papers are divided into two series. The first series is correspondence with different translators for the Ancient Christian Writers Series, as well as editors of book reviews, and correspondence with numerous book publishers. The second series contains book reviews of volumes 5-9, 11, and 21-25 of the Ancient Christian Writers Series. These reviews are mainly newspaper clippings as well reviews from scholarly journals. This series also includes a Latin translation of Theodocius, and three homilies from the book of Matthew. The correspondence files shows how Plumpe was dedicated to getting the best translation possible but also how he formed close relationships with different translators.

The Plumpe papers are extensive of his years as ACW editor but are missing his papers from his career as a professor at The Catholic University of America as well as his years at the Josephinum. Another important note is the good relationships he had with the translators because many of them were fellow scholars as well as members of the clergy. Several from the ACW were priests, with the exception of some lay professors and a few nuns. The reviews are evidence to the accuracy of the translations in the ACW series as well as Plump's dedication to this extensive project. Overall, despite the fact that these papers are missing Plumpe's years as a student and professor his work as an editor for the Ancient Christian Writers Series gives a rich understanding of his scholarship.

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Arrangement



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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

None

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Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Donor unknown, paper received about 1957-1958.

Processing Information

Processing completed in 2011 by Raymond Moore. EAD markup completed in 2011 by Raymond Moore.

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Related Material

Roy J. Deferrari Papers

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Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.


Persons:
Rev. Joseph Plumpe

Organizations:
Ancient Christian Writers

Places:
Ohio
Washington, D.C.

Subjects:
Classical Translations and Book Reviews


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Bibliography

Obituary from the December 25, 1957 edition of The Josephinum Review Obituary from the January, 1958 edition of the CUA Bulletin

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Detailed Description of the Collection

                       
Series 1: Ancient Christian Writers Book Reviews, 1947-1957 (1 Box)
This series contains book reviews newspaper clippings and articles from the Ancient Christian Writers Series, edited by Rev. Joseph Plumpe. These files are organized by the Volume and date and some reviews are in Latin or German.
Box Folder
1 1 Volume 1: Rev. James A. Kleist's The Didache; The Epistle of Barnabas, 1947-48
  2 Volume 2: Joseph P. Christopher's St. Augustine: The First Catechetical Instruction, 1947-48
  3 Volume 3: Louis A. Arand's St. Augustine: Faith, Hope, and Charity, 1947-48
  4 Volume 4: Sister Mary Josephine Suelzer's Julianus Pomerius: The Contemplative Life, 1947-48
  5 Volume 5: Rev. John J. Jepson's St. Augustine's Sermon on the Mount, 1949-50
  6 Volume 6: Rev. James A. Kleist's The Epistles and the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, 1949-51
  7 Volume 7 and 8: George McCracken's Arnobius of Sicca: The Case Against the Pagans, 1949-52
  8 Volume 9: Rev. Joseph M. Colleran's St. Augustine: The Greatness of the Soul and the Teacher, 1950-51
  9 Volume 11: Rev. Henry Davis's St. Gregory the Great: Pastoral Cave, 1951-52
  10 Volume 21: Rev. Polycarp Sherwood's St. Maximus The Confessor: The Ascetic Life, 1956-57
  11 Volume 22: Rev. Dom Mark Pontifex's St. Augustine: The Problem of Free Choice, 1956-57
  12 Volume 23: Rev. J.H. Crehan's Athenagoras: Embassy for the Christians, The Ressurrection of the Dead, 1956-57
  13 Volume 24: Rev. J.H. Waszink's Tertullian: The Treatise against Hermogenes, 1957
  14 Volume 25: Rev. Maurice Bevenot's St. Cyprian: Saint in Hiding, 1957
  15 Latin Copy of the writings of Theodocius,
                       
Series 2: Correspondence, 1946-1957 (3 Boxes)
The following two boxes contain Rev. Joseph Plumpe's correspondence during his years as editor of the Ancient Christian Writers series. The correspondence is with translators for the series as well as with book editors, critics, and publishers for the series. This series is organized alphabetically by the name of the author or organization.
Box Folder
2 1 Three Homilies by Rev. A.C. Rush, unknown
        These three homilies were delivered at the Basillica of St. Felicitas, St. Stephen, and St. Andrew on their respective feast days.
  2 St. Rev. T. Corbishley, 1947-1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  3 Sister D. Felicitus Corrigan, 1946-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  4 Rev. M. Joseph Costelloe, 1952-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  5 Rev. Joseph Crehan, 1947-1956
        Assisted Fr. Plumpe in attaining original Latin texts to translate for Ancient Christian Writers Series.
  6 Professor F.L. Cross, 1951 and 1955
        From Christ Church at Oxford and corresponded with Plumpe on the First and Second International Conference on Patristic Studies, at Oxford. Plumpe was asked to discuss his translations with the Ancient Christian Writers Series.
  7 St. Cyprian Translation Notes, unknown
        Notes made by Plumpe as well as four essays on St. Cyprian written by William N. Lenert, "Life of Caecilian Cyprian, and Russell Williams, "On the Dress of Virgins. The other essay, "To Donatus", has no author.
  8 Dr. Charles Daly, 1946-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  9 Msgr. H. Francis Davis, 1946-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  10 Rev. Henry Davis, 1947-1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, Pope Gregory the Great
  11 Dr. G.F. Diercks, 1952-1956
        1954 Discusses about Plumpe's return to editing the Ancient Christian Writers series after an interlude due to his poor health.
  12 Sister Mary Bede Donelan, 1950-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  13 Rev. Malachi J. Donnelly, 1947-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, "Sheppard of Hermas"
  14 Rev. Francis D. Dorman, 1946-1952
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  15 Dr. James Duff, 1946-1953
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, "Confessions of St. Augustine
  16 J. William Eckenrode, 1953-1957
        Representative with Newman Bookshop, publisher of the Ancient Christian Writers series.
  17 Episcopate, 1946-1949
        Correspondence discussing the Ancient Christian Writers Series with different Archdioceses.
  18 Dr. Daniel C. Fires, 1950-1955
        Correspondence concerning book reviews of the Ancient Christian Writers series written by Dr. Fires.
  19 Rev. Dr. John Fleming, 1954
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, referral to Rev. Johannes Quasten
  20 Rev. Denis Fahy, 1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  21 Victor J. Furst, 1946-1953
        corrections for Victor J. Furst, publisher for The Newman Press
  22 Rev. Paul A. Geringer, 1946-1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  23 Rev. Brian Gardon, 1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  24 Rev. Auselin Genders, 1952-1955
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  25 Dr. Clarence A. Forbes , 1955-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  26 William McAller Green, 1955
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
Box Folder
3 1 Miss Hilda C. Gray 1950-1955
        correspondence on Ancient Christian Writers book reviews
  2 Michael R.E. Gough, 1948-1950
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, discusses Plumpe's trip to Europe
  3 Dr. John Hackett, 1946
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  4 Rev. Thomas Halton, 1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  5 Dr. Paul Harkins, 1948-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  6 Rev. Wulstan Hibberd, 1947-1950
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  7 Rev. John W.B. Higgens, 1950-1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  8 F.R. Hoare, 1951
        collaborator for Ancient Christian Writers
  9 Rev. Philip Holdsworth, 1950
        British translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  10 Imprimaturs, 1947-1957
        Correspondence granting permission to publish Ancient Christian Writers volumes by the Bishop of the Diocese where the books are sold.
  11 Sister Mary Josephine, 1953-1954
        Correspondence discussing Plumpe's health and how it has impacted his work as editor for the Ancient Christian Writers series.
  12 Rev. J.P. Klienz, 1949-1950
        Writer for the Josephinum Review, commenting on the Ancient Christian Writers Series.
  13 Dr. G.W.H. Lampe , 1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, "Cyril's Catecheses
  14 Thomas Comerford Lawler, 1949-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers and a very close friend to Plumpe
  15 Rev. William Le Saint, 1947-1956
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers and correspondence on other academic matters
  16 Rev. P. DeLetter, 1947-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, from India
  17 Harry L. Levy, 1950-1951
        Editor for Classical Weekly, correspondence on his reviews of the Ancient Christian Writers series
  18 Rev. Dr. Gregory Lombardo, 1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  19 Longmans and Green, 1956-1957
        correspondence with London publisher
  20 Rev. Dr. James Magner, 1949 and 1952
        Correspondence on Catholic University news on the Ancient Christian Writers series. A copy the November 1949 Catholic University Bulletin is included.
  21 John J. Mahoney, 1951
        Inquiring about working for Newman Books to assist with the publication of the Ancient Christian Writers series.
  22 Rev. Gervase Matthew, 1950-1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, from Oxford University
  23 Rev. R.J. McCarthy, 1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, and an expert on Arabic texts
  24 Dr. William C. McDermott, 1949-1952
        Correspondence on his work of Gregory the Great's translation and his work on Roman History
  25 John J. McHale, 1947
        Correspondence with a former student of Plumpe's who is now a translator for a publishing firm.
  26 Michael J. McGann, M.A., 1950
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, St. Augustine "De Musica"
  27 Rev. Francis McHenry, 1954
  28 Rev. Denis Meehan, 1946-1950
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, "Gregory of Nazianzus
  29 Mercier Press, 1951
        Correspondence with an Irish publisher for the Ancient Christian Writers series.
  30 Dr. Charles C. Mierow, 1946-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, and personal friend
  31 Rev. Dr. R.L.P. Milburn, 1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  32 Dr. Robert Meyer, 1949-1957
        Catholic University professor's correspondence concerning the Ancient Christian Writers Series.
  33 The Morrissey's, 1950-1956
        Rev. Francis Morrissey and Miss Wilhelmina Morrissey, translators for Ancient Christian Writers
  34 Rev. Dr. William G. Most, 1946-1950
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  35 Rev. F.J. Murray, 1949-1956
  36 Rev. Herbert A. Musurillo, 1950-1957
        A translation editor and colleague for the Ancient Christian Writers series.
Box Folder
4 1 R.K. Nicholson, 1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, St. Augustine and the Donatist Controversy
  2 Dr. Anthony A. Nemetz, 1956
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  3 Rev. Paul O'Dea, 1950
 

 

 

4

 

Rev. John O'Flynn Correspondence, 1950-1952

 

 

 

  5 Dr. Brian Oman, 1951-1952
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  6 Rev. Dr. John O'Meara, 1946-1955
        Irish scholar who worked on Volume 19 as a Latin translator at the University College, Dublin.
  7 Rev. Dr. J.G. O'Neill, 1951
        Recommendation for translator Justin Maytyr
  8 H. James Pearson, 1947 and 1951
        Correspondence discussing why after four years Pearson's translation of St. Gregory the Great's "Homiliae in Evang" has not been completed.
  9 Sister Penelope, 1950-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  10 Rev. Dom Pontifex, 1950-1956
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  11 "Printer Instructions, undated
        Various correspondence with publishers on instructions given by Plumpe for the Ancient Christian Writers Series
  12 Rev. Hugh Pope and Fr. Drostan McLaren, 1946-1947
        Translated St. Augustine of Hippo and was completed by Fr. McLaren following Fr. Pope's death in 1947
  13 Rev. Johannes Quasten, 1957
        Correspondence concerning the Ancient Christian Writers series, letters in English and German.
  14 Reprint requests and Requests for Review, 1946-1957
        Correspondence about reprints and reviews by the publisher for the Ancient Christian Writers series.
  15 Rev. Gregory Rhys, 1950-1951
        Correspondence concerning failure to complete translation due to ill health and eventual death in 1951.
  16 Formatting rules for Ancient Christian Writers translations, 1956-1957
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  17 Rev. Ralph Russell, 1950
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, St. John Damascene translation
  18 Rev. Edward J. Sherry, 1950
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  19 Rev. Polycarp Sherwood, 1946-1956
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, rough drafts included
  20 Rev. P. Smulders, 1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, "Hilary's De Trinitate"
  21 Rev. J.P. Smith, 1950-1956
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  22 Rev. Kevin Smyth, 1953-1954
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, Contra Celsum
  23 Rev. Patrick Sullivan, 1947
        Cancelling translation of Athenagoras
  24 Msgr. C.E. Spence, 1947
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  25 Rev. J. Stevenson, 1956
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, Lactantius Divine Institutes
  26 Subscriptions, Subscribers, and Stock letters, 1950-1953
  27 Rev. Dr. Michael Tierney, 1946-1949
        Resigning from translating for Ancient Christian Writers to become president of University College, Dublin
  28 Dr. Dominic Unger, 1949-1951
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, Irenaus
  29 Dr. Cornelia J. de Vogel, 1948
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, Dialogi de Trinitate
  30 Rev. Robert Voigt, 1948
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  31 Dr. James E. Walsh, 1947 and 1956
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, Justin's Apologies, reason for nine year hiatus to finish translation
  32 Rev. R.W.H. Warner, 1952-1953
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, St. Gregory's De Virginitate
  33 Rev. Austin Waldvogel, 1947-1949
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  34 Dr. J.H. Waszink, 1946-1956
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers
  35 Rev. Philip T. Weller, 1954-1956
        translator for Ancient Christian Writers, correspondence on his dissertation
  36 Bruno Woernle, 1952
        Correspondence with representative from the Lineotype Composition Co.
  37 York Composition Co., 1952-1955
        Correspondence with composition company for the Ancient Christian Writers series.
  38 Various Letters, 1946-1949
        These are letters of correspondence with Plumpe but are one or two letters from one person
  39 Various Letters 2, 1950-1957
        These are letters of correspondence with Plumpe but are one or two letters from one person

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Administrative Information

Related Material

Index Terms

Bibliography

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Ancient Christian Writers Book Reviews, 1947-1957

Series 2: Correspondence, 1946-1957

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