Scope and Contents
The Brunini Papers offer an interesting, inclusive day-by-day account of the life activities of a Catholic writer during a sixty-year period (1915 to 1977). His literary aspirations, his manuscript rejections, and his everyday activities (i.e., '"when writing you work yourself up emotionally") are covered in-depth in the Correspondence section of the papers (Boxes 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, and 12). Brunini's letters also present an interesting sidelight into local New York sights and scenes during this period, i.e. Cosmos & Lotos Club activities (1939 & July 23, 1943 letters respectively); various reactions to contemporary "talkies" and plays (Cohan's "Gambling" Sep 5, 1929 & K. Hepburn's "Philadelphia Story" June 25, 1939); and "bootlegging" activities. Political and economic events are discussed as well (Hoover, public opinion, & "Upward trend" Oct. 10, 1931 letter). Noteworthy parts of the correspondence deal with American Catholicism (pre-Vatican II) on this everyday level.
The attitudes and practices of America's Catholics, through the life of John G. Brunini, are fully explored in the correspondence. The changes of Vatican II are discussed in the correspondence between J.G. Brunini and his brother, Bishop J.B. Brunini. Brunini mentions many notable Catholic authors in his correspondence: Sigrid Undset (Aug. 25, 1936 letter), Willa Cather (Oct. 12, 1940 letter), Theodore Maynard (April 11, 1935), and William Thomas Walsh (May 21, 1935 letter. Fr. Talbot called his work, Out of the Whirlwind, the "greatest American Catholic novel"). Catholic publications such as Commonweal and America are also mentioned (New York attitude towards Commonweal, Oct. 26, 1929 letter and "a bone to pick with Fr. Parsons" of America, Sep. 1, 1931). Of interest is the August 28, 1946 letter mentioning the late Haile Selassie's request of the Jesuit Superior General to send Jesuits over to teach English, and only teach English. Non-Catholic writers are also mentioned: William Faulkner's activities in Mississippi (Edmund Brunini to JGB, "Sunday"), Harris Dickson & his portrayal of blacks in Scarlet Sister Mary (August 11, 1929), Robert Benchley incident (Sep. 7, 1929), and Margaret Mitchell (July 24, 1936), just to name a few. The above mentioned people and events are a few highlights of the contents of this collection, a collection which offers in-depth glimpses into the life of a Catholic writer from 1915 to 1977.
The bulk of the Brunini Papers consist of correspondence from J.G. Brunini to his mother covering the period from 1915 to 1947. The letters to his parents between 1915 to 1919 when J.G. Brunini attended Georgetown College form one of the more interesting parts of the correspondence. The remaining correspondence consists of letters from J.G. Brunini to his family and their letters. Found among this group is some correspondence from Bishop Joseph B. Brunini of the Natchez-Jacksonville See in Mississippi and Dr. John J. Meng, former president of Hunter College. Miscellaneous correspondence contain some letters from prominent individuals. The correspondence section covers Boxes 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, and 12.
Manuscripts of John G. Brunini's literary endeavors (i.e. books, poetry, articles) form the second section of The Brunini Papers. Included within this section are manuscript versions of his best known work, Whereon to Stand. This series also contains John Gilland Brunini's autobiography. Boxes 4, 5, 6, 9 ,and 10 comprise this section.
The Subject Section contains noteworthy materials on the Temple of Religion (regarding religious participation at the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair) of which Brunini was an active participant and the Lotos Club (social club for literary lights in New York) of which J.G. Brunini was a member. Photographs of some of the Lotos Club dinners are also contained in this section. Box 7 contains the subject section.
List of the contents of Box 8 (Oversize) can be found on the last page of the Finding Aid.
- 1915 - 1973
Conditions Governing Access
Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.
From the Collection: 12.95 Linear Feet (12 boxes)
Language of Materials
Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository
Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057