Sunday, January 25, 2015

Catholic Higher Education in the American South, 1830-1930

Kathryn Mary Wrightson's 2003 Ph.D. dissertation for the University of Georgia, Toward a History of Catholic Higher Education in the American South:  Essays on Sources and Context, is available for those interested in the history of southern colleges.  The author identified fifty-five Catholic institutions that opened during the period between 1830-1930.  Ten of these are still operating and the others tended to close after brief periods due to the isolation and poverty of the areas served.

Wrightson begins with an overview of 19th century religious life in the region.  The third chapter provides brief historical sketches of the Catholic colleges founded in nine states.  The fourth and fifth chapters focus respectively on the structures and "souls" of Catholic colleges.  She concludes by analyzing institutional success and closure in a variety of ways.  Wrightson also includes comments on the state of available sources for information and offers useful suggestions for additional research.