For the past few years, Special Collections and Archives has selected images from our collections to be used on Christmas cards sent by the University Library to friends, donors, faculty, and community members. This year’s card features St. Vincent de Paul in a winter scene with orphans and angels overhead in bold colors who are both protectors of the orphans and heralds of the new life to come despite the harshness of the winter. This particular card, selected from the the Vincentian Holy Cards digital collection, is a colorful counterpoint to the often dreary depiction of winter in the holy cards collection. We chose an image from the Vincentian Collections this year as we continue to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Vincentians’ arrival in North America, commemorated with companion exhibits in Special Collections and Archives (Suite 314) and the first floor of the John T. Richardson Library through March 2017.
The DePaul University Archives was the source of the holiday card images for the first two years, with an action shot of students ice skating in 1941, selected from the University Photographs for the 2013 card. A hand-drawn illustration from a 1928 issue of the student newspaper, the DePaulia, was selected for 2014. This illustration includes Christian and popular references to the holiday, with the Madonna and Child and the Holy Land alongside Santa Claus, a Christmas tree, and a holiday feast.
Last year, we highlighted a selection from our Rare Books and Maps with an illustration from 1836 in The Book of Christmas. Father Christmas pulls back the curtain on the merrymakers, with a turkey underfoot of “Sir Loin” and a little costumed figure carrying a wassail bowl nearly his own size.
Perhaps next year we’ll feature an image from one of our Community Archives Collections. Many of these collections contain materials that are open for research use and personal reproductions for study and scholarship, but may have restrictions on “publication” and sharing. Our Community Archives largely represent people, organizations, and events from the mid-twentieth century forward, which are certainly historical in nature, but not so far in the distant past as to be in the public domain.