The James B. Macelwane Manuscript Collection provides an interesting picture of both the personal and professional life of the Reverend James Bernard Macelwane, S. J. From the days of his youth in northern Ohio to his position as a respected scientist and internationally known expert in seismology, this collection supplies valuable evidence of the varied activities undertaken by Father Macelwane. The collection contains items from c.1885 until 1962, with the bulk of the material spanning the period 1920 - 1956.
Information on Macelwane's early life is included in the personal series of documents. Of particular interest here is the autobiography which Father Macelwane wrote in 1953 at the request of Father Paul Reinert, President of Saint Louis University. Numerous pieces of personal correspondence between Father Macelwane and his family may be found here also.
Since he was so well known among the scientific community around the world, Father Macelwane's untimely death generated a tremendous volume of correspondence, expressions of sympathy, and other writings. These items, which may be found in the fatal illness series, provide the researcher with some idea as to how well respected his opinions were and how wide Father Macelwane's reputation had spread.
Some indication of the special personal friendship and professional relationship which existed between Father Macelwane and Father Blum may be found in the series of documents related to Father Blum. Of particular note here is the correspondence between Father Blum and members of the Macelwane family.
Although the collection does contain some professional correspondence between Father Macelwane and other scientists, the volume here is surprisingly small. His professional activities are represented in a professional organizations series, while the numerous personal and professional awards and other recognitions Father Macelwane received may be found in their own series of documents.
The largest, and probably the most interesting set of documents in this collection is the scholarly/professional works series. This series consists of nearly 270 professional addresses, articles, notes, papers, and reports which Father Macelwane either wrote or presented during his outstanding career as a geophysicist and seismologist. Some of these documents are typewritten originals, while many are photocopies of originals. His notes on various geologic field trips he took in the American west are exciting reading, while his articles and papers discussing earthquake prediction and constructing earthquake proof buildings are rather timely, fifty years after they were written.