The Joseph C. Husslein Manuscript Collection affords a fascinating look into the personal and professional life of a major but now often overlooked Catholic social theorist and educator. The collection contains items from circa 1930 to 1990, with the bulk of the material spanning the period 1931-1945.
The Personal Series, which includes Stephen Werner's 1990 dissertation on Husslein for Saint Louis University, provides information on Husslein's character and interests as well as on the varied aspects of his long and fruitful career. The Bibliographies Series gives a quick overview of his own writings and of the works he edited for the three book series he created for the Bruce Publishing Company of Milwaukee: the Science and Culture Series, the Science and Culture Series Texts, and the Religion and Culture Series. The Book Reviews Series gives evidence of the public response accorded one of Husslein's own major publications, The Christian Social Manifesto (1931).
The focus of the collection is on Husslein's efforts to promote his and Bruce's "university in print," a milestone in the Catholic literary revival. The Memos and Notes Series contains Husslein's jottings for some of the prefaces he supplied for Bruce books, as well as for a letter detailing his work with and the set-up of the three book series. (This Series also includes an outline for a new method of teaching religion at the college level.) The Manuscript Report Series consists of readers' reports on books submitted to Bruce along with detailed criticism of the style and content of several such works. The Prefaces Series includes typescripts of two of Husslein's completed prefaces.
The largest and most interesting part of the collection is the Correspondence Series, made up of letters to and from Husslein, but mostly to him from his authors and translators, would-be authors, Bruce officials, and friends. This correspondence covers all aspects of shepherding manuscripts through to emergence as Bruce publications: the selection of book topics, revisions and corrections, documentation and research, illustrations and titles, publication schedules, promotional schemes, and sales prospects. Notable correspondents include Hilaire Belloc, Shane Leslie, Fulton Sheen, sister Mary Madeleva, Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli (Pope Pius XII), Theodore Maynard, Ralph Adams Cram, Frances Parkinson Keyes, Michael Williams, Helen Parry Eden, Mabel Farnum, Enid Dinnis, Padraic Gregory, Margaret Yeo, Agnes Repplier, Joseph Clayton, and Hugh De Blacam.