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Boston College Candlemas Lectures director's records

Collection BC-2002-062: Boston College Candlemas Lectures director's records


  • Creation: approximately 1940-2001
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1946 - 1963

Scope and Contents

The Candlemas Lectures director’s records contain correspondence, manuscripts and typescripts of lectures, press releases, flyers, notes, newspaper clippings, and photographs documenting the Boston College Candlemas Lecture Series and its participants. Notable correspondents include Allen Tate, Walter J. Burghardt, SJ, Daniel Berrigan, SJ, Robert Coles, Gerard Ellard, SJ, Philip Caraman, SJ, and Bishop John J. Wright.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Historical note

The Boston College Candlemas Lecture Series was founded by William J. Leonard, SJ, a professor in the Boston College English and Theology Departments. The purpose was to stimulate personal interest and scholarly studies in the field of Christian literature. The series was launched on February 2, 1947, and attracted a variety of speakers from many disciplines. The lecturers included G. B. Harrison, Bishop John J. Wright, Frank Sheed, Mary Hennessey, R.C., Allen Tate, Gerard Ellard, SJ, Helen C. White, Barnabas Mary Ahern, C.P., Walter J. Burghardt, SJ, Hans Küng, Philip Caraman, SJ, Ronald Sequeira, Daniel Berrigan, SJ, and Robert Coles. A wide variety of topics were covered, including Küng's "The Church and Freedom," Sequeira's "Dance and the Christian Message," and a discussion of the film The Exorcist.

The lectures were held around the time of the religious celebration of Candlemas. Celebrated on February 2, Candlemas is a traditional festival that commemorates the ritual Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary forty days after the birth of Jesus and marked the presentation of the baby Jesus in the Temple. It is called "Candlemas" because it was the day on which the year's supply of candles for the church was blessed.

William J. Leonard, SJ was the director of the Candlemas Lectures until 1977. In 1978, Francis J. Sweeney, SJ became the new director, and the lectures became part of Boston College's popular Humanities Lecture Series. The lectures continue to be held annually under the auspices of the Lowell Humanities Series.


2 Linear Feet (4 containers)

Language of Materials



The records contain correspondence, lectures, ephemera, and photographs documenting the Boston College Candlemas Lecture Series and its participants. Notable correspondents include Daniel Berrigan, SJ; Walter J. Burghardt, SJ; Philip Caraman, SJ; Robert Coles; Gerard Ellard, SJ; Allen Tate; and Bishop John J. Wright.


Arranged into four series. Series I. Correspondence, Series II. Lectures and publicity, Series III. Lecturer files, and Series IV. Photographs.


Because the current accessioning system was not used until January 1986, it is not possible to know exactly the dates of acquisition of materials received before that time.

Related Materials

Boston College Humanities Series director's records, MS.2002.037, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Boston College Candlemas Lectures Director's Records
approximately 1940-2001 (bulk 1946-1963)
Edward B. Copenhagen, 2002; updated by AnneMarie Anderson, 2010; and Ray Hartley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States