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9781647120436
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v2.1 Reference
ebook
April 1, 2021
9781647120443
9781647120436
English
152
3 b&w illus.
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
$24.95 USD, £18.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Georgetown's Second Founder

Fr. Giovanni Grassi's News on the Present Condition of the Republic of the United States of North America

Observations on the new American republic by an early president of Georgetown University

Father Giovanni Antonio Grassi was the ninth president of Georgetown University and pioneered its transition into a modern institution, earning him the moniker Georgetown's Second Founder. Originally published in Italian in 1818 and translated here into English for the first time, this book records his rich observations of life in the young republic and the Catholic experience within it.

When Grassi assumed his post as president in 1811, he found the university, known then as Georgetown College, to be in a "miserable state." He immediately set out to enlarge and improve the institution, opening the school to non-Catholics, adding to the library's holdings, and winning authority from Congress to confer degrees. Upon his return to Italy, Grassi published News on the Present Condition of the Republic of the United States of North America, which introduced Italians to the great American experiment in self-governance and offered perspectives on the social reality for Catholics.

A fascinating work for historians of Catholicism and of the Jesuits in particular, this book reveals the pivotal role Italian educators and priests played in the shaping of the new nation's greatest minds.

About the Authors

Father Giovanni Antonio Grassi was born in Schilpario, in the region of Lombardy, Italy, in 1775. He studied in the seminary of Bergamo and joined the Jesuits as a novice in 1799. In 1810 he traveled to the United States, where he met John Carroll, Bishop of Baltimore. Grassi served as president of Georgetown University from 1811 to 1817. He returned to Italy in 1817, where he died in Rome in 1849.

Roberto Severino is a professor emeritus of Italian at Georgetown University.

Robert Emmett Curran is a professor emeritus of history at Georgetown University and is the author of the three-volume series A History of Georgetown University (Georgetown University Press, 2010).

Reviews

"The publication of Fr. Grassi's 1818 account of his time in the United States gives us an Italian Jesuit version of Tocqueville, with useful observations on everything from slavery and the climate to housing design and religion. A marvelous achievement." — John McGreevy, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame and author of American Jesuits and the World: How An Embattled Religious Order Made Modern Catholicism Global

"In his remarkably perceptive account of virtually every important aspect of the young United States, Giovanni Grassi anticipates de Tocqueville by two decades. Besides everything else, the book is a great read." — John W. O'Malley, SJ, university professor, Georgetown University

"The role of the Society of Jesus in the history of American Catholicism cannot be overstated. Through the lens of the Italian Jesuit Giovanni Grassi—former rector of Georgetown College and superior of the Maryland Mission—we gain considerable insight into the place of Catholicism in the United States during the early nineteenth century. Combined with Robert Curran's informative introduction and afterword, Grassi's observations bring new light to the Jesuit experience of a nascent Catholic Church in a predominantly Protestant country." — Michael Pasquier, Jaak Seynaeve Professor of Christian Studies and associate professor of religious studies and history, Louisiana State University

9781647120436 : georgetowns-second-founder-grassi-severino
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April 1, 2021
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