Sommervogel Archive

Welcome to the Sommervogel Archive, a database of research in the psychology of religion.

Developed by Dr. Michael Donahue and supported by APA's Division 36, the archive presently indexes over 74,000 articles of use in the psychological study of religion. Books and book reviews also are included in the archive.

The archive, named after Jesuit Bibliographer Carlos Sommervogel (1834-1902), extends to users the ability to locate articles by title, subject, year, and other means.

Who was Carlos Sommervogel?

Carlos SommervogelCarlos, fourth son of Marie-Maximillian-Joseph Sommervogel and Hortense Blanchard, was born on 8 Jan, 1834, at Strasburg, Alsace, and died in Paris on 4 March, 1902. After studying at the lycée of Strasburg, Carlos entered the Jesuit novitiate at Issenheim, Alsace, 2 Feb., 1853, and was sent later to Saint-Acheul, Amiens, to complete his literary studies. In 1856, he was appointed assistant prefect of discipline and sub-librarian in the College of the Immaculate Conception, Rue Vaugirard, Paris. Here he discovered his literary vocation. The "Bibliothéque" of PP. Augustin and Aloys de Backer was then in course of publication, and Sommervogel, noting its occasional errors and omissions, made a systematic examination of the whole work. Four years later, P. Aug. de Backer, seeing his list of addenda and errata, a manuscript of 800 pages, containing over 10,000 entries, obtained leave to make use of it. Sommervogel continued at Rue Vaugirard till 1865, reviewing his course of philosophy meanwhile. He then studied theology at Amiens, where he was ordained in Sept., 1866. From 1867 till 1879 he was one of the staff on the "Etudes", being managing editor from 1871 till 1879. During the Franco-German war he served as chaplain in Faidhebe's army, and was decorated in 1871 with a bronze medal for his self-sacrifice.

Many thanks to Fr. Robert Danieluk S.J., archivist of the Jesuit archives in Rome, who found this picture while working on his doctoral dissertation on Carlos Sommervogel (ca. 2005) and to Fr. Robert Bonfils, S. J., archivist of the French Provence of the Society of Jesus, for getting in touch with him for us, and providing this image of our namesake.

P. de Backer in the revised edition of his "Bibliotheque" (1869-76) gave Sommervogel's name as co-author, and deservedly, for the vast improvement in the work was in no small measure due to the latter's contributions. From 1880 to 1882 P. Sommervogel was assistant to his father provincial. Before 1882 he had never had any special opportunity of pursuing his favourite study; all his bibliographical work had been done in his spare moments. In 1884 he published his "Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes et psuedonymes publiés par des religieux de la Compagnie de Jésus". In 1885 he was appointed successor to the PP. de Backer and went to Louvain. He determined to recast and enlarge their work and after five years issued the first volume of the first part (Brussels and Paris, 1890); by 1900 the ninth volume had appeared; the tenth, an index of the first nine, which comprised the bibliographic part of the "Bibliothéque" was unfinished at the time of his death but has since been completed by P. Brucker, from which these details have been drawn. P. Sommervogel had intended to compile a second, or historical part of his work, which was to be a revision of Carayon's "Bibliographic historique". He was a man of exemplary virtue, giving freely to all the fruit of his devoted labours, and content to live for years a busy obscure life to which duty called him, until his superiors directed him to devote himself to his favorite study during the last fifteen years of his life. He re-edited a number of works by old writers of the Society and, in addition to his articles in the "Etudes", wrote "Table methodique des Mémoires de Trévoux" (3 vols. Paris, 1885); Moniteur bibliographique de la Comp. de Jesus" (Paris, 1894-1901).

References

The Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition.

Copyright 2004 by Kevin McKnight; This section transcribed from the original text by M. J. Donahue