Cardinal Cushing Library Records

The Emmanuel College Library originally occupied one room across from the Assembly Hall on the first floor of the Administration Building with 10,000 volumes available to the community. By June 1932, the Emmanuel College Library occupied three rooms on the first floor of the Administration Building that allowed seating for eighty-eight people and 12,000 volumes. It was also by the 1930s that the Library was acting as a branch library system with the Science Departments (Biology, Chemistry and Physics)Cardinal Cushing Library Newsletter, Feb. 1995 and Mathematics Department overseeing their own library spaces. Further expansion to the Library occurred in 1936 when two new rooms were added to the Library, one that was devoted to periodicals and the other was used to house collections related to the Greek and German Languages and by June 1938 the Library had a sixth room that housed material for the Latin, Greek and French Departments. By June 1940, a seventh (7) room was added to the Library and was to be used as a work-space for the librarians. In addition, patron services were enhanced with the addition of a charging desk and new chairs and tables.

By June 1946, the Library added an eighth (8) room for the History Department that contained space for 3,340 volumes and space for twelve (12) students. It was also during the 1940s that new cork floors and lighting system were installed for the Library. Around 1947, Archbishop Richard Cushing met with Sr. Margaret Patricia Herbert, SND (College President) and Sr. Helen Madeline Ingraham, SND (Academic Dean), members of the Alumnae Board and students and discussed the need for Emmanuel College’s expansion. At the meeting a program entitled “Emmanuel of Tomorrow” was established to raise money for the construction of a science building (Alumnae Hall), a (student) union building (Marian Hall), a faculty house/convent (St. James Hall), residence halls, and a library. By June 1949, the Emmanuel College Library had 29,753 volumes.

Attention to the building of a new Emmanuel College Library began in the 1960s, after the construction of Alumnae Hall (which contained a science library), Marian Hall (which contained a curriculum library), Julie Hall and St. James Hall was completed. Plans for a new $2 million library were drawn by drawn by Maginnis and Walsh and Kennedy, calling for the creation of a microfilm, seminar and listening rooms, a lecture hall, as well as, stacks designed to hold 200,000 volumes and 93 carrels.  The Library was to be named after Richard Cardinal Cushing, a generous benefactor of the College. The construction of the building was overseen by Walsh Bros. On June 5, 1965, the new library, that occupied 52,880 square feet, was dedicated by Richard Cardinal Cushing who later attended a dinner in honor of its completion at the Sheraton-Boston Hotel. The area, in the Administration Building that previously housed the Library was converted into office space for the Presidents’ Office, Placement Bureau, and the Admissions Office and for faculty.  

The opening of the Cardinal Cushing Library was a symbol of change for the Emmanuel College Library as it developed an inter-institutional cooperative agreement with Simmons College where  each extend  library privileges of patrons and, by 1968 devised a plan for book purchasing so that the two College Libraries complement each other. In addition, the Emmanuel College Administration relaxed its regulations to allow men into the Library after six o’clock in the evening (1968).  In 1976, the Cardinal Cushing Library received a grant from WK Kellogg Foundation Grant that was to be used for the improvement of the College Library’s services through the application of new technologies. This grant was designed to allow the Cardinal Cushing Library to become part of Nelinet, a multi-state New England cooperative library network to provide computerized services. It was in this same year that the Cardinal Cushing Library formed WILL (Walk-In Inter Library Loan) program with several other Boston area colleges (including Simmons College, Wheelock College, Boston State, Wentworth, Hebrew College, Massachusetts College of Art and Suffolk University). Students could borrow books from any of these libraries by presenting their college/university I.D. It was at about this time that the Cardinal Cushing Library contained 111,000 volumes.

As the Cardinal Cushing Library entered the 1980s, it continued its cooperation with other area libraries. However, this time the goal of the joint venture was automation of the card catalog, as Judith Ritter, Library Director, put it automation was necessary to expose students to technology in a world where computers were becoming a tool for everyday use. She continued by underlining that automation would allow staff to focus more on the students and their needs and said that the cost of automating as a consortium would be less than trying to automate alone. By February 1995, the Cardinal Cushing Library had been accepted as an official member of the Fenway Libraries Online (FLO) and the Library card catalogue was being automated (it was during this time the Cardinal Cushing Library switch from the Dewey Decimal Classification System to the Library of Congress Classification System) that would eventually lead to the creation of Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC). In addition to the development of the OPAC the Library began to become technology friendly with the addition of computers, CD-ROM workstations, a fax machine (1993), the internet (1993) and access to almost fifty databases (on CD-ROM and online) by January 1994.

By the turn of the century, the Cardinal Cushing Library had an updated lecture hall that was named in honor of Janet M. Daley, a benefactor of the College and wife of College chair of the Board of Trustees C. Michael Daley. The Janet M. Daley Lecture Hall included:  computers, internet access, document camera, VCR, audio CD and DVD player, ceiling projector, and the ability to record lectures. In the summer of 2006 the Cushing Library underwent a renovation that included a new façade, HVAC system installation, a new elevator and restored foyer. This was followed in 2008 with the establishment of the Mulvaney Leadership Institute by Eleanor Mulvaney Seamans ’71 in honor of her parents.  In addition to other initiatives at the College, the Mulvaney Leadership Institute funds a special leadership collection of books, located on the Library mezzanine. It is also worth noting here that circa 2009-2010 the Emmanuel College Archives was established as a division of the Cardinal Cushing Library to preserve a coherent history of Emmanuel College in both print and online formats. As of December 2013 the Cardinal Cushing Library had 2,000 active print and electronic databases with sixty-two (62) online subscription databases. As of June 2015 there were 357,181 volumes (print and electronic formats) in the Cardinal Cushing Library Collection.

In addition to providing access to books and periodicals, the Emmanuel College Library has continually aided in the overall development of the students and community it serves. This can be seen when the Library offered lectures on best-selling books (1945), writing across the academic curriculum (2010), supporting the creation of a Learning Assistance Center (1979), establishing a “Movie Madness” Series (1993) and giving concerts to the College community from musically inclined librarians (1987).         

Emmanuel College Head Librarians/Directors of the Library

Head Librarians/Directors of the Library

Dates of Service

Sr. Mary Victorine (Anna O’Neil), SND


Sr. Margaret Patricia (Margret Herbert), SND


Sr. Clare Francis (Susan Brennan ‘31), SND


Sr. Margaret Patricia (Margret Herbert), SND


Sr. Clare Francis (Susan Brennan ‘31), SND


Sr. Maura (Mary Meade), SND


Judith K. Ritter


Bonnie Naifeh Hill


Elvernoy H. Johnson


Mary Ann Tricarico


Susan von Daum Tholl


Karen Storin Linitz



This collection contains the records of the Emmanuel College’s Departmental Libraries and the Cardinal Cushing Library from 1923 to 2014. The collection documents the activities and services offered by the Library to Emmanuel College. The collection is organized into four series that cover general library reports, divisions of services/departments, Library renovations and Library outreach and publicity. It contains a wide range of materials that include, but are not limited to Library annual reports, meeting minutes, circulation and accession records, a building program report and informational flyers. The materials in this collection are in hard copy and electronic formats. Electronic documents are in .doc and pdf/a formats.