Dear Director Becherer,
I really enjoyed reading Joe Dits’ South Bend Tribune article on the opening of the Raclin-Murphy Art Museum. I particularly liked the headline about “fresh finds.”
Attached is a photo of something which clearly fits under the heading of “fresh finds.”
It’s a 2-to-3-foot tall, concrete (!) sculpting of Rev. Edward Sorin CSC, the founder of Notre Dame. It weighs 125 pounds.
Not long ago, the persons who had this in their possession, in far-away Manhattan, stated they didn’t want it and were going to put it in the trash.
Fortunately, one of my ND classmates (1966) became aware of this and knew I would not want to see this happen. I don’t know much about art (but I know what I like — LOL), but I am a passionate Notre Dame historian. One of the few history subjects I am very good at.
The story about this bust is too complicated to write (call me if you’re interested (574-233-0929). And, it’s a murky one. In any case, I paid for it to be picked up and secured. Soon Father Sorin will move again, this time to Connecticut. Next August, when I drive to Gloucester, Massachusetts, for a high school gathering, I will pick up Father Sorin and drive him back here.
I live 1.5 miles due north of Notre Dame Stadium, where I was responsible for Crowd Management for the final 16 years of my work life. I shouldn’t really call it work because I still can’t believe ND paid me for that labor of love. But I digress.
This Father Sorin journey to South Bend, in my 2015 Nissan Versa, should be a lot more pleasant that his original journey 183 years ago.
I will be donating Father Sorin to whichever location seems most appropriate. Since we can’t find any evidence that this bust was in Sorin Hall, or anywhere else, we are not certain of its exact heritage. Right now, we feel it may have been produced in a sculpting class in 1969 when the old, dirt-floor and spacious former Notre Dame Fieldhouse was used by the Art Department — after it was saved from demolition by students linking arms and surrounding it.
I have fond memories of that old fieldhouse because, at one time, I lived in the apartment (fire-watch and insurance purposes) in its northwest corner. My roommate was long-time and legendary Notre Dame Stadium announcer Mike Collins. But I digress.
In any case, this long and rambling piece (my usual style) is to announce my future donation and my hope there will be a nice resting place for Father Sorin when he returns to campus next September.
The sad part of reading Joe’s fine article and your comments is noting the enormous amount of art which is not displayed. If Father Sorin doesn’t rise to the level of being displayed, I will work with others in the administration to find him a good home. My choices would be Corby Hall, Sorin Hall, and St. Edward’s Hall.
I have done research at Notre Dame Archives for my first and hoped-for second book. The staff are unfailingly helpful, but they also have scads of wonderful items stored away that never see the light of day. That is a tragedy, in my humble opinion. One of my wishes would be for a donor to create the (insert donor name here) Notre Dame Historical Archives Museum and Father Tom Blantz Research Room. But I digress.
Incidentally, one of the things I would like to do, as part of a story about this is to have Father Sorin photographed with various persons on campus. Imagine the pre-game pep talk that Coach Freeman could give when he introduced a special guest!
I am copying my dear friend Susie Farrington. Besides being a big supporter of Notre Dame’s Art treasures, she is a treasure herself when I play bridge against her. She is chuckling now, I am certain, as she reads this.