The Chesterton-Belloc Collection

Close up of a handwritten letter

The department houses a collection of over 1,500 first and fine editions of the works of the English Catholic writers Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) and G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), plus manuscript materials and ephemera.

The Chesterton-Belloc Collection originated in a gift of slightly more than 200 Belloc volumes, which came to the library in 1984, the gift of Special Collections Librarian Emeritus James D. Kellen. In 1991, St. Thomas Executive Vice President for External Affairs, Quentin J. Hietpas, class of 1953, raised funds that allowed the purchase of one the finest collections of Chesterton material remaining in private hands in North America, some 1,726 items in all. The Chesterton portion of the Chesterton-Belloc Collection includes copies of nearly every book, pamphlet, periodical article, and preface or introduction written by Chesterton, plus numerous newspaper cuttings.

The department also owns twenty-nine Belloc autograph letters, twenty-one of which were a gift to the library from Dr. Jacob Schmitt, a retired member of the St. Thomas Education Department. Belloc wrote these letters to Schmitt's father, the American Catholic artist, and intellectual Carl Schmitt.

Chesterton and Belloc were brilliant, often humorous, rear-guard defenders of Christian orthodoxy against the prevailing materialist philosophies of their and the present day. Their works have enduring value to anyone interested in an unsullied and all-encompassing Christian worldview.

All the books in the Chesterton-Belloc Collection are cataloged and searchable in LibrarySearch.