Herbermann, Charles George

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Editor, author, educator; b. Saerbeck, Westphalia, Germany, Dec. 8, 1840; d. New York City, Aug. 24, 1916. He was the oldest of the seven children of George and Elizabeth (Stipp) Herbermann. In 1851 the Herbermann family came to New York City, where Charles attended St. Alphonsus parochial school and in 1858 graduated from St. Francis Xavier College, then affiliated with St. John's College, Fordham. He taught at St. Francis Xavier while continuing to study for his M.A. (St. John's College, 1860) and Ph.D. (St. Francis Xavier, 1865). In 1869 he was appointed professor of Latin at the College of the City of New York, beginning a career that terminated with his retirement in 1915. In 1873 he was also appointed college librarian. The same year he married Mary Theresa Dieter of Baltimore, Md.; after her death in 1876, he wed Elizabeth Schoeb of New York City in 1880.

In 1884 Herbermann joined John Gilmary Shea in founding the United States Catholic Historical Society. The society was inactive from Shea's death in 1892 until 1898 when Herbermann became president, an office he held until his death. During his tenure, there were published nine volumes of Historical Records and Studies and such monographs as Unpublished Letters of Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1902) and Waldseemuller's Cosmographiae Introductio (1907), a facsimile edition of the original (1507). Herbermann also contributed frequent articles to the society's publications. In 1905 he was chosen editor in chief of the Catholic Encyclopedia. Although his eyesight was severely impaired at that time, he saw the encyclopedia's 15 volumes to completion in 1913. Recognition of his activities came from Pius X who awarded him a knighthood of St. Gregory and the medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice; from the University of Notre Dame, Ind., which conferred its Laetare medal; and from Fordham University, New York City, Holy Cross College, Worcester, Mass., and the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., which gave him honorary degrees. His published works include editions of Sallust's Bellum Jugurthinum (1886) and Bellum Catilinae (1900), a translation of Torfason's History of Ancient Vinland (1888), and The Sulpicians in the United States (1916).

Bibliography: p. condon, "Charles George Herbermann," Historical Records and Studies of the U. S. Catholic Historical Society of New York 10 (1917) 829.

[h. f. herbermann]