A three-year project to digitise the tens of thousands of documents produced by one of the most important and prolific Christian thinkers of the past 200 years.

John Henry Cardinal Newman’s enormous handwritten archive, kept at the Birmingham Oratory, will be captured by a team of experts using cutting edge equipment at The University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library.

The documents, thought to number around 200,000, will then be re-housed at the Birmingham Oratory in custom made boxes, made by the collection care team at Rylands.

US-based National Institute for Newman Studies initiated the groundwork for this project over ten years ago and is now funding and managing the £386,000 digitization project which will transform the archive into a comprehensive digital library that will eventually include all of Newman’s published and unpublished works.

Newman, who died in 1890 aged 89, was an academic and a clergyman in the Church of England before he converted to Catholicism.

Then, as a Catholic priest, his influence increased still further and continues to this day. Pope Leo XIII made him a Cardinal in 1879.

In 2010, he was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI, the final stage before being declared a saint.

Newman was a prolific writer, exchanging letters with the public, leading figures, and even prime ministers. His books and essays are read across the world.

He joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1845, and pursued a life of study and prayer, mainly in the Catholic parish of the Birmingham Oratory.

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