Walter J. Ong Archives

Walter Jackson Ong, SJ (1912-2003) spent a career of over thirty-five years of teaching and research at Saint Louis University, holding positions as professor of English, professor of Humanities in Psychiatry, and University Professor. Over the course of his career, he contributed a number of groundbreaking studies in the fields of orality and literacy studies. Ong is also known for his work in Renaissance literary and intellectual history and in contemporary culture, as well as for his more wide-ranging studies on the evolution of consciousness. His scholarly output includes over 450 publications.

The Walter J. Ong, SJ Manuscript Collection documents the thought and work of one of the most important intellectuals and scholars of the twentieth century. Housed in the Saint Louis University Archives of Special Collections, it includes his academic files, personal correspondence, class and lecture notes, research materials, and related items; housed with Rare Books is his personal library of over 1,600 volumes, some with significant annotation. The manuscript collection also includes press copy typescripts of some of Fr. Ong’s books, off-prints (both his and others), a number of lecture typescripts (some of which have never been published in any form), some source material, audio recordings, and nearly 200 slides taken by Walter Ong as he traveled through Europe. The bulk of the collection, consists of the items donated to SLU in August 2004 by the Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus, as per Fr. Ong’s request. Also in the collection are unpublished articles and lectures; audio and video recordings of Fr. Ong; library cards from around the world; souvenirs from his trip to the 1929 Boy Scout World Jamboree; correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues; textbooks with his notes taken while a student; sketches and drawings; hundreds of photos and slides of Ong, family, friends, and places he visited; and personal items.

Saint Louis University welcomes researchers to study the Walter J. Ong Manuscript Collection. Please note that Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections possesses absolute physical ownership rights in the collection and copyright in any unpublished works of Walter J. Ong in the collection. Researchers must obtain permission from Saint Louis University Special Collections before publishing any material from the collection or quoting material for publication.