Fr. Irenaeus Herscher, O.F.M.
St. Bonaventure University
Fr. Irenaeus became head librarian of Friedsam Memorial Library in 1937. He is a crucial part of why the Library is what it is today. The rare book collection which he built is absolutely distinguished. From the smallest bible in the world, to the first book published in the United States, the collection is quite complete. He took great pride in this collection, as building it was a continuous and entertaining hobby for him during his tenure at St. Bonaventure.
What distinguished Irenaeus as a librarian was his love of giving tours of the library. He especially enjoyed showing off what all the hard work and dedication had made possible. He gave that tour to many people, including such celebrities as boxing great Jack Dempsey. Thomas Merton, a friend and former teacher at Bona's, wrote The Seven Story Mountain, in which he describes his first encounter with Fr. Irenaeus.
order to make sure we would have plenty of books, we went down to the library at
St. Bonaventure's College where this time, being baptized, I was no longer
scared of the Friars. The librarian was Father Irenaeus, who looked up at
us through his glasses and recognized Lax with ingenuous surprise. He
always seemed to be surprised and glad to see everybody. Lax introduced us
to him: "This is Ed Rice, this is Tom
Merton described the library as it is: peaceful. Irenaeus saw this is as an interesting coincidence, because the donor of the library was Col. Michael Friedsam, which means 'peaceful' in German, and the librarian's name was Irenaeus which means 'peaceful' in Greek.
For more information on the
Friedsam Library collection go to: