The Papal Artifacts’ Collection is primarily dedicated to artifacts connected to the papacy. Individual popes, their biographies and multiple items belonging to them, including first and second class relics, make up the majority of this Collection. But that isn’t all it is.
In addition to the ” Saints & Blesseds” page, the “Notable Individuals” page contains many artifacts belonging to or associated with individuals whose association with the Church have made them unique additions to this website. Such is the case of Monsignor John O’Connor whose relationship with G. K. Chesterton contributed to his conversion to Catholicism and his Father Brown mystery stories as the protagonist of the beloved series, which Chesterton wrote to keep his family afloat in some very “lean years.”
These letters are a correspondence between O’Connor and a woman, Miss Eileen M. Cond, who is hoping to obtain an autograph of Chesterton and thinks to write to this priest as her “go between.” She is successful and receives these two letters from O’Connor as well as a small paper with Chesterton’s signature, plus the information about the difficulty involved in obtaining any autograph of the renowned writer.
The first letter is an interesting A. L. S. (which means it is an “autographed letter signed” and is written entirely by the individual referred to—in this instance, O’Connor). He ends the letter:
Yours autograftically, John O’Connor.
It is one page in length, and includes the stenciled address of O’Connor:
16th June 1933
To Miss Eileen M. Cond.
O’Connor announces, “How do you spell surprise? Of course you now have Father Brown’s autograph as witness my hand’ and continues, “As to Mr. G. K. Chesterton, it is rare enough as he dictates everything, or if he writes a bit, he destroys it as wastepaper. Your best plan would be to send one of his small books to be signed by him…that’s what I have done myself. I am hoping to see him next week, so if you write again after June 24th I may have a stray autograph of his to send you. I wonder how many autographs get lost forever…”
The Second Correspondence
A second correspondence with an A.N.S. (meaning an “autographed note signed) is included. It reads, besides the opening stenciled location atop the page and the date of 12th July 1933, in full, “Behold! I thought you had fallen from first favour.”
The Signature of G. K. Chesterton
There is a third item (to be shown soon), the signature of G. K. Chesterton on a small oblong paper.
These artifacts are particularly interesting to fans of the Father Brown mystery series since they involve the man responsible for the character.
An unusual addition to the Notable Individuals of this Collection.