William Thomas Walsh

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William Thomas Walsh (September 11, 1891 – February 22, 1949),[1] born in Waterbury, Connecticut, was an historian, educator and author; he was also an accomplished violinist. His educational background included a B.A. from Yale University (1913). Walsh received an honorary Litt.D. from Fordham University.

Life[edit]

Born in Waterbury, Connecticut on September 11, 1891, William Thomas Walsh attended local schools and received a bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1913. the following year, he married Helen Gerard Sherwood; they had six children. He began his career as a reporter, working at papers in Waterbury and Hartford, Connecticut, New York City, and on the Philadelphia Public Ledger. During the last year of the Great War he held the position of Connecticut State Fuel Administrator.[1]

In 1918, he took up teaching English in Hartford’s public high school. From 1919 to 1933, Walsh was head of the English Department at the Roxbury School in Cheshire, Connecticut. He then became an English professor at the Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart.[1]

In 1941, he was awarded the Laetare Medal by the University of Notre Dame.[2]

Walsh received international attention for his biographies Isabella of Spain and Philip II. In 1944, he was given Spain's highest cultural honor, the Cross of Comendador of the Civil Order of Alfonso the Wise, and also the 1944 Catholic Literary Award of the Gallery of Living Catholic Authors.

Walsh's work was set apart by its well-researched, documented, footnoted, and faithful account of history. Heralded for his uncompromising devotion to truth and accuracy, Walsh's frank retelling of many sensitive but nevertheless historical events elicited both acclaim as well as personal attacks from detractors within the Jewish community. For instance, Jewish writer Cecil Roth claimed that Walsh's recounting of events in his acclaimed book The Last Crusader: Isabella of Spain, which had earned Walsh Spain's highest cultural honor, the Cross of Comendador of the Civil Order of Alfonso the Wise, had crossed the line. Roth accused Walsh of being an "anti-Semite." Roth's charge had followed Walsh's factual repudiation of the works of Lea and Loeb, whose account of the Jews in Spain during Isabella's reign held popular sway but had been challenged as historically dubious, if not anti-Catholic. Walsh's famous reply to Roth's ad-hominem attack was published in "The Dublin Review, A Quarterly and Critical Journal, October 1932, London: Burns Oates and Washbourne Ltd., pp. 232-25," wherein Walsh wrote: "Dr. Roth begins by accusing me of reading Spanish history 'with the eyes of the wildest anti-Semite'. There are two errors here. The term 'anti-Semite' is inaccurate. Surely Dr. Roth does not mean that I am against the Arabs, Babylonians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, and other Semitic peoples? He really means that I hate Jews. And that is false. If anything, I commenced my researches with a prejudice in favour of the poor persecuted Jews. It was a popular prejudice that shrank considerably in the strong light of historical truth. . . ."

One of Walsh's most popular books was Our Lady of Fatima, which to this day is considered one of the best and most accurate accounts of the event. The account was based on his own personal interviews with visionary Sister Lucia and many of the visionaries family members and acquaintances.

Bibliography[edit]

WTWalsh.jpg
  • The Mirage of the Many (1910)
  • Isabella of Spain, the last crusader New York, R. M. McBride & company, 1930.
  • Out of the Whirlwind (novel, 1935)
  • Philip II (1937)
  • Shekels (blank-verse play, 1937)
  • Lyric Poems (1939)
  • Characters of the Inquisition New York, P.J. Kennedy & Sons [c1940]
  • "Gold" (short story)
  • Babies, not Bullets! (booklet, 1940)
  • Thirty Pieces of Silver (a play in verse)
  • Saint Teresa of Ávila (1943)
  • La actual situatión de España (booklet, 1944)
  • El casa crucial de España (booklet, 1946)
  • Our Lady of Fátima (Doubleday, 1947) ISBN 978-0-385-02869-1
  • The Carmelites of Compiègne (a play in verse)
  • Saint Peter, the Apostle (1948)

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • New Catholic Encyclopedia, The Catholic University of America, 1967.
  • Characters of the Inquisition, by William Thomas Walsh, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc, 1940/87. ISBN 0-89555-326-0
  • Letters of William Thomas Walsh, kept in the archives of the Georgetown University Libraries - [1].
  • The Dublin Review, "A Quarterly and Critical Journal," October 1932, London: Burns Oates and Washbourne Ltd., pp. 232-252, ART. 6., Reply to Dr. Cecil Roth by William Thomas Walsh.

External links[edit]