Non-printed materials

Society of the Divine Word photos,
videos and other broadcast materials

In addition to volumes of printed materials, the archives contains historical materials in many formats, including maps, photographs, electronic images, audiocassettes, 16 mm film and DVDs. The contents include:

  • Audio and video records of provincial assemblies and chapters
  • Audiotapes of first sermons
  • Audiotapes of eulogies
  • Videos of Jubilee celebrations
  • DVDs of ordinations and vow ceremonies

The archives staff will photocopy some printed materials, but non-printed materials must be heard or viewed onsite. Please contact the archives for complete holdings information. Write to or call (847) 753-7431.

Divine Word Missionaries captured on film

When Father Arnold Janssen founded the Society of the Divine Word, he recognized the need for missionaries who understood and appreciated science. During the past 140 years, esteemed Divine Word Missionaries have contributed to the physical sciences and social sciences.

In particular, several missionaries made strides in anthropology. The Divine Word archives has received funds for the preservation of unique anthropological treasures, which include "The Thirty Year Man," "New Guinea Worships Its Dead," and "New Guinea Fun."
The Thirty Year Man
Produced around 1957, this film spotlights the work of Father William Ross, SVD, who served as a missionary in Papua New Guinea for almost 50 years. Father Ross’s work is unique not only because of length of time that he worked in Papua New Guinea but because the highland people whom he chose to work among had only been found by the "civilized" world in 1933.

After serving as German-born Bishop Franz Wolf’s secretary and English translator, Father Ross traveled to this area in 1934 to establish a Catholic mission among a very hostile, warlike people with whom he could not communicate. By creating an alphabet of their language, caring for them, and providing basic health care, he eventually won their friendship and trust.
The film was restored by a grant awarded by the National Film Preservation Foundation in 2002. 

New Guinea films
In honor of Father Louis J. Luzbetak, SVD, and in celebration of Archives Week in Illinois, Oct. 16-22, 2005, the Divine Word archives presented "New Guinea Worships Its Dead" and "New Guinea Fun," two films preserved through a grant awarded by the National Film Preservation Foundation in 2003.

Produced in New Guinea in 1954 and 1956, "New Guinea Worships Its Dead" and "New Guinea Fun" are products of Father Luzbetak’s cultural anthropology work.  The films capture the preparation for and enactment of an important ceremony of the New Guinean people.
Because they were filmed in the field, the moving images and the audio were created separately. They remained this way for many years.  Preservation of the films combined the images and audio.