A lecture series named in honor of Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B., from 1947 to 1970, featured some of the finest experts in their respective fields. Archabbey Publications has been reprinting this series, with ten reprints now completed, nine of which are still in print. Rev. Rene Kollar, O.S.B., professor of history and dean of the School of Humanities and Fine Arts at Saint Vincent College, has edited the books.
Benedictine Contributions to Church Architecture, was the first lecture in the series by noted archaeologist and historian of medieval architecture, particularly at Cluny, Kenneth J. Conant.
Conant (1894-1984), who was born in Neenah, Wisconsin, studied at Harvard University and was greatly influenced by Herbert Langford, founder of the school of architecture at the university. Conant studied at the École des Chartes and the École du Louvre under Marcel Aubert despite the war in Europe.
He enlisted in the 42nd Division of the American Expeditionary Force in the engineering corps and was wounded in the second battle of Marne in 1918. After a brief stint as an architect, he pursued his interest in mediaeval architecture, writing his dissertation, The Early Architectural History of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, under A. Kingsley Porter at Harvard.
When he visited the site of the great monastery complex remains of Cluny in 1924, he had found his life’s work. His architectural drawings resulted in finely detailed renderings of the sites he examined.
A new introduction to the book was written by Rev. Vincent de Paul Crosby, O.S.B.