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Special Collections — Great Depression Resources

This guide describes a variety of materials from the CUA archives and rare books library pertaining to Catholic responses to the Great Depression (ca. 1929-1941).

American Citizenship, Commission on. Collection.

1938-1970. 8 feet; 13 boxes. Donors: Various, 1970-2015.

Founded at The Catholic University of America in 1938, with a papal mandate, to influence the American Catholic education system. Objectives were to produce a social program for American Catholic Schools based on the encyclical letters, prepare courses that defined democracy in regard to Catholic traditions, and write comprehensive text books for all educational levels.

See also.

See related blogposts:

  1. CUA + .EDU (May 26, 2016)
  2. The Significance of Eddie Patterson’s Friends (October 13, 2016)

Brady, Leo F. Papers.

ca. 1939, 1 inch; 1 box.

Manuscript copy of Yankee Doodle Boy, a play produced at The Catholic University of America in 1939. The play was co-written by Leo Brady and Walter Kerr. Donated in 2014 by Daniel Brady.

See related blogpost:

  1. Show Biz and Then Some – Father Gilbert Hartke’s CUA (August 25, 2016) 

Brennan, John F. Collection.

1933-1937. 2 feet; 1 box.
Personal scrapbook of CUA people and campus, donated in 2012.

Brophy, John. Papers.

1918-1963. 33.5 feet; 55 boxes; 6 oversized boxes. Donors: Howard Holman, Philip and Jacqueline Brophy, 1963, 1967, 1991.

Born in northern England in 1883, Brophy emigrated to America with his parents in 1892, settling in Pennsylvania where he started working in the coal mines in 1894. He joined the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) in 1899, rising to become president of District 2, Central Pennsylvania, 1916-1926. He challenged John L. Lewis for the UMWA Presidency in 1926 and was not only defeated but expelled from the union shortly thereafter. Reconciled to Lewis in 1933, Brophy rejoined the UMWA and served as assistant to Lewis and union organizer. He was deeply embroiled in the industrial union controversy which resulted in the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1935. After several years of organizing union councils throughout the country, Brophy was made a member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Fair Employment Practices Committee.

The papers consist of private and official correspondence, diaries, speeches, UMWA and CIO convention proceedings (many bearing annotations in Brophy's hand), memoranda, articles, labor pamphlets, photographs, and scrapbooks. In addition, there is an unpublished history entitled The American Coal Miner, an unpublished autobiography entitled Twenty Years with the CIO,and his published autobiography, entitled A Miner's Life (including a manuscript copy, and oral history transcripts for the work). These materials reflect Brophy's involvement in and contribution to the American labor movement, particularly the UMWA and the CIO. The course of the Lewis-Brophy power struggle as well as the formative years of the CIO can be traced in these papers. In addition, much of the correspondence, diaries, and expense books document his extensive travels, both in the United States and abroad, on behalf of the labor movement.

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Callahan, Patrick Henry. Papers.

1911-1940. 2 feet, 4 boxes. Donor: Rev. James J. Higgins, C.SS.R, 1952.

Patrick Henry Callahan (1866-1940) traded professional baseball for the varnish business. In 1908, he became president of the Louisville Varnish Company. With the help of John A. Ryan of the Catholic University of America, Callahan produced a profit sharing plan and implemented it at his plant. The success of the Ryan-Callahan Plan became widely known and Callahan soon implemented other labor-friendly measures, such as a fund for employees to purchase homes and group insurance. During the Great Depression, Callahan became a supporter of New Deal programs. Callahan worked hard to get Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected, acting as a key liaison between the FDR administration and both Catholics and businessmen.

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Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Records.

1934-1958. 59 feet; 116 boxes; 1 oversized box. Donors: American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1976.

Founded in 1935, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) sought to organize the unskilled workers of mass industry and thereby offered an alternative to the American Federation of Labor (AFL) unions whose members practiced skilled trades. The shift to mass production during the Depression forced many skilled workers, including AFL members, into unskilled positions.

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Cort, John. Papers.

1913-2006, 18.5 feet; 37 boxes. Donor: John and Helen Cort, 2004-2007.

John C. Cort (1913-2006), was a Catholic convert who, after graduating from Harvard in 1935, moved to New York City—where he was introduced to Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in the Catholic Worker Movement. He lived in their New York City Hospitality House for the homeless, and wrote articles for the Catholic Worker publication. He went on to become more active with the labor movement in the late 1930s and 1940s, helping create the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists (ACTU). He also worked with The Labor Leader, The International Ladies Garment Union, Commonweal, and the Tablet.

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Dorsey, Catherine Kegler. Scrapbook.

1931-1939. 1 volume. Donor: Catherine K. Dorsey, 1972.

Compiled by Dorsey, who worked in Catholic University's Library, 1931-1943, this contains invitations, commencement announcements, clippings and pamphlets pertaining to events and personalities connected with Catholic University for the period 1931-1939. A number of items concern the University's Golden Jubilee in 1939. Found at the end of the volume are programs from concerts and theater productions in the Washington, D.C. area.

Farrow, John Villers. Papers.

1927(1927-1976)n.d., 6.5 linear feet; 12 boxes. Donor: Maureen O'Sullivan, 1978.

Born in Australia, Hollywood film producer and director John Villiers Farrow was actively writing and directing in the 1920s and 1930s. He was married to actress Maureen O'Sullivan and was the father of actress Mia Farrow. His papers contain background research, notes, and drafts used in his books as well as correspondence, newspaper clippings, several manuscripts and reviews of films he produced, photographs, and other miscellaneous materials related to his career as a writer, sailor, and director.

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Februaraufstand. Collection.

1934. 3 items. Donor: Catherine A. Cline, 1997.

Unsigned letter in German with two photographs describing the events of the "Februaraufstand," a revolt occurring in Austria, principally in the streets of Vienna and Linz, in 1934. Letter is four pages, double sided. Photographs depict troops on the streets, with no notations.

Haas, Francis Joseph. Papers.

1904-1953. 65.5 feet; 131 boxes. Donors: Anthony Arszulowicz, Charles Poppell, Thomas Blantz, Dorothy Haas, 1954-1960, 1987-1995.

An important priest, educator, and labor relations advocate, Bishop Haas was born in Racine, Wisconsin in 1889. In 1922 he obtained his Ph.D. from Catholic University, studying under luminaries such as Monsignor John A. Ryan, who would have a major influence on Haas' philosophy throughout his 40 years of service. Upon completing his degree, Haas returned to Milwaukee to teach at both St. Francis Seminary and Marquette University. It was during this period that Haas published his most well-known work, Man and Society (1931), which reflected the philosophy and social teachings of Pope Leo XIII, Pius XI, and Monsignor Ryan. In 1931 Haas was chosen to direct the National Catholic School of Social Service, then part of the National Catholic Welfare Conference. Haas also helped found the Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems and served as president of Catholic Association for International Peace. He went back to St. Francis Seminary in 1935 as the Rector, but soon returned to Washington, DC as the Dean for the new School of Social Science at Catholic University. In 1937 Haas was named a Domestic Prelate, and in 1943 was appointed Bishop of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he served until his death in 1953.

Like Msgr. Ryan, Haas strongly supported the New Deal, seeing it as an opportunity to initiate labor and social reform. From 1933-1935 Haas served on the National Recovery Act's Labor Advisory Board, and in this position he helped write codes for equal racial employment opportunities, child labor practices, and a minimum wage. After the NRA was disbanded by the Supreme Court, Haas was appointed to Sen. Robert Wagner's National Labor Board, which mediated several labor disputes for the Roosevelt Administration. He served as a Special Commissioner of Conciliation for the Department of Labor, and was chairman of several industry committees of the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. When Haas returned to Wisconsin for the Rectorate, the Bishop was appointed to the Wisconsin Labor Relations Board, where he mediated over 800 separate disputes.

See more information.

See related blogpost:

  1. “Practical Wisdom” – The Origins of the National Catholic School of Social Service at Catholic University (November 28, 2018)

Hartke, Gilbert Vincent Ferrer. Collection.

1888-1994. 74 feet; 60 boxes. Donor: Various, 1984-2010.

During his time in the seminary at St. Joseph's in Ohio, followed by Immaculate Conception College in Washington, D.C., Father Hartke began writing plays with a Dominican Theater group called the "Black Friars." In 1935 he was sent to the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. and began graduate studies at the Catholic University of America (CUA). He became involved with the campus Harlequin Club, where in 1936 they put on his play "Within these Walls." The following year Hartke began the Drama Department at Catholic University as a summer program. The 1950s and 1960s marked the high point in Hartke’s career. During Hartke’s tenure as chair of the Drama department many celebrities-to-be passed through CUA: Ed McMahon, Jon Voight, Susan Sarandon, and director Robert Moore.

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International Federation of Catholic Alumnae (IFCA). Records.

1914-2005. 51 feet; 38 boxes. Donor: IFCA.

Founded in 1914, the International Federation of Catholic Alumnae (IFCA) promoted the educational activities of teacher-Sisters. The IFCA hoped to be an example of integrity, culture, and charity to help rid the country of bigotry. They established several departments to accomplish their goals: the Motion Picture, Social Welfare, and Education Departments, among others. Established in 1927, the Motion Picture Department rated films, denoting which were suitable for schools and general audiences and then rating their quality as good, very good, and excellent. The radio addresses given during the early 1930s by Motion Picture Department chair Rita McGoldrick are included within this collection. From its beginnings, the IFCA had a close relationship with Catholic University. Many of its prominent administrators, including Edward Pace and Patrick J. McCormick, served as directors of the IFCA. Records include constitutions and bylaws, convention proceedings, board of directors minutes, correspondence, reports, financial records, chapter histories, photographs, publications, scrapbooks, audio tapes, and some artifacts.

See more information.

Note: This collection is stored off-site, so extra retrieval time will be necessary.

McKenna, Norman C. Papers.

1934-1971. 1.25 feet; 1 box. Donors: Norman C. McKenna, 1977 and William Connell, 1996.

undefinedCorrespondence, reports, newsletters, clippings, and publications relating to the activities of McKenna, an editor of Catholic and labor publications. Depression-era activities include: Association of Catholic Trade Unionists, 1937-1951, and Christian Front newspaper, 1934-1948. Relating to the latter are letters from noted Catholic writers and an original drawing by G.K. Chesterton from 1936 (pictured at left).

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Montavon, William Frederick. Papers.

1925-1951. 4 boxes, 5 feet; 8 document cases. Donor: National Catholic Welfare Conference, 1959.

Mainly personal correspondence and addresses concerning the Church in Mexico and Spain during the 1920s and 1930s. Montavon, a former diplomat in Central and South America, was Director of the Legal Department of the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC), 1925-1951. His appointment coincided with persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico. He produced numerous articles on this subject and accompanied Fr. John J. Burke, general secretary of the NCWC, and Ruiz y Flores, Archbishop of Morella, on negotiations with Mexican revolutionary leader Calles that laid the foundation for an easing of religious restrictions in 1929. He also lectured and wrote extensively on Church-State relations in Spain, traveling there as special correspondent of the NCWC News Service for the Constitutional Assembly held after the establishment of the Republic in 1931.

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Muench, Aloisius Joseph Cardinal. Papers.

1906(1946-1959)1963. 81 linear feet; 61 boxes. Donor: Justin A. Driscoll, 1972.

Cardinal and diplomat Aloisius Muench (1889-1962) served as Rector of the St. Francis de Sales Seminary (his alma mater) from 1929 to 1935. He earned the title of Monsignor in 1934; was elevated to Third Bishop of Fargo, North Dakota, in 1935; and appointed President of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference in 1939. During this time, Muench organized the Catholic Church Expansion Fund to aid and develop poorer parishes, began a Priest’s Mutual Aid Fund, and regularly published a diocesan newspaper. The Catholic Church Expansion Fund saved many churches during the Great Depression. Additionally, throughout his 24 years as Bishop of Fargo, Muench wrote an annual Lenten pastoral letter. The most famous of these letters, One World in Charity (1946), was a plea for the just treatment of our country’s former enemy—condemning the Morgenthau plan to restrict Germany to a rural economy. A translation of this letter was widely disseminated in Germany. Other Muench publications, such as the Annual Reports to the American Bishops and the weekly column, The Bishop Writes, portray the specific problems and conditions facing the German Catholic Church and detail Muench’s work in Germany.

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Murray, Philip. Papers.

1936-1952. 123 feet; 184 boxes; 1 oversized box; 99 scrapbooks. Donor: The United Steel Workers of America, 1953-1960.

Murray became a member of the international board of the United Mine Workers of America in 1912, president of the union's fifth district in 1916, and international vice president in 1920. During the First World War he served on Pennsylvania's Regional Labor Board and in 1935 was named to the National Industrial Recovery Administration. He was Chairman of the Steel Workers' Organizing Committee, 1936-1942, and its successor, the United Steelworkers of America, 1942-1952. Murray succeeded John L. Lewis as President of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1940, a post he held until his death in 1952. The papers consist primarily of correspondence and scrapbooks detailing Murray's years as head of the United Steel Workers of America. The scrapbook series, 1936-1952, thirty feet, contains news clippings on all aspects of American labor from a vast cross section of the press. These papers are coldly organizational, portraying little of Murray's own mind apart from public expressions of it in speeches and press releases. Additional Murray material is on deposit in the Special Collections Department at Penn State University.

See more information and Digital Collection.

O'Grady, John. Papers.

1870(1905-1966)1977, 17 feet; 35 boxes. Donor: Catholic Charities USA, 1970s.

Father John O'Grady assisted his mentor Msgr. William J. Kerby in organizing early National Conference of Catholic Charities (NCCC) meetings in 1912 and 1914. In 1918 he became Secretary of the Committee on Reconstruction for the National Catholic War Council, and in 1920 he became Executive Secretary of the NCCC—a position he held until 1961. During his tenure, he was instrumental in the professionalization of Catholic social services, replacing volunteer leaders with trained social workers. He was also a strong advocate for social justice, lobbying for social reform based on Catholic principles. He supported such New Deal policies as the Social Security Act, child welfare, housing legislation, and a broader immigration policy. From 1934 to 1938, he also served as Dean of the newly founded School of Social Work at Catholic University. Following World War II, he was active in the resettlement of refugees. Msgr. O'Grady was commended by Pope John XXIII for his social justice leadership, especially for his work in community housing projects for minorities. He retired in 1961 and died in 1966. This collection of personal papers relates much to his work with Catholic Charities and includes correspondence, addresses, Congressional testimony, articles, pamphlets, books, and unpublished memoirs and biographies.

See more information.

See related blogposts:

  1. Monsignor John O’Grady and the Making of Modern Catholic Charity (June 22, 2017)
  2. Monsignor John O’Grady, Pioneer in International Catholic Charity (September 21, 2017)
  3. “Practical Wisdom” – The Origins of the National Catholic School of Social Service at Catholic University (November 28, 2018)

Read, Harry Cyril. Papers.

1917-1968. 15.4 feet; 22 boxes. Donor: Mrs. Harry C. Read, 1958, and Mary Sue Grove, 2008.

Harry Cyril Read, a Chicago-born Catholic newspaper editor and author, was also a soldier and noted labor leader. Between 1912 and 1945, he worked at several newspapers: the Cheyenne Leader, the Chicago Daily Journal, Chicago American, Chicago Herald-Examiner, Michigan CIO News, and the Wage Earner. He was a member of several national and presidential councils and committees, biographer of Woodrow Wilson, and friend of Al Capone. His papers include personal correspondence; research notes and material; manuscripts of both fiction and non-fiction, published and unpublished; and photographs of family as well as political and labor leaders reflecting Read's social activism and interest in crime.

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Roosevelt, Franklin Delano. Papers (Microfilm Only).

1933-1944. 3 inches; 3 reels, 35 mm negative. Donor: Roosevelt Presidential Library, 1955.

Three hundred feet of materials selected for microfilming from the Roosevelt Papers by Catholic University's original archivist Father Henry Browne, in consultation with Herman Kahn, Director of the Roosevelt Library, relating to matters on a national scope dealing with the history of the American Roman Catholic Church.

Ryan, John A. Papers.

1892-1945. 43 feet: 80 boxes. Donors: Social Action Department of the National Catholic Welfare Conference; Lawrence Ryan; 1949-1950, 1957, 1981.

John Augustine Ryan (1869-1945) was the foremost social justice advocate in the Catholic Church during the first half of the 20th century. Ryan’s family life informed many of his views on politics and society; he knew firsthand the difficulties that farmers faced and supported the populist movement as a young man. Based on his interpretation and understanding of Rerum Novarum (issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891) and his extensive study of several plans for the reconstruction of postwar societies, Ryan wrote the Bishop’s Program of Social Reconstruction, which was issued by the National Catholic War Council (NCWC) in the name of American Bishops in 1919. The Bishop’s Program became the guiding force for the NCWC’s Social Action Department and Catholic progressives in the 1920s and 1930s. Many of the recommendations in the Bishop’s Program were enacted 15 years later in the shape of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. Ryan’s closeness to FDR and the New Deal both personally and politically won him the nickname “Right Reverend New Dealer.” When Charles Coughlin turned viciously against FDR and the New Deal during the 1936 presidential campaign, Ryan countered with his most famous public moment: an overtly partisan political speech (“Roosevelt Safeguards America”) that was broadcasted on national radio on October 8, 1936, urging Catholics to repudiate Coughlin and support the New Deal and Roosevelt. In 1937 FDR asked Ryan to be the first Catholic priest to provide the invocation at a presidential inauguration, an honor he performed a second time for FDR in 1945, not long before both men died.

Although primarily an intellectual, Ryan used his writing, public speaking, and position as the Director of the Social Action Department to encourage political and economic changes that promoted a more fair and egalitarian society. Ryan supported minimum wage and child labor legislation, even though the latter position made him powerful enemies from within the American Catholic Church. As his status as the premier Catholic social justice advocate solidified, Ryan’s output of published works and speeches increased. During the last 15 years of his life, from 1930 to 1945, Ryan stayed extremely busy giving speeches and writing articles, books, reviews, and commentaries.

Ryan is the author of Seven Troubled Years, 1930-1936: A Collection of Papers on the Depression and on the Problems of Recovery and Reform. (Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, 1937.)

See more information and Digital Collection.

Social Justice Collection.

1936-1942. 5 boxes; 6 feet. Donors: Robert J. Jacobs in 1991, Manhattan College in 2012.

Bound and loose issues of the national weekly newspaper/magazine Social Justice that was published by the National Union for Social Justice. The N.U.S.J. was the political vehicle of controversial radio priest Charles Coughlin which was primarily isolationist and anti-New Deal in focus. (See also: The John Augustine Ryan Papers for more on Charles Coughlin.) Especially noteworthy is the March 13, 1939 issue announcing the election of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli as Pope Pius XII.

USCCB Legal Department/General Counsel. Records.

1921-1981. 150 feet; 120 boxes. Donor: USCCB, 1972, 1982.

Beginning in 1925 with the directorship of William F. Montavon, the department expanded to include work on the behalf of Catholics abroad and the vulnerable domestically. This period also witnessed the department's involvement in the legal advising and reporting on the status of religious legislation and freedoms throughout the various Latin American republics, Haiti, the Philippines, and Spain (The last of which was especially prominent during the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War). By the 1930s, with the Great Depression ongoing, the department kept its associates abreast of developments with governmental relief efforts and the changing role of the federal government in the economic and domestic spheres. Of particular import to the department was the New Deal legislation that began to fundamentally impact both the social mission and employer status of the Church. In addition to supporting workforce relief efforts, the department closely followed developments in Social Security legislation and how it impacted clergy and Church staff. As the clouds of war gathered in the last half of the decade, the topic of Selective Service became of increasing importance to the NCWC as the draft status of seminarians was left in doubt. Through a variety of lobbying efforts, the department worked to better define the eligibility of those in formation, as well as working to spread knowledge about the need for relief in war-torn parts of the globe.

See more information, as well as the finding aid for the William F. Montavon Papers.

USCCB Office of Film and Broadcasting (OFB). Records.

ca. 1931-2010. 430 linear feet; 196 boxes; 1,750 audiovisual items.

The National Legion of Decency was an organization founded to address objectionable content in motion pictures from the point of view of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. It was founded in 1933 by John T. McNicholas, Archbishop of Cincinnati, as the Catholic Legion of Decency, in response to an address given by Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani at the Catholic Charities Convention in New York City. Cicognani had warned against the harmful effect movies had on youthful innocence and urged others to launch a campaign to purify the film industry. Though established by Roman Catholic Bishops, the Legion originally included many Protestant and even some Jewish clerics. For the first couple of decades of its existence, the Legion was very influential in the American motion picture industry. Their influence stemmed from the popularity of their rating system, their lobbying prowess, and their circulation of a pledge in church services. Eventually, the entity was subsumed into the United States Catholic Conference (known since 2001 as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) Communications Department, with a further name change to the Office of Film and Broadcasting (OFB).

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USCCB Rural Life Bureau. Records.

1930-1938. 1 1/4 feet; 1 box. Donor: USCCB, 1972.

Founded within the Social Action Department in 1920 under Edwin O’Hara, later Bishop of Kansas City, the bureau sought to enrich the spiritual and material well-being of rural people. O’Hara founded the National Catholic Rural Life Conference in 1923, which was based in the midwest (first in St. Paul, Minnesota, then in Des Moines, Iowa). This conference, whose archives are housed at Marquette University, eventually made the NCWC Rural Life Bureau obsolete. Records at Catholic University consist of general correspondence, surveys, and printed material.

USCCB Social Action Department. Records.

One of the original departments of the National Catholic Welfare Council/Conference (NCWC), the Department of Social Action was established to promote the social thought of the Roman Catholic Church and to interpret, under the guidance of the bishops, applications of that thought to the complex social questions of the world. It operated primarily as a service department for Catholic lay organizations, the Catholic press, schools, religious, and laity. It also served as a clearinghouse for the dissemination of the most progressive thought in the field of social action. There was a special focus on industrial, international, and interracial relations as well as rural life, social work, and the study of communism. The principal tools in this effort were the papal encyclicals and statements of the American bishops on social and economic matters. Soon after its creation in 1919, the Social Action Department began to sponsor addresses and lectures, publish books and pamphlets, and conduct conferences and institutes. The department’s first three directors—Msgr. John A. Ryan (1920-1945), Father Raymond Augustine McGowan (1945-1954), and Msgr. George Gilmary Higgins (1954-1967)—were especially interested in industrial relations and did much to focus the attention of Catholic social action in this area.

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Walsh, Mary Elizabeth. Papers.

A native of Savannah, Georgia, Mary Elizabeth Walsh (1905-1987) pursued graduate studies in Washington, D.C. at the National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS), 1927-1929, and served as a juvenile caseworker for the Catholic Charities of Toledo, Ohio, from 1929 to 1932. She then returned to Washington, D.C. to pursue a doctorate in Sociology at The Catholic University of America, where she served as Msgr. Paul Hanly Furfey's research assistant in 1933, became an instructor in 1936, and earned her Ph.D. in 1937. Her dissertation, “Saints and Social Work,” focused on methods used by recent saints in dealing with the poor. She did field work with Gladys Sellow and Father Furfey on the Il Povrello settlement house in Washington, D.C., 1937-1940, and then was in charge of her own settlement house, Fides House, from 1940 to 1958. She wrote American Social Problems in 1942 and was co-author with Furfey of Social Problems and Social Action, published in 1958. The Walsh papers reflect her decades of educational, religious, and social activist efforts including teaching, research, and field work. They contain correspondence, both personal and professional, as well as reference and research material, calendars and address books, student notes and papers, memorabilia, financial records, and printed material.

See more information.

See related blogpost:

  1. “Practical Wisdom” – The Origins of the National Catholic School of Social Service at Catholic University (November 28, 2018)

Note: This collection is stored off-site, so extra retrieval time will be necessary.

Whelan, Thomas J., Sr. Collection.

1927 (1929-1933) 1951. Donor: Thomas J. Whelan, Jr. 2010.

Thomas J. Whelan, Sr. (1911-1974) was born to Irish immigrant parents in New York City. He arrived at the Catholic University of America (CUA) in August 1929 on a football scholarship, and set a college record by scoring touchdown runs of 65 yards or longer in 14 consecutive games. After graduation, he played one year of football for the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field under the new owner, Art Rooney. The team was renamed the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1936. In 1937, he married Harriet Dye and they had two sons, Patrick and Thomas, Jr. He later partnered first with Dutch Bergman and then Ben Zola in operating taverns in Brookland, near the CUA campus. In the 1960s, Whelan was active in the Democratic National Committee and became an advance man for John F. Kennedy in his presidential campaign. The collection contains an oversize photograph and digitized images from two scrapbooks. The images from these scrapbooks are from Whelan's high school, college, and post-college career, showcasing his accomplishments in athletics, especially football.

See more information and Digital Collection.