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Special Collections — First World War Resources

This guide highlights the World War I collections of the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

Callahan, Patrick Henry

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

A finding aid to the papers of Patrick Henry Callahan.

Born in 1865, Callahan was educated at St. John's High School and the Spencerian Business College in Cleveland, Ohio. After a brief baseball career with the Chicago White Stockings, Callahan married Julia Cahill. The couple moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where Callahan became manager and later president of the Louisville Varnish Company. While with the company, Callahan and Rev. John A. Ryan formulated a profit sharing program between stockholders and workers. Callahan was active in the church, serving as chairman of the Knights of Columbus Commission on Religious Prejudices (1914-16), founder of the Catholic Laymen's Association of Georgia (1916), chairman of the Knights of Columbus Committee on War Activities (1917-18), a director of the Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems, and a founding member of the Catholic Association for International Peace. A fervent believer in Prohibition, Callahan served as general secretary of the Association of Catholics Favoring Prohibition and chaired the Central Prohibition Commission. During the Great Depression, Callahan became a supporter of New Deal programs, and served as a trustee of the National Child Labor Commission and vice president of the Kentucky Interracial Commission.

The collection includes correspondence on his various activities, both received and sent, typed or handwritten, on regular and mimeographed paper. Also included are newspaper clippings, publications, and certificates.

Catholic Heroes of the World War

Scrapbook and Related Materials. Collection. 1928-1933, n.d., 1.25 linear feet; 1 box. Donor: USCCB.

A finding aid to Catholic Heroes of the World War.

Contents of a scrapbook detailing the weekly newspaper column, Catholic Heroes of the World War, 1928-1933, written by Daniel J. Ryan, highlighting Catholics who had won medals for service in World War I. Ryan began in December 1928 to write and supply to the feature service of the National Catholic News Service a weekly column profiling men, and some women, who had won the Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH), the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), and/or the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM). There were about 250 stories in all, covering persons from all 48 states and the majority of American Catholic dioceses.

Cline, Catherine Ann

Papers. n.d.(1946-2003)2007. 10 feet; 16 boxes. Donor: Cline Estate, 2006.

A finding aid for the Catherine Ann Cline papers.

Catherine Ann Cline was born on July 27, 1927 in West Springfield, Massachusetts, to Daniel E. Cline and Agnes Howard. She received her B.A. from Smith College in 1948, her M.A. from Columbia University in 1950, and her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College in 1957. She became an historian and a writer, as well as, a professor. She taught at a number of universities between 1953 and 1968: Smith College, St. Mary's College of Indiana, and Notre Dame College of Staten Island. In 1968, Cline became an associate professor of history at The Catholic University of America (CUA) and rose to full Professor in 1974. She served as Chair of the History Department from 1973 to 1976 and again from 1979 to 1982. She was the author of the books Recruits to Labour: The British Labour Party, 1914-1931 (1963) and E.D. Morel, 1873-1924: The Strategies of Protest (1981) and wrote numerous articles and book reviews for journals such as Albion, American Historical Review, Catholic Historical Review, Church History, and the Journal of Modern History. In recognition of her long service to CUA she was awarded the Benemerenti Medal in 1995 and continued teaching at CUA until her death in 2006.

The Cline papers contain editorial correspondence, letters of recommendation, research note cards, unpublished draft manuscripts, journal tear sheets of articles and book reviews, course descriptions, and publications. In addition, there are two oversize framed items, one a book jacket of her 1980 book on E. D. Morel and the other of a 1918 newspaper clipping of the U.S. Army's so called 'Lost Battalion' of World War I (her father was supposedly a member of this unit). Two other oversize items consist of photocopies of British archival documents. There are also some packets of regular sized British archival documents.

Dubois, Léon L.

World War I Collection. 1909, 1916-1918. 2 boxes, plus oversize items; 5.5 feet. Donor: Léon L. Dubois, 1919-1921.

A finding aid to the Léon L. Dubois collection.

Assembled by the Rev. L.L. Dubois, S.M., who appears to have been a French army chaplain during World War I, the memorabilia mainly consists of French army maps, 1916-1918, many depicting the Western Front during the Spring and Summer of 1918. Also present: photographs of allied tanks and observation balloons; aerial reconnaissance shots; French army intelligence reports; a spotter guide to allied and enemy aircraft; documents relating to war bonds; postcards, a German New Testament; a humorous notice of the "death" of Wilhelm II; and unused message papers for carrier pigeons. Items are in French, German, and English.

Frith-Garesche Postcard Collection

1906-1941. 5 inches.

The bulk of the collection consists of European and American postcards, both loose and mounted in scrapbooks. Of special interest are items relating to World War I such as: French postcards depicting war-ravaged towns, soldiers and hospital scenes; issues of La Liaison, a newsletter written for French soldiers and their families; and a little personal correspondence from French soldiers including letters from a POW camp in Minden, Germany.

Millar, Margaret Richards

Papers. 1915(1918-1930)1940. 1.25 linear feet; 1 box. Donor: The Penelope House Shelter in Mobile, Alabama, 2016.

A finding aid to the papers of Margaret Richards Millar.

Margaret Richards (1858-1947) was a Vermont native who grew up in Alabama and was educated at Bradford Academy in Massachusetts. She was married to Scottish immigrant Stocks Millar and lived with him on a ranch in Wyoming prior to his death in 1890. Thereafter, she spent several years in France and Germany with their children. In 1896, she converted to Catholicism alongside her son, future Jesuit Morehouse F. X. Millar (later a collaborator with John A. Ryan). In 1918, she was sent to France as a representative of the Committee on Special War Activities of the National Catholic War Council (NCWC), in order to organize and supervise service clubs for American soldiers. In 1919, she was sent as the only American Catholic delegate to the Women's Peace Conference in Switzerland, serving alongside Jane Addams. She helped organize the first conference of the National Council of Catholic Women, held in 1920. An active member of the NCCW and NCWC for the remaining years of her life, Millar passed away in 1947. This collection consists of correspondence, clippings, a diary, and photographs, and memorabilia.

Mohler, Bruce Monroe

Papers. 1881-1967. 36 feet; 57 boxes. Donor: Dorothy Mohler and estate, 1984-2001, 2014.

A finding aid to the papers of Bruce Monroe Mohler.

Bruce M. Mohler was the director of the National Catholic Welfare Conference's (NCWC) Department of Immigration, a position he held from the department's inception in 1920, as the Bureau of Immigration, until his appointment as Director Emeritus shortly before his death in 1967. His service for Catholic Immigrants with the War Relief Services (later known as Catholic Relief Services), earned him a place as an important figure in the history of American Catholicism. His papers also reflect his life in rural Ohio in the early 20th century, his time stationed in France with the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) during the First World War, followed by his service in Poland as Deputy Commissioner of the American Red Cross. Lastly, these papers reflect his personal life, marriage to Dorothy Abts, and his relationship to the Catholic University of America.

Muldoon, Bishop Peter James

Collection. 1901-1926. Microfilm Only: 3 35 mm Reels; 3 Inches. Donor: Dioceses of Rockford, IL 1954.

Born in Columbia, California in 1862 to Irish immigrants John and Catherine (Coughlin) Muldoon, educated at St. Mary's College in St. Mary, Kentucky and St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, Maryland and ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1886. He served as chancellor and secretary from 1888 to 1895 to Archbishop P. A. Feehan and appointed titular bishop of Tamassus, auxiliary of Chicago, and vicar-general in 1901. In 1908 he was appointed bishop of the new Diocese of Rockford which had just been erected from the Archdiocese of Chicago. Muldoon played a prominent role in the social reform movement and served as Chairman of the National Catholic War Council 1917-1918, where he became a nationally known figure. He worked closely with members of other religious groups and government agencies and his forcefulness and diplomacy ensured the success of the council and induced Cardinal James Gibbons to propose a peacetime organization comparable to it. The National Catholic War Council (NCWC) was created in 1919 and Muldoon served as the episcopal chairman of its Social Action Department. When dissatisfied American bishops complained to the pope, the original approbation was revoked and Muldoon as well as Bishop Joseph Shrembs of Cleveland were among the most vigorous defenders of the NCWC. The Vatican finally agreed to restore the approbation in 1922 after the new organization was renamed the National Catholic Welfare Conference. Muldoon died in 1927 after a long illness.

3 100 Foot 35 mm reels of negative microfilm of Bishop Muldoon's diary covering the years January 1901 to June 1926.

National Catholic War Council

Records. 1891(1917-1935)1956, 137 feet; 110 boxes; 35 reels of microfilm. Donor: National Catholic Welfare Conference. 1952-1976.

A finding aid to the National Catholic War Council records.

When the United States entered the First World War in 1917, it relied heavily upon the volunteer actions of private individuals and organizations to support the war effort. Among these was the Roman Catholic Church which was broadly perceived as an immigrant body whose loyalty and patriotism was suspect and certainly untested in battle. Responding to this challenge under the motto of "For God and Country," American Catholics led by Father John J. Burke created the National Catholic War Council (NCWC), the forerunner of the National Catholic Welfare Conference that is currently known as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the secretariat of the American Hierarchy.

The War Council represented the first coming together of the American bishops in voluntary association to address great national issues affecting the Church. It was able to deal successfully with such problems as meeting the spiritual and material needs of soldiers preparing for war and women and youth drawn to the cities and the factories. The American Hierarchy soon realized that this united and coordinated effort in wartime was crucial to more effective protection of Church interests in peacetime. This resulted in the creation in 1919 of the National Catholic Welfare Council (later Conference) which involved itself at the federal, state, and local levels of Catholic activity regarding legislation, education, publicity, and social action. Success in providing leadership for the growth and development of the Catholic Church in the United States induced hierarchies in many countries to replicate its organization and methods.

Although the records primarily span the years 1917 to 1935, they concentrate on 1917 to 1920 and contain files and file indexes of Bishop Peter J. Muldoon, chairman of the NCWC Administrative Committee, and those of Father John J. Burke, chairman of the Committee on Special War Activities (CSWA). They also contain the office files of the executive secretary of the CSWA and individual sub-committees: Reconstruction, Men, Women, Overseas, and Historical Records. Included in these files are administrative, financial, and legal records as well as personal correspondence, photographs, pamphlets, posters, news clippings, and memorabilia. The census of Catholic armed forces preserved on microfilm is of special interest. The records of the NCWC Knights of Columbus Committee on War Activities are not included.

O’Connell, Robert Lincoln

Papers. 1900-1972. 2 boxes; 1 foot. Donor David Georgii, 2006-2008.

A finding aid to the Robert Lincoln O’Connell Papers.

The Robert Lincoln O'Connell papers document the service of an Irish-American soldier who served as a combat engineer in the First Division of the American Expeditionary Force (A.E.F.) in World War I, 1917-1919. The papers include correspondence he wrote to his family during his service and include items such as passes, orders, publications, postcards, and photographs. There are also some materials, like copies of federal census forms and his 1972 obituary, gathered recently by family members and Archives staff to supplement the collection.

Wright, Lawrence F.

Collection. ca. 1917-1921. 0.9 linear feet; 1 box. Donor: Wright Family.

A finding aid to the Lawrence F. Wright Collection.

Lawrence Frederick Wright, a member of The Catholic University of America class of 1921, compiled the 78 images in this collection during his years at Catholic University from 1917 to 1921. The images are black and white, with Mr. Wright the photographer for many of them. Subjects include Catholic University buildings and grounds, students and professors on campus, and student events. Many of the images appear to have been used in the 1917-1921 editions of The Cardinal, the Catholic University yearbook.

Zeender, John K.

Papers. ca. 1892-2002. 7 feet; 13 boxes. Donor: John K. Zeender, 1996-2002.

A finding aid to the John K. Zeender Papers.

Correspondence and research material regarding German Catholicism, in particular the Center Party of 1879 to 1933, collected by Dr. Zeender, who taught and published widely on this subject. Included are books, booklets, and article tear sheets as well as 45 reels and/or rolls of microfilm of German historical documents, personal papers, and newspapers.