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Special Collections — Anti-Catholic Resources

This guide describes a variety of Anti-Catholic materials held by the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives as well as the Rare Books library at The Catholic University of America.

American Citizenship, Commission on.

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

A finding aid to the Commission on American Citizenship Collection.

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. Collection includes correspondence and textbooks like the Faith and Freedom Readers (1942-1962). There also color anti Communism by George Pflaum posters from 1961.

Anti-Catholic Literature

Collection. 1925, 1928. .7 feet, 1 box. Donor: Democratic National Committee, 1929.

A finding aid to the Anti-Catholic Literature Collection.

Mounted photostats plus a few originals of pamphlets, cartoons and posters, some of a sensational nature, distributed by various anti-Catholic groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, during the 1928 presidential campaign for the purpose of undermining the Democratic candidate, Alfred E. Smith. Also present, a 1925 petition and letters concerning the appointment of a Catholic teacher by the Fairfax County School Board in Virginia.

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.

Manning, Henry Edward Cardinal

Papers (Microfilm Only). 1870-1948. 1 reel, 35 mm; 2 negative copies. Donor: John Tracy Ellis and A. Chapean, 1950.

Born in Hertfordshire in 1808 to a merchant-banking family, Manning attended Harrow Public School and matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford in 1827. He was ordained an Anglican minister in 1832 and married in 1833, with his wife dying childless in 1837. He focused on his ecclesiastical career and became a leading Anglican thinker, warning relentlessly against rationalism and social evils. Influenced by the Oxford Movement, he became disillusioned with the Church of England and converted to Roman Catholicism in 1851. A rising star in the English Catholic Church, he was especially active in the field of education. In 1865, Manning became Archbishop of Westminster, an office he held until his death in 1892. He was also a leading figure at the Vatican Council I in 1870-1871. His constant effort was to make the Church more socially conscious and to bring English Catholicism into the mainstream of English society. Manning was a talented administrator, voluminous writer, and eloquent preacher. Collection consists of 31 letters, mostly from American prelates such as James Cardinal Gibbons and Archbishop John Ireland, which are generally of a routine nature. In addition, there are copies of two letters written by Manning, one to the Rector of the North American College in Rome and one to Cardinal Gibbons. There are also 3 letters of appreciation for Manning written many years after his death.

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.

National Council of Catholic Men (NCCM)

Records. 1920-1975. 31 feet; 53 boxes. Donors: Various, 1974-2009.

A finding aid to the records of the National Council of Catholic Men.

The NCCM was established in 1920 as part of the Lay Organizations Department of the National Catholic Welfare Council (NCWC). Its various functions included the federation of Catholic men's groups in a common agency, to be a central clearinghouse for information on lay activities, to promote lay cooperation in regard to the Church's welfare, to help existing Catholic lay organizations on the local level, to contribute to national and international movements with moral questions, and to inculcate appreciation of Catholic principles in education, social, and civil life in general. The NCCM operated through a committee system on national, diocesan, and parish levels. NCCM published a monthly news organ called Alertand other publications as well. It operated a film distribution office and a New York radio and television office, from which it produced the Catholic Hour, 1929-1968. NCCM celebrated its golden anniversary in 1970 and was briefly merged with NCCW to form the National Council of Catholic Laity, before going defunct in 1975.

Records include constitutions, bylaws, and incorporation, 1920-1970; minutes of the Board of Directors, 1920-1969; reports and convention proceedings, 1932-1968; general correspondence including national organizations and diocesan, 1939-1975; Catholic Hour radio and television scripts, transcripts, audio tapes, and phonographs, 1929-1968; photographs, 1930, ca. 1960s; and miscellaneous publications, 1924-1969.

National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW)

Records. 1919-2000. 145 feet; 221 boxes. Donor: USCCB and NCCW, 1972-2001.

A finding aid to the records of the National Council of Catholic Women.

Established in 1920 as part of the Lay Organization Department of the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC), the NCCW was a breakthrough for Catholic lay women that coincided with the winning of suffrage for American women. NCCW has operated as a federation of Catholic women's organizations under an Executive Director and a Board of Directors. Stated goals have been the study and promotion of Catholic principles through a system of national committees having counterparts on the diocesan and parish level. NCCW has provided representation for American Catholic women at national and international meetings concerned with the moral and religious welfare of humanity in general and women in particular. Numerous publications produced include the monthly magazine Catholic Woman and various news sheets. In its early days, the NCCW managed the National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS) for women, prior to its merger in 1947 with the School of Social Work at The Catholic University of America (CUA). Records consist of Board of Directors' minutes and related material, 1920-1985; convention and assembly proceedings, 1920-1996; executive director's correspondence, 1983-1998; diocesan affiliate card files, ca. 1940s-1960s; Home and School Association, 1948-1966; national and international membership records, 1920-1984; general publications, 1919-2000, including Catholic Woman, 1975-1997; and audiovisual material, ca. 1920s-1998.

Executive Department/Office of the General Secretary (OGS)

Papers. 1905(1919-1992)2001. 340 feet; 285 boxes. Donor: USCCB and Hugh Nolan, 1972-1997, 2013-2014.

A finding aid to the records of the Office of the General Secretary.

The General Secretary, as chief executive officer of the Administrative Board, not only directed the work of the Executive Department, otherwise known as the Office of the General Secretary (OGS), but also supervised the operations of the other departments and coordinated the multiple activities of the various NCWC units. Under the dynamic leadership of the first General Secretary, Father John J. Burke, C.S.P. (1919-1936), the conference worked on both a national and an international level to define American Catholic identity, promote Catholic social thinking, influence public policy, and coordinate humanitarian efforts. These notable endeavors were continued to varying degrees by Burke's successors, Michael J. Ready (1936-1944), Howard J. Carroll (1944-1957), and Paul F. Tanner (1959-1968). Major activities included the suppression of birth control and communism, defense of Catholic education and cultural identity, and the promotion of social justice and international peace.

Voluminous records of the Executive Department/Office of the General Secretary. They are divided into subject, numerical, executive secretary, Mexican, and private files, 1905(1919-1972)1981. Beginning in 1919, administrative files were organized numerically, with numbers assigned to notable persons, organizations, and topics. This filing system remained in effect until 1949-1950 when efforts were made to convert into general subject files. The conversion process was not completed so that currently there are 97 boxes, some 120 feet, of subject files and 47 boxes, some 70 feet, of numerical files. Research focusing prior to 1949 must consult both of these sub-series to pursue a particular event or topic. There are 13 major subject headings: Administration, Church, Communism, Cults and Sects, Education, Information Media, International Affairs, Military Affairs, NCWC, Organizations, Social Action, Travel, and U.S. Government.

In addition, there are three other divisions of departmental files. The first consists of 1 box of material dealing with Executive Secretary James Hugh Ryan, 1919-1928, who often deputized for the first General Secretary, Father John Burke. The second group are the Mexican Files, consisting of material related to the special case of Mexico, 1921-1981. The third consists of Private Files of Burke and his successor, Michael J. Ready, 1905-1944, 1951.

Other records include miscellaneous photographs, 1921-1980, scrapbooks and oversized material, 1919-1972; and publications, 1919-2001. Finally, there are records of associated bureaus and affiliates: Inter-America Bureau, 1942-1954; Latin American Bureau, 1928-1970; Peace Corps Desk, 1961-1962; Office of UN Affairs, 1946-1972; Episcopal Committee on Motion Pictures/John T. McNicholas, 1933-1950; Episcopal Committee on Decent Literature/National Office for Decent Literature, 1939-1969, and the Advisory Council to the Administrative Board of US Bishops, 1970-1975.

Ursuline Convent, Charlestown, Massachusetts

Collection. 1833-1903. 5 inches; 1 box. Donor: Arthur T. Connolly.

A finding aid to the papers of the Ursuline Convent.

See also WRLC's Ursuline Digital Collection.

Scrapbook history, correspondence, a notebook, a novelle, journals, pamphlets, clippings, a photograph, and a sketch concerning the Ursuline Convent on Mount Benedict in Charlestown, Massachusetts, established in 1817. The collection documents the history and work of the Ursuline Community in the Boston area, the Convent's foundation, its destruction by an anti-Catholic mob in 1834, and the subsequent prosecution and acquittal of the rioters. Material within the collection shows the strong anti-Catholic sentiment existing in New England in the 1800s.

Washington Catholic Evidence Guild

Collection. 1933-1983. 1.5 feet; 3 boxes. Donors: Harry Kirk, D. Noel, 1984, 2011.

A finding aid to the Washington Catholic Evidence Guild.

The Guild was a lay movement founded in London in 1918 that sought to educate non Roman Catholics on the teachings of the church by means of public assemblies. Through the efforts of publishers Frank and Maisie Ward Sheed the movement spread to the United States in 1931 and was ultimately represented in several cities: Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Hays (Kansas), New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and Waterbury. The Washington Guild was formed by Paul Ward, CSP, and Catholic University faculty members Charles Hart and William Russell. One of the most active participants was Harry J. Kirk (1889-1987) who served as President (1940-1942). He was a member of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (1931-1977) and Treasurer for the National Conference of Catholic Charities (NCCC) in the 1950s, now known as Catholic Charities USA. As a lay organization, the Washington Guild was disbanded in 1948 although some Paulists continued to meet for a time. Overall, the guilds went into decline with only that of New York City surviving into the 1980s when it too passed from the vale. This collection was compiled by Mr. Kirk and consists of correspondence (photocopies and typescript), proceedings, press releases, handbills, questionnaires, and newspaper clippings. Included are many personal typewritten notes and biographical material on the donor and his family. The proceedings of the meetings include notes, minutes, and questionnaires regarding individual responses on street speaking. There are also some photographs.

Young Catholic Messenger

Collection. 1891, 1909, 1913-1914, 1925-1970. 6 feet; 12 boxes. Donor: Various, 2006-2016.

A finding aid to the The Young Catholic Messenger.

The Young Catholic Messenger was the inaugural publication of the Pflaum Publishing Company, founded in 1885 in Dayton, Ohio, by George Pflaum, Sr. Pflaum produced religious and civic themed reading materials distributed to students in the Catholic parochial schools that later included the Junior Catholic Messenger, Our Little Messenger, and the Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact. In the early years the YCM issues tended to be shorter and more literary in focus, while later on the number of pages per issue increased as more news and current events were included. The YCM ceased publication in 1970.