Skip to Main Content

Special Collections - Civil War Resources

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

Brooks-Queen Family

Papers. 1773 - 1979. 1.5 feet; 3 boxes. Donors: Anne Elizabeth Brooks Stock, Sally Stock Murray, Elizabeth Stock Hardy, Agnes Stock Scanlon, Margaret Bartley, and Laura Anthony, 1955, 1981, 1982, 1987.

A finding aid to the Brooks - Queen Papers

The Brooks-Queen Family Papers document the activities of members of two Washington families of the nineteenth century. The Brooks and Queens families united in 1828, when Jehiel Brooks and Margaret Queen, the daughter of Nicholas Louis Queen, married. The papers of these two men constitute the bulk of the collection. Jehiel Brooks came to the District to secure political appointment, but with the exception of an appointment in the Red River Indian Agency in Louisiana during the administration of Andrew Jackson (1829-1837), Brooks had little luck. Instead, he assumed the role of the gentleman farmer on a tract of land adjacent to property that later became part of The Catholic University of America. One of the largest holders of real estate in the District, Nicholas Queen ran the Queen's Hotel near the Capitol until his death in 1850. The collection also includes the papers of Brooks' and Queen's descendants, including John Henry Brooks, who sold his parents' real estate to early twentieth century developers of the Brookland neighborhood. These papers offer a view into the agrarian past of the District of Columbia, the lives of nineteenth century property holders, political patronage during the mid-nineteenth century, and the work of federal agents among Native Americans as well as slavery and the Civil War.

Cudmore, Patrick

Papers. Ca. 1871, 5 inches; 1 box. Donor Unknown.

Patrick Cudmore was born in 1831 in Ireland. He came to the United States in 1846. He settled in Minnestoa, in 1856, where he practiced law. Cudmore enlisted in 1862 and served as a soldier in the Civil War till 1865. He became county attorney of Le Sueur county, Minnesota. In 1872, he petitioned for a canal through Nicaragua long before the Panama Canal was built. An author and teacher, Cudmore wrote a several books on political science, and one on Ireland. He donated a number his books to the Catholic University of America in the 1890s. He died in 1916. Collection consists of handwritten notes and manuscript drafts from Cudmore's Books, mostly from his book on the history of Ireland called, "The Republic of Ireland."

Davis, Cyprian (Clarence John)

Papers. 1927-2015, n.d. 47.5 feet; 38 boxes. Donor: St. Meinrad Seminary, 2015-2016.

A finding aid to the Cyprian Davis, O.S.B. Papers

Cyprian Davis, born Clarence John Davis (1930-2015), was an historian and archivist. He began his academic career in 1948, studying at The Catholic University of America (CUA), and ultimately receiving a Licentiate of Sacred Theology in 1957. Davis then studied church history abroad at The Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, where he obtained a licentiate in 1963. He taught church history at St. Meinrad before returning to Louvain to obtain a doctorate degree in 1977. He authored and co-authored several monographs, including "Christ's image in Black: the Black Catholic Community before the Civil War" and "The History of Black Catholics in the United States." Davis’s papers include many unpublished manuscripts on black history and black Catholic history. He was an archivist for Saint Meinrad Archabbey, a Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation, and the National Black Catholic Clergy Conference. He also authored two Pastoral letters. The first, in 1979, was The US Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Racism, titled “Brothers and Sisters to Us”; the second, in 1984, titled “What We Have Seen and Heard” was on behalf of the Black Catholic Bishops of the United States. The Davis Papers include correspondence, academic papers, printed material, audiovisual records, ephemera, and awards and honors.

Ewing, Charles

Papers. 1870(1870-1883)1951. 1/2 foot; 1 box. Donor: Rev. Peter Rahill, 1952.

A finding aid to the papers of Charles B. Ewing

Born to a Scotch-Irish father and Irish Catholic mother, Ewing was raised in the faith of the latter and educated at a Dominican college in Ohio, Gonzaga College in Washington, DC, and the University of Virginia. He served as a Union officer in the Civil War, ultimately attaining the rank of Brigadier General, and participated in a number of campaigns including Vicksburg and Atlanta. In fact, Ewing was a brother-in-law of William Tecumseh Sherman. After the war, he left the army, practiced law in Washington and married Virginia Miller. In 1874, Ewing was selected by the American Catholic bishops as the first Catholic Commissioner for Indian Missions, a position within the newly established Catholic Indian Bureau. As a Catholic lawyer based in the nation's capital, it was thought he was best suited to protect Catholic interests against Protestant encroachments in dealing with the federal government over Indian affairs. Ewing had already acted on behalf of Catholic Indian missions in the past and he soon secured the assistance of Rev. Joseph Brouilett, Vice-General of the Diocese of Nesqualby, Indian Territory. In 1877, Pope Pius IX recognized Ewing's efforts by creating him a knight of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great. Ewing continued in his capacity as Catholic Commissioner until his death in 1883 from a sudden bout of pneumonia.

The Ewing Papers, consisting of both originals and copies held elsewhere, pertain almost exclusively to his involvement on behalf of Catholic Indian missions. The correspondence spans the years 1870-1883. The printed material on Indian Affairs and Missions dates from the twentieth century up to 1951 and relates only broadly to Ewing's life. It is possible that his other papers were destroyed upon his death.

Howlett, W.J.

Memoirs. n.d. 98 pages, typescript, mimeograph copy. Donor: Urban J. Vehr, 1959.

Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It (unpublished) covers the period, ca. 1852-1927. Howlett, a priest and writer, first describes his childhood in New York, Michigan, and Colorado. He furnishes details of rural education and practice of religion and farming, and recalls the Civil War which he spent in Michigan, mentioning the 1864 presidential campaign and the fortunes of the 2nd and 12th Michigan Infantries. He goes on to recount his family's wagon journey to Denver along the Platte River in 1865, and his student days at St. Thomas Seminary, Kentucky, which he entered in 1868; at the Seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris, where he arrived in 1872 just after the fall of the Commune; and at the University of Wuertzburg, Germany. Returning to Colorado, he embarked on mission and parish work under Bp. Joseph Machebeuf, whose biography he later published. Through description of this work, he provides glimpses of the growth of the Colorado Church in the last quarter of the 19th century.

Lambert, Louis Aloysius

Papers. 1863-1914. 4 inches. Donors: Aloysius Quinlan and Therese D. Molyneaux, 1954 and 1985.

Letters (forming the bulk of the papers), a memorial scrapbook and newspaper clippings. Lambert, a parish priest, educator, editor and writer, was widely known both for his apologetic work for the Church--particularly his replies to Robert Green Ingersoll's agnostic arguments, and for a well publicized dispute with his Bishop, Bernard McQuaid of Rochester, New York that was eventually settled in Rome. Material on both topics is prominent among the papers. Of interest is a 1863 Civil War letter written by General Michael K. Lawler during the siege of Vicksburg, and some seventeen letters from McQuaid in Rome for Vatican Council I, describing events there.

Lee, Thomas Sim

Papers. 1860-1916. 2 1/2 inches. Donors: Sarah R. Lee and Dr. Thomas Lee, 1950.

A finding aid for the papers of Tomas Sim Lee

Rector of the Cathedral of Baltimore, 1873-1891, and of St. Matthew's Church, Washington, D.C., 1891-1922, Lee was also a trustee of Catholic University, 1888-1920. Consisting of personal correspondence, official documents and certificates, receipts, printed material, a volume on his Golden Jubilee, and photographs, the papers document his studies at the North American College in Rome, his ordination, travels to Europe and the Orient, and the celebration of his Golden Jubilee. Of particular note are family letters written during the Civil War, which discuss the course of the war in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area, and its effect on the Lee family.

Luby, Thomas Clarke

Papers. 1807-1959, 5 feet; 5 boxes. Donor: Scott Stouffer, 2003, 2015.

A finding aid to the Thomas Clarke Luby papers

Thomas Clarke Luby (1821-1901) was a Irishman who was born in Dublin who very much believed in the overthrow of British rule in Ireland. Active in the Young Ireland Movement, he was eventually arrested for an uprising. He escaped to Australia and, in 1858, along with others created the Irish Republican Brotherhood, also known as the Fenian Brotherhood. The Fenians were very active in the American Civil War and Luby fought in the Union Army from 1862 to 1865. Luby also wrote books on Irish history. The collection contains correspondence, legal papers, sketches, newspaper clippings, publications, copies of sermons, Irish poetry, and speeches made by Luby.

O'Farrell, Mary T.

Manuscripts. 1898, 1900, 1903, 1912. 7 items. Donor: [?Mary T. O'Farrell].

Mainly correspondence of Patrick and Mary O'Farrell. Notes of Mary T. O'Farrell, the probable donor, identify Mary O'Farrell as her mother, and it seems likely that Patrick, a Washington, D.C. lawyer who served in the Union army during the Civil War, was her father. Present are: an 1898 letter from Patrick O'Farrell to Major Jerome Bourke, secretary of the America Protective League (a secret anti- Catholic organization), in which O'Farrell expresses outrage over the issuing of a U.S. postage stamp portraying Father Marquette in priestly garb--an example of the stamp is affixed to the letter; a letter from Benjamin Harrison to Patrick O'Farrell dated 1900, discussing a speech made by the former president (plus cover); and a letter from Mother Alphonsa Lathrop, foundress of the Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer, thanking Mary O'Farrell for monetary support (plus cover). Also present is a copy of General Robert E. Lee's general orders, No. 9, in which he announced his surrender to his men on April 10, 1865 (plus cover). The latter is on writing paper bearing the imprint of the original Capitol.

Ryan Family

Papers. 1803 (1827-1951) 1995. 5 feet; 4 boxes. Donor: J. M. Goebel, 2002.

A finding aid to the Ryan Family papers

A collection of an Irish American family's correspondence, with the majority from the early nineteenth century through the Civil War. The content is mostly the Ryan Family's business interests, family in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. There is also correspondence concerning the family's political connections to many prominent Jacksonian Democrats, including John Ryan's active involvement during the 1876 election and campaigning for Democrats in Connecticut. Also included is the donor created inventory.

Spalding, Martin John and John Lancaster

Collection. ca. 1840-1895, 1960, n.d.. 2 inch. Donor: W. Basset, unknown, 1971, 2000, n.d..

Mostly manuscript material written mainly in the hand of Martin J. Spalding, Archbishop of Baltimore, 1864-1872. This includes four lectures, titled On Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead, On Relics and Images, On the Honor and Invocation of Saints, and On the Celibacy of the Clergy, and an article titled The Church and the Country. A covering note, also in Martin's hand, states that the former were written around 1846 and that the latter was prepared for the Catholic Mirror at the end of the Civil War but not published "from prudential motives." Other items are the work of John Lancaster Spalding, first Bishop of Peoria, Illinois, and nephew of Martin J. Spalding. These consist of a number of draft poems, at least some of them translations from the German poet, Emanuel Geibel (1815- 1884). These poems may have been prepared for John's book, Songs from the German, first published in 1895. Certainly at least one of the poems present, a translation of Geibel's The bitter World's Sore Fret does appear in this publication. These papers appear to have been, at some time, in John's possession, a circumstance possibly explained by the fact that he published Martin's biography just after his (Martin's) death in 1872. In addition, there is some printed material. This includes two pamphlets, one in French titled L'Enseignement Primaire et L'Avenir de la France and dated 1885, and another in English titled Growth and Duty, Oration of the Right Rev. J. Lancaster Spalding with no date, as well as a copy of Rev. J.J. Cosgrove's 1960 book Most Reverend John Lancaster Spalding First Bishop of Peoria.

Spalding, Martin John

Papers. 1860-64. 1 microfilm reel. Donor: Unknown.

Archbishop Spalding was born May 23, 1810 in Rolling Fork, Kentucky, the son of Richard and Henrietta Spalding. The family had arrived in 1790, migrating from Maryland, where they had originally landed in 1657. He was educated at St. Mary's College in Lebanon, Kentucky, moving on to St. Thomas Seminary in Bardstown, Kentucky, and even spending time in the Urban College in Rome. In 1834 he became the first American to receive their doctorate in theology, and was ordained that same year. He was appointed pastor of St. Joseph's Cathedral at Bardstown in 1835, a position where he also taught classes at St. Joseph's College, moving to the presidency of the college by 1838. By 1844 he was named vicar-general of Louisville, where he assumed most of the administrative functions. This position made him a natural candidate for the See of Louisville, which he attained in 1850. It was here that Spalding presided over a number of crises, including a severe anti-Catholic riot in 1855.

During the American Civil War, Spalding maintained a policy of strict neutrality, supplying nurses and chaplains for both North and South. This policy made him unpopular among members of the church who had taken a partisan stance, and, upon Spalding's appointment as Archbishop of Baltimore, Secretary of State William Seward protested to Rome over his questionable loyalty. Following the war, Spalding advocated missionary work for both whites and recently freed blacks and expanded the archdiocese by 20 new churches. When Pius IX convoked the Vatican Council I, Spalding travelled to Rome, where he was elected to the Commission on the Faith and appointed to the Commission on Postulata, which was responsible for examining proposals before they came before the Council. Finally, on his return to Baltimore, Spalding welcomed the first priests of St. Joseph's Society, whose mission was the conversion of African-Americans. The Archbishop succumbed to illness February 7, 1872.

The collection consists of one 35mm microfilm reel, dated 1860-1864, which includes information on Louisville institutions, correspondence within the Diocese, and communication with the Propagation of the Faith, Society of Paris.