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Special Collections — Doing D.C. History: Archival Resources Related to Washington, D.C.

The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives holds several collections relevant to the history of Washington, D.C. This guide collects and outlines those collections.

The Brooks-Queen Family Papers

The Brooks-Queen Family Papers document the activities of members of two Washington families of the nineteenth century. The Brooks and Queen 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 (CUA). 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.

The Brooks-Queen Family Collection consists of correspondence, copies and extracts of correspondence, legal documents (many related to land transactions), treaty papers, essays, newspaper clippings, financial records, 'memorials' to congress, notes, a Confederate government bond, and other papers spanning several generations (1773-1979).

for the Brooks-Queen collection:


The Records of the Brookland Citizens' Association

Mainly incoming correspondence, minutes, press clippings and pamphlets reflecting the association's activities in the Northeast quadrant of Washington, DC. Areas of concern include civil defense, public health, housing, integration, and fluoridation of the water supply. Covers 1928-1956. (one box)


The Records of Catholic Charities of Washington, D.C.

This collection contains records of the now defunct St. Joseph's Home and School for Boys, St. Vincent's Home and School (for girls), and St. Rose's Technical School (also for girls). Access to these sensitive records is restricted. Permission must be received in writing by the CUA Archivist from the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, to authorize the CUA Archives staff to search for and extract information to communicate to the person(s) seeking information. St. Joseph's Male Orphan Asylum was founded in 1855 and administered by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. It changed its name in 1925 to St. Joseph's Home and School for Boys and closed in 1967. Records include sacramental and administrative registers, minutes of the Board of Managers and Board of Trustees, and financial account books. St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum, later renamed St. Vincent's Home and School (for girls), was founded in 1825, administered by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, and closed in 1967. St. Rose's Industrial School, later renamed St. Rose's Technical School, was an institution for high school age girls founded in 1868 and closed in 1947.

Records include registers, reports, financial ledgers, and some photographs.

The for the Records of Catholic Charities of Washington, D.C. can be found here: 

The Paul Philips Cooke Papers

Educator and activist, Paul Philips Cooke (1917-2010), lived most of his long life in the District of Columbia as a member of Sacred Heart Parish. A graduate of Dunbar High School, he earned an English degree from Miner's Teachers College (later District of Columbia Teachers College and then the University of the District of Columbia) in 1937, a master's degree in higher education from New York University in 1941, a master's degree from The Catholic University of America in English literature in 1942, and a doctorate in education from Columbia University in 1947. He taught high school in the District of Columbia prior to teaching at the District of Columbia Teachers College (DCTC) where he later served as president from 1966 to 1974. He was been an active member of the Catholic Interracial Council of the District of Columbia (CIC DC) for over 50 years. Among its activities, the CIC DC sought to foster the integration of the Catholic Church and public spaces in DC, initiated the Faith of Millions radio program on WOOK in 1952, and studied the working conditions and employment practices in diocesan churches and of the textbooks used in Catholic schools in DC. In 1976, CIC DC founder Justine Ward created a scholarship fund to provided tuition assistance to needy students at Sacred Heart and St. Augustine's. In 1994, Dr. Cooke helped organize the CIC DC's 50th anniversary celebration.

The Cooke Papers are comprised of correspondence, clippings, reports, meeting minutes, photos, pamphlets, and publications. The Cooke Papers are divided into three Series: Catholic Interracial Council of the District of Columbia, 1884(1950-1995)2000; Sacred Heart, 1966-1992; and Photographs, 1940-1994. The Catholic Interracial Council of the District of Columbia Series includes material documenting CIC DC activities, like the Ward scholarship fund and the Faith of Millions radio program, as well as clippings and publications on African-American Catholics in DC. The Sacred Heart Series is comprised of material related to Dr. Cooke's activities in the Parish and the Photograph Series includes a few photos used to promote CIC DC events and photos of residents of the Blessed Martin House of Hospitality in D.C.

A to the Paul Philips Cooke Papers can be found here:

The Records of Family and Child Services of Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1882 as the Associated Charities of the District of Columbia by citizens concerned about pauperism. There were several organizations that worked closely with the Associated Charities, including The Monday Evening Club, the Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, and the Citizens' Relief Association (CRA). Renamed the Family Service Association in 1935, and merged in 1950 with the Children's Protective Association and the Foster Day Care and Counseling Association to become Family and Child Services of Washington, D.C., Incorporated. Records of the Associated Charities (AC), the Citizen’s Relief Association (CRA), the Family Service Association (FSA), and Family and Child Services (FCS), containing financial records, annual reports, scrapbooks, meeting minutes, and monthly reports from agents.

The for the Records of Family and Child Services of Washington, D.C. can be found here: 

The Euphemia Haynes Lofton Papers

The Haynes-Lofton Family Papers document the personal and professional lives of Dr. Euphemia Haynes (the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in math in the United States), Dr. Harold Haynes, and, to a lesser extent, Euphemia Haynes' family. The records cover 1882-1974, although the bulk of the records span from 1930-1968. The largest portion of materials relate to education in the District of Columbia. This includes a large amount of materials documenting Euphemia's eight years on the District of Columbia Board of Education, records related to both Euphemia's and Harold's long tenure as educators and administrators in the District of Columbia public school system, and records related to their activity in professional organizations. The collection also includes materials that document the couple's financial holdings, including most prominently the large number of rental properties that the couple owned in the District of Columbia. The Haynes-Lofton Papers are comprised of correspondence, clippings, deeds, receipts, savings books, tax forms, articles, meetings minutes, class notes, tests, congressional reports, and photos.

The Haynes-Lofton Family Papers are divided into five Series: Series 1, Personal; Series 2, Professional; Series 3, Subject Files; Series 4, Washington, D.C., Board of Education and; Series 5, Photos.

The to the Euphemia Haynes Lofton Papers can be found here:

The Humanae Vitae Collection (collections of Joseph Byron and Shane McCarthy)

Joseph Byron was a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington in the late 1960s. During the Humanae Vitae episode, when many diocesan priests left or were disciplined by Cardinal Patrick O'Boyle, Father Byron took the cause to Rome on behalf of the priests. The collection consists of correspondence, meeting notes, reports, press releases, newspaper clippings, transcripts of interviews, and a publication file.

Shane MacCarthy, a fifth-generation Washingtonian, graduated from the Catholic University Campus School in 1952, Gonzaga High School in 1956, and Holy Cross College in Worchester, Massachusetts, in 1960. His seminary studies were at Saint Vincent's Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, 1960-1965. He served as a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington at St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, Maryland, 1965-1967, and at Assumption Parish in Southeast Washington, 1967-1975. Following the publication of Humanae Vitae in 1968, he was part of a group of mostly Archdiocesan priests, who signed a Statement of Conscience expressing disagreement with the encyclical's approach to artificial birth control. As a result, he and the other signers were penalized by Patrick O'Boyle, the Cardinal Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington. Many, like MacCarthy, were suspended from preaching, teaching, or hearing confessions, with some others expelled from their parish rectories. MacCarthy was one of 19 priests who disputed their suspension and brought their case before the Church judicially, with an eventual decision that Cardinal O'Boyle had followed the requirements for the Code of Canon Law. Eventually, the priests who still wished to resume their duties were able to do so by signing a statement crafted by Cardinal Wright that seemed to mollify the encyclical's original intent. MacCarthy left active ministry with the Roman Catholic Church in 1975, working thereafter with the Peace Corps and the Agency for International Development (AID), retiring in 2009. The collection consists of correspondence, clippings, meeting notes, publications, photos, and audio cassettes.

The to the Joseph Byron Collection can be found here: 

The to the Shane MacCarthy Collection can be found here:

The Antoinette Margot Collection

Antoinette Margot (1843-1925) was born in Lyons, France, and baptized as a member of the Swiss Evangelical Free Church. Believing she experienced several miracles, she ultimately converted to Catholicism.  She developed a friendship with Clara Barton, who founded the Red Cross, and in 1886 moved to Washington where she shared a house with Barton.  That same year, she befriended Leonide Delarue who in 1884 inspired Mary Merrick to found the Christ Child Society.  By 1887, Margot moved in with Delarue. Four years later, they moved into Theodoron “God’s Gift,” a house built by Delarue and Margot.  On September 19, 1861 Msgr. James F. Mackin of St. Paul’s Parish offered the first mass at Theodoron which marked the beginning of St. Anthony’s Parish in Brookland.  Delarue and Margot turned this residence over to the parish and moved into Villa Marie (12th Street, NE) where Margot lived until her death in 1925. Henri Hyvernat, CUA professor of Semitics, was the executor of her estate.

The Margot papers has photographs, mostly undated, of friends and other individuals, several sites within Washington, D.C.,  and of religious paintings. The estate files, 1922-1928, are titled Bills Paid, Books, CUA, Correspondence-Family, Correspondence-Friends, Dyer, L.F., Estate Furniture, Hamilton and Hamilton and Family, House, Instructions, Inventory, Lyonnais Stock, Miscellaneous, Press-Biography, and Will, and are located in box 2. There are also oversize maps of European cities (1831-1926) and of Washington, D.C. (1887-1926). 

Note: There is no for this collection

The Terence Vincent Powderly Photographic Prints

Terence Powderly, the son of Irish immigrants, was born in 1849 in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. He had seven brothers and four sisters and little opportunity for more than a rudimentary education. He was employed at a young age as a railroad switchman, and later apprenticed as a machinist. He joined the International Union of Machinists and Blacksmiths in 1871, later becoming local president. His union activities and the Depression of 1873 left him out of work and blacklisted as a union agitator. Powderly joined the Scranton, Pennsylvania Knights of Labor in 1876 and rose steadily until assuming the national leadership as Grand Master Workman, 1879-1893. The Knights came into national prominence during his tenure but was riven with a divisive power struggle that led to Powderly's removal and succession by John William Hayes.

In addition to his labor connections, Powderly served as a progressive mayor of Scranton, 1878-1884, practiced law, and became a political operative of the Republican Party. From 1897-1901, he served as Commissioner General of Immigration then moved on to be Special Immigration Inspector in 1906. Powderly followed these duties with a position as Chief of the Immigration Division of Information, 1907-1921, and finally became Labor Department Commissioner of Conciliation, 1921-1924. Beyond these professional positions, Powderly was a world traveler, amateur photographer, and author of Thirty Years Of Labor (1889) and his memoirs, The Path I Trod (1921, 1940). In 1999, Powderly was honored by being the newest inductee into the U.S. Department of Labor's Hall of Fame, joining figures such as Samuel Gompers, Mary Harris "Mother" Jones and Philip Murray.

The Photograph series presents both a multifaceted wealth of social imagery and geographical landmarks—900 of the 1300 images are of Washington, D.C.

The to the Terence Powderly Collection can be found here:

The Podwerly Photographic Prints can be found here:

The Rose Society of Brookland

Organized in 1912, this Society was designed to stimulate the beautification of gardens in the Brookland area and to promote general interest in the cultivation of roses. Inscribed by Margaret B. Downing, the Society's first secretary, the volume contains handwritten and typed minutes of regular, business, and annual meetings, 1912-1918. A list of original members is found on the first page. Interleaved are newspaper clippings reporting Society activities, a pamphlet containing its constitution and by-laws, and material concerning the Fifth and Sixth Annual Brookland Rose Shows held in 1916 and 1917.

This collection has no .

Records of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Washington, D.C.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was established to attend to the spiritual and material wants of the poor. This majority of this collection consists of administrative documents covering their charitable activity and organization in Washington D.C. and the surrounding area from 1947, when the archdiocese of Washington, D.C. became independent from the archdiocese of Baltimore, through the mid-1960s after a permanent office for the Central Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Washington, D.C. had been established, although there are some documents from both before and after these dates. The collection includes printed material produced by the world-wide Society, memorabilia, and audio-visual material.

The for the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Washington, D.C. Records can be found here:

The Washington Catholic Evidence Guild Collection

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 CUA 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. 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.

The to the Washington Catholic Evidence Guild Collection can be found here:


The Cecilia Parker Woodson Collection

The Cecilia Parker Woodson Collection is comprised of materials collected by Cecilia Woodson Parker as related to the Parker-Woodson family. The bulk of the collection is primarily two sets of correspondence. First, letters written by Walter Woodson, Cecilia's spouse, to her while they were courting and in early marriage, primarily in the years 1891-1902. Secondly, the bulk of the correspondence is letters written to Cecilia by her daughter, Charlotte Virginia Woodson, while the latter lived in Peru with family friends, Mary and William Montavon, from 1916 until Charlotte's death in July, 1918. Letters and memorabilia from other family members and friends are interspersed intermittently in the correspondence, including letters to Cecilia from Mary Montavon, William Montavon, Louise Woodson, and Victor Tyree. Photographs of many of the Parker and Woodson families are also in the collection, though the collection lacks any images of Cecilia Parker Woodson herself.

The to the Cecilia Parker Woodson Collection can be found here: