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Catholic Collections in the Notre Dame Archives

What We Collect

In order to document the history of the Catholic Church in the United States, the University Archives collects historical material including personal papers, institutional records, manuscripts, microfilm, printed material, photographs, audio-visual material, and digital records from the following areas of interest: Catholic Press and Publishing, Higher Education, Social Action, Laity, Clergy, Religious Orders, Charismatic Renewal, and the Liturgical Movement.

Catholic Press and Publishing

Catholic publications naturally reflect current Catholic attitudes; they can also act as agents of change.  Records kept by publishers of books and magazines often tell the story behind the scenes and allow scholars to trace the development of new ways of thinking as editors, depending on their own views, react against or support them. Many of the attitudes common after the Second Vatican Council appear in these records years or decades before the Council began.

The University Archives holds records of Catholic publishing firms, publications, and press organizations including the following:


The Archives also has the papers of individual publishers, editors, journalists, and authors including:


And papers of individual publishers, editors, journalists, and authors including:

Catholic Higher Education

Among the leaders in Catholic higher education in the twentieth century, Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., is preeminent. The Archives holds not only the official University Records he generated as President of the University of Notre Dame (1952-1987), but also his personal papers representing his many activities outside the University.  These records include those that relate specifically to higher education, such as Fr. Hesburgh’s work with the International Federation of Catholic Universities, the Carnegie Commission on the Future of Higher Education, the Midwest Universities Research Association, and the Institute of International Education.

Several other collections reflect an interest in Catholic higher education, such as the records of the National Federation of Catholic College Students, the National Organization for Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy, the Venerable English College (Rome), and the Irish College (Rome); papers of James W. Armsey, Murray Sperber, and many professors from Notre Dame and other Catholic colleges and universities.

Catholic Social Action

In the twentieth century Catholic Action provided an answer to the challenge of socialism. The Catholic resistance to the advance of communism did not consist entirely of reactionary retrenchment. In the social encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII (Rerum Novarum, 1891) and Pope Pius XI (Quadragesimo Anno, 1931) Catholics found a progressive alternative. Catholic action promoted social justice and peace without endorsing a radical rejection of traditional religious values.

The University Archives holds records representing Catholic action in the lay apostolate from the Christian Family Movement (with the related papers of Patrick and Patricia Crowley), Young Christian Workers (with the related papers of Mary Irene Zotti), and the Young Christian Students (with related papers of Fr. John J. Berkery), along with records kept by the national chaplain of all of these groups, Msgr. Reynold Hillenbrand. Documentation of the Catholic Relief Services organization can be found in the papers of James J. Norris and Msgr. Joseph Harnett.

The Archives also has records of many social action organizations including:

Collections relating to the Catholic peace movement include:

Catholic Clergy and Laity

James F. Edwards did not entirely neglect lay people in his collecting during the nineteenth century, but he certainly favored bishops and the clergy in his collecting. He established, as part of Bishops Memorial Hall, a Gallery of Lay Men and Women. He also helped with Notre Dame's effort to honor lay men and women with the Laetare Medal. Recognition of the contribution of lay people to the Church grew in the twentieth century and achieved official recognition in and after the Second Vatican Council.

The University Archives holds the records of the Grail, the Chicago Conference of Laymen and the National Association for Lay Ministry, as well as the papers of many Catholic lay people including: Paul C. Bartholomew, Ideal Baldoni, Daniel Brent, John Carroll Brent, Henry Brownson, Don Carlos Buell, Paul M. Butler, Patrick Henry Callahan, Gilbert Cardenas, Marie Cirillo, Dennis Clark, Richard H. Clarke, John Paul Cullen, Thomas A. Dooley, Joseph Dutton, Thomas Ewing, Charles Fayh, Frank M. Folsom, Howes Goldsborough, Edward Lee Greene, Norlene Kunkel, Rose Marciano Lucey, Marilyn K. Lukas, Daniel E. Lungren, Mary B. Lynch, Thomas F. Mahony, Ann Harrigan Makletzoff, Clarence Manion, Nina Polcyn Moore, Joan Morris, James A. Mulligan, David J. O'Brien, Lillian O'Connor, Francis J. O'Malley, John and Jean Oesterle, William James Onahan, Charles Phillips, Eliza Allen Starr, Frank C. Walker, Joan Hazelden Walker, Richard J. Westley.

In recognizing the importance of the laity in the Church, one must not make the mistake of underestimating the importance of the clergy. During the twentieth century, the University Archives continued James Edwards’ tradition of collecting records of clerical organizations and papers of individual priests, including: National Federation of Priests Councils, Association of Chicago Priests, National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, Clergy and Religious Printed Material, Clergy Writings Collection, PADRES, Ernest Audran, Peter A. Baart, Stephen T. Badin, Geno C. Baroni, Raymond T. Bosler, John C. Cappon, John F. Cronin, Msgr. John Egan, Joseph Gremillion, Felix Klein, Joseph Selinger, Arthur W. Terminiello, James J. Zatko.

Catholic Religious Orders

Religious orders were of the greatest importance in the Church before and after the Second Vatican Council in their role as educators, nurses, administrators, contemplatives, and reformers. As leaven in the Church, religious men and women contributed to the ferment of the years before the Council and were generally among the most enthusiastic participants in the changes that took place after it.

The Archives holds records of national religious organizations and congregations including:

The Catholic collections in the Archives also contain the papers of many Holy Cross brothers and priests, as well as individual religious including:

The Congregation of Holy Cross, which founded the University of Notre Dame, ran the university well into the twentieth century, and continues to play a leading role in its administration, has in recent years relied on the University Archives to preserve the records of its general administration and will soon add many historical documents from the archives of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers.

Catholic Charismatic Renewal

Charismatic Christianity has existed for many years. The founders of Methodism, Pentecostalism, and the Holiness Movement among Protestants led Christian revivals long before any Catholics thought of themselves as charismatics.  However, as part of an ecumenical movement in the twentieth century, many Catholics did feel moved by the Holy Spirit in a way previously unknown in the Catholic Church.  After the Second Vatican Council much of the fervor of traditional Catholic devotions, both Eucharistic and Marian, seemed to diminish. At the same time, charismatics found new enthusiasm and renewed fervor in their communities of prayer.

The University Archives has a small collection of records of True House, a charismatic community in South Bend, and records of charismatic conferences held at Notre Dame, but most of the collections documenting the charismatic renewal consist of personal papers, including those of James E. ByrneJudith Church TydingsJames Connelly, CSCJohn and Kathleen FerroneEdward O'Connor, CSC, and Louis Rogge, O. Carm.

Catholic Liturgy

Changes in the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council followed years of preparation by scholars who studied the liturgy and artists who worked to renew it.  Influences on the Council Fathers from the liturgical movement go back to the 1830s, but the momentum of the movement increased in the twentieth century after Pope Pius X encouraged more active participation in the liturgy.  Several organizations helped to promote liturgical development in the years before Vatican II; others in the years after the Council worked to implement its liturgical reforms. Vatican II also fostered ecumenism, and Catholic liturgical experts joined with their Protestant colleagues to develop common liturgical texts and cycles.

The Archives holds records of the Liturgical Arts SocietyCatholic Art AssociationLiturgical ConferenceVernacular SocietyInternational Commission on English in the LiturgyEnglish Language Liturgical Consultation, and Consultation on Common Texts and papers of Maurice LavanouxFr. Michael Mathis, CSCDr. Joseph P. Evans, and sculptor Ivan Mestrovic.