Elizabeth Sarah Kite papers, 1865-1954 (MC 2)

Elizabeth Sarah Kite (1864-1954) was a teacher, social scientist, historian, author, and archivist. Born in Philadelphia to Quaker parents, Kite was educated at Westtown Boarding school and the Philadelphia Friends’ Select School; and then studied extensively in Europe. In 1906, she converted to Catholicism, after her experiences with French Catholics. From 1909 to 1918, Kite was employed in the research laboratory at the Vineland Training School, and conducted research in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. She translated Development of Intelligence in Children and The Intelligence of the Feeble-Minded by Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon (translation published 1916). She also researched and published on various historical topics, in particular the influence of French participation during the American Revolution, and served as the archivist for American Catholic Historical Society from 1932 to 1949. Kite became the first laywoman to receive an honorary doctorate of literature from Villanova University in 1933.

The Elizabeth Sarah Kite papers date from 1865 to 1954, with bulk dates of 1890 to 1935, and document the life and literary endeavors of Elizabeth Sarah Kite. This collection contains mostly correspondence, including Kite family letters, as well as ephemera, poems, research notes, autobiographical writings, and drafts and published copies of articles written by Kite.

1.1 linear feet; 3 boxes

*Materials in this collection have been digitized and can be viewed at the Digital Library @ Villanova University.

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Herman Joseph Heuser papers, 1811-1933 (MC 1)

Herman Joseph Heuser, D.D. (1851-1933) was a prominent Catholic intellectual and prolific writer who influenced scholarly circles and clerical life in the United States and abroad through his publications, including the  journal the American Ecclesiastical Review (1889-1975), which he edited for many years.

Along with editing the American Ecclesiastical Review, Heuser also organized and directed the Dolphin Press of Philadelphia, which printed many ecclesiastical works. From 1900 to 1908 he published the Dolphin, a general Catholic literary magazine that began as a book supplement to the American Ecclesiastical Review. In 1907, during the controversy over Modernism, Heuser was appointed by the Apostolic Delegate as general censor for all Catholic publications in the United States.

Heuser also acted as a consultant to religious orders. He helped to write the constitutions of the Sisters of Mercy, Merion, Pa., where his sister was for a time General Superior, and of Katharine Drexel’s Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

He served as an adviser to the Pontifical Commission on Anglican Orders in 1896, and received an honorary Doctor of Sacred Theology degree from Pope Pius X.

This collection largely contains correspondence, both personal and professional in nature. A significant portion of the correspondence is between Heuser and prominent figures within the Catholic Church, including Cardinal James Gibbons, Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan of Philadelphia, Katharine Drexel, and Thomas C. Middleton. Other notable correspondents include Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Princess Catherine Radziwiłł, and Leopold Stokowski. Some of the topics covered include Catholicity in Russia, church architecture, Catholic American Indians, and the religious aspects of the issue of vasectomy.

A significant amount of materials in the collection relate to Canon Patrick Augustine Sheehan of Doneraile, Ireland, specifically Sheehan’s book, My New Curate; a story gathered from the stray leaves of an old diary, which appeared serially in Heuser’s magazine. Items, such as drafts and research notes, deriving from Heuser’s work with the American Ecclesiastical Review and the Dolphin, are also included. The collection also contains prayers, sermons, some genealogical information, and scrapbooks with miscellaneous materials.

Most of the materials in the collection are in English, though some are written in German, French, and Italian.

27 boxes, 10.4 linear ft.

Researchers will find it useful to use the more recent (html) finding aid in conjunction with the legacy finding aid, which includes item-level information.

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