Elizabeth Ann Seton letters, 1799-1818 (MC 44)

This small collection includes letters from Elizabeth Ann Seton to Matthias and Joseph O’Conway. Matthias, a prominent Philadelphian especially within the Catholic community, was the father of Cecilia O’Conway, Philadelphia’s first nun and the first women to join Seton’s order, the Sisters of Charity. The correspondence is personal in nature and relates to several members of the O’Conway family, particularly Cecilia. Also included is a letter from Elizabeth to her sister-in-law Rebecca Seton regarding members of the Seton family.

0.2 Lin. Ft., 9 Items

*The 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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Irish College, Rome. Transcripts, 1832-1848 (MC 53)

The typed transcripts in this collection are of correspondence that is part of the Cullen and Kirby Collections housed at the Pontifical Irish College’s Archives. Paul Cullen (1803-1878), the first Irish cardinal, and Tobias Kirby (1804-1895), were two of the most preeminent rectors of the Irish College in Rome. Cullen served as rector from 1821-1849, and was succeeded by Kirby, a priest of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore, who had served as vice-rector of the College since 1836. Kirby served as rector for forty-one years from 1850 until he retired in 1891.

In 1896, the American Catholic Historical Society’s Archivist, H. T. Henry, traveled to the Irish College in Rome and transcribed letters from American priests and bishops who had corresponded with Cullen and Kirby. Henry published edited versions of these transcripts in the Records of the American Catholic Historical Society (volumes 7-9). The intent was to document some of people and events connected with the history of Catholicity in North America. Correspondents include Francis P. Kenrick, Peter R. Kenrick, Edward Barron, Michael O’Connor, John England, John Hughes, William Clancy, John Thomas Hynes, Thomas James Power, James Rogers, and John Walsh.

1 box,  .2 linear ft.

John Gilmary Shea Correspondence, 1836-1891 (MC 51)

John Gilmary Shea (1824-1892) was a notable writer, editor, and historian of American Catholic history. Shea is considered one of the first American Catholic historians in the United States. Much of his recognition and lasting fame comes from the accolades and accomplishments of publishing nearly three hundred articles and books.

The John Gilmary Shea Correspondence preserved in the Philadelphia Archdiocese Historical Research Center primarily consists of correspondences received by Shea throughout the 19th century. Some of the larger files of correspondence are from Oscar W. Collet, Archbishop Michael Augustine Corrigan, John Ward Dean, Edmond Mallet, J.W. Powell, and Eugene Vetromile. There is only one folder of approximately twelve outgoing correspondences and another folder of unidentified received correspondence.

3 Linear feet ; 7 boxes

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