A “petulant girl”?: Josephine Walsh’s diaries

I’ve been volunteering at PAHRC this summer, and am currently creating an inventory for two artificial collections: “handwritten manuscripts” and “manuscripts books.” It appears that many of the items in these collections were removed from manuscript collections.

For instance, many of the items that I’ve come across were created by Josephine M. Walsh. These materials, mostly diaries, were likely pulled from the Walsh family papers, a collection that documents the Martin J. Walsh (1840-1910) family, in particular Martin’s sons James J. Walsh and Joseph Walsh, both of whom were doctors.

Josephine Walsh (center) on her way to Europe, July 1900

Josephine Walsh (center) on her way to Europe, July 1900

Josephine Walsh was the youngest child of Martin Walsh, a prominent general goods businessman who lived in Parsons, PA, and Bridget Golden Walsh, the niece of Martin’s business partner. As one of six children, she was more than twenty years younger than her distinguished older brothers, James and Joseph. Joseph Walsh, based in Philadelphia, became a physician and studied tuberculosis. James Walsh cut short his Jesuit education due to his interest in medicine. Based in New York, he went on to become a doctor, a well-known lecturer, and author of several books on religion and healing.

Dr. James J Walsh

Dr. James J Walsh

Josephine’s mother died in 1895, when she was 12. Her father died fifteen years later. Josephine cared for him during the last two years of his life, after a stroke left him weakened.

Josephine’s diaries span her young adulthood, from her time at Mount St. Joseph’s Academy until her twenties. They are full of travel notes, commentary on social events, and writings on her family and even their shop business. Story drafts and inspirational ideas are scattered throughout her notebooks. She also wrote plays, which she and her friends performed for their families.

Though her family was quite wealthy, she apparently sought financial independence through her stories. A diary entry from 1906 laments her rejections from publishing houses.

“So far the income from my writings has amounted to nothing. In fact less than nothing – because I have had the expense of paper, ink and time!”

Walsh on the business of writing. 1906 diary, page 1.

Walsh on the business of writing. 1906 diary, page 1.

Walsh on the business of writing. 1906 diary, page 2.

Walsh on the business of writing. 1906 diary, page 2.

Josie wanted to be a writer, but this was a tough dream for a woman in the early twentieth century. It appears that her family did not support her ambition. Her brother James in particular had a very strict idea of a woman’s domestic responsibilities, and did not allow her to pursue anything else.

“When I had kept house for about a year, I begged Jim to let me go to school some place to learn higher education and real culture, but he wouldn’t hear of it. When I insisted and said I would bolt anyhow whether he approved or not, he wrote me a letter that will live in my memory forever. He told me that if I left home – I would be like the woman who tired of one husband and sought another. He told me to be a real – a real woman, and not a petulant girl. I pestered him with letters full of my dissatisfactions for fully three years…he begged me to appreciate my happy lot in life and my fortunate position, even though I couldn’t see it that way.”

Her brother's refusal to allow her to attend school.

Her brother’s refusal to allow her to attend school.

Her brother's refusal to allow her to attend school (cont.)

Her brother’s refusal to allow her to attend school (cont.)

Dr. James Walsh lecture on the proper duty of women - "to bear many children, that men may abound."

Dr. James Walsh lecture on the proper duty of women – “to bear many children, that men may abound.”


The Josephine Walsh papers as well as the Walsh family papers would be very useful for researchers interested in the lives of wealthy women, or more specifically Catholic women, around the turn of the 20th century. These papers also document certain views that were held during this time period about women and a woman’s “proper place.”

Daughters of Charity Nursed Wounded Civil War Soldiers at West Philadelphia hospital

by Christine McCullough-Friend

Women’s religious orders have served both Catholics and non-Catholics within the Philadelphia community since the establishment of the Diocese of Philadelphia two centuries ago. These women, who have and who continue to devote their lives to the betterment of society have played a pivotal role in social work, education and medicine.

As we begin to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, one example of this service that should be highlighted is the work of the Daughters of Charity (formerly Sisters of Charity) at Satterlee Military Hospital. The sisters ministered to thousands of wounded and dying Civil War soldiers from 1862 until the hospital closed in 1865. 

Nurses and staff

The 12-acre site where the Satterlee Hospital was located in West Philadelphia, bounded roughly by 40th to 44th Streets, from Spruce to Pine Streets, was at that time very rural, far removed from the cramped and crowded conditions of urban Philadelphia. The ‘pure country air’ afforded the soldiers an opportunity to rest and recover from their wounds.

The hospital, initially called West Philadelphia Hospital, was renamed Satterlee Military Hospital in honor of Richard Smith Satterlee, a distinguished army surgeon. The surgeon in charge was Dr. Isaac Hayes, an Artic explorer before he joined the army. The hastily constructed buildings were completed in just over 40 days. The 2,500-bed facility was not quite finished when 22 Daughters of Charity arrived on June 9, 1862.

Initially, the hospital was fairly ill equipped, especially with regard to the accommodations for the sisters. Beverages were served in wash pitchers and the food in basins. The sisters ate their meals earlier than the officers, sharing just four eating utensils reserved for officers’ use. The chapel was so small that some sisters had to exit the room so others could enter and receive Holy Communion.  

Satterlee Hospital became a self-contained city when a tent city was built on the grounds in 1863. The hospital increased its capacity to accommodate 4,500 wounded soldiers. A 14-foot high fence surrounded the property, which now sprawled south to Baltimore Avenue and west to 46th Street. On the grounds there was a post office, clothing store, laundry facility, carpenter shop, printing shop, dispensary, library, and three kitchens referred to as restaurants.

Although the official capacity of Satterlee was 4,500, the actual capacity exceeded this number. After the Battle of Bull Run, the wounded arrived by the hundreds. After the Battle of Gettysburg, they arrived by the thousands, swelling the hospital population to more than 6,000. During the Battle of Gettysburg which occurred during July 1863, the greatest number of wounded were admitted to the hospital in a single month. The following month of August saw the greatest number of deaths in any one month, averaging at least one per day. In just one year, patients consumed more than 800,000 pounds of bread, 16,000 pounds of butter and 334,000 quarts of milk.

During the war, more than 100 Daughters of Charity passed through the doors of Satterlee Hospital, ministering to the wounded soldiers’ spiritual and medical needs. The tiny chapel was soon expanded to seat 400 worshippers. Many soldiers often arrived several hours before mass to obtain a seat. Several wounded soldiers contributed generously to outfit the chapel properly, purchasing a set of stations of the cross and taking great pains to decorate the chapel for feasts and special occasions. 

The hospital’s chaplain was Father Peter McGrane who was stationed at St. Patrick’s at 20th and Locust Streets. Every day, Father McGrane traveled from St. Patrick’s to Satterlee to say mass, hear confessions, instruct and baptize and frequently arrange for burial. He labored throughout the war ministering to the wounded and dying. Archbishop James Wood also visited Satterlee several times to confirm many adult converts.

Father Peter McGrane, no date

The practice of military medicine during the war was an eye-opening experience. The wounds caused by the new and improved artillery met the outdated medical practices of understaffed field hospitals, resulting in an epidemic of needless deaths. Conditions began to improve with the advent of permanent army hospitals like Sattelee, staffed by experiences surgeons and dedicated sisters.

During its four-year existence, more than 50,000 wounded soldiers were treated at Satterlee. The contributions made by the medical professionals and the Daughters of Charity who staffed the hospital are immeasurable.

PAHRC holds a copy of a diary kept by a Daughter of Charity at the hospital from 1862 to 1865.


Smith, Sara Trainer, ed. “Notes on Satterlee Military Hospital…from the journal kept at the hospital by a Sister of Charity.” Records of the American Catholic Historical Society 8, no. 4 (December 1897): 399-449.

West, Nathaniel. History of the Satterlee U.S.A. Gen. Hospital at West Philadelphia from October 8, 1862 to October 8, 1863. The Hosptial Press, 1863. (Call# IC0135)

Elizabeth Sarah Kite and the Seminaries of France

As I was processing the correspondence series of the Elizabeth Sarah Kite papers (MC2), I came across a group of letters written to Kite and signed by “Geoffroy”, which are all in French. As I am not able to read French, nor did I have the time or inclination to transcribe the handwritten letters into Google Translate, I was pleased to find a grouping of records which included some letters from Geoffroy (who turns out to be Theophile (or Theophilus) Geoffroy, a priest in Bethelainville, France) along with letters from Herman Joseph Heuser, editor of The American Ecclesiastical Review, referencing the letters from Geoffroy.




Letter from Theophile Geoffroy, dated January 6, 1921

Letter from Theophile Geoffroy, dated January 6, 1921

It seems that Kite had sent some of Geoffroy’s letters, along with a short article written by her, to The American Ecclesiastical Review, hoping to have them published in order to raise awareness and solicit support for the plight of French Catholic seminaries after World War I. French Catholic clergy were sent to fight in the war, as were other French citizens, and so the Catholic Church in France experienced a serious dearth of clergy after the end of the war. As a scholar of American history and in particular, of French-American relations during the Revolutionary War, Kite knew the extent to which the French assisted the Americans during their fight for independence. Heuser’s initial response was that the piece was out of scope for the magazine, and that they were not able to respond to and publish every such appeal that they receive: “…if we were to print the truly moving cries of priests and religious here and there in Belgium, France, Central countries, Ireland, and the far East, it would cause odious distinctions and open the gate to a thousand furhter [sic] demands that we are unable to answer.”

Letter from Heuser

Letter from Heuser. Postscript reads: “P.S. the MS is being returned by this post under other cover.”

However, a subsequent letter reveals that Kite’s appeal struck an emotional chord in Heuser:


“Miss Elizabeth S. Kite.
My dear Miss Kite,
Your note explaining the occasion of the communication for which you ask space in the E.R. cannot, of course, leave me indifferent. I hope to publish it, with a few introductory words in the spirit of your letter. It may not be possible to get the matter into the March issue which is overcrowded with material previously engaged, and much of which would lose its value and timeliness if omitted or delayed. But the appeal will be still opportune if it appears in the April number.
May God bless the holy zeal that animates you and give you the joy of seeing the wishes of the venerable Cardinal Luçon relayed.
With sincere regard,
Faithfully in J.C.,
H. J. Heuser
[?] 8th 1921.”

In 1921, Kite’s article was published in The American Ecclesiastical Review (see our online catalog for our collection of The American Ecclesiastical Review here) and entreated Americans of any faith to come to the aid of France:

Yet may we not hope that the generous spirit of the American clergy and people who are…so largely indebted to the priesthood of France, and that under many more titles than that of their readiness to help us to independence and with it to religious freedom—may we not come to the aid of the French Bishops in this matter of the seminaries, and to revive the flagging hopes of the venerable Cardinal of Reims?

I could not help but notice that Theophile Geoffroy was not mentioned in the piece published in The American Ecclesiastical Review. My conclusion is that the publication may have felt that featuring a more well-known or prominent figure would have a more significant impact. Based on the piece that Kite wrote, she had been in contact with the Cardinal of Reims as well (though I did not see evidence of this correspondence in the collection). The Cardinal of Reims at the time was Louis-Henri-Joseph Luçon, whose church in Reims became a symbol of the victims of German aggression during the war. The German army began dropping bombs on Reims in September 1914 and did not cease until June 1918. Cardinal Luçon remained in Reims with his parishioners even as the bombs destroyed the cathedral and the town. He was the last to leave Reims and the first to return to rebuild after the armistice. Due to a French law, Luçon could not expect to receive monetary assistance from the government to rebuild his church. As such, he appealed to the Dean of the American Hierarchy for help. John D. Rockefeller was among those who gave money for the restoration of the cathedral, which was eventually finished in 1938. Incidentally, Reims is where the Germans officially surrendered to President Eisenhower in 1945, one day before VE-Day.


Kite, Elizabeth Sarah. “A Plea for the Seminaries of France.” The American Ecclesiastical Review 64 (1921): 407-411. Print.

Jane and Marianne Campbell: Catholic Feminists

I recently completed processing and creating a finding aid-available online- for the collection, Martin-Campbell-Furlong Family Papers, 1795-1963 (MC 90)  . Before moving on to another project, I wanted to bring attention to two more family members who are documented within this collection, Sarah Jane Campbell (1844-1928) and her sister Marianne Campbell (1840-1913). Jane and Marianne were two of the few 19th- and early 20th century prominent Catholic women feminists who advocated for women’s equality, specifically a woman’s right to vote. Both were very active within the women’s suffrage movement until the passage of the nineteenth amendment.

Sarah Jane Campbell

Jane, a prolific writer and speaker, was considerably visible within the suffrage movement. In 1892, she founded the Women’s Suffrage Society of Philadelphia, and served as its president for 22 years. She was also on the executive board of the Pennsylvania Women’s Suffrage Association and represented Philadelphia in the American Women’s Suffrage Association. She served as a delegate to the national and state conventions and was often in demand as a speaker. 

Marianne Campbell

The mouthpiece for Jane and Marianne’s views came in the form of the magazine Woman’s Progress in literature, science, art, education, and politics, which Marianne founded in 1893. Jane served as the magazine’s editor. Under the pseudonyms “T.S. Arthur” and “Catherine Osborne,” Marianne contributed many articles.

The periodical, according to its editor, was to “be a high class monthly magazine devoted to the best interests of Women. It is the intention of the editor,” the first issue’s editorial announcement notes,” to keep women informed of the various opportunities that are open to them; of their political status in different parts of the world; and of their work in Literature, Art, Science and Education.” In the journal, Jane called for political equality while writing essays about Catholic women’s past achievements in education and charitable work.


Jane and Marianne were also involved in numerous Catholic, civic, Irish-American, botanical, and historical organizations and associations, such as the American Catholic Historical Society for which Jane served as recording secretary for a time, as well as the City History Society of Philadelphia, the Audubon Society, St. Vincent’s Aid Society, the Civic Club, the Mercantile Club, and the Women’s Press Club among others. Long-time residents of Germantown, they were also actively involved in the social and cultural affairs of this section of the city.

Jane also contributed to several Philadelphia newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Record, and the Ledger writing about a multitude of topics. She also wrote children’s folk tales for the Record and contributed to Catholic publications, including the Rosary Magazine of New York, the Catholic Messenger, and the Records of the American Catholic Historical Society.

As an art teacher who worked in Philadelphia’s public schools for fifty-five years- her last position as Head of the Art Department at the Girls’ Normal School- Marianne was deeply devoted to and active in her profession. She was pivotal in the formation of the Teachers’ Annuity and Aged Society for the care of aged teachers. Marianne herself was an artist having studied at the Academy of the Fine Arts, often entering paintings in its annual exhibitions.

Although there is only a limited amount of documentation for Marianne Campbell, including a few letters, obituary notices, and estate items, there is a decent amount of correspondence to and from Jane Campbell. The majority of these letters are from Jane to the family of William J. and Elizabeth Martin Campbell who lived with Jane and Marianne. Some document Jane’s involvement in the suffrage movement as well as her involvement in numerous associations and clubs, and reveal her political, religious, and family loyalties. For example, in the following letter written from Portsmouth, Rhode Island- which had ratified the 19th amendment several months prior- Jane writes We are staying over here to attend a Jubilee Suffrage meeting, the practical dissolution of the Newport and Bristol Ferry Suffrage Society. The women in Rhode Island have Presidential Suffrage…so that they can pass their ballots in the Presidential elections. The Rhode Island Constitution gives the Legislature the power of conferring Pres. Suf. on women and the Legislature has done so. I saw the Providence Journal of yesterday…but there was nothing from Tennessee where the battle of the 36th state is being fought, maybe it is already decided but I have no means of knowing for perhaps some days. (Five days later, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment.)

Jane Campbell to her nephew John J. Campbell, August 13, 1920, p.1

Jane Campbell to her nephew John J. Campbell, p.2

Other materials relating to Jane include her will, and land deeds for the property she and Marianne purchased in Germantown.

PAHRC has an almost complete set of Woman’s Progress magazine (Call # PER-W).