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American Catholic Historical Societies

  • Francis J. Weber (a1)

Soon after Pope Leo XIII's pastoral letter on historical studies, Saepenumero considerantes, was published on August 18th, 1883, a renewed interest in the field of Catholic historical research became apparent. Once again, great scholars came forward “to undertake the writing of history for the purpose of showing what is true and genuine” in the drama of international ecclesiastical development.

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1 Issued at the Vatican, August 8, 1883. The letter is translated in the London Tablet, LXII, 321–323.

2 Rev. Cadden, John P., The Histiography of the American Catholic Church, (Washington, 1944) p. 35.

3 Leo XIII, Saepenumero Considerantes.

4 Records of the American Catholic Historical Society, I, 16.

5 Rev. Thomas C. Middleton was chosen president.

6 The Society was founded after the closing of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore and was greatly inspired by Cardinal McCloskey and Archbishop Corrigan.

7 Records of the American Catholic Historical Society, XXIV, 65.

8 United States Catholic Historical Magazine, I, 1.

9 Herbermann, Charles G., “The United States Catholic Historical Society,” Catholic Historical Review, II, 302306.

10 “The Story of a Failure,” Catholic Historical Review, I, 435–438.

11 Rev. Guilday, Peter, “Catholic Historical Societies,” Official Catholic Year-book, 1928.

12 Ibid.,

13 The Society was re-organized in late 1912 and on March 22nd, 1913, voted to change its name to the Catholic Historical Society of Saint Paul.

14 July 1907-July 1910; July 1914-July 1918; October 1933-October 1935.

15 Actually, the Society was only tentatively launched by Bishop Walsh in 1908 and did not take its permanent form until April of 1911.

16 Louis Walsh, Bishop, “The Preface,” Maine Catholic Historical Magazine, I, 1, p. 5.

17 Guilday, op. cit., p. 643.

18 Rev. Rothensteiner, John, “The Catholic Historical Society of Saint Louis, the Result of a Century's Endeavor,” Saint Louis Catholic Historical Review, I, 11.

19 Item supra, p. 12.

20 Cf. Leland, Waldo G., “Concerning Catholic Historical Societies,” Catholic Historical Review, II, 389ff.

21 Now Loras College.

22 The Americas, I, 111.

23 Rt. Rev. Culleton, James, “Background and Future Plans,” Academy Scrap-book, V, ii.

24 Leo XIII, op. cit.

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Church History
  • ISSN: 0009-6407
  • EISSN: 1755-2613
  • URL: /core/journals/church-history
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