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Manuscripts Collection


The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis maintains an archives for the state's Catholic church (contact the archivist at (651) 291-4429). Since its establishment, official church records, as well as the papers of church officials, have been deposited there. The Society continues, however, to selectively collect the papers of individuals who are active in the church.


Catholic Order of Foresters. St. Agnes Court No. 459 (Saint Paul, Minn.) Records, 1894-1932.
Minutes of meetings and a register of endowment certificates, with information on the payment of sick benefits to members. The minutes from 1894 to 1928 are largely in German.

Madonna Del' Assunta Society (Saint Paul, Minn.) Minutes, 1929 March 3-1940 Feb. 4.
A bound volume containing the minutes of a St. Paul (Minn.) Catholic women's group. The Society was founded in 1923 for the purpose of rendering mutual aid to, and to promote fraternal relations among, its members, who are Catholic women of Italian descent or are married to men of Italian descent. The minutes are in Italian.


Dorwatha Adderley papers, 1975-1997 (bulk 1989-1997).
Genealogical information, correspondence, speeches, minutes, newsletters, photographs, and audio-visual materials detailing Adderley's family life and activities as principal of Ascension School, the largest multi-racial Roman Catholic grade school (K-8) in Minneapolis, and as co-coordinator of Parent Choice Advocates, a group organized to train citizens to lobby for financial assistance to low and middle income parents of non-public school children. Much of the collection relates to Ascension School, including a faculty handbook and school and classroom newletters (1987-1991) which contain detailed information on many aspects of school life. A large group of greeting cards and thank-you notes included in the personal papers include many from students, school staff, and parents, as well as friends and family members. A folder of photographs (undated and 1987-1991) illustrate various activities of the school. Several files of correspondence, contracts, articles, and other materials (1996), including a video, document Adderley's work as Grassroots Network Coordinator for Parent Choice Advocates, a group started by the Choice-in-Education League of Minnesota. One folder of minutes and related papers (1989-1991) document the work of the Joint Ministry Project, an interdenominational organization in which Ascension School participated and in which Adderley had a major role.

Michael J. Boyle papers, 1876-1890, 1918-1941.
Diaries (1876-1890, 1930-1940), correspondence, and related papers of Boyle, who was affiliated as salesman and manager (1877-1927) with the St. Paul wholesale dry goods firm of Auerbach, Finch, Culbertson and Company and its successors. They document his early surveying and teaching experiences (1876-1877); lifelong involvement in the Catholic Church and Democratic Party; dry goods career; social customs and activities of St. Paul in the 1870s and 1880s, particularly through the parties, dances, and theatricals he attended; his club memberships, especially the Minnesota Boat Club and Nushka (Toboggan) Club, and his romances; and his employment in the Ramsey County assessor's office (1930-1940).

Joseph A. Corrigan diaries, 1940-1955
Diaries (16 v.) of a parish priest who served St. Mark's Church in St. Paul's Midway district, 1911-1957. The diaries present a portrait of the life of a priest and the parish he served. Daily entries include information on Corrigan's activities; the content of his sermons; his feelings and opinions on religious and secular topics; problems, concerns, and events in the lives of St. Mark's parishioners; and the administration of the parish.

Mathias Loras correspondence, 1843-1850.
Photostatic copies of letters written by Lucian Galtier and Anthony Godfert, Catholic missionaries at St. Paul and Mendota (Minn.); by Georges A. Belcourt, missionary to the Ojibwe at Pembina, North Dakota; by Augustin Ravoux, missionary to the Dakota on the Missouri River; and by Bishop Joseph Cretin from St. Peter's (Mendota) and from Dubuque, Iowa.

Abigail McCarthy papers, 1933-1986.
Papers documenting the varied activities of an author and editor, college teacher, feminist, Catholic lay worker and ecumenical leader, and Democratic Party activist, who was also the wife of Minnesota senator and presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy. Papers include correspondence, notes, and writings from her student and teaching days (1930s-1950s); drafts, correspondence, notes, and reviews relating to her writing career; speech notes and texts (1950s-1986); extensive correspondence, as well as minutes, conference material, and printed matter, documenting her leadership in Church Women United, and in other ecumenical and Roman Catholic lay and educational organizations; and correspondence, campaign materials, and printed matter regarding her political activities including various Democratic Party women's groups, Women for McCarthy, and, especially, Eugene McCarthy's 1968 presidential campaign in which Abigail played a central role.

I. A. O'Shaughnessy papers, 1917-1973.
Correspondence (1971-1973), business papers (1940-1972), U.S. Petroleum Administration Board files (1933-1935), Petroleum Industry Council for National Defense files (1941-1943), and miscellaneous papers of a St. Paul (Minn.) oil executive and philanthropist. Includes personal papers documenting his interest in educational (Notre Dame University, St. Thomas University, and other Catholic institutions), religious, cultural, and civic organizations, and business records relating to the petroleum industry, particularly Globe Oil and Refining Company, and to O'Shaughnessy's service as a director of several banks and other corporations.

Louise Peterson diary, 1966 Jan. 1-1968 Feb. 17.
A bound manuscript diary (Jan. 1, 1966-Feb. 17, 1968) reflecting the daily life of an older Minneapolis woman. Topics include family matters; the weather; housework; social and leisure activities, including her membership in a number of organizations or clubs; her involvement with the Catholic Church, particularly her membership in St. Olaf parish; and her work assisting foreign passengers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Patrick Henry Rahilly papers, 1874-1930.
Personal, political, and social correspondence (9 in.) reflecting the activities of Rahilly, an Irish-American settler and politician of Lake City (Wabasha County, Minn.). He was active in Catholic affairs, championed the Irish fight for freedom from English rule, served in the Minnesota legislature (1874, 1878-1879), and was a close friend of Ignatius Donnelly and a correspondent of Archbishop John Ireland and other Catholic leaders.

William D. Reeve letters, 1892-1897.
Ten annual letters written by Anglican Bishop Reeve while stationed at Saint David's Mission, Fort Simpson, Mackenzie River, Northwest Territories, Canada, to railway magnate James J. Hill (St. Paul, Minn.), containing vivid descriptions of life in the area. Reeve describes Forts Simpson, Wrigley, Resolution, and others; missions at Hay River and Great Slave Lake; weather; and missionary efforts by Episcopalians and Catholics to the Indians and Eskimos of the region. One letter (1893) describes the ordination of the first native priest within the Arctic Circle. A biographical sketch of Reeve is included in the folder.

James P. Shannon papers, 1867-1994 (bulk 1956-1988).
Personal, business, and official papers documenting the life and career of a former Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of St. Paul (Minn.) who also pursued careers as a college administrator, lawyer, and foundation director. The papers include correspondence, diplomas, awards, newspaper clippings, photographs, desk calendars (1957-1969), scrapbooks (1937-1966), church bulletins (1967), pamphlets, speeches, magazine articles, notes, minutes, agendas, resolutions, essays, press releases, newsletters, legal documents, reports, memoranda, rosters, syllabi, and manuscripts. They document Shannon's several career moves, beginning with his posts as president of the College of St. Thomas (1957-1966) and auxiliary bishop of St. Paul (1965-1969), through his tenure as vice-president of St. John's College (Santa Fe, N.M., 1969-1970), his law school experience and law practice (1971-1974), and his position as executive director of the Minneapolis Foundation (1974-1978) and the General Mills Foundation (1980-1988).

Robert J. Tennessen papers, 1969-1990.
Correspondence, minutes, legislative files, financial records, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and similar materials documenting Tennessen's career as a DFL Minnesota state senator (Minneapolis, 1970-1982); a director of the Washington Federal Savings Bank, Stillwater (1984-1988); a committee member of the Basilica of Saint Mary (1979-1990), Tyrone Guthrie Theatre Foundation (1979-1981), Minnesota Constitutional Study Commission (1971-1972), and the Lawyers Alliance for Nuclear Arms Control (1982-1988); and as one of the principal advocates of data privacy legislation in the Minnesota legislature.