BUREAU OF CATHOLIC INDIAN MISSIONS RECORDS (COMMISSION FOR CATHOLIC MISSIONS AMONG COLORED PEOPLE AND INDIANS) HISTORICAL NOTES/SCOPE AND CONTENT

Records of the three agencies of the Black and Indian Mission Office -- the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, the Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for Catholic Missions among Colored People and Indians) and The Catholic Negro-American Mission Board (Catholic Board for Mission Work among Colored People), which support Catholic evangelization in the United States and dependent territories for African Americans and Native Americans.

Gift of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, 1977-[ongoing]. Processed by Philip C. Bantin, 1977-1986, and Mark G. Thiel, 1986-[ongoing]. Selected series microfilmed, 1980-[ongoing]. De Rancé, Incorporated (Milwaukee), provided generous support for the initial acquisition and processing of records, 1976-1980.

See e-Archives for select materials available online.

Restrictions: Restricted records are described below in the Scope and Content Notes. Access to these records requires permission in writing from the Black and Indian Mission Office, 2021 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20006-4207. Phone: (202) 331-8542. Newsletter: The Sentinel. Website: Black and Indian Mission Office. In addition, the researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.

Historical Notes

Notable Events

The topics discussed in the correspondence reflect many of these events.

1884 The U.S. Bishops' held the Third Plenary Council in Baltimore under Archbishop James Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, the Apostolic Delegate. The Council decreed the establishment of a national annual appeal in support African American and Native American evangelization to be held on the first Sunday of Lent. It gave the administration of the appeal to a commission of three bishops without Indian missions in their diocese, which was assisted by a priest-secretary. incorporated as the "Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians" with a priest-secretary as administrative assistant.
1887-[ongoing] The Lenten appeal began with modest responses. It collected funds from 66 of the 84 dioceses and dispersed funds to 34 dioceses and organizations supporting missions. Notable contributing Arch/Dioceses included: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn and notable receiving Arch/Dioceses included: Charleston, Jackson/Natchez, Mobile, New Orleans, and St. Joseph's Seminary for African American missions; and Alaska and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions for Native American missions.
1887-1916 As Native American Indian missions, the Lenten appeal provided funding to the Diocese of Corpus Christi for Hispanic American missions in south Texas.
1887-1916 The Lenten appeal provided funding to African American missions in the Bahamas, then attached to the Archdiocese of New York.
1920-1926 The Lenten appeal provided funding to African American missions in Haiti via the Diocese of Cap-Haitien.
1891 Katharine Drexel founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, which focused on evangelization to African Americans and Native Americans in the United States.
1900 There were 101,000 Native American Catholics and 144,000 African American Catholics in the United States. The Native Americans were served in at least 154 churches and 68 schools and the African Americans were served in 45 churches and 109 schools.
1905- The Catholic Church Extension Society was established in Chicago to aid in the building and supplying of churches and schools in needy areas throughout the United States.
1905 At their annual meeting, the U.S. archbishops determined that funding from the Lenten collection was insufficient to meet the evangelization needs in the Black community. Therefore, they called for the creation of a special board to establish a second funding stream for Black evangelization, which became the Catholic Negro-American Mission Board established in 1907.
1905-1927, 1977 As Native American Indian missions, the Lenten appeal provided funding to the Diocese of Aguña/Guam for evangelization among indigenous Pacific Islanders.
1906-1944 As Native American Indian missions, the Lenten appeal provided funding to the Diocese of Mountain Province/Nueva Segovia of the Philippines, then a U.S. territory, for evangelization among the Igorot People.
1910 As Native American Indian missions, the Lenten appeal provided funding to the Diocese of Tucson for evangelization among the Yaqui Indians. Most Yaqui Indians were immigrants from Mexico since 1780. Tucson became the first diocese to received Black and Indian Mission collection funding for missions to immigrant Indians from Latin America.
1915 The Lenten appeal incorporated in Baltimore as the Commission for Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians.
1923-[ongoing] The National Catholic Welfare Conference, later renamed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, assumed a support role for African American and Native American evangelization.
1930-[ongoing] The narrative quality of correspondence diminished as the telephone replaced correspondence as the primary communications tool throughout the United States.
1930-[ongoing] The quantity, quality, and diversity of photographs grew as technology improved photography and as more rural stores served the amateur photography market throughout the United States.
1930s The Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and the Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians (Lenten collection) standardized their boards of directors to include the archbishops (ordinaries) of Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia, which enabled them to hold separate back-to-back board meetings at the same location (typically was the residence of the Archbishop of Baltimore). By this time the Bureau had reduced its board meetings to two per year (spring and November) whereas the Commission held only one per year (November).
1952 The Lenten appeal exceeded $1 million for the first time. It received funds from 117 out of 131 dioceses and dispersed funds to 79 diocese and 9 other Catholic agencies. Notable contributing Arch/Diocese included: Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Paul, and Springfield. Notable recipients included: Charleston, Jackson/Natchez, Lafayette, Mobile, New Orleans, the Josephites, and Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for African American missions; and Alaska, Gallup, Tucson, the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Native American missions.
1950s-[ongoing] Immigration from various Latin American countries expanded the number, size, and cultural diversity of African, Hispanic, and Native American communities.
1977-[ongoing] The Lenten appeal began to support the Tekakwitha Conference by providing direct funding of the Conference's National Office and aid through diocesan appropriations for Native Americans to attend annual Conference meetings.
1977-1981 The United States Catholic Conference Ad-Hoc Committee on National Collections attempted to fold the Lenten appeal into a consolidated program of national Catholic collections. By successfully opposing this attempt, Monsignor Paul A. Lenz preserved its independence and that of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, which depended on this funding.
1977 Marquette University became the archival repository for the Lenten appeal.
1980 The Catholic Negro-American Mission Board joined the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and the Commission for Catholic Missions among Colored People and Indians (Lenten collection) at what is now known as the Black and Indian Mission Office. The three agencies have continued their respective missions with one shared office, staff, and a consolidated board of directors that holds two meetings per year (spring and November).
1985 The Lenten appeal exceeded $5 million for the first time. It received funds from 168 of 186 dioceses and disbursed funds to 121 dioceses and 14 other Catholics agencies. Notable contributing Arch/Dioceses included: Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, Rockville Center, and St. Louis. Notable recipients included: Charleston, Jackson/Natchez, Lafayette, Mobile, New Orleans, Josephites, and Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for African American missions; and Fairbanks, Gallup, Tucson, the BCIM, and Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Native American missions.
1988 Mother Katharine Drexel, S.B.S., was beatified.
1988 The Lenten appeal began to support the National Black Catholic Congress.
1990 Because demands greatly outpaced income, the Lenten appeal narrowed its funding scope. It no longer granted funds to dioceses for evangelizing Blacks and Indians who had entered the United States since the mid-20th century, e.g. ministries to Haitians and Mayan Indians from Central America, and it no longer granted funds to dioceses to evangelize people of Indian ancestry who lacked tribal identities, e.g. Hispanics, Mestizos, Métis.
2000 Mother Katharine Drexel, S.B.S., was declared Saint Katharine Drexel.
2005 The Lenten appeal exceeded $9 million for the first time.
2008-[ongoing] The three affiliated agencies became known as the "Black and Indian Mission Office", which established a joint three-part website.
2009-2010 The Black and Indian Mission Office temporarily maintained a National Advisory Council of lay Catholics.

Executive Directors (formerly known as Secretary-Treasurers)

Biographies: Click on names (also in Series 14-1, Box 91). The Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Digital Image Collection includes portraits of the first two executive directors.

1884-1925 Reverend Edward R. Dyer, S.S. (1854-1925)
1925-1976 Reverend John B. Tennelly, S.S. (1890-1981)
1976-2007 Monsignor Paul A. Lenz (1925-2017); priest of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
2007-2015 Reverend Wayne Carroll Paysse (1960-); priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans
2015- Reverend Maurice Henry Sands (1956-) (Ojibwa-Ottawa-Potawatomi); priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit

Administrative Assistants/ Assistant Secretary-Treasurer

1980s-2007 Patricia O'Rourke

Presidents of Board of Directors

1884-1921 James Cardinal Gibbons (1834-1921), Archbishop of Baltimore
1921-1951 Denis J. Cardinal Dougherty (1865-1951), Archbishop of Philadelphia
1951-1967 Francis J. Cardinal Spellman (1889-1967), Archbishop of New York
1967-1974 Lawrence Cardinal Shehan (1898-1984), Archbishop of Baltimore
1974-1988 John J. Cardinal Kroll (1910-1996), Archbishop of Philadelphia
1988-2000 Archbishop William D. Borders (1913-2010), Archbishop of Baltimore
2000-2003 Anthony Joseph Cardinal Bevilacqua (1923-2012), Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
2003-2007 William H. Cardinal Keeler (1931-2017), Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore
2007-2009 Edward Michael Cardinal Egan (1932-2015), Archbishop Emeritus of New York
2009-2011 Edwin Frederick Cardinal O'Brien (1939-), Archbishop of Baltimore, Resigned
2011-present Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan (1950-), Archbishop of New York

Scope and Content

Correspondence, reports, financial records, photography, and publications created primarily by ordinaries (arch/ bishops of arch/ dioceses), their representatives, and Collection (Commission) personnel regarding fund raising, funding requests, and use of funds for African American and Native American evangelization in the United States and dependent territories, e.g. Bahamas, Haiti, Philippines (Igorot), Texas (Hispanic Americans).

Oftentimes the folder headings for BCIM and Commission series do not identify specific Native American ethnic groups or the associated Catholic groups (e.g. religious congregations/ orders) who served them. To make these associations search the Marquette Archives' Guide to Catholic Records about Native Americans in the United States for corresponding entries for specific dioceses, localities, and eras. You may wish to use the department's search box under Search the Collections to accomplish this. Entries for missions, parishes, schools, dioceses, and the provinces of religious congregations/ orders provide historical outlines identifying the Native groups served at the institution (s) under their administration with approximate beginning and ending years. With this information, go to the appropriate BCIM and Commission series for correspondence, reports, photography, and collected publications, as well as other related collections. Because some Catholic and Native groups are commonly known by more than one name, consult the Native Guide's master lists of Catholic and Native group names for the subject terms used in Library of Congress subject terms, which are the prevailing terms used in the Native Guide and throughout this website. To insure comprehensive results, feel free to "Ask an Archivist" for assistance.

Since no comparable guide exists for the records pertaining to African American evangelization, researchers with related questions about African American and Catholic groups are invited to Ask an Archivist in conjunction with consulting The Official Catholic Directory, and its topical predecessors, and the Index to the Catholic Directories for the United States with Appended Countries, 1817, 1822, 1833-.

Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for Catholic Missions among Colored People and Indians), Series 1 General Correspondence: Primarily transmittal correspondence with dioceses regarding fund transfers and requests and enclosures listing principal parish personnel, e.g. clergy, religious, throughout dioceses. Other concerns include bequests, estates, funding needs and eligibility, and collection publicity. See Series 7-2 for the Commission's charter, bylaws, and related correspondence.

Prior to 1920 all correspondence are facsimile copies (photocopies) of original correspondence held by the Sulpician Archives (Baltimore). Thereafter to 1920, access to the original correspondence requires permission of the archivist in charge due to its fragile physical condition. Researchers may be directed to the microfilm version, which archives staff microfilmed through 1975.

Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians), Series 1 Index of Correspondence: The index is complete through 1980 and includes all correspondents with the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and the Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians, except the directors while in office, i.e. Reverend Tennelly, 1935-1976, and Monsignor Lenz, 1976-1980. The names are alphabetized by surnames, if known or forenames when surnames are not given, along with titles and initials designating religious order affiliations, e.g. example, "Sister Mary, O.S.F.". Places of residence are also included, if known. Persons with name variations are cross-indexed. Native American ethnicity is included, if known. In some instances, native ethnicity was confirmed through cross-referencing with Series 2-1 Bureau School Records and other sources that confirmed affinities between specific surnames and ethnic groups.

Restrictions: Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records.

Reformatted records: Records that have been microfilmed are so noted, most of which are available throughout the United States via interlibrary loan. These and other records are or can be made available in digital formats via email. Reformatting fees may apply. Ask an Archivist for details.

The records after 1975 have not been processed for research and are restricted for 25 years after their date of creation. Consult an archivist for further information.

1884-1925 --Reverend Edward R. Dyer, S.S. Collection (Commission) general correspondence of the administration of Reverend Edward R. Dyer, S.S., its first secretary, 1884-1925, which is divided into two parts.

Part 1 -- Series 1-2 (Originals and Microfilm): The Collection (Commission) correspondence begins with facsimiles in Series 1-2, [1875-1919], undated. It is arranged alphabetically by surname and includes letters from the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions. A few letters date from before 1884, when the Lenten collection was established. In 1995, the Sulpician U.S. Province Archives (Baltimore, Maryland) produced the facsimiles from original correspondence within the Reverend Edward R. Dyer, S.S., Papers, 1875-1919 (Record Group 10, Box 13). Marquette Archives staff microfilmed the facsimiles two years later.

Additional Commission correspondence is inter-filed within the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Series 1-1 General Correspondence under the states, territories, and District of Columbia to 1920, e.g. "Alaska, General Correspondence," 1885-1920.

Part 2 -- Series 1-1 (Originals and Microfilm):

Commission correspondence is inter-filed within the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Series 1-1 General Correspondence under the states, territories, and District of Columbia to 1920, e.g. "Alaska, General Correspondence," 1885-1920. The Philippines are included, 1906-1920.

Commission correspondence is inter-filed within the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Series 1-1 General Correspondence in category “50-General,” 1921-1925, under with the heading "Commission for Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians." Some early ledger-book copies contain marginal legibility.

1926-1976 --Reverend John B. Tennelly, S.S., Series 1-1 (Originals and Microfilm): Collection (Commission) general correspondence of the administration of Reverend John B. Tennelly, S.S., its second secretary, 1925-1976. The Collection (Commission) general correspondence is arranged by year under the category “50-General” under the heading “Commission for Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians.” Included is correspondence from missions in the Philippines, 1926-1944. Marquette University microfilmed these records through 1975 with the exception of additions noted below.

1915-1976 -- Additions:

Additions to the Collection (Commission) general correspondence, 1957, 1971, 1974-1975: The Marquette Archives received these records after 2007, which followed the microfilming of the Tennelly administration records. Their arrangement and titles follows the comparable records of this administration.

Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians) charter, bylaws, and minutes of meetings by the board of directors, 1909-1976: These records are included among the additions as well as many original copies are inter-filed throughout the correspondence.

Combined BCIM and Commission board meetings: From 1940 to 1980, the BCIM and Commission boards comprised the same directors who held back-to-back meetings with the minutes of both often recorded in one document in the order held. Most deliberations pertained to Commission business.

1977-2007 -- Monsignor Paul A. Lenz, Series 1-2 (Originals): Collection (Commission) general correspondence of the administration of Monsignor Paul A. Lenz, its third secretary, 1976-2007. The general correspondence is arranged chronologically with undated items appearing at the end of each decade. Minutes of the combined annual and special meetings of the Boards of Directors of the BCIM (Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions), Collection (Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians) and CNAMB (Catholic Negro American Mission Board) are arranged in annual increments, which are interfiled among the annual increments of the general correspondence in the series 1-2.

Series 5-5 contains the Collection correspondence with dioceses and other recipient organizations during this era.

2008-2015 -- Reverend Wayne Carroll Paysse, Series 1-2 (Originals): Collection (Commission) general correspondence of the administration of Father Wayne Carroll Paysse, its fourth secretary, 2007-2015.  These records are unprocessed.

Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for Catholic Missions among Colored People and Indians), Series 5, Diocesan Aid Applications and Reports: Annual diocesan aid applications and accountability reports from dioceses throughout the United States plus other organizations that received funding from the Commission's annual Lenten collection for Black and Indian evangelization. The applications describe needs for funding while the reports describe how the previous year's funds were used and the accomplishments achieved. This series has been microfilmed through 1976 and is restricted for 25 years. Through 1976, the correspondence pertaining to a specific Native American missions, parishes, or schools was interfiled in the Series 1-1 Correspondence of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions. All other commission correspondence, including that pertaining to African American missions, parishes, and schools, was interfiled in the Series 1-1 Correspondence under the Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians.

Restrictions: Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. These records are restricted for 25 years after their date of creation. Consult an archivist for further information.

Series 5-1: Diocesan funding applications and accountability reports pertaining to American Indian or Native American evangelization through 1975. The forms are arranged alphabetically by arch/ diocese and there under chronologically by year. Also included is the occasional funding of evangelization in Texas, the Philippines, and the U.S. Pacific territories, which was classified as Indian evangelization and is detailed in the chronology above. Because the Diocese of Vancouver, Canada, administered the Church in Alaska until 1909, the corresponding reports and applications for Alaska are listed under the Diocese of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, which follows at the end of this series. Occasional comments about Native American evangelization is included in African American aid applications and reports. Series 5-5 succeeded this series, 1977-present.

Restrictions: These records are restricted for 25 years after their date of creation. Records after 1976 are not included in the microfilm edition.  For more information, please consult with the archives staff. Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.

Series 5-2: Diocesan funding applications and accountability reports pertaining to African American evangelization through 1975. The forms are arranged alphabetically by diocese and there under chronologically by year. Also included is the occasional funding of evangelization in the Bahamas and Haiti, which was classified as Black evangelization and is detailed in the chronology above. Series 5-5 succeeded this series, 1977-present.

Restrictions: These records are restricted for 25 years after their date of creation. Records after 1976 are not included in the microfilm edition.  For more information, please consult with the archives staff. Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.

Series 5-3: Statistical reports on African American missions, which are arranged chronologically by year.

Restrictions: For more information, please consult with the archives staff. Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.

Series 5-4: Statistical summaries on Native American missions and schools, which are arranged chronologically by year.

Restrictions: For more information, please consult with the archives staff. Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.

Series 5-5: Combined diocesan funding applications and accountability reports for Native American and African American evangelization with related documentation. This combined series began in 1976 and was preceded by Series 5-1 and 5-2, which ended in 1975. The arrangement continues alphabetically by diocese and there under chronologically by year. The Commission combined the separate Native American and African American forms with separate Native American and African American application and reporting sections. Related correspondence and clippings are also interfiled with the reports and applications.

Restrictions: These records are restricted for 25 years after their date of creation and are not included in the microfilm edition.  For more information, please consult with the archives staff. Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.


Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for Catholic Missions among Colored People and Indians), Series 6, Financial Records: Comprised of cash books, financial statements and compilations, and balance sheets, which are arranged by type of record and there under chronologically.

Other series within the records of the Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians) and other Marquette University collections also contain documentation relating to this series.

Restrictions:Records after 1952 are not included in the microfilm edition.  For more information, please consult with the archives staff. Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.

Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for Catholic Missions among Colored People and Indians), Series 7, Publications (Includes the Commission Charter and Bylaws): The publications are divided into published annual reports and general publications. The reports include five titles, which succeed each other:

  • Mission Work Among the Negroes and the Indians, 1886-1903, 1917-1925
  • Report of the Mission Work Among the Negroes and the Indians, 1904-1916
  • Our Negro and Indian Missions, 1926-1976
  • The Quarterly, 1977-1995
  • The Annual Report of the Black and Indian Home Mission Collection, 1996-[ongoing]

The general publications consist of Collection (Commission) appeal letters, and posters, plus its charter, bylaws, and related 1915 correspondence.

The microfilm version of Mission work Among the Negroes and the Indians and Report of the Mission Work Among the Negroes and the Indians are included under Sub-series 7-2, not 7-1.

Other series within the records of the Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians) and other Marquette University collections also contain documentation relating to this series.

Restrictions: Records after 1976 are not included in the microfilm edition. For more information, please consult with the archives staff. Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.

Index to Illustrations in Our Negro and Indian Missions: This is an in-house card index to illustrations, which is arranged chronologically by issue and thereunder by page number, 1926-1942. Original photographic prints for some of the Native American illustrations are located in series 9-1 and some of the African American illustrations are located in series 9-2.

Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for Catholic Missions among Colored People and Indians) and the Catholic Negro-American Mission Board (The Catholic Board for Mission Work among Colored People), Joint Series 9, Photography: Contains two format-based sub-series -- Black and white prints and color prints. Both series are contained in folders arranged alphabetically by U.S. states and the District of Columbia, followed by the Philippines and foreign countries and there under by communities and Catholic institutions. Many of the prints were sent on request to first the Commission, and then Board, from pastors and school principals. Some prints were submitted to illustrate related articles in publications (series 7) or accountability reports (series 5-5). With very few exceptions, the Commission created or collected all photography before 1980, whereas the Board created or collected all photography thereafter. Portraits of Commission and/or Board personnel also involved with the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions (e.g. Reverend Tennelly, Monsignor Lenz, Reverend Paysse) are filed under Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, series 9-1 (black & white prints) and 9-3 (color prints) and thereunder, "District of Columbia, Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions". Other series within the records of the Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians and other Marquette University collections also contain documentation relating to this series.

For each folder, the dates noted are limited to the first and last known years when images were created with intervening years, if any, not included. These are followed by “undated” to indicate images for which the year of their creation is not known. However, if approximate dates are known, they are given in parentheses as follows:

· “undated (Received Commission for Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians)” = No creation years known; the years given identify when the Commission received the images, which typically was less than five years after they were taken.

· “undated (Used Our Negro and Indian Missions)” or “undated (Used Other Title)” = No creation years known; the years given identify when Our Negro and Indian Missions or Other Title first published the images, which typically was less than 10 years after they were taken.

· "undated" (ca. year-year) = No creation years known; the years given identify the approximate years derived from clues within the images and related text.

The institutions listed are mostly local churches and schools and were the sources for the Commission’s photography. Most photographs within these folders document local events of the institutions and nearby communities. However, many nearby communities also have separate institutions and corresponding folders as do those distant places that have been identified. Events located far from the institutions that sent the photographs, including those taken out-of-state and outside of the United States, are arranged by the place where the photographs were taken rather than by the institution that provided the prints.

Restrictions: These records are not included in the microfilm edition.  For more information, please consult with the archives staff. Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.

Series 9-2, Black and White Prints: Pastors with consumer-grade portable cameras captured most images, which include scenes such as school graduations, retreat weekends, first communions, confirmations, and dedications of new buildings. Professional photographers also captured a few black and white images before 1930. Most prints were scanned in 2011 (total: 77 images).  After 1930, the Collection (Commission) secretary also served as the director of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions. Portraits of Bureau personnel are filed in series 9-1 under "District of Columbia, Washington, Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions" and those of Saint Katharine Drexel are filed under " Pennsylvania, Bensalem, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament". Prints from the Catholic Negro-American Mission Board (CNAMB) are also included and so-noted in the container list.

Series 9-4, Color Prints: Pastors, school administrators, and diocesan program directors with consumer-grade portable cameras captured most images, which include scenes such as school graduations, retreat weekends, first communions, confirmations, and dedications of new buildings. Several images pertain to activities of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Most prints were scanned in 2011 (total: 102 images).  After 1980, the Collection secretary also served as the director of the Catholic Negro-American Mission Board (CNAMB). Portraits of CNAMB personnel are filed in series 9-4 under "District of Columbia, Washington, Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions" and those of Saint Katharine Drexel are under " Pennsylvania, Bensalem, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament". Prints from the Catholic Negro-American Mission Board are also included and so-noted in the container list.

Series 9-10, Born Digital: Pastors, school administrators, and diocesan program directors continued to capture images of local events. Portraits of CNAMB personnel are filed under "District of Columbia, Washington, Black and Indian Mission Office" and images from events that honor Saint Katharine Drexel at the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament Motherhouse are filed under " Pennsylvania, Bensalem, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament".

Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for Catholic Missions among Colored People and Indians), Series 12, Art Work: This series contains art work and related charts for publications in 1937.

Restrictions: These records are not included in the microfilm edition.  For more information, please consult with the archives staff. Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.

Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for Catholic Missions among Colored People and Indians) Series 17, Video Recordings: This series contains video recordings produced by and for the Black and Indian Mission Collection. Included is The Gift of Katharine Drexel in motion picture, VHS, and DVD formats plus printed guides.

Restrictions: For more information, please consult with the archives staff. Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.

Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for Catholic Missions among Colored People and Indians),Series 19, Websites: By employing the online service "Archive-it," the Marquette University Archives has captured the Black and Indian Mission website twice a year since 2011.  This includes web pages of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, the Black and Indian Mission Collection, and the Catholic Negro-American Mission Board plus their respective newsletters and handouts in PDF format and video recordings archived online.

Restrictions: For more information, please consult with the archives staff. Researchers assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of these records. Consult an archivist for further information.

More Related Resources

  • Native America Collections: Checklist to Marquette special collections about native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

  • Search the Collections (sidebar)

Black and Indian Mission Office > Black & Indian Mission Collection

Tekakwitha Conference National Center

The National Black Catholic Congress

U.S. Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops > Cultural Diversity in the Church

Archival materials from the Raynor Memorial Libraries


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