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BUREAU OF CATHOLIC INDIAN MISSIONS RECORDS

THE CATHOLIC NEGRO-AMERICAN MISSION BOARD (THE CATHOLIC BOARD FOR MISSION WORK AMONG THE COLORED PEOPLE)

HISTORICAL NOTE/SCOPE AND CONTENT


Records of the three affiliated Catholic institutions of the Mission House or Black and Indian Mission Office -- the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, the Black and Indian Mission Collection (formally known as the Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians) and The Catholic Negro-American Mission Board (formerly The Catholic Board for Mission Work among the Colored People). The records of these organizations document Catholic evangelization in the United States and dependent territories.

Gift of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, 1977-[ongoing]. Processed by Philip C. Bantin, 1977-1986, and Mark G. Thiel, CA (Certified Archivist), 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 Note

The topics discussed in the correspondence reflect many of these events. Beginning with the administration of Monsignor Paul A. Lenz, concerns affecting the Catholic Negro-American Mission Board and the Black and Indian Mission Collection are interfiled within the general correspondence of the Collection, whereas concerns affecting all three agencies of the Black and Indian Mission Office are interfiled within the general correspondence of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions.

1565 Black Catholics from Spain and the Caribbean were involved in the settlement of Saint Augustine, Florida.
1738 Free Black Catholics settled Santa Teresa de Mose, Florida.
1781 Many Black and Indian Catholics from Mexico were involved in the settlement of Los Angeles, California.
1785 Father John Carroll, the Prefect Apostolic of the United States, wrote to the Vatican about his pastoral concerns for Black Catholics, many of who then resided in Maryland.
1875-1900 Bishop James Augustine Healy (1830-1900) served as Bishop of Portland in Maine and became the first African-American Catholic bishop in the United States.
1793 Black Catholics from Haiti settled Fells Point, Maryland, near Baltimore.
1829 Mother Elizabeth Lange (1784-1882), O.S.P., and others began religious life in Baltimore as the Oblate Sisters of Providence, which became the first Black community of women religious in the United States.
1837 Henriette DeLile, a mixed-race African American, founded the Sisters of the Holy Family in New Orleans. Initially, it was known as the Sisters of the Presentation.
1871 The St. Joseph Society of the Sacred Heart (Josephite Fathers and Brothers) became established in Baltimore.
1874 Patrick Healy, a mixed-race African American, served as president of Georgetown University, and became the first African American president of a Catholic university.
1875 James A. Healy, a mixed-race African American, served as Bishop of Portland (Oregon), and became the first African American Catholic bishop.
1878 Mathilda Beasley (1832-1903) founded the Third Order of St. Francis as a community of women religious for African Americans.
1886 Rev. Augustus "Father Gus" Tolton (1854-1897) of Quincy, Illinois, became the first publically identified African American Catholic priest.
1887 The Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians (now known as the Black and Indian Mission Collection) held its first annual Lenten appeal to support African American and Native American evangelization in the United States.
1889 Daniel Rudd founded the National Black Catholic Congress, a lay organization, which met for the first time first in Washington, D.C. Subsequent lay congresses were held almost annually during the 1890s. An 1893 congress in Chicago cited practices of racism and segregation in the United States with such practices in some U.S. Catholic churches as well.
1891 Saint Katharine Drexel founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, which focused on evangelizing African Americans and Native Americans in the United States.
1904, January Archbishop Diomede Falconio, O.F.M., the apostolic delegate of Pope Pius X, received a letter from Cardinal Girolamo Maria Gotti, O.D.C., the cardinal prefect of the Congregation of the Propaganda, commanding the Church in the United States to cease unchristian practices of racism and discrimination found in some U.S. Catholic institutions. At this time, the Catholic Church still regarded the United States as a mission territory, which gave Propaganda special jurisdiction over the U.S. Church.
1905 At their annual meeting, Cardinal Gotti's letter prompted the U.S. archbishops to discuss the annual Lenten collection . They concluded that it did not provide adequate funding for Black evangelization and that a special organization should be established to provide additional support.
1907 The Catholic Negro-American Mission Board was established in New York City as the "Catholic Board for Mission Work Among the Colored People" to provide a second funding stream for mission work in the black community.
1909 The Knights of Peter Claver was founded as a predominantly Catholic African American fraternal organization.
1916 Rev. Ignatius Lissner, S.M.A., founded the Franciscan Handmaids of Mary in Savannah, Georgia, as a community of African American women religious to teach African American children. In 1924, it relocated to New York City.
1922?- The Catholic Board raised funds through its publications, Our Colored Missions, 1922?-1974?, and Educating in Faith, 1974-.
1925 The Federated Colored Catholics was founded as a national lay religious organization of Catholic African Americans to promote mutual cooperation and Catholic education.
1970 The Catholic Board was renamed The Catholic Negro-American Mission Board.
1980 The Catholic Board relocated to Washington, D.C., where since then it shared staff and facilities with the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and the Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians (now known as the Black and Indian Mission Collection) and the common office been known as the Mission House or Black and Indian Mission Office.
1980 To enable joint board meetings while remaining a separate corporation, the Catholic Negro American Mission Board standardized the membership of its board of directors to conform to that of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and the Commission for Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians, which are the archbishops (ordinaries) of Baltimore, New York, and Philadelphia.
1980 Marquette University became the archival repository for the Catholic Board archives.
1988 Mother Katharine Drexel, S.B.S., was beatified.
2000 Mother Katharine Drexel, S.B.S., was declared Saint Katharine Drexel.
2008-[ongoing] The three affiliated agencies became known as the "Black and Indian Mission Office", which established a joint three-part website.
2008-[ongoing] The Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and The Catholic Negro-American Mission Board jointly sponsored the Monsignor Paul A. Lenz Art Contest for students in Catholic schools and/or Catholic religious education programs funded by these agencies.
2009-2010 The Black and Indian Mission Office established the National Advisory Council on Catholic Missions among Black and Native American Peoples, a board comprised of lay Catholics.
2011 The Archdiocese of Chicago initiated a canonization cause for Rev. Augustus "Father Gus" Tolton (1854-1897).

Executive Directors

1907-1925 Reverend John E. Burke (1852-1925); obituary: Our Colored Harvest, 13(1925):4:1-2.
1925-1962 Reverend Edward C. Kramer (-1962); obituary: "Quartermaster for Christ", Society of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, 80(1968):2:14-17.
1962-1980 Reverend Benjamin M. Horton, S.S.J.
1980-2007 Monsignor Paul A. Lenz (1925-)
2007-present Reverend W. Carroll Paysse

Administrative Assistants

1980s-2007 Patricia O'Rourke

Presidents of the Board of Directors

1907-1922 Unidentified
1922-1925 Archbishop John W. Shaw (1863-1934), Archbishop of New Orleans
1925-1938 Cardinal Patrick J. Hayes (1867-1938), Archbishop of New York
1938-1940 Unidentified
1940-1968 Cardinal Francis J. Spellman (1889-1967), Archbishop of New York
1968-1980 Cardinal Terrence J. Cooke (1921-1983), Archbishop of New York
1980-2000 Cardinal John J. O'Conner (1920-2000), Archbishop of New York
2000-2003 Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua (1923-), Archbishop of Philadelphia, Retired
2003-2007 Cardinal William H. Keeler (1931-), Archbishop of Baltimore, Retired
2007-2009 Cardinal Edward M. Egan (1932-), Archbishop of New York, Retired
2009-2011 Archbishop Edward O'Brien (1939-), Archbishop of Baltimore
2011-present Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan (1950-), Archbishop of New York


Scope and Content

The Catholic Negro-American Mission Board, Series 1-3 Correspondence Charters, and By Laws:

Reverend John E. Burke and Reverend Edward C. Kramer: Includes the charter, amendments, resolutions, and related correspondence during the administrations of Father Burke, the first director, and Father Kramer, the second director.

Reverend Benjamin M. Horton, S.S.J.: Includes the amendments, resolutions, and related correspondence during the administration of Father Horton, the third director.

Monsignor Paul A. Lenz: Includes the amendments, resolutions, and all correspondence during the administration of Monsignor Lenz, the fourth director. The records are arranged chronologically and there under divided into general correspondence, surveys on the financial needs of Black Catholic schools (1980), and grant-related correspondence (begins in 1981). The general correspondence includes a resolution (1984), affidavits, and bequests.

Series 1-3 Restrictions: Records created before 1985 are restricted for 25 years after their date of creation. For more information, please consult the archives staff.

Black and Indian Mission Collection (Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians) and the Catholic Negro-American Mission Board (The Catholic Board for Mission Work among the 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 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.

· “undate (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: 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 secretary of the Commission for the the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians (Black and Indian Mission Collection) was also the director of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions. Portraits of Bureau personnel are filed in series 9-1 under "District of Columbia, 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 9-4, Color Prints: Pastors 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 1930, the secretary of the Commission for the the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians (Black and Indian Mission Collection) was also the director of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions. Portraits of Bureau personnel are filed in series 9-1 under "District of Columbia, 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.

The Catholic Negro-American Mission Board, Series 18, Publications: This series includes the periodicals, Our Colored Mission and Educating in Faith, and general publications, such as appeal letters, calendars, list of very needy Black schools, and survey and grant forms.

The New York Public Library produced the microfilm of both periodicals.

Marqcat, the online catalog of the Marquette University Libraries, provides bibliographic records for the publication titles in this series, which are so noted with a call number in the descriptive inventory.



More Related Resources

  • Catholic Social Action: Checklist of Marquette Catholic Social Action collections, which includes all special collections about African American Catholics.

Black and Indian Mission Office > The Catholic Negro-American Mission Board

The National Black Catholic Congress

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

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