Records of a New York City-based fund-raising organization that supported Native American Catholic missions and schools, 1904-1991. The records contain the minutes of the Board of Directors meetings and its newsletter, The Calumet. Gift of Monsignor Thomas A. Modugno, 1992.

Historical Note

Reverend Henry G. Ganss of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, founded the Marquette League in 1904 as the Marquette Club. It served as an auxiliary to the Preservation Society for the Preservation of the Faith Among Indian Children, a lay Catholic fund-raising organization directed by the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions.

The Marquette League raised funds for Catholic Indian missions throughout the United States, but especially for those in Alaska and the Southwest. Specifically, it raised funds for building projects at Indian missions, schools, and chapels; stipends for Indian catechists; and scholarships for Indian students. To support these efforts, it established branches in several Eastern cities (e.g. Baltimore, Washington) and published The Calumet, 1913-1958, a quarterly newsletter-magazine to donors under Director-Editor Monsignor William Quinn, 1917-1925, Reverend William J. Flynn, 1925-1936, Reverend Bernard A. Cullen, 1936-1958, and Reverend Lawrence J. Cahill, 1958. From 1952-1958, it also recruited lay volunteers for service at the missions. Thereafter the Marquette League declined and ceased operations in 1991.

Scope and Content

Marquette League Series 1, Correspondence: Letters, clippings, brochures, and notes including those for a 1989 celebration commemorating the Marquette League's 85 years of service.

The Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Records, Series 1-1, General Correspondence, includes correspondence between the Marquette League and the Bureau.

Marquette League Series 2, Lay Apostolate File: An alphabetized card file of lay volunteers with names, home addresses, and description and location of service with dates.

Marquette League Series 3, Proceedings: Minutes of meetings with certificate of incorporation, bylaws, and resolutions interfiled in 1904, 1848, 1960-1961.  Minutes of the Marquette League Washington, D.C., branch are included in folder 1, following the records of the central organization.

Marquette League Series 4, The Calumet: The original issues are held in Series 14-1 of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Mission Records as the bulk of the issues were first acquired from the Bureau. Vol. 34, no. 2 (May, 1957) of The Calumet was incorrectly-numbered and issued as v. 45, no. 2. The Calumet on microfilm appears as Series 4 of this collection and Series 14-1 of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Mission Records with the BCIM version being less complete. The following 11 issues are missing from the Series 4 microfilm and the Series 14-1 BCIM originals: November, 1918; April-May, 1919; December, 1919; April-May, 1922; October, 1922; December, 1922; November, 1923; December, 1923; January, 1925; May, 1925; and February, 1952.

The Calumet existed as a quarterly throughout its history, although its time of issuance and format varied. It began as a 4-page quarterly, which in 1936 expanded to 12 pages with increasing numbers of photographs. Its articles and letters pertained to the operations and activities of missions and schools, their financial needs, and the lives of Native American people as a whole and those of individual native people and individual missionaries. During its last two decades it switched to a magazine format with in-depth articles and numerous illustrations.

Indian and non-Indian clergy, religious, and laity contributed articles, letters, and photographs. Most notable among the non-Indian clergy were Bishop Joseph R. Crimont, S.J., 26 articles, re: Alaska, Jesuits, Prayers and Poetry; Reverend Eugene Buechel, S.J., 20 articles (no photographs cited), re: Dakota [Brulé and Oglala] Indians, Jesuits; Reverend John P. Fox, S.J., 16 articles (no photographs cited),  re: Alaska, Jesuits; Reverend Silverius Meyer, O.F.M., 14 articles, re: Franciscans, Navajo Indians, St. Michael’s Mission (Navajo Reservation, Arizona); Reverend Joseph M. Cataldo, S.J., 12 articles, re: Jesuits, St. Joseph’s Mission (Nez Perce Reservation, Idaho); Reverend Joseph A. Zimmerman, S.J., 11 articles (no photographs cited), re: Dakota [Brulé and Oglala] Indians, Fire and Natural Disaster, Holy Rosary Mission (Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota); and Reverend George Pieper, S.J., 2 articles (also numerous featured photographs cited after 1955), re: Mission Work (Evangelization), St. Francis Mission (Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota). Non-Indian women religious (nuns) included Sister M. Claire Hartmann, S.S.S.F., 1 article, re: St. Paul's Mission (Fort Belknap Reservation, Montana), and Sister M. Macaria Murphy, F.S.P.A., 1 article, re: Schools-Catholic. Native American clergy and laity included active World War II soldiers, 8 letters, re: World War II War Efforts; Reverend John J. Brown, S.J. (Siksika [Blackfeet]), 2 articles, re: Jesuits, Native Americans-Catechists/ Priests/ Laity; Albert Calf Looking (Siksika [Blackfeet]), 1 article, re: Holy Family Mission (Blackfeet Reservation, Montana); Martin Good Rider (Dakota?), 1 article, re: Schools-Catholic; Reverend Phillip B. Gordon (Ojibwa), 1 article, re: Native Americans-Catechists/ Priests/ Laity, Potawatomi [Pottawatomie] Indians; Joseph Humming Bird (Kiowa?), 1 article, re: Marquette League-“Marquette Boys”; Little Tommy (Siksika [Blackfeet]), 1 article, re: Holy Family Mission (Blackfeet Reservation, Montana), Marquette League-“Marquette Boys”; Lincoln Ne-Che-Kipa-Cee (Unidentified), 1 article, re: World War II War Efforts; Sitting Bull (Dakota [Hunkpapa]), 1 article, re: Dakota Indians; Mrs. Swift Hawk (Dakota), 1 article, re: Dakota Indians. Reverend Gordon was also the subject of an article together with Navajo Indians.

Index to The Calumet: The index features a list of subjects, which are arranged alphabetically. There under articles are listed chronologically with authors noted.

The Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Records include substantial holdings of The Calumet (Series 14-1) with 11 issues missing. This newsletter also appears in the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Records, Series 14-1 microfilm, but is less complete than the Marquette League edition.

The Anne M. Scheuerman Collection contains photography of the 1989 mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, commemorating the Marquette League's 85th anniversary and years of service to Native American evangelization.

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

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  • Guides to Catholic-Related Records about Native Americans in the United States: Over 1,000 repository entries in PDF format to help genealogists and historical researchers find the records they need on American Indians and Alaskan Natives. The entries provide contact information on the repositories, brief descriptions about the records, the Native groups served, and the associated Catholic organizations. Many of the entries include institutional chronologies to explain the history of the records.

Black and Indian Mission Office Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions

Tekakwitha Conference National Center

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

Archival materials from the Raynor Memorial Libraries

Marquette Archives