Volume 2: Midwest United States
Missouri: MO-2

Benedictines. Conception Abbey
P.O. Box 501 
Conception, MO 64433

Phone 660-944-2821


Hours: By appointment only

Access: Some restrictions apply

Copying facilities: Yes


History: St. Benedict founded the Benedictines or Order of St. Benedict in ca. 529, which is comprised of autonomous monastic houses or abbeys loosely governed by confederations. Founded in 1873, Conception Abbey is a monastery of the Swiss-American Congregation of the Benedictine Confederation. Conception Abbey has administered the following missions and parishes among the Hunkpapa Indians on the Standing Rock Reservation:

1879-present St. Peter Church, Fort Yates, North Dakota
1880-1971 (closed) Assumption/ St. Benedict Church, Kenel, South Dakota
1887-1990s (transferred to Rapid City Diocese) St. Bede Mission, Wakpala, South Dakota
1890-1990s (transferred to Rapid City Diocese) St. Aloysius Mission, Bullhead, South Dakota
1897-present St. Elizabeth Mission, Cannon Ball, North Dakota
1896-1950 (closed) St. Edward Mission, Mad Bear's Camp, South Dakota
1897-present St. James Mission, Porcupine, North Dakota
1913-1970 (closed) St. Ambrose Mission, Black Horse, South Dakota
1916-1971 (closed) Sacred Heart Mission, Little Eagle, South Dakota
1920-1937 (closed) St. Bernard Mission, Red Cedar, North Dakota
1920-1950 (closed) Our Lady of Perpetual Help Mission, La Compte, South Dakota


Holdings of Catholic records about Native Americans:

Inclusive dates: 1873-ongoing, undated

Volume: 2.3 cubic feet and 3 reels microfilm

Description: 4 series include Native Catholic records, which excluding photographs and publications, were microfilmed in 1982 by Marquette University.


/1 "B-Journals" Inclusive dates: 1873-1966, undated

Volume: .8 cubic foot


A. Abbot Frowin Conrad, O.S.B., "Diary," 1873-1920, 4 volumes: Include occasional references to Indian mission and school activities

B. Reverend Othmar Buerkler, "Diary," 1920-1966, 4 notebooks: Include occasional references to Indian mission activities

C. Samples of Indian students' work, e.g., artwork, essays, maps, math, sewing, and penmanship, 1893-1894, 1896, undated, 9 volumes

D. Photograph album, undated (bulk ca. 1890-1910), 126 prints: primarily Indian children at Standing Rock Reservation mission schools


/2 "C-Pictures" Inclusive dates: 1885-1965 (bulk 1885-1920)

Volume: 328 photographs

Description: Primarily people and buildings on the Standing Rock Reservation, which include portraits of Native Americans by commercial photographers, e.g. S.J. Fansler, Frank B. Fiske, D.E. Miller.


/3 "D-II-Parishes, Missions, and Chaplaincies"

Inclusive dates: 1876-1980, undated

Volume: .9 cubic foot

Description: Correspondence arranged alphabetically by location of the mission or parish.

A. "Cannonball, St. Elizabeth’s," 1907, 1 folder

B. "Elbowoods, Sacred Heart," 1910, undated, 1 folder

C. "Fort Yates, St. Peter’s," 1876-1878, 1881-1957, 1962, 1973, undated, .4 cubic foot: bulk 1881-1929; contains incoming and outgoing correspondence; major correspondents include Father Martin Marty, O.S.B. and Father Bernard Strassmaier, O.S.B., Abbot Frowin Conrad, O.S.B., Sister M. Gertrude, O.S.B. and Sister M. Mathilda, O.S.B., and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions

D. "Kenel, St. Benedict's," 1882-1912, 1919, 1924, 1928, 1937, 1940-1941, 1961, undated, .3 cubic foot: majority of correspondence is from the years 1881-1912; contains incoming and outgoing correspondence; major correspondents include Father Martin Kenel, O.S.B., Abbot Frowin Conrad, O.S.B., Sister M. Mathilda, O.S.B., and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions

E. "McLauahlin, St. Bernard's," 1918-1921, 1923, 1937, 1940, 1972, 1 folder

F. "Selfridge, St. Philomena," 1924, 1932, 1937, 1940-1943, 1947, 1948, 1950-1951, 1 folder: includes correspondence re: St. James Mission, Porcupine

G. "Shields, St. James," 1911-1912, 1 folder

H. "Stephan, Immaculate Conception," 1897, 1916, 1 folder: includes drawings by Indian students

I. "Wakpala, St. Bede's," 1933, 1935-1937, 1940, undated, 1 folder

J. "Yankton, Sacred Heart Convent (O.S.B.)," 1880-1897, 1902-1904, 1906-1909, 1911-1912, 1914, .2 cubic foot: bulk 1880-1897; primarily incoming correspondence; major correspondents include Sister M. Gertrude, O.S.B., Sister M. Hildegarde, O.S.B., and Sister M. Xaveria, O.S.B., Father Martin Marty, O.S.B., and Abbot Frowin Conrad, O.S.B.

K. "Standing Rock Reservation Missions, Historical Notes and Publications," 1909-1980, undated, 1 folder


/4 "G-Publications"

Inclusive dates: 1905-present

Volume: .1 cubic foot

Description: 3 publications of Conception Abbey with occasional articles on or references to Native Americans and Catholic evangelization.

A. The Morning Star, 1905-1926, and intermittently to 1952

B. Tower Topics, 1954-present

C. Inter Nos, 1959-1976


The repository named above holds (or held) the records described and not the Marquette University Archives. However, Marquette's holdings, e.g. Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Records, include related records about these Native and Catholic groups and places. Marquette’s holdings also include the microfilm edition of these Conception Abbey records to 1982, which omitted the photography noted above. However, Conception Abbey donated a small selection of these photographs, i.e. duplicate copies, to the Marquette Archives when it microfilmed these records, 1982.


Archival materials from the Raynor Memorial Libraries

Marquette Archives