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The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Dorothy Day - Catholic Worker collection

Repository: Marquette University. Raynor Memorial Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives

Collection Description (CRHP): See the following audio interviews in Series W-9.1. Oral history transcripts in Series W-9 may also address the civil rights movement.

Interview conducted for Voices from the Catholic Worker. Catholic Worker and author Ed Marciniak discusses his time with the Catholic Worker Movement in Chicago, Chicago race relations, and the church's influence on them. He begins by giving his background and talking about how he first became involved in the Worker. He then discusses the impact of World War II, its impact on the Worker in Chicago, and his status as a conscientious objector. Finally he discusses African American race relations, his involvement in the civil rights movements, and the Catholic Church's stance on the issue in Chicago. Interviewed by Rosalie Riegle Troester. Interruptions in audio present in original recording.

Interview conducted for Voices from the Catholic Worker. Arthur Falls, a physician, founder of the first Catholic Worker house in Chicago and a civil rights activist, discusses African American Catholics in Chicago, discrimination in the Catholic Church, and his civil rights activities. He talks about his personal experiences with discrimination and his battles against it throughout the 20th century, especially attempts to racially integrate parishes. He discusses what drew him to the Catholic Worker Movement, and the issues he faced in establishing it in Chicago. He also briefly mentions encounters with Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day and his impressions of them. Interviewed by Rosalie Riegle Troester. Interruptions in audio present in original recording.

Collection Description (Extant): Records of a faith-based, grassroots movement for peace and social justice through nonviolent direct action, founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in New York City in 1933 and represented today by more than one hundred loosely affiliated "houses of hospitality" (including several in Australia, Canada, Europe, and Mexico) in which the poor and homeless are welcomed as guests. The records document the efforts of Catholic Worker volunteers to "live out" the Gospel message- interpreted as pacifist, personalist, and profoundly radical- and the scorn and imprisonment, as well as praise and awards they have received as a consequence. The collection includes the personal papers of Day, Maurin, and others involved in the movement; records of the New York City and other Catholic Worker Communities; photographs; audio and video tapes of interviews, talks, television programs, and peace demonstrations; and a wide variety of publications
The papers of Dorothy Day contain her private and family correspondence (mostly incoming), appointment calendars and notebooks, diaries and retreat notes, manuscripts of more than thirty articles and ten books, correspondence and press accounts concerning speaking engagements and other public activities, articles she wrote for non-Catholic Worker publications, and writings about her. Notable correspondents include Daniel and Philip Berrigan, Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Eileen Egan, James Forest, Ammon Hennacy, Thomas Merton, and Gordon Zahn
Included in the records of the New York City Catholic Worker community are the back files of "The Catholic Worker" newspaper and other publications; letters to the editor and other general correspondence; financial and legal records; correspondence and published information documenting the NYCW's involvement in the labor and peace movements; and records of the community's houses and farms
The surviving papers of Peter Maurin, including manuscripts and scattered correspondence, form another series in the collection. Other members of the movement whose papers are held include Charles Butterworth, Frank Cordaro, William Gauchat, Ammon Hennacy, Michael Kirwan, Nina Polcyn Moore, Deane Mowrer, Tina Sipula, Brian Terrell, Jacques Travers, and Stanley Vishnewski. In addition to the New York Catholic Worker, communities in Alderson, West Virginia; Bloomington, Illinois; Chicago, Illinois; Des Moines, Iowa; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; St. Louis, Missouri; Syracuse, New York; and Washington, D.C. have made substantial donations of archival material. CW communities in existence at present contribute their newsletters and other publications to the collection, and information is available on many of the former houses as well
Audiovisual holdings include two thousand photographs and slides, more than seven hundred audiotape recordings of discussions, talks, radio and television programs and oral history interviews (most interviews have been transcribed), and ca. seventy videotapes of talks, television programs, and peace demonstrations at the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command, near Omaha, Nebraska.

Access Copy Note: Open to all users.

Date(s): 1897-[ongoing]

Extent: 170.3 cubic ft. plus 48 cubic ft. of unprocessed additions

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: Arthur Falls, Ed Marciniak

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


African American Catholics
African Americans--Civil rights--Illinois
Catholic Church--Illinois--Chicago
Catholic Worker Movement
Civil rights movements--Illinois
Race relations--Religious aspects--Catholic Church


Sound recordings


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   May 15, 2015
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