Catholic Newspapers in Microform at Notre Dame


In 1930, Reverend Paul J. Foik, C.S.C., in his work entitled Pioneer Catholic Journalism, traced the origins, scope, and design of the earliest published Catholic newspapers and journals in the United States, beginning with Reverend Gabriel Richard's Michigan Essay, or Impartial Observer (1809). On June 22, 1822, Bishop John England of the Diocese of Charleston established one of the earliest Catholic newspapers in the United States, the United States Catholic Miscellany (1822-1861) to instruct the faithful of his diocese in the doctrines of the Catholic faith. The Truth Teller (1825-1855), founded in New York on April 2, 1825, championed the rights of civil and religious freedom for Ireland and Catholicism.[1] The Jesuit, or, Catholic Sentinel, established September 5, 1829, continues today as the Pilot, and is considered by some to be the oldest Catholic newspaper in the United States still in existence.[2] The Catholic Telegraph, established October 22, 1831 in Cincinnati, Ohio, also ranks among one of the earliest Catholic newspapers still in existence.[3] From the earliest times to the present, the Catholic press has defined its mission as one of preserving and defending the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.

Notre Dame's Catholic newspaper collection has long been regarded by American Catholic historians as one of the finest in the United States.[4] The formation of the collection dates back to the late nineteenth century, when James F. Edwards (1850-1911), one of Notre Dame's first and foremost librarians, obtained extended runs of the United States Catholic Miscellany, the Truth Teller, the Catholic Mirror, and a number of other Catholic newspapers published in the nineteenth century. Others who have contributed to the growth of this collection include Reverend Paul J. Foik, C.S.C. (1879-1941); Paul R. Byrne (1889-1980); Reverend Thomas T. McAvoy, C.S.C. (1903-1969); and Francis P. Clark (1936-1979).[5] The collection continues to expand, with ongoing efforts to ensure its preservation.


This directory consists primarily of Catholic newspapers published in English from the early nineteenth century to the present time. Publications in German, French, Italian, Czech, Spanish, and Sioux are also included. Because of their rarity, a few selected journals, almanacs, directories, and anti-Catholic publications have been added as well. Both the Hesburgh Library and the Archives of the University of Notre Dame hold extensive runs of Catholic directories in paper copy and in microfilm, many of which have been omitted from this directory. Major nineteenth and twentieth century Catholic journals, such as Catholic World; Ave Maria; Messenger of the Sacred Heart; American Catholic Quarterly Review; and Donahoe's Magazine have been excluded.


The chief source of information for entries in this directory is the cataloging record of each work as it appears in the University of Notre Dame Libraries' Online Catalog (UNLOC). More detailed bibliographic information pertaining to variant titles, issuing bodies, numbering peculiarities, microfilmers, and subject headings may be obtained by accessing UNLOC, selecting the desired title, and choosing the long, rather than the brief view of the record.


The main listing, arranged alphabetically by title, is followed by a geographical index. Different publications bearing the same name are distinguished by place and/or date following the title, e.g., Catholic Herald (Milwaukee, Wis.); Catholic Herald (Milwaukee, Wis.: 1981); Catholic Herald (Nashville, Tn.). Single titles file before compound names, e.g., Columbian (Nashville, Tn.) files before Columbian Catholic. Entries beginning with Saint and St. are not interfiled.

Entries contain the following elements of information, whenever available: title; imprint, including the city of publication, the publisher, and the dates of publication; description (number of volumes) only if complete; publication history (inception and cessation dates); frequency; continues and/or continued by notes; language notes; other notes; call number, and holdings information. The abbreviations s.l. (sine loco) and s.n. (sine nomine) signify that no place and no publisher have been cited in the work. The call number indicates the local microfilm number assigned to a title by the Hesburgh Library. The Northwestern Chronicle, for example, has been assigned as its call number Microfilm no. 19. Library holdings are in positive microfilm only. The University Archives holds the master negative of many of these papers. With few exceptions, the geographic index is organized by state, then city, and title. Several publications from Canada, England, and the Vatican have also been included. These titles are filed in the geographic index under their respective countries. Three anti-Catholic publications: Menace (Aurora, Illinois); New Menace (Kansas City, Kansas); and Downfall of Babylon (New York, N.Y.) have also been included.


Catholic Newspapers in Microform: A Directory of Works at Notre Dame, second edition, has been issued in three versions: Summary Holdings; Detailed Holdings; and the online version. All versions contain essentially the same descriptive information for each title, with the exception of holdings information. The Summary Holdings version lists the holdings of the Hesburgh Library for the year or range of years only. The Detailed Holdings version lists much more specific holdings information. The online version includes both summary and detailed holdings (

Both the Summary Holdings version and the Detailed Holdings version have been published by the University Libraries of Notre Dame and The Charles and Margaret Hall Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. Copies are available from The Cushwa Center, 614 Hesburgh Library, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556-5629.

Summary Institution Holdings Information

Summary institution holdings information reports the least specific level of holdings data. Summary holdings information in this directory follows the convention of the United States Newspaper Project, with one exception: currently received titles are represented by a plus sign, rather than an open hyphen.

In summary holdings statements, a hyphen represents a range of holdings, indicating that at least one issue is held for each of the years included:


A comma represents a gap in holdings of one or more years. In the following example, the comma indicates that no issues are held for the year 1850:


A plus sign (+) indicates that the title is currently being received in microform by the Hesburgh Library:


To obtain the latest information regarding titles currently received, access UNLOC directly.[6]

Detailed Holdings Information

Detailed holdings information reports at the most specific level the bibliographic units of a serial held by an institution. Detailed holdings information in this directory follow the serial holdings standard Z39.44-1986 published by the American National Standards Institute.[7] Detailed holdings specify volume number, issue number, year, and date:

v.15:no.1(1883:June 14)-v.15:no.26(1883:Dec.6)

Other Collections

In addition to the collections held by the Hesburgh Library and the University Archives, a number of other institutions throughout the United States hold notable collections of Catholic newspapers as well. The Library of Congress, the Catholic University of America, and the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center (PAHRC), Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, have significant collections, many in paper copy only. Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, holds a number of Catholic newspapers among their library and archival collections which are not listed in this directory.

The Center for Research Libraries, Chicago, Illinois, holds more than 6,100 titles of foreign newspapers on microfilm, including some religious newspapers. Listings of these titles are available through The Center for Research Libraries' online catalog. Titles can be accessed through the Center's web site (

While no online union list of Catholic newspapers currently exists, collaborative efforts combined with advances in technology may facilitate such a listing in the future.

Interlibrary Loan

Titles listed in this directory are available through the normal channels of Interlibrary Loan. Microfilm may be borrowed for a period of two weeks, with requests for no more than six reels at a time. Photocopies of articles are available upon request. Those who wish to borrow microfilm should submit formal requests for titles through the Interlibrary Loan offices of their local academic or public libraries. For more information, contact:

Interlibrary Loan
Theodore M. Hesburgh Library
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5629
Office Number: (219) 631-6260
Telefax Number: (219) 631-8887


Many individuals have contributed to this project in a variety of ways. I am especially grateful to Robert C. Miller, Director of Libraries, for granting me a three month leave of absence during the summer of 1996 to attend to this work. Among others who have been most helpful, I wish to thank Maureen L. Gleason, Acting Director of Libraries, for her keen insight and valuable suggestions; Joseph H. Huebner, Head, Collection Development Department, for his kind encouragement; Sylvia Frost, Head, Cataloging Department, for granting priority to this project; Mary W. Lehman, Coordinator, Special Projects, whose herculean efforts constitute a major contribution to this work; and Linda Messersmith, Evelyn Starczewski, and Maggie Giles of the Cataloging Department who have contributed very valuable assistance. Barbara Connelly, Bridget Riordan, and the staff of the Microtext Reading Room have also devoted much time and energy to this project. Their cooperation is deeply appreciated.

William Kevin Cawley, University Archives, prepared the layout, the index, and the online version of this work. His time and expertise are very much appreciated. R. Scott Appleby, Director of the Cushwa Center, has contributed significantly in countless ways to the publication of this directory. For his kind assistance I am always most deeply grateful.

Charlotte Ames
Theodore M. Hesburgh Library
March 7, 1997