The Catholic University of America

Bernard Francis Law Papers

An inventory of The Bernard Francis Law Papers at The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives


Contact Information:

Mailing Address: The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064

Telephone: 202-319-5065

Email: lib-archives@cua.edu

URL: http://archives.lib.cua.edu/

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Descriptive Summary

Repository: The American Catholic Research Center and University Archives
Creator: Bernard Francis Law
Title: Bernard Francis Law Papers
Dates: 1892(1949-1961)1985
Extent: 7.5 linear feet; 6 boxes
Abstract: This is a collection of Bernard Francis Law's personal papers from his early life, including correspondence with his parents from his years at Harvard and the seminary in the 1950s. There are also his notebooks from Harvard University, family photos, scrapbooks from his childhood and chronicling his father's aviation career, and memorabilia of both Law and his father. There are NO records from Bernard Francis Law as Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, 1973-1984; Archbishop of Boston, 1984-2002; nor from his post 2002 career in Rome.
Collection Number: 364
Language: English

Biographical Note

Bernard Francis Law was born on November 4, 1931 to Bernard and Helen Law in Torreon, Mexico. His father, Captain Bernard A. Law, was an Army Air Corps veteran of the First World War, and later a commercial airline pilot. In early childhood Law travelled Latin America and spent much of teenage years in the Virgin Islands where he graduated from Charlotte Amaile High School. He then attended Harvard University where he earned a bachelor's degree in Medieval History. Encouraged by his mother, Law entered the St. Joseph Seminary in St. Benedict, Louisiana, 1953-1955. In 1955, his father died and that fall the younger Law entered the Pontifical Josephinum in Worthington, Ohio, to finish studies for the seminary. Law was ordained a priest in the Natchez-Jackson Diocese in 1961.

Following ordination, Bishop Richard Oliver Gerow appointed Law pastor of St. Paul Parish in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Two years later Law was appointed editor of the diocesan newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi, where he advocated for civil rights, and as a result was faced with public threats. In 1965, he attended the Second Vatican Council with Auxiliary Bishop Brunini. Three years later, Law was appointed executive director of the National Conference of Catholic Bishop (NCCB) Committee on Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs. In 1967, Bishop Gerow was replaced by Brunini and four years later he appointed Law as his vicar general.

Law was appointed Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in 1973, replacing newly appointed Archbishop of Washington, D.C., William Baum. During his eleven years as bishop, Law formed the Missouri Christian Leadership Conference and was appointed as a member of the Vatican's Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity. In 1981, Law was appointed to the newly created position of the Ecclesiastical Delegate by the NCCB, and three years later was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Archbishop of Boston.

Law was made a Cardinal on May 25, 1985, and over the next seventeen years was appointed to numerous Eucharistic councils. He was also in charge of the draft translating the catechism from Latin to English. On January 6, 2002, the Boston Globe published the results of their investigation about sexual abuse by priests of the Boston Archdiocese. On December 13, 2002, Law resigned as Archbishop of Boston. For the next year he served as chaplain for the Sisters of Mercy of Alma in Clinton, Maryland. On March 27, 2004, he moved to Rome where he was appointed Archpriest of Santa Maria Maggiore, St. Mary Major. While there he participated in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI. In 2011, upon his eightieth birthday, he retired as Archpriest of St. Mary Major and currently resides in the Vatican.

There are NO records from Bernard Francis Law as Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, 1973-1984; Archbishop of Boston, 1984-2002; nor from his post 2002 career in Rome.

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Scope and Contents

The Bernard Francis Law Papers contains five series of his personal papers as well as the personal papers and items from his father, Colonel Bernard A. Law. The collection consists of items from Law's early life and his family, including papers from his years in the seminary. There are NO records from Bernard Francis Law as Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, 1973-1984; Archbishop of Boston, 1984-2002; nor from his post 2002 career in Rome.

The first series contains Law's history class notes that he took as an undergraduate at Harvard University, 1949-1953. Also included are his blue book exams from his classes and Laws senior yearbook. There is also a copy of an alumni magazine from 1956 and several spiral notebooks and marbled colored notebooks of history and Latin notes.

The second series contains Law's correspondence to his parents from his time as an undergraduate at Harvard University, 1949-1953, as well as his time in the Seminary in New Orleans, 1953-1955, and in Ohio, 1955-1961. Most of this correspondence was general reporting of daily activities and events. However, upon his father's death in 1955, the correspondence with his mother became more focused on spirituality and discussing his vocation to the priesthood. This also includes discussions on his first assignment to the Diocese of Natchez in Mississippi in order to be close to his mother. Overall, these personal letters give insight to the process of Law's vocation and spirituality.

The third series contains Law's personal items such as his high school yearbooks, date books, passports, and music notebooks that he collected, mainly of piano sheet music. There is also a Harvard Smokers Club pipe, his diploma from Harvard, and a bronze crucifix that he saved.

The fourth series contains Colonel Bernard A. Law's correspondence with airline companies he worked for in Latin America, as well as with the U.S. Army Air Corps. Also included are Law's scrapbooks of aviation clippings, photos from family vacations, and Col. Law's personal items such as Army Medals, an Air Corps cap, coins from overseas, and cuff links. Lastly, there are some aviation magazines that Col. Law had collected as well, and three folders of photos from the airlines he flew for and photos from the Army Air Corps.

The final series contains the younger Law's family photos of himself as a child as well as his parents, grandparents, and other relatives. There are extensive photos of his mother from when she was a child and a teenager, and photos of Law from family vacations and his time at the seminary. Overall, Bernard Francis Law's papers give insight to his personal life and family before he was a Bishop. This may also help anyone trying to do research on Law's spirituality, his vocation process, and his close relationship to his mother.

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Arrangement

The Bernard Francis Law Papers consist of five series:






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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

None. Please note that this collection is stored off site, so that it may take up to 72 hours to retrieve boxes.

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Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

This collection was given to CUA Archives through a deed of donation in 2013. There are NO records from Bernard Francis Law as Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, 1973-1984; Archbishop of Boston, 1984-2002; nor from his post 2002 career in Rome.

Processing Information

Processing completed in 2013 by Raymond Moore. EAD markup completed in 2013 by Raymond Moore.

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Related Material

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Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.


Persons:
Bernard Cardinal Law
Col. Bernard Law, Sr.

Organizations:
Harvard University
Pan-American Air Lines
United States Air Corps

Places:
Cambridge, MA
Natchez, Mississippi
Virgin Islands

Subjects:
Aviation
Seminarian Education
US Bishops
Vocations


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Bibliography

Encyclopedia Britannica Entry, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/860783/Bernard-Cardinal-Law, Retrieved May 16, 2013.

The Pilot "Harvard's First Cardinal-Bernard Law", November 4, 2011

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Detailed Description of the Collection

                       
Series 1: Harvard Notes, Exams, and Printed Material, 1949-1956 1 Box
This series contains Law's history and latin class notes and blue book exams as an undergraduate at Harvard University, 1949-1953. There is also a copy of an alumni magazine from 1956.
Box Folder
1 1 Harvard Exam Books, 1949-1953
  2 Harvard Exam Books, 1952-1953
  3 Harvard Exam Books, 1952
  4 Romance Literature Notes, 1951-1952
  5 Social Science I Notes, 1950
  6 Social Science I Notes, 1950-1951
  7 Greek Notes, n.d
  8 "The Structure and Growth of Law", 1952
  9 "The Structure and Growth of Law", 1952
  10 Alumni Magazine and Yearbook, 1953-1956
  11 History Notes, 1952
  12 History of Literature Notes, 1952
  13 History Notes, 1952
  14 Social Religion Notes, 1950
  15 Social Relations Notes, 1953
  16 Psychology I Notes, 1953
  17 Social Science I Notes, 1950
  18 Philosophy 74, 1950
  19 Spanish E, 1950
  20 Addresses, 1951
  21 History 123 Notes, 1952
  22 History 132, 1953
  23 History of Modern Europe Notes, 1952
  24 History 132 Notes, 1952
  25 History 123 Notes, 1953
  26 Social Science 119, 1953
  27 History 123, 1953
  28 History 123, 1953
                       
Series 2: Correspondence, 1949-1961 1 Box
This series contains Law's personal correspondence to his parents from his time as an undergraduate at Harvard University, 1949-1953, as well as his time in the Seminary in New Orleans, 1953-1955, and in Ohio, 1955-1961.
Box Folder
2 1 Seminary Newspapers, 1953-1956
  2 Seminary Correspondence, 1952-1961
  3 Col. Law Correspondence, 1949-1953
  4 Natchez Diocesan Correspondence, 1953-1961
  5 Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1950-1953
  6 Parents Correspondence, 1952-1957
  7 Parents, Harvard Correspondence, 1949-1953
  8 Parents Correspondence, 1949-1953
  9 Parents Correspondence, 1949-1950
  10 Parents Correspondence, 1951-1957
  11 Parents Correspondence, 1953-1960
  12 Parents Correspondence, 1953-1960
  13 Parents Correspondence, 1950-1952
  14 Parents Correspondence, 1950-1952
  15 Parents Correspondence, 1959-1960
  16 Seminary Correspondence, 1959-1960
        With mother and vocations director
  17 Seminary Correspondence, 1959
  18 Parents Correspondence, 1950-1955
  19 Parents Correspondence, 1949-1961
  20 Parents Correspondence, 1950-1961
  21 Parents Correspondence, 191950-1952
  22 Parents Correspondence, 1952-1953
  23 Mother Correspondence, 1955-1956
  24 Parents Correspondence, 1950-1956
  25 Parents Correspondence, 1952-1953
  26 Parents Correspondence, 1955
  27 Parents Correspondence, 1949-1957
  28 Parents Correspondence, 1953-1957
  29 Parents Correspondence, 1951-1958
  30 Mother Correspondence, 1957
  31 Mother Correspondence, 1957
  32 Mother Correspondence, 1956-1958
  33 Various Greeting Cards, 1949-1961
  34 Various Greeting Cards, 1949-1961
                       
Series 3: Memorabilia, 1934-1985 3 Box
This series contains Law's personal items such as his high school yearbooks, personal date books, passports, and music notebooks that Law collected, mainly of piano sheet music. There is also a Harvard Smokers Club pipe, his diploma from Harvard, and a bronze crucifix.
Box Folder
3 1 Zonian High School Yearbook, 1948
  2 Zonian High School Yearbook, 1949
  3 Personal Date Books, 1968-1984
  4 Personal Ledger and Passports, 1950-1970
  5 Paulist Photo Album, 1985
  6 Music Recital Books, 1934-1945
  7 Piano Notebooks, n.d
  8 Piano Music Notebook, 1939
  9 The Laura Ingalls Wilder Song Book, 1968
  10 Harvard Diploma, 1953
        Mainly CUA correspondence
  11 Harvard Smokers Club Pipe, 1953
        Corn Cob Pipe with Club name on the shaft of the pipe
  12 Bronze Crucifix, n.d
                       
Series 4: Colonel Bernard Law's Personal Papers, 1892(1927-1955)1985 3 Boxes
This series contains Colonel Bernard Law's correspondence with airline companies he worked for in Latin America, as well as with the US Army Air Corps. Also included are Law's personal scrapbooks of aviation clippings and photos from family vacations, personal items such as Army Medals, an Air Corps cap, coins from overseas, and cuff links.
Box Folder
4 1 WWII Newspapers, 1943-1945
  2 Clippings, 1953-1955
        A
  3 Clippings, 1949-1955
  4 Clippings, 1943-1955
        Very Fragile, WWII and aviation related clippings
  5 Boy's Life Magazine, 1940
        Articles on youth interest in aviation
  6 Family Vacation Scrapbook, 1947-1949
        Family Vacation Col. Law took
  7 Aviation Scrapbook, 1934-1952
        Includes newspaper clippings, and correspondence Col. Law had with the US Government concerning Latin American aviation.
  8 Personal Scrapbook, 1917-1947
        This scrapbook contains personal photos of Col. Law from WWI as well as pamphlets and brochures from countries he has traveled to. There are also some family photos and three pages of report cards and letters he saved from Cardinal Law.
  9 Army Air Corps Scrapbook, 1942-1943
        Photos from when Col. Law was commanding officer of the 27th Service Group in Venice, Florida
Box Folder
5 1 Memorial Flag, 1955
        Col. Bernard Law's flag following his death in 1955
  2 Army Air Corps hat, 1942-1945
        With Colonel insignia pinned on the hat
  3 Box of Personal Items, 1892-1955
        Includes all of Law's medals and pins. Also included are coins he collected from Latin America and Masonic cuff links. Lastly, there are Law's uniform insignia for his rank.
Box Folder
6 1 Government ID Cards and Document Photos, 1943-1947
        Army Air Corps identification cards as well as photos of government documents
  2 Government Correspondence, 1942-1950
  3 Article on Commercial Aviation, n.d
        A history written by Colonel Law
  4 Pan-American Correspondence, 1942-1950
        Airline correspondence for work Col. Law did in Latin America, in particular in the Virgin Islands
  5 Airline Publications, 1930-1934
  6 Army Air Force Papers, 1932-1943
  7 Bernard Law Sr. Manuscripts on Post WWI Aviation, 1941-1943
  8 Airline Correspondence, 1942
        Army Air Corps identification cards as well as photos of government documents
  9 Airline Correspondence, 1927-1943
        Includes correspondence on early American Airlines flights and air mail
  10 Virgin Island Correspondence, 1950-1951
        Correspondence from when Col. Law was director of the Virgin Island Airport
  11 Article "South of the Border", n.d
        Article Law wrote
  12 Helen Law Correspondence, 1978-1979
        Correspondence and invitations from Col. Law's associates
  13 Correspondence and Passports, 1947-1948
  14 Helen Law Invitations, 1985
        Invitations from Col. Law's friends
  15 Air Line Photos, 1930s-1940s
        American Air Line and Pan-American Airline publicity shots with Col. Law
  16 American Air Lines Photos, 1930's
  17 Air Corps Photos, 1942-1943
                       
Series 5: Family Photos, 1900-1961 1 Box
This series contains Law's family photos of himself as a child as well as his parents, grandparents, and other relatives. There are also extensive photos of his mother from when she was a child and a teenager.
Box Folder
6 18 Family Photos, 1911-1952
        Includes photos of Helen Law as a child
  19 Photos of Helen Law, 1911-1933
  20 Family Photos and Ordination Picture, 1961
  21 Family Photos, n.d
        Fragile and water damaged
  22 Bernard Law, Sr. Family Photos, 1940s
        From family vacations
  23 Family Photos, 1931-1961
  24 Photos of Helen Law, 1931-1961
        Also a few seminary photos as well
  25 Father and Mother Photos, 1920-1950
        Wedding photos and photos as a couple of Col. Law and Helen Law
  26 Family Vacation Photos, 1949
  27 Monastic Orientation, 1951
  28 Family Photos, 1940s
  29 Clippings of Family Members, 1950-1955
  30 Family Invitations, 1950-1960
  31 Oversize Family Portraits, ca1900-1920

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Administrative Information

Related Material

Index Terms

Bibliography

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Harvard Notes, Exams, and Printed Material, 1949-1956

Series 2: Correspondence, 1949-1961

Series 3: Memorabilia, 1934-1985

Series 4: Colonel Bernard Law's Personal Papers, 1892(1927-1955)1985

Series 5: Family Photos, 1900-1961

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