The Catholic University of America

Norman C. McKenna

An inventory of Norman C. McKenna Papers at The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives


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

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Descriptive Summary

Repository: The Catholic University of America, The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives
Creator: Norman C. McKenna, 1910-1997
Title: The Norman C. McKenna Papers
Dates: 1934-1971
Extent: 1.25 linear feet; 1 box
Abstract: The Norman C. McKenna Papers span the years 1934-1971 and consist mainly of editorial correspondence, committee minutes, case histories, outlines, newspaper clippings and pamphlets.
Collection Number: ACUA 169
Language: English

Biographical Note

Norman C. McKenna was born on April 1, 1910 in New York City. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Manhattan College in 1931. From 1932 to 1933 he served as Associate Editor of "Short Short Stories". From 1935 to 1938 he acted as Co-editor with R. Deverall on "Christian Front/Christian Social Action". He then served as a News Editor for Religious News Service from 1937 to 1938.

Starting in 1937, Norman C. McKenna also worked as a Correspondent for the London Catholic Herald. He held this position until 1942. He concurrently acted as the Managing Editor from 1938 to 1941 of the publication "Labor Leader", published by the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists (ACTU). In 1941 he further acted as Editor of the "Buffalo Union Leader" publication.

Starting in 1942, during World War II, Norman C. McKenna served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in West Africa, and was posted there until the end of the War in 1945.

After his service, he went back to writing and editing. From 1945 to 1947 he held the post of Associate Editor of the "Wage Earner", another publication of the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists (ACTU). From 1947 to 1949 he worked in Detroit as part of the Editorial staff of ACTU's "Michigan Catholic" publication.

From 1950 to 1953, Norman C. McKenna and his wife, Rita, served as Members of the Steering Committee on the Cana Conference of the Archdioceses of Washington, D.C. From 1952 to 1970 he then worked as a Writer and Editor as a Labor Specialist under the United States Information Agency (USIA).

Then began a period in his life where he served several high-ranking positions in various organizations. From 1964 to 1967 he served as President of the Catholic Interracial Council (CIC) of Prince George's County. He was also a Member of the Executive Committee of the CIC from 1964 to 1971. From 1964 to 1969 he served as a Board Member on Prince George's Fair Housing (PGFH). He was then Chairman of the Community Relations Committee of the CIC from 1969 to 1973. Also during these years (1969-1973) he served as Vice President of the Hillcrest Heights Civic Association. Finally, from 1974 to 1976 he was a Board Member of the Prince George's Mental Health Association.

As he served in these various organizations, Norman C. McKenna also continued to work as an Editor and a Writer. From 1970 to 1973 he served as Associate Editor of "The Enquirer-Gazette" of Upper Marlboro, Md. He was also a regular Contributor to the "Prince George's Journal" from 1975 to 1977.

In 1973 he won the Brotherhood Award, presented to him by the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Norman C. McKenna died on February 7, 1997 in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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Scope and Contents

The Norman C. McKenna Papers span the years 1934 to 1971 and reflect his various roles as an editor, correspondent, and activist in the realm of Catholic social action, particularly in regard to international peace, labor movements, marriage counselling, and racial integration. They consist mainly of editorial correspondence, committee minutes, case histories, outlines, newspaper clippings and pamphlets.

The first series consists of editorial correspondence, position statements, and newspaper clippings and pamphlets from The Christian Front, a monthly magazine founded in January 1936 by co-editors Norman McKenna and Richard L. G. Deverall. Heavily influenced by Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum, it advocated reconstruction on Christian lines and opposed Marxism, Fascism, war, and laissez-faire Capitalism. Due to confusion with an anti-Semitic group of the same name, the magazine's title was changed to Christian Social Action in January of 1939. Although fragmentary and selective, correspondence includes such noted contributors and social thinkers as G. K. Chesterton, Catherine de Hueck, and Paul Hanley Furfey.

The second series entails correspondence, editorials, and programs relating to McKenna's various positions with the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists (ACTU), founded in New York City in 1937 to give practical effect to Catholic social teaching as it concerned working men at home, work, and in the community. It assisted non-union men to organize, staffed labor schools, compiled reports, and provided congressional testimony. It included professionals, trade unionist, and students. McKenna held various editorial positions with the ACTU publications, Labor Leader, Wage Earner, and the Michigan Catholic, before departing for Washington, D.C. to be a labor specialist for the U.S. Information Agency.

The third series consists of correspondence,with some scattered newspaper clippings, regarding the London Catholic Herald, primarily 1935 to 1942. McKenna was a North American contributor during this period and articles were sent in about once a week. Lengthy, in-depth articles were usually done at the request of the editor, Count Michael de la Bedoyer. The Herald was established in 1888 to reflect a moderate position between what they perceived as the extremes of the 'conservative' London Tablet and the 'liberal' Universe produced by the Jesuits.

The fourth series reflects activities of McKenna and his wife Rita, who served jointly on the Steering Committee of the Cana Conference of the Archdiocese of Washington, 1950 to 1953, and includes correspondence, outlines, and pamphlets. This movement originated from the Catholic family movement founded in St. Louis by Edward Dowling to assist the needs of Catholic couples. Its name was derived from Our Lady of Cana, wedding sight of Christ's first miracle, and its primary purpose was to use religious principles to integrate the mundane aspects of married life in an atmosphere of informality and in the light of the emerging Twentieth Century modernist mentality. The McKennas resigned in 1953 alluding to their perception that the clubs were elitist, racist, and discriminatory to childless couples.

The fifth and final series consists of an Annual Report, Minutes, Correspondence, Newsletter, and an Essay Contest of the Catholic Interracial Council of Prince George's County founded by McKenna in 1964. This council, an outgrowth of the D.C. Interracial Council, was affiliated with the National Conference for Interracial Justice and took inspiration from Christ's teaching and the pronouncements of the Catholic hierarchy. It based its civic views upon the Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, US Supreme Court decisions, and Presidential Executive orders to seek equal opportunity and full integration in education, employment, housing, and commerce. McKenna served on the Executive Committee, 1964 to 1971, as President, 1964 to 1967, and as Chairman of the Community Relations Committee, 1967 to 1971. Also included in this series are case histories regarding integrated housing compiled by McKenna as a board member of Prince George's Fair Housing (PGFH) which was frequently represented by the CIC and McKenna until its demise in 1969. By 1971, Catholic interracial councils in general had become ineffective as they were unsupported by the ordinaries and increasingly bypassed by other community and government groups.

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Arrangement

The Norman C. McKenna Papers consists of five series:






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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions.

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Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Donated in 1977 and 1996 by Norman C. McKenna.

Processing Information

Processing completed in 2000 and 2003 by William John Shepherd. EAD markup completed in May 2006 by Cathey Dugan and Jordan Patty.

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Related Material

The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives also contains:

Catholic Interracial Council of New York Records

John Cort Papers

Richard L.G. Deverall Papers

Paul Hanly Furfey Papers

Haynes-Lofton Family Papers

George Gilmary Higgins Papers

Celestine Joseph Nuesse Papers

Mary Elizabeth Walsh Papers

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Index Terms

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


Persons:
Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith), 1874-1936
Deverall, Richard L.-G. (Richard Lawrence-Grace), 1911-
Doherty, Catherine de Hueck, 1896-1985
Furfey, Paul Hanly, 1896-1992

Organizations:
Association of Catholic Trade Unionists
Cana Conference of the Archdiocese of Washington
Catholic Church. Pope (1878-1903 : Leo XIII). Rerum novarum
Catholic Interracial Council of Prince George's County (Prince George's County, Md.)
Prince George's Fair Housing (Prince George's County, Md.)

Subjects:
Discrimination in Housing
Labor unions


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Detailed Description of the Collection

                       
Series 1: The Christian Front/Christian Social Action Editorial Correspondence and Other Papers, 1934-1956 (1 box)
Series 1 contains correspondence including letters to the editor, article contributors, and replies regarding this monthly magazine motivated by the concepts of Catholic social action in opposition to Marxism, Fascism, war, and predatory Capitalism. A Position statement and newspapers are also included. Noted contributors, largely Anglo-American, include G.K. Chesterton, Paul H. Furfey, and Catherine de Hueck. McKenna was Co-Editor with Richard Deverall from its inception in January of 1936 until April of 1938 when Deverall assumed full responsibility. McKenna continued to serve on the staff until December of 1938. The bulk of the records fall within McKenna's tenure as Co-Editor.
Box Folder
1 1 A-B, 9/20/1935-4/12/1937, 2/20/1957
  2 C-D, 2/18/1936-5/03/1940
  3 Chesterton, G. K., 1936
  4 De Hueck, Catherine, 1/25/1936-5/13/1936
  5 Deverall, Richard L. G., 9/10/1936-2/14/1940, n.d.
  6 E-F-G, 1934-1956
  7 H-I-J, 10/04/1935-4/24/1942
  8 K-L, 11/16/1935-9/21/1938
  9 M, 11/16/1934-10/08/1956
  10 P, 1/26/1936-8/07/1938
  11 R, 12/07/1936-3/22/1938
  12 Ross, Eva J., 1/29/1936-11/09/1937
  13 Rowe, Constance Mary, 12/29/1935-11/15/1937
  14 S, 5/29/1936-4/06/1942
  15 Sullivan, T. Smith, 3/02/1936-12/14/1939
  16 T-U-V, 5/19/1936-4/20/1942
  17 W-X-Y-Z, 10/20/1936-10/13/1938
  18 Wall, Bernard, 7/11/1936-11/12/1936
  19 Willock, Ed - Integrity, 3/03/1947-9/07/1948
  20 Woodlock, Thomas F., 3/16/1936-4/25/1938
  21 Newspaper Clippings, Pamphlets, 1935-1937
  22 Newspaper Clippings, Pamphlets, 1938
  23 Newspaper Clippings, Pamphlets, 1/06/1939-6/23/1939
  24 Newspaper Clippings, Pamphlets, 7/07/1939-12/29/1939
  25 Newspaper Clippings, Pamphlets, 1940-1943
  26 Newspaper Clippings, Pamphlets, n.d.
  27 Position Statements, n.d.
  28 Christian Front (Loose Copies), 1935-1936
                       
Series 2: Association of Catholic Trade Unionists (ACTU) Correspondence and Other Papers, 1937-1951 (1 box)
Series 2 contains correspondence, programs, clippings, and a membership book reflective of the myriad tasks of McKenna during his two stints with the ACTU, 1937-1941 and 1945-1949. He was Managing Editor and Publicity Director of Labor Leader ,1938-1941, Chairman of the Spiritual Activities Committee ca. 1940, and editorial staff member of the Michigan Catholic , 1947-1949. The ACTU endeavored to give practical effect to Catholic social teaching as it concerned working men within the home, school, factory, and community. Said records are fragmentary and indistinguishable as to which of McKenna's positions are concerned.
Box Folder
1 29 General, 1/14/1937-4/05/1940
  30 General, 6/17/1940-11/20/1940
  31 General, 11/22/1940-1942
  32 General, 1946-1951, n.d.
  33 Cort, John C., 12/04/1939-11/29/1948, n.d.
                       
Series 3: The London Catholic Herald Correspondence, 1935-1948 (1 box)
Series 3 contains primarily editorial correspondence relating to McKenna's work as a correspondent for this London newspaper, 1937-1942. Some miscellaneous newspaper clippings are included but there are no draft copies of McKenna's articles. The London Catholic Herald was a moderate newspaper of English Catholic thinking, with many similarities to The Christian Front.
Box Folder
1 34 General, 4/23/1937-12/27/1938
  35 General, 1/18/1939-12/26/1939
  36 General, 1/25/1940-8/21/1948, n.d.
                       
Series 4: Cana Conference of the Archdioceses of Washington Correspondence and Other Papers, 1948-1954, 1962 (1 box)
Series 4 contains correspondence, outlines, pamphlets, and other material reflective of McKenna's role as Cana Publicity Chairman of Committee, 1950-1953. The series is divided into Steering Committee and Printed Material. The former includes correspondence, reports, an incomplete survey, and a transcript of a radio program with McKenna publicizing Cana's activities. The latter consists of outlines, article clippings, and pamphlets detailing Cana's history and organization with suggestions for the formation of parish Cana clubs.
Box Folder
1 37 Steering Committee, 3/08/1950-3/15/1952
  38 Steering Committee, 1952-1953, 1962
  39 Printed Matter Club Outlines and Instructional Material, 1951
  40 Printed Matter Club Outlines and Instructional Material, ca. 1950-1953
  41 Printed Matter General, 1948-1954
                       
Series 5: Catholic Interracial Council of Prince George's County (CIC) Records, 1964-1971 (1 box)
Series 5 contains an Annual Report, Minutes, Correspondence, Newsletter, and an Essay Contest regarding McKenna's activities with CIC as the President, Executive Committee Member, and Chairman of the Community Relations Committee. The series divided for Executive Committee and Housing Material with further subdivisions. The Annual Report only covers 1966, McKenna's last full year as President. Minutes of the Executive Committee are handwritten for 1967. Correspondence and other papers cover McKenna's post-presidential period, 1967-1971, and the Newsletter, 1965-1969, is informative but partially incomplete. Housing material consists of the CIC Essay Contest of 1965 which includes the three winning entries and integration case histories compiled for Prince George's Fair Housing, 1965-1969.
Box Folder
1 42 Executive Committee, Annual Report, 1966
  43 Executive Committee, Annual Report - Appendices, 1966
  44 Executive Committee Minutes, 1964-1966
  45 Executive Committee Minutes, 1968-1970
  46 Executive Committee Correspondence and Other Papers, 1965-6/25/1967
  47 Executive Committee Correspondence and Other Papers, 7/29/1967-12/31/1967
  48 Executive Committee Correspondence and Other Papers, 1/02/1968-2/14/1968
  49 Executive Committee Correspondence and Other Papers, 2/23/1968-4/13/1970
  50 Executive Committee Correspondence and Other Papers, 5/11/1970-4/23/1971
  51 Executive Committee, Newsletter, 10/1965-1/1968
  52 Executive Committee, Newsletter, 2/1968-3/1969
  53 Housing Material, CIC Essay Contest, 1965
  54 Housing Material, Prince George's Fair Housing Case Histories, (A-H), 1965-1969
  55 Housing Material, Prince George's Fair Housing Case Histories, (I-Z), 1965-1969
  56 Housing Material, Prince George's Fair Housing Case Histories, Miscellaneous, 1965-1969

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Administrative Information

Related Material

Index Terms

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: The Christian Front/Christian Social Action Editorial Correspondence and Other Papers, 1934-1956

Series 2: Association of Catholic Trade Unionists (ACTU) Correspondence and Other Papers, 1937-1951

Series 3: The London Catholic Herald Correspondence, 1935-1948

Series 4: Cana Conference of the Archdioceses of Washington Correspondence and Other Papers, 1948-1954, 1962

Series 5: Catholic Interracial Council of Prince George's County (CIC) Records, 1964-1971

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