The Catholic University of America

The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

An inventory of The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Collection 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 Catholic University of America, The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives
Creator: The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Title: The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Collection
Dates: 1910-1996
Extent: 7.7 linear feet; 11 boxes
Abstract: Publications, printed material, clippings, and photographs documenting the activities of the National Shrine.
Collection Number: ACUA 048
Language: English

Historical Note

Among the ten largest churches in the world, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception has been a prominent site of Roman Catholic worship honoring Mary, the patroness of the United States, since the 1920s. After securing the support of Pope Pius X in 1913, Bishop Thomas J. Shahan, the fourth rector of the Catholic University of America, launched a fundraising campaign that culminated in the laying of the cornerstone on September 23, 1920. By that time, Shahan had begun publishing Salve Regina, a fundraising and information newsletter (later called Mary's Shrine), and had named Father Bernard McKenna of Philadelphia as the first director.

The crypt opened for services in 1924, and workers had completed construction of the crypt by 1931. However, the Byzantine-Romanesque style upper church would not be completed until 1959 as a result of the Great Depression and World War II. Also in 1959, workers finished construction of the Knights' Tower, a gift of the Knights of Columbus. Even after the upper church opened, construction continued over the course of several decades on multiple chapels and altars along the exterior wall of the building. In 1990, Pope John Paul II named the National Shrine a minor basilica. Originally part of the Catholic University of America, the National Shrine incorporated separately from the university in 1948.

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Scope and Contents

Publications, printed material, clippings, and photographs documenting the activities of the National Shrine. Series 1: Shrine Publications and Printed Material includes the newsletter of the National Shrine, Salve Regina and Mary's Shrine. Subseries 1.1, Publications, includes issues of the Salve Regina, both bound and unbound. The newsletter probably changed names sometime in the 1950s, but the collection does not cover that period of time. Subseries 1.2, Shrine Printed Material, contains books published by and about the National Shrine including Father Bernard McKenna's memoirs as the first director. The series also includes annual reports from the late 1950s to mid-1960s. Important service programs include the dedication of the Shrine, the organ, and various chapels. Most of the early Shrine printed materials relate to fundraising and construction while post-1959 materials pertain to events such as organ recitals and pilgrimages. Printed material dating from the 1980s includes a significant number of donation requests.

Series 2: Newspaper and Periodical Clippings contains newspaper and periodical articles about the Shrine. Many of the articles are from Catholic sources, such as the Catholic Standard, and Washington, D.C., sources, such as The Washington Post. In addition to newspaper clippings, the scrapbook folder also contains Shrine printed material. Subjects include crypt construction, the opening of the upper church, and visits by Catholic Church officials.

Series 3: Images consists of pictures, photographs, and postcards. The most significant number of photographs covers the construction of the National Shrine Crypt in the 1920s. The crypt album photographs had been housed in two photo albums and were removed. To preserve original order, they were placed in the folders as they were found in the albums. The other group of National Shrine photos had already been placed in a folder and also contained images of the crypt construction. The Shrine iconography photographs include work by Theodor Horydczak, a well-known Washington, D.C. area photographer. The postcards also include images of Shrine iconography as well as the interior of the upper church and 1920s crypt construction. The picture folder contains both etchings and prints of the proposed Shrine exterior, including a drawing by Will Smith. The images range in size from 2"x3" to 8"x10" with the bulk measuring 5"x7"

Series 4: Memorabilia consists of four identical Salve Regina Medals commemorating the September 23, 1920, laying of the National Shrine cornerstone. These materials have been transferred to the Museum Collection, CUA Commemorative Medals and Badges, Box 1

Series 5: Oversize Materials consists of five items. One poster advertises the 1994 Annual Marian Pilgrimage, and two duplicate posters advertise May Fest ca. 1971. The series also includes a 1997 and a 1983 boundary map of Catholic University. These materials have been transferred to the Oversize Collection and filed under National Shrine in Mapcase 3, Drawer 10.

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Arrangement

The National Shrine collection 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

The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Collection has been compiled in the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives over a number of years from unknown donors.

Processing Information

Some arrangement with loose chronological order had aready been completed prior to final processing. During final processing, materials that had been grouped together, such as those in the scrapbook, were placed together in a separate folder or placed together within a folder. Metal fasteners were removed, and materials were placed in acid-free folders with some interleaving and photocopying for preservation.

Processing completed in August 2005 by Jordan Patty. EAD markup completed in August 2005 by Jordan Patty. EAD revisions in 2013 by Michael J. Dobbs.

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Related Material

The American Catholic Research Center and University Archives:

The Catholic Daughters of America Records

The Bernard Aloysius McKenna Papers

The Thomas Joseph Shahan Papers

The Catholic University Mullen Library:

The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.: America's Tribute to Mary (1994?) Catalog Record

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, volume two (1928) Catalog Record

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.


Organizations:
Catholic University of America
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, D.C.)

Places:
Washington (D.C.)

Subjects:
Catholicism


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Detailed Description of the Collection

                       
Series 1: Shrine Publications and Printed Material, 1910-1996, n.d. (8 boxes)
Subseries 1.1: Shrine Publications includes the newsletter of the National Shrine, Salve Regina and Mary's Shrine. Subseries 1.1 is organized chronologically.
Subseries 1.2: Shrine Printed Materal consists of books published by and about the National Shrine and materials related to fundraising and construction, while post-1959 materials pertain to events such as organ recitals and pilgrimages. Printed material dating from the 1980s includes a significant number of donation requests. Subseries 1.2 is organized alphabetically by folder heading.
Subseries 1.1: Shrine Publications, 1914-1994 (4 boxes)
 
Box Folder
1 1 Salve Regina, 1914-1918
  2 Salve Regina, 1914-1917
  3 Salve Regina, 1914-1920
  4 Salve Regina, 1914-1920
  5 Salve Regina, 1914-1920
Box Folder
2 1 Salve Regina, 1914-1922
  2 Salve Regina, 1920-1929
  3 Salve Regina, 1921-1923
  4 Salve Regina, 1923-1928
  5 Salve Regina, 1926
Box Folder
3 1 Salve Regina, 1929-1932
  2 Salve Regina, 1930-1935, 1946-1947
  3 Mary's Shrine, 1960-1969
  4 Mary's Shrine, 1970-1979
  5 Mary's Shrine, 1980-1981
  6 Mary's Shrine, 1982-1987
  7 Mary's Shrine, 1987-1989
Box Folder
4 1 Mary's Shrine, 1990-1994
Subseries 1.2: Shrine Printed Material, 1915-1996, n.d. (5 boxes)
 
Box Folder
4 2 Kennedy, National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception: Story of the Crypt, 1927
  3 Kennedy, National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception: Story of the Crypt, 1927
  4 Kennedy, National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception: Story of the Crypt, 1927
  5 Kennedy, National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception: Story of the Crypt, 1927
Box Folder
5 1 McKenna, The Dogma of The Immaculate Conception, 1929
  2 McKenna, Memoirs of the First Director of The National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception, 1959
  3 McKenna, Memoirs of the First Director of The National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception, 1959
Box Folder
6 1 O'Daniel, A Song in Stone to Mary, 1953
  2 Printed Material, 1915-1920
  3 Printed Material, 1920-ca.1925
  4 Printed Material, ca.1925-1927
  5 Printed Material, 1928
  6 Printed Material, 1929-1930
Box Folder
7 1 Printed Material, 1930-1939
  2 Printed Material, 1940-1953
  3 Printed Material, 1954-1959
  4 Printed Material, 1959
  5 Printed Material, 1960-1964
  6 Printed Material, 1965-1969
Box Folder
8 1 Printed Material, 1970-1973
  2 Printed Material, 1974-1979
  3 Printed Material, 1980-1984
  4 Printed Material, 1985-1989
  5 Printed Material, 1990-1996
  6 Printed Material, n.d.
                       
Series 2: Newspaper and Periodical Clippings, 1911-1996 (1 box)
This series contains newspaper and periodical articles about the Shrine. Series 2 is organized alphabetically by folder heading, then chronologically.
Box Folder
9 1 Clippings, 1920-1929
  2 Clippings, 1930-1933, 1941, 1953-1959
  3 Clippings, 1966-1969, 1972-1973, 1981-1996
  4 Shrine Scrapbook, 1911-1924
                       
Series 3: Images, ca. 1910s-1970s (3 boxes)
This series consists of pictures, photographs, and postcards. The most significant number of photographs covers the construction of the National Shrine Crypt in the 1920s. Series 3 is organized alphabetically by folder heading, then chronologically.
Box Folder
9 5 Pictures, ca. 1920s-1930s (4 items)
  6 Photographs, Crypt Album 1, 1923 (37 items)
  7 Photographs, Crypt Album 1, 1923 (46 items)
Box Folder
10 1 Photographs, Crypt Album 1, 1923 (41 items)
  2 Photographs, Crypt Album 2, 1925 (42 items)
  3 Photographs, Crypt Album 2, 1925 (39 items)
  4 Photographs, Crypt Album 2, 1925 (42 items)
Box Folder
11 1 Photographs, Crypt Album 2, 1925 (42 items)
  2 Photographs, Shrine Iconography, ca. 1920s-1950s (10 items)
  3 Photographs, Shrine Photos, 1924-1925 (57 items)
  4 Photographs, Shrine Photos, 1924-1925 (30 items)
  5 Postcards, ca. 1935
  6 Postcards, ca. 1910s-1970s
                       
Series 4: Memorabilia, 1923
This series consists of four identical Salve Regina Medals commemorating the September 23, 1920, laying of the National Shrine cornerstone. These materials have been transferred to the Museum Collection, CUA Commemorative Medals and Badges, Box 1
                       
Series 5: Oversize Materials, ca. 1971-1997
This series consists of five items. One poster advertises the 1994 Annual Marian Pilgrimage, and two duplicate posters advertise May Fest ca. 1971. The series also includes a 1997 and a 1983 boundary map of Catholic University. These materials have been transferred to the Oversize Collection and filed under National Shrine in Mapcase 3, Drawer 10.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Historical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Administrative Information

Related Material

Index Terms

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Shrine Publications and Printed Material, 1910-1996, n.d.

Series 2: Newspaper and Periodical Clippings, 1911-1996

Series 3: Images, ca. 1910s-1970s

Series 4: Memorabilia, 1923

Series 5: Oversize Materials, ca. 1971-1997

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