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Getting the Word Out: Whenever Possible Tell Scholars About the Trove That is The Catholic News Archive

 Masthead of Catholic Weekly “intended to contain” among other things “information of occurrences connected with the catholic [sic] religion in the United States, and various parts of Europe”

In the early 1840s reactionary agitators called Nativists whipped up Anti-Catholic/Anti-Immigrant fervor that resulted in armed conflict and the destruction of property in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After the first Nativist Riot May 3-10, 1844, a public meeting of Philadelphia’s Catholic citizens appointed a committee to prepare an address to answer the accusations of a Grand Jury which blamed Catholics for the conflagration. The American patriotism of Catholics, namely their dedication to the protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to minority groups, was one of the major points of the address.

“The calamities which have recently befallen us,
are already known to you all, through the public papers”

The full text of the address as reported in the press at the time was discoverable by using The Catholic News Archive because it has a growing amount of content, currently from 3 nationwide U. S. news sources and 9 U. S. diocesan newspapers, that covers from the early 1830s to late 1970s. To find the 1844 “Address of the Catholic Laity of Philadelphia” one can use the search engine or the browse by date feature. It was uncovered in a digest of Catholic news published in Cincinnati, Ohio: The Catholic Telegraph, 6 July 1844, p. 2.

“We are the minority; and for us, therefore, does the constitution exist.”

While the Catholic News Archive has a wealth of primary source material such as the Catholic News Service newsfeeds spanning 1920-1970, many scholars are unaware of this incredible interdisciplinary research resource. What’s worse serious researchers only look for coveted access to content through expensive proprietary databases. One of the hallmarks of this open access project is that it is crowd-sourced by the members of the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA) and generously supported in part by a grant from the Catholic Communications Campaign, of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. On the Webpage for Villanova University’s Falvey Memorial Library, The Catholic News Archive is on the Databases A-Z list, as well as linked to a variety of Subject Guides (our version of LibGuides). It also doesn’t hurt to mention it on consortial and other listservs, social media, and of course in direct email blasts to faculty.

Blog post written by: 
Darren G. Poley
Associate Director of Research Services and Scholarly Engagement 
Villanova University


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