The Second Irish (Tiffany) Colors

In the autumn of 1861, Rev. William Corby, C.S.C. joined the 88th Regiment of New York as a chaplain in the predominantly Catholic Irish Brigade in the Civil War. Rev. James Dillon, C.S.C., brother to Patrick – another future Notre Dame president, was attached to the 63rd New York regiment, also part of the Irish Brigade. Throughout the entire Civil War, the Irish Brigade was never without at least one priest.

Of all the priests, brothers, and sisters of the Congregation of Holy Cross who served in the Civil War, Fr. Corby is the best-known. At the Battle of Gettysburg, Fr. Corby granted absolution to the troops immediately before they marched into combat, and many ultimately to their deaths. The absolution was later immortalized by Paul Wood’s Absolution Under Fire, currently hanging in the Snite Museum of Art, and by twin statues of Fr. Corby on Notre Dame’s campus and at Gettysburg.

Statue of Rev. William Corby with a bandaged hand, c1930s-1940s.


Long after the Civil War, the veterans still held tight to their war stories. Like his compatriots, Fr. Corby kept in touch with other members of his brigade and attended reunions. Additionally, he helped organize the Notre Dame G.A.R. post (nationally noted for being the only one comprised solely of priests and brothers), penned Memoirs of Chaplain Life (1893), and sought artifacts for the museum at Notre Dame.

W.L.D. O’Grady, a former captain with the 88th, unsuccessfully worked to collect all of the known Irish Brigade flags and bring them to Notre Dame. He saw Notre Dame as a good central location in the United States, even though the 69th New York National Guard Armory would be a more natural home. The unstated reason was most likely political: perhaps O’Grady didn’t want the flags in the hands of New York’s Democratic political machine. Owner of one of the flags was James D. Brady, a Virginia Republican member of the United States House of Representatives. Brady was sympathy to O’Grady’s cause, and in 1896 he donated to Fr. Corby the Second Irish (Tiffany) Colors of the 63rd New York Regiment.

GARC: Restored Irish Brigade flag (Second Irish (Tiffany) Colors), 2000.

Brady had intended to visit Notre Dame in order to make a formal presentation of the flag, but his schedule prevented him from doing so in 1896. A year after the flag had arrived at Notre Dame, it must have been clear that Brady was never going to make the trip. James F. Edwards, curator of Notre Dame’s Bishops Memorial Hall, acknowledged the gift to the museum in a monthly circular of donations with no special notice or fanfare.

For many years, the Second Irish Colors was on prominent display in Main Building and was relocated to Lemonnier Library (now Bond Hall) when it opened in 1917. From there it moved to the old ROTC building (now West Lake Hall), to the Snite Museum of Art, and to Pasquerilla Hall Center (the newer ROTC building). Finally in 1998, the flag was accessioned into the collections of the University Archives as an important piece of Notre Dame history.

GDIS 45/60: The Second Irish (Tiffany) Colors on display in the Wightman Art Gallery, c1930s-1940s. Typed caption on the reverse: “The battle flag of the Irish Brigade which was presented to the University of Notre Dame by Gen. James D. Brady. It rests in the Wightman memorial art gallery of the University of Notre Dame.”

The silk embroidered flag was in rough shape even back in 1896; its tears and holes were falsely assumed to be evidence of the ravages of war. In reality, this particular flag made by Tiffany & Co. was never carried into battle. It was commissioned by prominent New York merchants and was delivered to the Irish Brigade the day after the brigade had lost half of its men at the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. The banquet for the presentation of the new colors went on as planned, but ended early on account of renewed Confederate cannon fire.

The soldiers purportedly declined to carry the new colors into battle because the brigade was so depleted that it risked capture. A more likely explanation is that the soldiers preferred to follow a flag presented by the Democrat New York City government rather than one from American-born citizens of the city. General Thomas Meagher took it back to New York City where it was displayed for banquets, parades, and other patriotic events for the remainder of the war. As the last colonel of the 63rd regiment, James Brady took possession of the flag at the end of the Civil War.

Through the generosity of Jack and Kay Gibbons, conservation and restoration work began on the flag in February 2000. The enormous undertaking was completed that September and the flag, mounted and framed for preservation, was first displayed in Notre Dame’s Eck Visitors Center, then on exhibit at South Bend’s History Museum. Due to its delicate nature, the flag must spend years resting in storage after it has been on display for an extended period. However, the Second Irish (Tiffany) Colors of the 63rd New York Regiment is always available for serious scholars to view.

For more information about the Second Irish Colors and the conservation process, please see Blue for the Union and Green for Ireland: The Civil War Flags of the 63rd New York Volunteers, Irish Brigade (, by Peter J. Lysy, archivist at the University of Notre Dame.

Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh Online Portal Now Available

The Notre Dame Archives and Hesburgh Libraries recently opened an online portal featuring materials from the papers of longtime University President Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh:

Important stories of Hesburgh’s life and career are showcased by select photographs, video, audio, and writings, mostly from his own papers housed at the Notre Dame Archives. The hope is that the items digitized for this portal will aid scholars world-wide, but will also whet their research appetite to dig deeper into the collections in the Notre Dame Archives. The finding aid for the Father Theodore M. Hesburgh Papers shows the vast amount of materials originating from Hesburgh, but there are many other collections and resources within the Notre Dame Archives and Hesburgh Libraries that help to tell his remarkable life story.

See the full press release about the launch of the Hesburgh portal here:

For more information, please email, phone (574) 631-6448, or write to us: Notre Dame Archives, 607 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN, 46556.

Frank C. Walker

Frank C. Walker entered the Notre Dame Law School in 1906 and began an affiliation with the school which lasted throughout his life. He graduated in 1909 and later served on the University’s Board of Lay Trustees, worked for the Notre Dame Foundation, and was a member of the Notre Dame Club of New York. He was given an honorary degree in 1934 and the University’s Laetare Medal in 1948.

He supported Franklin D. Roosevelt’s campaigns for governor in 1928 and the presidency in 1932. During the 1932 campaign he served as Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee. President Roosevelt appointed him executive secretary of his President’s Executive Council in 1933, and he subsequently acted as executive director of the National Emergency Council.

Post Master General Frank C. Walker, Notre Dame Law School Class of 1909, and Miss Helen Richards of Hazelton, Pennsylvania (PA) work the USO-NCCS overseas Christmas Mailing Booth, National Catholic Community Service, Washington, D.C., c1943

In 1940 he was appointed to succeed Jim Farley as Postmaster General of the United States, in which position he served until 1945. In 1946 he was appointed by President Truman as alternate delegate to the first United Nations General Assembly session in London. He returned to his business interests in N.Y. as director of W. R. Grace & Co. and the Grace National Bank of New York.

The Papers of Frank C. Walker document his life from his early days in Butte, Montana to his tenure as Postmaster General during World War II. Walker’s career in national politics was the result of his long friendship with Franklin Roosevelt. Much of the collection consists of office files from his service in the Roosevelt administrations, first as head of the Executive Council and the National Emergency Council and then as Postmaster General. It was also at Roosevelt’s behest that Walker served as Democratic Party treasurer and chairman of the Democratic National Committee. It was loyalty to Roosevelt, rather than personal ambition, that kept Walker in public service.

A full page from a Frank Walker scrapbook, c1933

Most of Walker’s papers are from the positions he held within the New Deal and the Democratic Party. The Roosevelt campaigns, the formulation of New Deal programs, the selection of Harry Truman as vice-president in 1944, and other political events of the 1930s and 1940s are all discussed in Walker’s Papers and have been of most interest to historians. But the collection also documents Walker’s early career as a lawyer in Butte, his work as general counsel and president of his family’s theatre business, and his personal interests in the University of Notre Dame and Catholic charities. These parts of his life are not represented by the extensive office files that document his days in public service, but it is clear from the Walker papers that his life included much more than politics and government service.

A good source for information on all aspects of Walker’s life are the memoirs he worked on during his retirement but never completed. The transcripts, drafts, and notes that he produced as part of the project fill in many of the gaps in his papers. This is particularly true of his college days, the time he spent as a trial lawyer in Butte, and his work with the Comerford theater business. His recollections of Roosevelt, New Deal programs and personalities, and the politics of the period offer a personal point of view that is missing from the more public office files he accumulated. The memoirs tell us much about Walker, who despite his many years in public life was still a very private man.

A full page from a Frank Walker scrapbook with newspaper clippings regarding his Laetare Medal, installation of Archbishop Spellman, and United States delegates at the UNO Assembly, c1939-1949

Frank C. Walker donated his papers to the Archives of the University of Notre Dame in 1948, although the entire collection was not transferred at that time. After his death in 1959 the Walker family gave additional material to complete the donation. Walker’s books, photographs, and record albums have been taken from his papers to form separate collections, each with its own finding aid. His books cover a wide variety of topics, although politics and the New Deal dominate. The photographs are largely from his tenure in government service, particularly with the Post Office; they include portraits of Walker with many of the political figures of the 1930s and 1940s. The record albums that came with the Walker Papers include a few of his speeches. In 1990 an oral history was conducted with Thomas J. Walker and Laura Walker Jenkins, Frank Walker’s son and daughter. The transcript and tapes from this interview are also available.

Elizabeth Ann Seton – America’s First Saint

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton (1774-1821) was canonized as America’s first native-born saint in 1975.  As part of the mission of the Archives of University of Notre Dame to collect and maintain records that document the life of the Catholic Church and her people as lived in the American context, the University Archives holds a number of collections containing material regarding Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton.  Most notably are the Robert Seton family papers.  Robert Seton, grandson of St. Elizabeth, was the titular archbishop of Heliopolis, founder of the American Sisters of Charity, and the founder of Seton Hall University.

Engraving of Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton around the age of 22, after a 1796 portrait

Letter from Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton to her daughter Anna, 12/31/1798

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton’s prayer book with handwritten notes, 1812

Advertisement for the Masses in celebration of the canonization of Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton at the Novitiate Chapel of the Order of Our Lady of Mercy in LeRoy, New York, 1975.

The Juggler

The Juggler is a student literary and art magazine.  The first issue was published December 1919 as a stand-alone college humor and satire publication, which were common among other universities at the time.

Cover of the first issue of the Juggler, December 1919

In the prologue of the first 1919 issue, the editors write that they are not intending to replace the student-written literary essays and poems published at that time in Scholastic.  The editors write that they “shall strive to represent, for better or for worse, the lighter side of University life.”

Cartoon from the October 1924 issue of the Juggler.
Puns were common place in the
Juggler during its early decades.

Over the years, Scholastic discontinued publishing such fictional student work and the Juggler took over that role and shifted toward publishing more serious literary and artistic works.  Old issues of the Juggler can be found in the University Archives and new issues are published once a semester.

Catholic Parish History Collection

During the past several decades, interest in parish histories has grown considerably in America. Throughout the United States, pastors and parishioners have become more keenly aware of the need to preserve the history of their parishes in written form. Consequently, the publication of parish histories has flourished.

Saint Mary’s Church Diamond Jubilee Parish History of Annapolis, Maryland, 1928

The Parish History Collection represents a specialized resource in the holdings of the Archives of the University of Notre Dame.  The core collection was originally formed through the dedicated and persistent efforts of Francis P. Clark (1936-1979).  The collection includes occasional items which are not strictly parish histories, as, for example, histories of schools, religious congregations, and some diocesan histories. It should be noted that the University Archives holds works on priests, religious orders, lay organizations, dioceses, and schools often affiliated with the parishes as separately organized subject collections.  It should also be noted that the University Archives generally does not have the actual parish records and that the parish histories seldom contain much information about individual parishioners.

The parish history collection in the Archives contains information on more than 2000 parishes throughout the United States. The major portion of the Archives collection documents parishes in the Midwest and the Ohio River Valley. The microfilm segment of the Archives collection sometimes duplicates printed items.

Parish History of St. Francis Seraph in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1884 (in German)

The Theodore M. Hesburgh Library, a separate entity from the University Archives, also holds a number of parish histories in their Catholic Americana Parish History Collection.  The Library collection contains printed parish histories, and some newspaper accounts, of more than 1300 Catholic parishes throughout the United States and other countries.  The Library collection continues to expand through solicitation, purchase, and gifts received.

Both collections contain books, pamphlets, newspapers clippings, and ephemeral materials which frequently describe the history of the parish from its inception to the date of publication of the work. Frequently parish histories celebrate the anniversary of the founding of a parish or the dedication of a church. Also included are jubilee celebrations, financial statements, invitations, general histories, directories, bulletins, and some photographs, which are mainly from the Indiana and Kentucky region. Most items in the collection reflect activities of parishes beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. Rarely do items pertain to parishes prior to 1800.

Cover of the Souvenir of the Centennial Celebration of St. Patrick’s (Old Cathedral),
New York, New York, April 23, 1909

Parish histories also are found in other collections in the University Archives, including the following collections:

Grover Miller Scrapbook

Grover Miller was the photo editor of the 1916 Dome yearbook.  Like many other students at the time, Miller kept a scrapbook of the photos he took and collected and various ephemera he collected.  However, unlike other students, Miller’s position with the Dome meant that he collected photographs beyond his sphere of friends and interests.  Fortunately for us today, this scrapbook richly documents student and campus life at Notre Dame in the mid-1910s.

Students working on the Dome yearbook –
unidentified, Ray Humphrey, and Grover Miller, c1915

Photography was also progressing technologically, making it easier and more practical to capture action, candids, and interiors.  This technology allowed for the people’s personalities to show through the photographs.  This was more difficult to achieve in the 1800s with long exposure times and complicated chemical processes.

Two students setting wooden pins in the Walsh Hall Bowling Alley, c1915

Grover Miller donated his scrapbook to the University Archives in the 1970s and it continues to be a valuable resource as it gives a very unique insight into life at Notre Dame around 1915.

A group of students, including Frank Rydzewski, George Waage, and Ray Miller,
eating Chinese food in a dorm room?, c1915

The Archdiocese of New Orleans Collection

Early in the 1880’s Professor James F. Edwards, librarian of the University of Notre Dame, aware that irreplaceable items pertaining to the history of Catholicism in America were constantly in danger of being lost through neglect, carelessness or willful destruction, began to implement a plan which he had conceived for establishing at Notre Dame a national center for Catholic historical materials. The frail but hard-working Edwards set about acquiring all kinds of relevant items, including relics and portraits of the bishops and other missionary clergymen, a reference library of printed materials, and an extensive manuscript collection.  Notre Dame’s ambitious scheme for an official American Catholic archives had to be given up in 1918 when Canon Law was changed to require each bishop to maintain his own archives.

James Edwards acquired the The Archdiocese of New Orleans Collection in the 1890s and it remains a very important collection in the University Archives.  The first two items in the collection are dated 1576 and 1633 and are two of the oldest documents in the University Archives.  There are a number of items for the period from 1708 to 1783, but the great bulk of material pertains to the years 1786 through 1803. Consulted mainly by historians of the Catholic Church, this collections also proves useful also to secular historians because of the close connection between Church and State which existed during both the French and Spanish colonial regimes in Louisiana and Florida.

De Perea, el Padre Fray Estevan, Guardian of the Province of New Mexico
to Very Rev. Francis de Apodaca, Commissary General of all New Spain,
of the order of St. Francis.

In the 1960s, with the aid of a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the University Archives microfilmed the Records of the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas, 1576-1803, containing the early documents from the New Orleans collection.  A digital edition is now available to researchers online with abstracts in English summarizing the original Spanish, French, and Latin documents.  The online guide gives extensive information on the provenance of the collection, the history of the diocese, and the explanation of how to use the collection.  Researchers can browse by date or name or can search by keyword.  For more information, please contact the Archivist and Curator of Manuscripts.

<img class="aligncenter" src="" alt="" width="434" height="549" 1719 Feb. 14
Nepuouet, Galpand, notary in the court of Montreuil Bellay and Arpairteur sworn resident at the royal seat of Senechaussee de Saumur and Andre Hullin, notary royal. Rochettes, (France)
A marriage agreement between Perrine Bazille widow of Jean Douet, laborer, mother and guardian of Marie, Perrine, Francoise and Anne Douet her children and those of the deceased on the one side; and on the other side Gille Beaumont, laborer. The parties live at Rochettes, parish of Concourson. Property arrangements were made. (This document was drawn up in France).