News – Fall 2007

Gordon Zahn, one of the leaders of the Catholic peace movement, died last Dec. at the age of 89.  Many years ago he made arrangements to donate his papers to the Notre Dame Archives, and last Aug., with the help of Professor Loretta M. Morris, the first shipment has recently arrived.  Professor Morris and her student assistants at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles produced an item level description that covers more than 14,600 items (15 linear feet), among them letters written by Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.  The collection includes Zahn’s correspondence, Pax Christi files, articles, books, photographs, digital files, and audio-visual material.  They also include material on Franz Jägerstätter, the Austrian Catholic executed for his refusal to serve in Hitler’s army. Zahn’s biography of Jägerstätter helped increase devotion to him as a saint and martyr, and Jägerstätter was beatified in October 2007.  The Zahn Papers join our other collections that document the Catholic peace movement, including the papers of Gerard Vanderhaar, Eileen Egan, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, and David Bowman, S.J., and records of Zahn’s Center on Conscience and War, Pax Christi U.S.A., the Catholic Peace Fellowship, and the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center.

In November we received the papers of James O’Gara, a former editor of Commonweal and one of the most influential American Catholic editors of the 20th century, from his daughters, Margaret and Monica O’Gara. He died in 2003 at the age of 85. His papers consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, typed speeches, typescripts of television shows, articles, university course lectures, presentations for parish groups on the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, photographs, and printed ephemera dating from 1918 until 2003.  They amount to three linear feet.