Reverend William McGarvey (1861-1924) was an Episcopal priest in Philadelphia who founded a religious order in 1891 called the Congregation of the Companions of the Holy Saviour. Members of the order commit to vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. McGarvey later left for the Roman Catholic Church after the adoption of the “open pulpit” resolution at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1907. This resolution allowed clergy from other churches and denominations to speak freely in Episcopal churches and was a major change to the Episcopal canon that caused considerable division in the church, and led to other priests leaving for the Roman Catholic Church as well.

The Reverend William McGarvey papers contain 4 personal notebooks with handwritten sermon and lecture notes and outlines. One notebook is labeled “Philosophia”, which details McGarvey’s thoughts and observations on Lazarus, Marian devotion, Lenten symbolism, the “Temple of God,” and church doctrine in general. Also included are pages that have been removed from a notebook. The notebooks cover a wide range of theological matters, including youth, holy communion, mortality, and the Ascension of Christ.