Francis B. Gallagher collection of Fenian Brotherhood records, 1862-1870 (MC 14)

The Fenian Brotherhood, the American branch of the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood, was established in 1858 with the goal of establishing an independent Ireland. As well as raising money and gathering arms to send back to Ireland, the Fenians also engaged in military activity against the British, leading two failed invasions of Canada. Factionalism within the organization led to the Brotherhood’s decline by the 1880s.

This collection primarily contains the correspondence of Francis B. Gallagher, a Fenian Senator and district treasurer from Buffalo, NY with other senior Fenian officials. Also included are some administrative records, including circular letters, finance reports, and meeting minutes. The papers document the Brotherhood’s activities, including its failed invasion of Canada, as well as the internal divisions that led to the organization’s demise.

1 box, .4 linear ft.

*Materials in this collection have been digitized and can be viewed at the Digital Library @ Villanova University. The collection was also used for Villanova Library’s virtual exhibit: Torn Between Brothers: A look at the internal divisions that weakened the Fenian Brotherhood.

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Martin I. J. Griffin papers, 1842-1911 (MC 8)

A prominent Catholic historian and Philadelphia native, Martin I.J. Griffin (1842-1911) founded the American Catholic Historical Society  in 1884 and served as its secretary. He also belonged to several other historical associations. Widely known as a church historian, Griffin authored many works dealing with Catholic history and was a frequent contributor to and editor of several magazines and periodicals, including The Irish Catholic Benevolent Union Journal, American Catholic Historical Researches and Griffin’s Journal.

He was the assistant editor of The Catholic Standard and Times, the official Philadelphia diocesan newspaper. Griffin also served as the historian of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Society of Philadelphia as well as secretary for the Irish Catholic Benevolent Union.

This collection contains mostly correspondence as well as a clippings file organized by subject dealing principally with Griffin’s research on the Catholic Church in America. Miscellaneous memorabilia, souvenirs, and other ephemera are also included.

65 Boxes, 26 linear ft.