Three years having passed since the Redemptorist Archives moved from Brooklyn, New York, to a new facility in Philadelphia, the time seems right for a review. This archive houses many interesting artifacts and documents important for American Catholic history, as well as a large research library with a focus on the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). These priests and brothers, founded in Italy in 1732 by St. Alphonsus Liguori, arrived in the United States in 1832. The Redemptorist Archives are the repository for the records of the American provinces (Baltimore and Denver), together with their vice-provinces past and present, and overseas and Canadian missions. In addition to paper documents, the collections consist of three-dimensional objects, photographs, films, slides, art works, and textiles. Redemptorists have worked primarily with German Catholics in the nineteenth century and multitudes of ethnic groups in the twentieth century. While their tradition has been to serve the church as missionaries, they have also had pastoral control of parishes in nearly every major American city for at least a portion of the last 180 years. The records housed in the archive in Philadelphia reflect how a group of consecrated religious helped build the church in the United States and established churches and chapels in mission territories in Canada, the Caribbean, Brazil, Paraguay, Thailand, and Nigeria. The records show how this community adapted to changing circumstances, retrenched, and found themselves in new moments by which to bring the promise of plentiful redemption to those most in need. After a short exposition of the collections found in the Redemptorist Archives, I chart the course of the last three years in three areas: principal accessions, local impact, and the work of the archivist. When it moved to Philadelphia in December 2015, the archive entered a Smithsonian-grade, climate-controlled environment, with a state-of-the-art fire suppression system and ample security. Given the rich body of material found there, the archive has been valuable for a wide array of historical research, cinematic adaptations, genealogy, exhibitions, and educational programs.


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pp. 61-72
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