Posts with the tag: Young Catholic Messenger

The Archivist’s Nook: Celebrating Christmas with The Young Catholic Messenger

Young Catholic Messenger, Christmas Edition, 1891, with poem ‘The Babe of Bethlehem,’ by Eleanor C. Donnelly and engraving by O. Weimar. Special Collections, Catholic University.

A few years back our blog featured covers for New Year’s editions from the digital version of our Young Catholic Messenger collection. It was a premier title from Catholic publisher, George Pflaum, located in Dayton, Ohio, between the years 1885 to 1970.  In the nineteenth century, Protestant Americans were not very welcoming to the millions of newly arriving Catholics. By the 1880s, these immigrants created a network of parish and parochial schools which taught their own religion and culture. Catholic schooling naturally necessitated having a Catholic educational publishing system. Pflaum, being a pioneer publisher in this field, produced the Young Catholic Messenger, the Junior Catholic Messenger, Our Little Messenger, and, following later the Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact comic book, from 1946 to 1970.

Young Catholic Messenger, Christmas Edition, 1909, with poem ‘Happy Christmas,’ by A. F. Klinkner and painting by William Dobson. Special Collections, Catholic University.

In celebration of Christmas, please see highlights and select examples of YCM Christmas covers culled from several key decades during its existence. The first, created in 1891, featured both a poem and an engraving. Philadelphian author, Eleanor C. Donnelly (1838-1917), was a well-known Catholic writer of her time and created the poem ‘The Babe of Bethlehem.’ Known as ‘The Poet of the Pure Soul,’ she was quite prolific, having over thirty books and pamphlets, and hundreds of poems to her name. She also edited a magazine called Our Lady of Good Counsel, as well as The Catholic Standard and Times, the weekly Philadelphia diocesan newspaper. A collection of her works is held by Villanova University. The engraving, by O. Weimar, depicts sleeping children exhausted from playing with their presents while protected by angels.

Young Catholic Messenger, Christmas Edition, December 20, 1935, with poem ‘The Carol of a Star,’ by Alice P. Clark. Special Collections, Catholic University.

The second cover, published in 1909, is in much the same vein as that of the one nearly twenty years earlier, consisting of both a poem and a painting. This poem, titled ‘Happy Christmas’ is relatively unknown. The painting is a work created by William Dobson (1817-1898), the English painter known for his religious scenes. Not only was he associated with the Royal Academy and the Royal Watercolour Society,  he also spent time on artistic pursuits in Germany, France, and Italy. The third cover, created in 1935, presents ‘The Carol of a Star,’ by Alice C. Clark, and is illustrated with a ring of various related scenes from the first Christmas, while the fourth and final cover, dated from 1965, reflects the turmoil that existed during the 1960s. The theme pertains to the Biblical question that asks if there is room at the end for weary travelers. This contemporary rendition connects the cover art with a short story about the plight of refugees arriving from totalitarian communist regimes like Cuba and Vietnam.

Young Catholic Messenger, Christmas Edition, December 17, 1965, ‘Will There be Room at the Inn?’ Special Collections, Catholic University.

Special Collections at Catholic University is currently seeking The Young Catholic Messenger volumes 1-6, 1885-1890; volumes 8-24, 1892-1908; volumes 26-28, 1910-1912; and volumes 32-40, 1915-1925. We would be pleased to receive either individual issues or full volumes as a donation, loans for scanning, or links to copies that were scanned elsewhere. We would be happy to discuss fees required. For more information, please contact us via email at lib-archives@cua.edu. For additional Christmas blog posts, please see ‘A Merry Treasure Chest Christmas to All,’ ‘A Very Merry Christmas from Fathers Hartke and Magner,’ and ‘The American Christmas Songbook’ series by Thad Garrett. Best wishes for a COVID free Christmas and 2021!

 

The Archivist’s Nook: New Year’s Greetings from The Young Catholic Messenger

January 1, 1891, illustration of birds with a quote from Matthew 6: 26: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” The Young Catholic Messenger Collection. American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

The Young Catholic Messenger, 1885-1970, was the premier publication of George Pflaum of Dayton, Ohio, who also produced the more famous though not so long-lived Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact, 1946-1972, subject of several other blog posts from The Archivist’s Nook. We thought highlighting the YCM would be a great way to start off the New Year, and also make an appeal for donations of missing issues, either print or digital copies, from the first forty years we need to complete our collection, especially the digital collection we are building online.

In the nineteenth century largely Protestant America was wary of the millions of Catholic immigrants coming to the United States. Parochial schools were not trusted to teach young Catholics to be proper Americans and many states passed constitutional amendments forbidding the use of tax money for their funding. Nevertheless, by the 1880s the American Catholic Church had a wide network of parishes and parochial schools to safeguard the religion and culture of Catholic ethnic groups. Most of the teachers were religious sisters and priorities in the classrooms beyond knowledge included piety and discipline. The growth of Catholic schooling naturally generated a Catholic educational publishing industry. The YCM was the inaugural publication of the Pflaum Publishing Company, which created religious and civic reading materials distributed to students in the Catholic parochial schools that later included the Junior Catholic Messenger, Our Little Messenger, and the aforementioned Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact.

In the YCM’s early years the issues tended to be shorter and more literary in focus, while later on the number of pages per issue increased as more news and current events were included.  The YCM was published during the calendar year, January to December, through 1925, going from twenty-four issues a year to thirty-two. In 1926 they published a shortened volume, number 42, January – June, with twenty-four issues (again). This was followed by volume 43 with forty issues and aligned to the academic school year, September 1926 – June 1927. This was cut back to May in 1934-1935 and the issues numbers steadily declined until publication ceased in 1970, going down to thirty-eight issues in 1931-1932, thirty-seven in 1934-1935, thirty-six in 1940-1941, thirty-five in 1943-1944, thirty-four in 1944-1945, thirty-three in 1957-1958, thirty-two in 1961-1962, and only twenty-eight in the last year of 1969-1970.

The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives of The Catholic University of America currently needs access to Young Catholic Messenger volumes 1-6, 1885-1890; volumes 8-24, 1892-1908; volumes 26-28, 1910-1912; and volumes 32-40, 1915-1925. We are open to receiving individual issues as well as full volumes for donation, loan for scanning, or links to copies scanned elsewhere. We are also willing to negotiate any reasonable fees required. For more information, please contact us via email at lib-archives@cua.edu.

January 1, 1909, cover includes a New Year’s poem and an illustration of the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt. The Young Catholic Messenger Collection. American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.
January 1, 1913, New Year’s poem and photo of boy sled riding. The Young Catholic Messenger Collection. American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.
January 1, 1926, New Year’s poem, story, and illustration. The Young Catholic Messenger Collection. American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.