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Gordon Zahn Papers

Identifier: ZHN

Scope and Content

Correspondence, memoranda, clippings, reports, and other papers; photocopies, brochures, printed ephemera, pamphlets, books, and other printed material; photographs, audio-visual material, and digital data; representing the career of Gordon Charles Zahn, especially his life-long efforts to promote peace, and his work in making known the life and martyrdom of Franz Jaegerstaetter.

Papers include documentation of academic career, his writings, his life at Camp Simon as a conscientious objector during World War II, and his participation in the Catholic peace movement, including Pax Christi USA, the Center on Conscience and War, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the Catholic Peace Fellowship; with correspondence involving Eileen Egan, Joseph Fahey, Jim Forest, Bp. Thomas Gumbleton, Bp. Caroll T. Dozier, Abp. Thomas D. Roberts, Thomas Cornell, Daniel Berrigan, Philip Berrigan, Thomas Merton, Robert Hovda, Carol ter Maat, Gerard Vanderhaar, and Michael Hovey; and material on Dorothy Day, Eugene McCarthy, and Franz Jaegerstaetter.


  • Creation: 1998-2003.


Language of Materials



Gordon C. Zahn was born 7 August 1918 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended Milwaukee public schools until 1936, when he graduated from Riverside High School. He did clerical office work until 1942, and civilian public service as a conscientious objector, 1942-1946. After the war he attended St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota (1946-1947) and the College of St. Thomas, from which he graduated in 1949.

He earned a master's degree in 1950 and a Ph.D. in 1952 from the Catholic University of America, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard, 1952-1953. He taught sociology at Loyola University, Chicago, 1953-1967, was a Senior Fulbright Research Fellow in Wuerzburg, 1956-1957, and a Senior Simon Fellow at the University of Manchester, 1964-1966. He served as Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, 1967-1980, and Professor Emeritus from his retirement in 1980 until his death in Milwaukee 9 December 2007.

He wrote several books, including Readings in Sociology (1961), German Catholics and Hitler's Wars (1962), What is Society? (1964), In Solitary Witness: the Life and Death of Franz Jaegerstaetter (1964), War, Conscience, and Dissent (1967), The Military Chaplaincy: a Study of Role Tension in the Royal Air Force (1969), Thomas Merton on Peace (editor 1971), and Another Part of the War: the Camp Simon Story (1979). With Eileen Egan he was co-founder of Pax Christi USA and throughout his adult life was known as a leading Catholic pacifist.


15 linear feet

Gordon Zahn Papers
University of Notre Dame Archives
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Archives Repository

607 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame Indiana 46556 United States
(574) 631-6448