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Catholic Central Verein of America Records

Identifier: CCV

Scope and Content

Correspondence files from the Central Bureau, most of them involving Frederick P. Kenkel and dating from his term as director (1908-1952); concerning Central Verein business and Catholic topics of the day, including a large file on anti-Catholic speakers claiming to be ex-priests and nuns. Correspondents include John J. Cochran, Brother Joseph Dutton, Mary Filser Lohr, Joseph Matt, John Rothensteiner, and George Shuster, and many prominent German Catholics.

Microfilm contains notes on early proposals for a Central Verein, ca. 1853; minutes of annual national conventions, 1855-1865, including treasurer's reports, corresponding secretary's reports, and resolutions; national convention programs, ca. 1888-1962; state convention programs, ca. 1896-1960; constitution and bylaws, 1895; constitutions of German Catholic benevolent societies; correspondence of Frederick P. Kenkel, 1938-1945; and a scrapbook from the 1937 Central Verein convention.

Printed material consists largely of convention material (programs, proceedings, and official reports of national and state conferences) with material from every national convention from 1893 through 1967, except for 1902, 1907, 1915, 1965, and 1966.

Programs generally contain greetings to the delegates from dignitaries of the host city, histories of host cities and parishes in host cities, histories of the national or state Verein, statements from national or state officers, a schedule of convention events, letters from church dignitaries, lists of officers, lists of delegates, lists of organizing committee members and sponsors, and advertisements.

In German and English.


  • Creation: 1826-1972 (bulk 1908-1952).


Language of Materials

German , English .

Conditions Governing Access

Contractual restrictions may apply.


A national union of Catholic lay societies founded in 1855. The original organization consisted almost entirely of societies serving German Catholic immigrants and their families. The Verein underwent a major reorganization ca. 1900, becoming a national association built upon state federations of Catholic societies, rather than having each local society hold direct membership in the national association.

A permanent Central Bureau was established at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1908, with Frederick P. Kenkel as director. An affiliated National Catholic Women's Union (originally the Frauenbund) was established by 1916. The two organizations generally held joint conventions at both the national and state levels.

The Verein and the Women's Union engaged in such activities as newspaper publishing, assisting German immigrants, providing aid to the sick, providing a form of life insurance for members, and assisting widows and orphans. The two organizations had lost most of their German character by the end of World War II, and eventually the Central Verein changed its name to the Central Union.


8 linear feet. 11 reels of microfilm. 6 linear feet of printed material.

Catholic Central Verein of America Records
University of Notre Dame Archives
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Archives Repository

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