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Diocese of Marquette Collection

Identifier: DMA

Scope and Content Note

This collection focuses primarily on the early years of the Diocese of Marquette (then known as the Diocese of Sault Sainte Marie and Marquette) under Bishop Frederic Baraga and later Bishop Ignatius Mrak. Included are the correspondence and papers of Ignatius Mrak; transcripts of letters written by Ignatius Mrak and Frederic Baraga; catechisms composed by Ignatius Mrak, Francis X. Pierz, and Reverend Nicholas Louis Sifferath in Ottawa; a manuscript polyglot dictionary of French, German, and Ojibwe; and a printed biography of Bishop Baraga in Slovene. Materials include newspaper clippings, correspondence, pamphlets, schedules, maps, marriage licenses, periodicals, transcriptions, and microfilm.


  • Creation: 1808-1968 (bulk 1839-1895)


Language of Materials

German, Ojibwa, Latin, English, French, Slovenian, and Hungarian.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. Advance notice is required.


In 1853, the area of Upper Michigan came under the jurisdiction of the missionary Frederic Baraga (1797-1868), Vicar Apostolic. In 1857, the Vicariate became the Diocese of Sault Saint Marie, with the transfer of the see to Marquette coming in 1864. Baraga requested the Vatican rename the Diocese and in 1865 it became the Diocese of Sault Sainte Marie and Marquette until 1937 when it was renamed the Diocese of Marquette. Baraga served as first bishop and Ignatius Mrak (1810-1901) as his Vicar-General. Baraga was born in the Duchy of Carniola in modern day Slovenia and was ordained in 1823. He traveled to the United States in 1830 and spent the rest of his life serving the Indigenous American people of the upper peninsula of Michigan. After Baraga’s death, Mrak succeeded him as the second bishop of the Diocese in 1870 until his resignation in 1879. Mrak was also born in the Duchy of Carniola and was ordained in 1837. He arrived at the Diocese of Detroit in 1845 and quickly learned multiple Algonquian dialects, including Ottawa. After his resignation, John Vertin (1844-1899), another Slovenian-born priest, became bishop until his death.


1 Cubic Feet (One half legal document case, one oversize legal document case, one microfilm reel.)

Processing Information

Mrak papers filmed from Mrak correspondence in the Diocese of Marquette collection in the Archives of the University of Notre Dame.

Processing Information

Reprocessed in June 2023 for folder-level description and reparative description.

Diocese of Marquette Collection
University of Notre Dame Archives
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Finding aid updated in 2023 by Morgan Lee Wilson

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Archives Repository

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