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National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company Records

Identifier: NCR

Scope and Content

Editorial correspondence (1964-1990), minutes and meeting material from the board of directors (1964-1976); publisher's files (1964-1985); financial and fundraising records (1964-1979); advertising and marketing records (ca. 1964-1977); audio and video tape recordings of an abortion debate between Daniel Maguire and James T. Burtchaell (9 February 1987); and photographs.

Principle correspondents include editors Robert G. Hoyt, Arthur Jones, and Thomas C. Fox; publishers Michael Greene, Donald Thorman, and Jason Petosa; and board members Joseph Fichter, Daniel Herr, Frank Brennan, and John Fallon.

Other correspondents include Michael Wales, Martin Marty, Charles Helmsing, Joseph M. Noonan, Sister Francis Borgia Rothluebber, Andrew M. Greeley, Joseph Cunneen, Daniel Berrigan, Phillip Berryman, Patty Crowley, John J. Egan, John Tracy Ellis, Eugene C. Kennedy, Hans Küng, Sidney Lens, Desmond O'Grady, and Richard Rashke.

The bulk of the records relate to the company's primary endeavor, The National Catholic Reporter (NCR), but the collection also documents the company's other publications and activities, including Celebration, Successful Marriage, Link, Praying, Caring Community, Gathering, Catechist's Connection, Leaven Press, and a series of cassette recordings. The Notre Dame Archives also holds a run of NCR back issues (1964 to present).


  • Creation: 1964-[ongoing]


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Restricted by contract.


Nonprofit, lay-directed publishing firm based in Kansas City, Missouri.

The first issue of The National Catholic Reporter was dated October 28, 1964, published by the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, a not-for-profit corporation established under the laws of Missouri earlier that year. The President of the Corporation was John J. Fallon, a Kansas City corporation lawyer; the Vice President was Dan Herr, President of the Thomas More Association; the Secretary-Treasurer was Frank E. Brennan, general agent of the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company in Kansas City; the Publisher was Michael J. Greene; the Editor was Robert O. Hoyt; and Rev. Vincent J. Lovett, of the Diocese of Kansas City, was added as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Board of Directors.

Father Lovett and Robert Hoyt had been on the staff of the earlier Kansas City - St. Joseph Register in 1958. Under Bishop John Cody, the Catholic Reporter was begun in 1959 with Robert Hoyt as first Editor and Michael Greene as Managing Editor. By 1964, the Catholic Reporter had a circulation of approximately 25,000 within the diocese and perhaps another 3,000 outside it. In 1964, Fallon, Greene, Hoyt and their associates requested permission of Bishop Helmsing for the establishment of the national Catholic newspaper. The bishop gave his approval, offered personal financial assistance, and permitted the new paper to use the facilities and staff of the Catholic Reporter. Hoyt continued to serve as editor of both papers, and Greene served as publisher of the National Catholic Reporter and, managing editor of the Catholic Reporter. The National Catholic Reporter had a paid subscription of 11,000 for its first edition (October 28, 1964); about 15,000 by November 23; 23,000 by December 19; and 34,000 by March of 1965. One year later the circulation was 67,000; it was 76,000 by March of 1967; and 90,000 by March of 1968.

Father Lovett resigned his position in July, 1965, and Michael Greene resigned as publisher in September of that year. Robert E. Burns of U.S. Catholic was named to the Board of Directors in October, 1965, and Donald Thorman was named publisher in December. In July of 1966, Donald Thorman, Joseph Cunneen, Martin Marty, and Rev. Joseph Fichter, S.J., were added to the Board of Directors. Four months earlier, in March of 1966, a Board of Consultants had been established to advise on editorial matters: John Cogley, George Shuster, Sister Aloysius Schaldenbrand, Father Raymond Boller, Msgr. George Higgins, Msgr. William Baum, and John Mulholland. This Board of Consultants held its first meeting on April 3.

In October 1968, Bishop Helmsing sent a letter to the National Catholic Reporter, issuing "an official condemnation" of the paper and requesting the editors to remove the term "Catholic" from the masthead. At a special meeting on October 12, the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company unanimously declined to remove the term "Catholic" from the paper's title, and at that same meeting, after expressing full agreement with the action taken by the Board of Directors, Mr. Fallon submitted his resignation as President of the Board and as a member of the National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company.


333 linear feet. 3 audio tapes. 5 video tapes. 4 linear inches of photographs.

National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company 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