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Nelson J. Callahan Collection

Identifier: NJC

Scope and Content

Personal and research papers of Rev. Nelson J. Callahan; consisting of documents pertaining to Church affairs in the Diocese of Cleveland and the Archdiocese of New York; photocopies of Richard Lalor Burtsell's diary (1865-1912) and related material; and research papers regarding Rev. Eugene O'Callaghan, author of the Jus letters. Also printed material and photographs related to Father Callahan's research and audio tapes with recordings of talks, songs, and teacher training lectures given by Fr. Callahan.


  • Creation: 1840-2012.


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Born the 20th of August 1927, Nelson J. Callahan grew up in St. Ann's parish in the diocese of Cleveland and attended a local high school, St. Ignatius. An athlete, Callahan played several sports at the high school level and even pitched for a local ball club, Wenham Trucking. He graduated from two seminaries, Sacred Heart in Detroit and, in 1953, St. Mary in Cleveland.

Father Callahan served in several local Cleveland parishes, including St. Patrick in West Park, St. Paul on Euclid Ave, St. Agatha in Glenville, and St. Peter on Superior Ave. In 1967, he became the resident chaplain of St. John College, and from 1974 until retirement in 2002 he served as pastor of St. Raphael parish in Bay Village.

Fr. Callahan is notable for his published works: A Case for Due Process in the Church: Father Eugene O'Callaghan, American Pioneer of Dissent (1971), The Diary of Richard L. Burtsell, Priest of New York: the Early Years, 1865-1868 (1976), Irish Americans and Their Communities of Cleveland (1978), Years in Passing: St. Ignatius High School, an Anecdotal History (1986), and History of St. Malachi Parish: Story of a People (1990). He was deeply interested in the local histories of parishes and their wider impact on the church as a whole.

He died Tuesday, the 15th of January 2013, in Lakewood Hospital at the age of 85. In his will he donated his papers to the Archives of the University of Notre Dame in honor of his father, Nelson J. Callahan of the Notre Dame class of 1923.


18 linear feet.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Rev. Nelson J. Callahan in honor of his father, Nelson James Callahan, who graduated from Notre Dame on the 10th of June 1923.

Nelson J. Callahan Collection
University of Notre Dame Archives
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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