Associated Sulpicians of the United States Archives
The Associated Sulpicians of the United States Archives is the repository for the U.S. Province of the Society of St. Sulpice. The Sulpicians are a society of diocesan priests
dedicated to the formation of priests for the Catholic Church. The Society was founded in 1641 by Rev. Jean-Jacques Olier (1608-1657) and derives its name from the parish of Saint-Sulpice, Paris, where Fr. Olier was curé.
Here he established a seminary based upon a spiritual renewal of the diocesan priesthood as envisioned by the Council of Trent (1545-1563). Others who shared his commitment to reform led to the founding of the Society and Sulpicians were soon staffing diocesan seminaries across France. In 1657, the Sulpicians established a North American presence in Montreal
when four members were sent to serve as missionaries to the colonists and native peoples of New France. In 1791, at the invitation of Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore, four Sulpicians arrived in the United States as a refuge from the French Revolution.
They immediately established St. Mary’s Seminary as the country’s first Catholic seminary.
The records in the archives document the history of the Society in this country, including the institutions and programs the Sulpicians have founded or staffed and prominent members of the Society, as well as their influence on the development of the U.S. Catholic Church.
Today, the Sulpicians own and operate St. Mary's Seminary & University in Baltimore, MD, and staff St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, CA, and the Theological College of The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Province was established in 1903. Until that time, the community had been included in the French Province. Today, the Society is comprised of three provinces: France, Canada, and the United States. For more information
on the history of the U.S. Province, see Christopher Kauffman’s Tradition and Transformation in Catholic Culture: the Priests
of Saint Sulpice in the United States from 1791 to the Present (New York: Macmillan, 1988) or visit the website of the
Individuals interested in the records of the French and Canadian Provinces will need to contact them directly.
Researchers are able to access open collections through the existing card catalog system.
The holdings are arranged according to the following record series:
Every effort is made to open Province records for research as expeditiously as possible. Province policy requires that some of these records be closed to researchers for varying lengths of time.
Placing restrictions on the research use of records for specified lengths of time is a standard archival procedure. While the Associated Archives at St. Mary’s Seminary & University is responsible for administering the records restriction policy, the policy itself is determined by the administrators of the U.S. Province of the Society of St. Sulpice who produce and use the records in the course of their activities. Restrictions are placed on the use of records in order to protect the privacy rights of individuals and institutions.
Authorized personnel from Provincial offices may arrange for the
transfer of records to the Archives or their retrieval at anytime.
Please see the Records Transfer page
for detailed instructions.
Archival records are made available to qualified researchers in accordance with the Access policy adopted by the Associated Sulpicians of the United States. The policy is based on a three-part categorization of the records series listed above: open, restricted, or confidential.
Publications, photographs, other records created for public dissemination, and records designated as historical in nature are available for researchers to work with without restriction. Records more than thirty-five years old from the "Restricted" series are treated as open for purposes of access unless otherwise stated.
Records, excluding those of the Provincial Superior, Provincial Council, and other exempted collections, are closed for 35 years dating from the death of the individual.
Records of the Provincial Superior and Provincial Council are closed to research use for 75 years beginning on the date on which the Provincial leaves office. The restriction applies to the entire body of records created during the Provincial’s tenure. Records of collections exempted from the
35-year rule are subject to the terms set by the donor.
Researchers may appeal to gain access to restricted records by submitting a restricted records access request form. Access is granted only after the Director of the Associated Archives at St. Mary's Seminary & University has received written notice of permission from the Provincial Superior or his authorized representative specifying exactly which folders and boxes the user can examine.
Restricted Records Access Request Form
Records containing sensitive files for which access is granted only after the Provincial Superior physically reviews the files and provides written permission.
The artifact collection is limited to a small number of commemorative items, sacred objects, including relics, class banners from St. Charles College, and portrait paintings of prominent Sulpicians and other individuals connected to the Society.
Size: 7 records storage boxes; date span: c. 1935-present.
The audio/visual collection is made up of audio recordings, 8mm and 16mm films (transferred to video), and videos taken of Sulpician institutions and events, including early footage of the campuses of St. Edward’s Minor Seminary and St. Thomas’ Major Seminary, Kenmore, WA, St. Charles College, Catonsville, MD, and St. Mary’s Seminary & University, Baltimore, MD.
Size: 10 records storage boxes; date span: 1811-1991.
This series is made up of both primary and secondary records relating to special projects and programs sponsored by the U.S. Province, including preparations for the tercentenary anniversary of the founding of the Society of St. Sulpice in 1941 and the bicentennial celebration of the Sulpicians’ arrival in the U.S. in 1991. There is original correspondence, copies of original correspondence found in other archives, and commemorative publications.
Size: 44 records storage boxes and 12 document cases; date span: c.1762- present.
This series is made up of primary and secondary records that document the history of the U.S. Catholic Church, highlighting Sulpician connections to prominent events, people, and places, including the seven provincial and three plenary councils held in Baltimore, Mother Seton and the Daughters of Charity, Mother Lange and the Oblate Sisters of Providence, and photocopies of records in the Sulpician Archives in Paris, France.
The U.S. Province of the Society of St. Sulpice has founded and/or staffed thirteen major and minor seminaries in this country. The collections for these institutions vary from place to place, with those for Maryland being the most extensive. Documentation consists of such records as student rosters, house diaries, history files, yearbooks and other student publications, as well as official correspondence and documents. Records for other Sulpician institutions and programs, including the U.S. Solitude, can be found in this series. Collections are listed alphabetically by state, then city/town.
Please note that photographs, slides, 8mm and 16 mm films, artifacts, video and audio recordings for Sulpician institutions are catalogued separately. Please see the appropriate records series description for information on the holdings for each institution.
St. Patrick’s Major and Minor Seminary (est. 1898). Size: 7.5 records storage boxes; date span: c. 1898–1933.
St. Patrick’s was opened in 1898 for the Archdiocese of San Francisco and originally offered a major and minor seminary program. In 1924 the decision was made to move the minor seminary to Mountain View. The minor seminary took the name St. Joseph’s College at this time.
Forty-four years later, the major and minor seminary programs were united under the same administration again and the minor seminary’s name was changed back to St. Patrick’s, although it remained at Mountain View. In 1981, when Mountain View was included in the territory for
the newly created Diocese of San Jose, the college resumed the name of St. Joseph. The Sulpicians withdrew from the college at this time. This collection contains correspondence, student and faculty lists, house diaries, files regarding administrative, curriculum, and financial matters,
handbooks, programs, publications, and history files. A partial set of course catalogs and yearbooks are also available.
St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary and High School (1924-1992). Size: 11.5 records storage boxes; date span: c. 1924-1933.
St. Joseph’s came into being in 1924 when the decision was made to move St. Patrick’s minor seminary program from Menlo Park to Mountain View.
The seminary was named St. Joseph’ High School and College at this time. Forty-four years later, in 1968, St. Joseph’s and St. Patrick’s were united again.
The college’s name was changed back to St. Patrick, but the high school remained named St. Joseph. In 1975, the Sulpicians withdrew from the high school,
but maintained the college division. In 1981, when Mountain View was included in the territory for the newly created Diocese of San Jose, the college resumed the name
of St. Joseph. When the college building was damaged in the earthquake of 1989, students were sent to St. Patrick’s Seminary. The college was closed in 1992.
This collection contains publications, and student lists. A partial set of course catalogs and yearbooks is also available. Student and institutional records are maintained by the Diocese of San Jose.
District of Columbia
St Austin’s College (1901-1919). Size: .5 document case; date span: c. 1901-1919.
St. Austin’s was the first U.S. Sulpician solitude (house of studies for Sulpician candidates). It was established at the Catholic University of America in 1901 under the direction of Fr. Francis Havey, S.S. The college was closed after the founding of
the Sulpician Seminary in D.C. (now known as Theological College) in 1917. This collection contains the Superior’s diary, scrapbook, and terms of agreement between the Sulpicians and the Catholic University of America.
Sulpician Seminary/Theological College (est. 1917). Size: 20 records storage boxes and 3 document cases; date span: c. 1917-1933.
When the Sulpician Seminary in Washington, D.C., opened in 1917, it was intended to be an extension of St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, offering a program for Sulpician candidates and for students in their final year of priestly training. Two years later,
it became a full theologate and by 1924 it had attained its independence from St. Mary’s when it agreed to administer the Basselin Program, which has been housed at the seminary since it was established. In 1940, at the request of the Vatican, the seminary’s name was changed to the Theological
College of The Catholic University of America and became part of the university system. Sulpicians continue to staff the seminary. This collection contains official correspondence, Superior’s diaries, student registers, constitution and rule, publications, including the Quadrangle. A partial set of course catalogs is also available.
Basselin Program (est. 1923). Size: 1 records storage box; date span: c. 1923-1968
Established and endowed through a bequest of the New York lumber magnate, Theodore B. Basselin (1851-1914), the Basselin Program, previously known as Basselin College and the Basselin Foundation, provides a three-year scholarship in philosophy at The Catholic University of America for young men discerning the priesthood. The Sulpician Seminary in
Washington, D.C., and later Theological College, has housed the program since it was established. This collection contains house diaries, programs, publications, and student lists. A partial set of course catalogs is also available.
St. Stephen’s Minor Seminary (1946-1970). Size: 1 records storage box; date span: c. 1946-1994.
St. Stephen’s was founded in 1946 for the Diocese of Honolulu
with the opening of a high school program. It became a full minor seminary
nine years later when a a junior college division was added in 1955. The
institution was closed by the Diocese in 1970, at which time St. Stephen's
became a formation community limited to post-high-school seminarians who
did their course work at Chaminade College. This collection contains catalogs, commemorative publications, and a history file. Student and institutional records are maintained by the Diocese of Honolulu.
St. Thomas’s Minor Seminary (1952-1970). Size: 2 records storage boxes; date span: c. 1952-1998.
St. Thomas’s Minor Seminary was established in 1952 for the Archdiocese of Louisville. The minor seminary was closed by the Archdiocese in 1970. This collection contains catalogs, programs, publications, including the Pioneer, yearbooks, and history files. Student and institutional records are maintained by the Archdiocese of Louisville.
St. Mary’s Seminary & University (est. 1791) - See St. Mary’s Seminary & University Collection Description.
St. Mary’s College [aka the French Academy] (1799-1852). Size: 5 records storage boxes,
1-.5 document case, and 2 ledgers; date span: c. 1799-1852.
St. Mary’s College was opened in 1799 as a school for boys. When the college received its charter in 1805, it was the only active college in the state. Its contributions to the development of higher education in the state over the course of its 53-year history are considered significant. This collection contains official correspondence, records regarding administrative, academic, legal, and financial matters, including the college’s charter, account books, commencements, lists of degrees conferred, faculty meeting minutes, regulations, rules, and student lists. Other financial records can be found with the records for St. Mary’s Seminary & University Collection. See also papers of Abp. Louis Du Bourg, S.S., founder and first president of the college.
U.S. Province Solitude (1911-1977). Size: 2 records storage boxes; date span: c. 1920-1937.
The first U.S. Sulpician Solitude, novitiate or House of Studies, opened in 1911 at St. Austin’s College (1901-1919), Washington, D.C. Up to this time all Sulpician candidates made their Solitude at Issy, France. The U.S. Solitude operated until 1914 when the First World War disrupted the program. The U.S. Solitude did not reopen until 1921 and was located on the campus of St. Charles' College in Catonsville, Maryland. The Solitude operated at St. Charles’ until 1940 when the decision was made to transfer the program to the campus of St. Mary’s Seminary, Paca Street. The Solitude remained at Paca Street until 1955 when it was transferred to the Roland Park campus of St. Mary’s. The last Solitude closed in 1977. This collection contains official correspondence, Superior’s diaries, student registers, and rule.
St. Charles' College and High School (1848-1969). Size: 40 records storage boxes, 13 document cases, and 20 financial and administrative ledgers; date span: c. 1848-1969.
St. Charles' College and High School was established in 1848 through a bequest from Charles Carroll of Carrollton and was the first successful minor seminary program established in this country. The school, also known as Le Petit Seminaire, was located in Ellicott City, MD,
from its founding in 1848 through 1911, when the campus was destroyed by a fire, including most of its records. A list of students who entered St. Charles' over the period 1848-1897 was published in 1897 and is the most
complete record of the school's enrollment prior to the fire. St. Charles' was relocated to Catonsville at this time, where it operated until 1969 when the decision was made to close the high school department. The junior college division was united with the philosophy department
of St. Mary’s Seminary & University and renamed the Liberal Arts College of St. Mary’s Seminary & University (1969-1977). The property, excepting Our Lady of the Angels Chapel and the Sulpician cemetery which remain in the possession of the Society, was sold in 1983 and developed into the Charlestown Retirement Community. The property was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places at this time and is known as the St. Charles' College historic district. In 1996 the
chapel was designated a parish and serves the residents of Charlestown and larger community. This collection contains official correspondence, files and registers regarding administrative, academic, student, and financial matters, as well as building plans, history files, and house diaries. A complete set of course catalogs and the Borromean are also available.
The Liberal Arts College of St. Mary’s Seminary & University (1969-1977) - See St. Mary’s Seminary & University Collection Description.
St. Charles' College and High School (1848-1969) - See entry for St. Charles’ College, Catonsville, for description of holdings.
Mt. St. Mary’s College and Seminary (est. 1808). Size: .5 document case; date span: c. 1808-1976.
Mt. St. Mary’s College and Seminary was established initially as a minor seminary by the Sulpicians. Within a few years it was operating as both a minor and major seminary and secular college. Its affiliation with the Sulpicians ended in 1824. This collection contains records concerning the institution’s founding and early years, including correspondence between Rev. John Dubois and members of the Sulpician community in Baltimore, and history files. See also photocopies of correspondence on deposit in the Sulpician Archives in Paris regarding the founding of Mt. St. Mary’s.
St. John’s Major Seminary (est. 1884). Size: 2 records storage boxes; date span: c. 1884-1993.
St. John’s was founded in 1884 for the Archdiocese of Boston. The Sulpicians administered and staffed the seminary until their withdrawal in 1911. This collection contains the records for the years the Sulpicians maintained a presence at St. John’s, including official correspondence, faculty meeting minutes, constitution and rule, student and faculty lists, internal reports, and history files.
St. John’s Provincial Seminary (1949-1988). Size: 1-.5 document case; date span: c. 1952-1988.
St. John’s was founded in 1949 for the Province of the Archdiocese of Detroit. The Sulpicians administered and staffed the seminary until their withdrawal in 1971. The seminary closed in 1988. This collection contains a history file on the seminary. A complete set of course catalogs and a partial set of yearbooks are also available. Student and institutional records are maintained by the Archdiocese of Detroit.
St. Joseph’s Seminary (est. 1896). Size: 1 document case; date span: c. 1896-1993.
St. Joseph’s Major Seminary was founded in 1896 for the Archdiocese of New York. The Sulpicians administered and staffed the seminary until their withdrawal in 1906. This collection contains the records for the years the Sulpicians were at St. Joseph's and includes official correspondence, faculty meeting minutes, student lists,
Trustee meeting minutes, administrative files, and history files. Student and institutional records are maintained by St. Joseph's Seminary.
Our Lady of Pigeon Hill Minor Seminary (1806-1808). Size: 1 document case; date span: c. 1806-1947.
Our Lady of Pigeon Hill was established in 1806 on the estate of Joseph Harent in Adams County, Pennsylvania, and was the first minor seminary established in the United States. Students were sent to Mt. St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, when the school was closed.
This collection contains official correspondence, administrative, and finance records, as well as history files.
St. Edward’s Major and Minor Seminary (1931-1976). Size: 9 records storage boxes, 1 document case, and 1 flat storage box; date span: c. 1931-1977.
St. Edward’s was founded in 1931 as both a major and minor seminary for the Archdiocese of Seattle. A larger facility necessitated the construction of a separate building for the major seminary, which was named St. Thomas and opened in 1958. St. Edward’s continued to operate as a high school and college until 1976 when the high school was closed by the Archdiocese. The college was united with St. Thomas’ Major Seminary at this time. One year later, in 1977, St. Thomas’ was closed as well. This collection contains history files, publications, including the Harvester, scrapbooks, and yearbooks. A complete set of course catalogs is also available. Student and institutional records are maintained by the Archdiocese of Seattle.
St. Thomas’ Major Seminary (1958-1977). Size: 9 records storage boxes, 1 document case, and 1 flat storage box; date span: c. 1935-1977.
St. Thomas’ was founded in 1958 as a successor to St. Edward’s Major Seminary (1931-1958). A larger facility necessitated the construction of a separate building for the major seminary. In 1976, when St. Edward’s was closed by the Archdiocese, the college division was united with St. Thomas’ program. One year later, St. Thomas’ was closed as well. This collection contains history files, scrapbooks, and yearbooks. A complete set of course catalogs is also available. Student and institutional records are maintained by the Archdiocese of Seattle.
This series is made up principally of Sulpician individuals and institutions. There is also a significant collection of non-Sulpician individuals, including alumni and members of the U.S. hierarchy. The series is divided into three subgroups: individuals, institutions, and shutterbugs. All are arranged alphabetically. The prints in this series are mostly black and white and vary from wallet-sized images to 11" x 14" and larger. In addition to photographs, there are also slides, negatives, scrapbooks, and albums. The holy card collection is also housed with photographs.
Size: 6 records storage boxes and oversize; date span: c. 1800-present.
This collections contains photographs and prints of Sulpicians and non-Sulpician individuals.
Size: 4 records storage boxes, 8 document cases, and oversize; date span: c. 1890-present.
St. Charles College and High School Collection [Ellicott City and Catonsville campuses]. Size: 2 records storage boxes, 1 document cases, and oversize, date span: c. 1890-1969. Includes class photographs, and portraits of prominent individuals.
St. Mary’s Seminary & University Collection - See Collection Description for St. Mary’s Seminary & University.
St. Mary’s Seminary College Collection - See Collection Description for St. Mary’s Seminary & University.
Other Sulpician Foundations Collection. Size: 2 records storage boxes and oversize; date span: c. 1920-present. Includes campuses of St. Patrick’s, Menlo Park, and St. Stephen’s, Kaneohe; date span: c. 1920-present.
Size: 2 records storage boxes, 11 documents cases, 72 photograph albums, and 25 scrapbooks; date span: c. 1890-1980.
This series is comprised of the scrapbooks, photograph albums, and photograph and slide collections that have been donated to the archives over the years by individual Sulpicians and the alumni of Sulpician institutions, including Rev. Vincent Eaton, S.S., Rev. Carlton Sage, S.S., and Rev. John Bowen, S.S.
Holy Card Collection
Size: 12 shoeboxes; date span c. 1820-present.
This collection contains holy cards that commemorate holidays, jubilees, ordinations, and deaths of Sulpicians, individuals affiliated with the Sulpicians, and prominent individuals.
This series is made up of a general reference library that includes works on the U.S. Catholic Church and the Society of St. Sulpice, internal publications published by the U.S. Province and its institutions, including the Voice of St. Mary’s Seminary (1924–1970), the Borromean (1915-1969), yearbooks and course catalogs for various Sulpician institutions, directories for the Society’s three provinces, and subscriptions to the following journals: Catholic Historical Review, U.S. Catholic Historian, Maryland Historical Magazine, and the Bulletin de Saint Sulpice. Dissertations, theses, and books written by Sulpicians are also included in this series.
Size: 8 records storage boxes; date span: c. 1779-present.
This series documents administrative matters of the U.S. Province including activities of the Generalate and the Assembly, and aspects of the Sulpician Provinces in France for the years ca.1779 – 1996, and in Canada ca.1802 - 2001. The records in this series include correspondence, circular letters beginning with 1971, copies of published literature, ecclesiastical writings, student lists, directories, and commemorative publications.