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Marian Library

Marian Library Archives

Archival collections document a broad range of Marian topics including apparitions, shrines, titles, artistic representations of Mary, Marian spirituality and Mary in Catholic material culture. Collections contain a variety of formats including visual resources, audiovisual materials, and artifacts. Archival collections include personal papers, manuscripts, and records that document the history, activities, research interests, and devotional practices of individuals, groups, and organizations with a significant Marian dimension. 

Keep in mind that archival collections are rarely cataloged at the item level, so (for example) we do not have a description of every holy card in the collection.

Archival Collection Highlights

John Stokes and Mary's Gardens Collection Finding Aid

This collection contains the personal papers of John S. Stokes, Jr., and the records of his organization, Mary's Gardens. Materials in the collection date primarily from 1952 through 1990. The collection includes Stokes' manuscripts, correspondence, research materials, articles, photographs, audio recordings and ephemera related to his interests in Catholicism, the Blessed Virgin Mary, gardening, names and symbolism of plants and flowers associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mary's Gardens movement, social justice, ecumenism and other related themes. The collection also contains records of Stokes' organization, Mary's Gardens including press releases, newsletters, marketing materials, articles, garden plans, and other promotional materials. Additionally, some materials deal with Stokes' website, also called Mary's Gardens, which has also been archived by the Marian Library.

Stokes' manuscripts document published and unpublished works on topics including Marian symbolism of flowers and herbs, Catholic mysticism, medieval gardens, and the Mary's Gardens movement. The collection includes over fifty years of Stokes' personal and organizational correspondence, primarily related to his interests on Mary and flowers, Catholicism, gardening, and the Mary's Gardens movement. Organizational records in the collection document the history and activities of Mary's Gardens, founded by John Stokes and Edward McTague in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1951. Additionally, materials in the collection document Stokes' activities in promoting the Mary's Gardens movement including planning devotional gardens at parishes and schools, primarily in the mid-Atlantic region and North America.

Browse a curated selection of digitized materials from this collection in eCommons.

Marian Holy Cards Collection Finding Aid

Christine Mathieu Marian Holy Card Collection Finding Aid 

These collections together encompass approximately 12,000 holy cards and printed ephemra. The larger of the two collection with over 10,000 cards, the Marian Holy Cards Collection includes both popular, mass-produced materials as well as early printing (circa 1700), and unique or rare materials. Some materials in the collection appear to have been made by hand, and include textile work, illustration, and collage. The holy cards in this collection are approximately 2.5" x 4.5", and include a variety of styles, such as rectangular cards with a straight edges, die-cut lace bordered cards, and cards with decorative or scalloped edges. The majority of the cards are printed on paper, but some have been printed on cloth or vellum. Many cards contain text or a prayer on the verso and some cards include handwritten notes. Many cards were created to commemorate a Catholic sacrament, in which case information about the individual and occasion is printed on the verso. The majority of holy cards in the collection were printed in Europe from circa 1860 through circa 1950.

The Cristina Mathieu Marian Holy Card Collection is composed primarily of holy cards including cards for private devotion, souvenir cards from Marian shrines, cards distributed to commemorate a special occasion or Catholic sacrament, and prayer cards. The collection includes a small number of additional devotional and ephemera materials including postcards, brochures, and scapulars. Most materials are French, but the collection includes several items from other western European countries including Belgium, Germany, and Italy, and from circa 1853 through 2001. Many holy cards contain handwritten text or a prayer on the verso. A large number of the cards represent the 'Sulpicien' style and were published in the Saint-Sulpice neighborhood of Paris by Maison Bouasse-Lebel and its successor, Bouasse-Jeune.

Browse a curated collection of digitized holy cards from these collections in eCommons.

Halyna (Helen) Nykolyshyn Ukrainian Marian Collection Finding Aid

In 1981 Helen Nykolyshyn, a cataloger for the Marian Library, established the Ukrainian Marian Collection. Nykolyshyn, originally from Ukraine, was especially interested in preserving the religious and cultural heritage of Ukraine. She sponsored exhibits at the University of Dayton on Ukrainian religious art and culture and, through her vast networks throughout the United States and Canada, secured donations of Ukrainian Marian artwork and artifacts for the Marian Library collection. Also included in this collection are the records of the Ukrainian Marian Foundation. Acquired during the 1980's and early 1990's, the collection is representative of historic moments for Ukrainians during that time period, including the millennium of Christianity in Ukraine in 1988 and Ukraine's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. 

Browse a curated collection of digitized artwork from this collection on Pinterest.

Marian Apparitions Collection Finding Aid

This collection contains correspondence, personal accounts, articles, newsletters, photographs, audio recordings, artifacts, and ephemera documenting reported Marian apparitions in the United States and around the world. The collection primarily includes material related to apparitions in the 20th century from circa 1980 to circa 2000. Although the collection contains some material dealing with the major, approved Marian apparitions (for example, Fátima and Lourdes), its focus is rather on documenting the hundreds of reported apparitions that are mostly unapproved. These include, for example, claims that are uninvestigated, under review, or which the bishop has made no decision regarding the supernatural character of the event.

Browse a curated collection of digitized materials from the Marian apparitions and devotion in Beauraing, Belgium and Fátima, Portugal in eCommons.

Marian Library Photograph Collection Finding Aid

This collection includes historical photographs documenting Catholic and Marian topics. The subjects covered include Catholic awards; regional and international Marian shrines, churches, and pilgrimage; Catholic educational programs and events; groups and individuals with a significant Marian dimension; Catholic libraries and museums (including the Marian Library); and other Catholic and Marian organizations. The collection is international in scope and materials date from circa 1920 through circa 1990.

Browse a curated collection of digitized photographs from this collection in eCommons.

Sally Cuneen Collection Finding Aid

This collection documents the activities of Sally Cunneen, primarily related to her work as an author and educator, from the years 1952-2009. She was the author of Sex: Female; Religion: Catholic, In Search of Mary: the Woman and the Symbol, Mother Church: What the Experience of Women is Teaching Her, A Contemporary Meditation on the Everyday God, and The Icon Reborn (with Frederick Franck). She was also the translator of Kurt Klinger's A Pope Laughs: Stories of John XXIII. In addition to her books, she also authored a number of book reviews and articles. Cunneen was a frequent speaker and presenter at conferences, many on Catholic and Marian topics.

The collection contains the manuscripts and related materials for her books In Search of Mary: The Woman and the Symbol and Mother Church: What the Experience of Women is Teaching Her, including book reviews, correspondence, and articles on both books. Other materials include papers for talks, articles, correspondence, research materials, and some creative writing, primarily covering topics of Catholicism, the Blessed Virgin Mary, education, and women's studies.

Archives Catalog

Finding aids and information on unprocessed collections from the Marian Library archives, the U.S. Catholic Special Collection, and the University Archives and Special Collections, can be found in the Archives Catalog:


To view only archival items from only the Marian Library, select "Collecting Areas" in the top navigation bar and then Marian Library























There are other archival collections, such as the Sutton File, which are not yet available in the Archives Catalog. Contact a librarian at to discuss all possible sources for your research. 

Marian Library Digital Collections

The Marian Library makes digitized archival materials available through the University Libraries' institutional repository eCommons. The digitized collections are curated, meaning that there is more material within the physical archival collection. 

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