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Martin J. Griffin Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS61

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of the papers of Martin Ignatius Joseph Griffin (1842-1911), Catholic historian, writer and editor, who was a native of Philadelphia. Correspondence in the collection concerns subscriptions and requests for or letters pertaining to historical information, and there is an abundant amount of material pertaining to the Temperance Movement as well as to the Total Abstinence Movement which existed in the Catholic Church of Griffin's day. Also included is correspondence from Catholic clergy [consisting of priests and many 19th Century bishops] which will provide the researcher with valuable insights into how these movements were perceived by the Church, and particularly by the clergy themselves. The collection consists of 3.75 linear feet.


  • undated

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical note

Martin Ignatius Joseph Griffin (1842-1911) was a Catholic historian, writer and editor. He was born in Philadelphia on October 23rd, 1842. As a journalist, one of his first literary positions was as a reporter for 'The Catholic Standard and Times' in Philadelphia; soon, he became the editor of the paper. Griffin served as editor of the following journals: 'The Guardian Angel'(1867-1873), 'The Irish Catholic Benevolent Union Journal' (1873),'American Catholic Historical Researches' (1887), and 'Griffin's Journal'(1893). He also served as Secretary of the Irish Catholic Benevolent Union(1873-1893). Griffin founded the America Catholic Historical Society [Philadelphia]in 1884 and belonged to several other historical associations. He helped to organize the Continental Title and Trust Company of Philadelphia,served as a Knight of Columbus and brought the Catholic Knights of America into Philadelphia. He was also one of the founders of the Diocesan union of Philadelphia (1872) and introduced the Youths' Catholic Total abstinence Society into Philadelphia. In addition to his activities as an editor, Griffin authored the following works: 'A History of Old St. Joseph's Church' (1882), 'A History of St. John the Evangelist's Church' (1882), 'Thomas FitzSimons,Pennsylvania's Catholic Signer of the U.S. Constitution (1889), 'Bishop Michael Egan of Philadelphia' (1885) , 'History of Commodore John Barry'(1897), and 'The Trial of John Ury' (1899). Of Griffin's six children, only four survived-two sons and two daughters. The are listed as follows: Rev. Martin I.J. Griffin, Treasurer of St. Thomas College [St. Paul, Minnesota]; Dr. William L.J. Griffin;Sister Dorothea [member of the order of the Immaculate Heart]; and Philomena Griffin. He died on November 10th, 1911, in Philadelphia.


3 Linear Feet (7 Hollinger Document Case, 1 Slim Document Case)

Language of Materials


Martin J. Griffin Papers
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057