The Daughter of Charity Constitutions and Statutes states: “The Archives establish a link with the past and contribute to maintaining the continuity of the spirit of the Company. Their preservation is to be assured at all levels: local, Provincial, and General.” The Archives of the Province of St. Louise contributes to this mission by preserving records of enduring value, promoting the lives and work of the founders—Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton—and safekeeping the Community’s works, past and present.
The Provincial Archives combines the collections of four former U.S. Daughters of Charity Provinces: Albany, New York; Emmitsburg, Maryland; Evansville, Indiana; and St. Louis, Missouri. In January 2013, the Provincial Archives opened to the public in a new facility located at historic St. Joseph House in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Collections & Research
The Province of St. Louise encompasses the eastern two-thirds of the United States, or all states east of the Rocky Mountains, as well as Ontario and Quebec in Canada. Prominent missions in our Archives include major hospitals such as Carney in Boston, Providence in Washington, D.C., and St. Joseph’s in Chicago; orphanages across the country with intake records available for research from St. Mary’s Orphanage and Guardian Angel Settlement in St. Louis and St. Vincent’s Asylum in Philadelphia; and Catholic elementary and high schools throughout the nation.
The collections contain information about members of the Community, records of the Sponsored Works and Missions of the Daughters dating back to 1809, and the largest available collection of the records, writings, and correspondence of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in the world.
The Daughters have also engaged in special services as nurses during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and both World Wars; served as nurses during pandemics throughout the 19th and 20th centuries; and advocated for refugees during crises of the late 20th and 21st centuries.
The crown jewel of the collection is the correspondence and writings of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint, and the establishment of the Sisters of Charity and the Vincentian rule in the early United States.
The Archives is available for remote research and for on-site researchers with a scheduled appointment. We are open Monday through Friday from 8AM-4PM, but closed during the noon hour for lunch.
Our collection provides valuable resources for academics, family historians, local historians, alumni of the Daughters of Charity, and genealogists. Many requests can be completed through email or over the telephone (although we may ask that you submit your request in writing). However, due to the number of inquiries we receive and other necessary staff duties, we reserve the right to ask researchers to schedule an in-person visit if their request is outside of the scope of staff duties.
Collections are open to researchers outside of the community. As a private collection of an operating community, we reserve the right to restrict materials due to concerns for privacy, sensitivity, or condition.
Starting Your Research
The best way to begin your research is by visiting our online catalog and contact form. Please read the instructions before beginning your search. Here, you will find a portion of histories, item-level inventories, documents, and photographs. We will continue to make collections, photographs, finding aids, and records available over time.
Our blog also contains collection-level finding aids for a portion of our collections, as well as posts dedicated to some of our more impressive subject fields, individual documents, and collections.
We invite you to visit our Facebook page to see more from the Archives!
We are open to volunteers, as well as interns who are currently registered at accredited institutions.
For all reference inquiries or further information on volunteering or internships, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 301-447-6041.