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Heuser, Herman Joseph, D.D., Papers. 1872-1933.

 Digital Record


  • Creation: 1872-1933

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Herman Joseph Heuser was born on October 23, 1851 in Potsdam, Germany. Heuser was the first child of Herman Joseph and Julia Neese Heuser, and had a sister two years his junior, Julia. Heuser attended secondary schools in Berlin, Germany and Breslau, Poland focusing on religious education. He also took classes in science, language, art and music. His family emigrated to the United States in 1867 leaving him behind to continue his studies in Poland.

Heuser immigrated to the United States at the age of seventeen and in 1868 he began to attend a diocesan preparatory seminary in Glen Riddle, PA , approximately 15 miles from Philadelphia. Heuser served as a ‘seminarian professor’ at Glen Riddle, leading instruction in Latin, French and Gregorian chants. In 1871 he began teaching at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary at its new campus in Overbrook, PA. He was ordained on February 2, 1876. He became a full time seminary professor and taught there for over fifty years. Heuser also served as an adviser to the Pontifical Commission on Anglican Orders in 1896. In 1905 Heuser received a Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa from Pope Pius X. In 1907, during the controversy over Modernism, Heuser was appointed by the Apostolic Delegate as general censor for all Catholic publications in the United States.

Monsignor James Andrew Corcoran, also a faculty member at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and helped found theAmerican Catholic Quarterly Review. Heuser aided in editing the publication for 13 years. Through his involvement, he learned about the logistical aspects of running a publication such as scheduling, managing contributors and subscribers and financial concerns.

Heuser began editing theAmerican Ecclesiastical Review in 1889. Serving as the main contributor for theAER, Heuser used the motto “For the upbuilding of the Church” (1 Cor. 14:5) and in order to appeal to and benefit both priests and laity. As a supplement to the AER, Heuser published The Dolphin, a more basic Catholic magazine from 1900-1908. In both these publications attention was paid to music and the arts with articles about the history of Church music, architecture, art as well as included illustrations. Heuser used his position as editor to allow for a debate of diverse subjects and topics. Heuser served as the editor of the AER, with a brief interruption from 1914-1919 when Reverend William Turner took over, until 1927 when he turned over the publication to the Catholic University of America in Washington DC.

Heuser died on August 22, 1933.

Language of Materials



Accession number 1990.001.

General Note

This collection largely contains correspondence, both personal and professional in nature. A significant portion of the correspondence is between Heuser and prominent figures within the Catholic Church including Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore, Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan of Philadelphia, Katharine Drexel, and Thomas C. Middleton. Other correspondents include Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Princess Catherine Radziwill, Thomas Eakins and Leopold Stokowski. Some of the topics covered include Catholicity in Russia, church architecture, Catholic American Indians, and the religious aspects of the issue of vasectomy.

A significant amount of materials in the collection relates to Canon Patrick Augustine Sheehan of Doneraile, Ireland, specifically Sheehan's book, My New Curate, which appeared serially in Heuser's magazine. Other notable series include manuscripts by hymnist Emily Mary Shapcote, author of Mary, The Perfect Woman, which also appeared in the magazine. The manuscript materials of Sister Teresa of the Holy Ghost that addresses the history of the Order of the Holy Ghost are also included.

Items, such as drafts and research notes, deriving from Heuser's work with the American Ecclesiastical Review and The Dolphin, are also included. The collection also contains prayers, sermons, some genealogical information, and scrapbooks with miscellaneous materials.

Most of the materials in the collection are in English, though some are written in German, French, Latin, and Italian.

General Note

Herman Joseph Heuser, D.D. (1851-1933) was a Catholic intellectual and prolific writer who influenced scholarly circles and clerical life in the United States and abroad through his literary work. Heuser edited the American Ecclesiastical Review (1889-1975) as well as published The Dolphin (1900-1908), a Catholic literary magazine. These publications reflected Heuser's varied interests from clerical subjects to the arts. He published fourteen books, eight of which appeared serially in The Dolphin.

This collection includes primarily correspondence, sermons, prayers, scrapbooks, and personal writings. It also includes materials related to Patrick Augustine Sheehan.

Processing Information

The arrangement of the collection as outlined in the original finding aid has been altered to allow for better access to materials within the collection.

Repository Details

Part of the Catholic Historical Research Center of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Repository

6719 Calvert Street
Philadelphia PA 19149