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Cardinal's Commission on Human Relations Collection

Identifier: MC 116

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of records, photographs, and audio recordings belonging to the offices of the Cardinal’s Commission on Human Relations. The materials relate to the Commission’s work in quelling racial tensions within the Church and greater Philadelphia area, as well as foster relationships between Catholic and non-Catholic communities. The collection is held in 56 document boxes and 2 Bankers boxes, spanning 30.5 linear feet. The collection’s materials date from 1963 to 1990, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1970 to 1983. The collection is comprised of 420 folders arranged in five series: Cardinal’s Commission on Human Relations records, Ethnic and Race Relations Affairs, Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Photographs, and Audio.

Series I: “Cardinal’s Commission on Human Relations records” dates from 1964-1989, with bulk dates of 1970-1984. The series mostly contains meeting minutes, correspondence, and financial records related to the Commission and its sub-committees. The records are arranged in six sub-series: “Administrative Documents, 1964-1989", “Correspondence, 1963-1989", “Financial Documents, 1971-1989", “History and Staffing Information, 1964-1986", “Newsletters and Newspapers, 1966-1986", and “Sub-committees, 1971-1987".

Series II: “Ethnic and Race Relations Affairs” dates from 1968-1985, with bulk dates of 1970-1979. The series mostly contains parish studies and reports, program information, and correspondence. The records are arranged in three sub-series: “MOVE, 1971-1978", “Parish Information, 1970-1987", and “Programs and Committees, 1968-1984".

Series III: “Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs” dates from 1963-1990, with bulk dates of 1975-1984. The series mostly consists of correspondence, program information, pamphlets, and newsletters related to the Commission and its ecumenical or interreligious sub-committees. The records are arranged in five sub-series: “41st International Eucharistic Congress, 1975-1976", “Interfaith Programs and Committees, 1963-1990", “Holocaust Resources, 1977-1984", “Philadelphia Coordinating Council on the Holocaust, 1977-1984", and “Soviet Jewry, 1971-1988".

Series IV: “Photographs” dates from 1967-1986, with bulk dates of 1969-1970. The series consists of photographs of events and programs related to the Commission, as well as negatives and slides. The series does not contain any sub-series.

Series V: “Audio” dates from 1970-1976, with a bulk date of 1976. The audio tapes within this series are held within two cardboard boxes within one Bankers box. Accompanying the audio tapes is a tape player, held in Box 1. The series does not contain any sub-series.


  • Creation: 1963-1990
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970-1983

Biographical / Historical

The Cardinal's Commission on Human Relations was founded on May 10th, 1964, by His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Krol. The Commission was founded in response to the Vatican Council II and the growing racial tensions in Philadelphia in the early 1960's. According to Cardinal Krol's original mission statement, the goal of the Commission was to "co-ordinate further the work of the Church in human relations by informing, arousing, and guiding the conscience of the faithful so that Catholics will live more truly the life of the Church in their lives today, especially in drawing closer to other peoples, indeed to all men of good will, and in eliminating the evils of racial prejudice." The Commission aimed to ease not only racial and ethnic tensions, but to foster relationships between Catholic and non-Catholic communities.

The Commission initially appointed eleven staff and volunteer members, consisting of parish priests, sisters, educators, businessmen, and civic leaders. It eventually grew to a network of staff and volunteers covering several regions throughout the Philadelphia area. The Commission actualized its mission by providing education programs to both clergy members and laity. It also formed several sub-committees, who would focus on specific issues related to ecumenism or ethnic and race relations. Some of these programs and sub-committees included the Sisters Summer Program, the Family Sharing Program, and the Committee on Research and Development of the Urban Ministry (CORDUM). The commission was not only involved with its own internal programs, but also movements outside the Catholic Chruch, such as the Soviet Jewry movement and the MOVE organization.


30.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Cardinal's Commission on Human Relations Collection Finding Aid
Olivia Hosie
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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

6719 Calvert Street
Philadelphia PA 19149