The Right Reverend Monsignor Louis Meyer papers
Held at: Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center [Contact Us]100 E. Wynnewood Rd., Wynnewood, PA
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Louis Joseph Meyer was born in Philadelphia in 1897. He attended St. Charles Seminary in Overbrook, Pennsylvania starting in 1914, and was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church in 1923. He would serve as a parish priest in the Philadelphia Archdiocese for the next 19 years, including at the St. Mary in St. Clair, St. Francis in Norristown, St. Bartholomew in Northeast Philadelphia, Immaculate Conception in Fishtown, St. Cyril in East Lansdowne, St. Margaret in Narberth, and Visitation Blessed Virgin Mary in Kensington. He also attended classes at the University of Pennsylvania in 1934.
Meyer joined the Army Reserve as a chaplain upon the United States’ entry into World War II and was assigned to the 20th General Hospital, a division organized by a medical faculty committee from the University of Pennsylvania. He was trained at Camp Claiborne in Louisiana in June 1942, and his unit was sent to India in early 1943. Meyer served as a chaplain in the China-Burma-India Theater until 1946, when he was discharged.
Upon his discharge from military service, Meyer resumed his parish duties in the Philadelphia-area, serving first as assistant pastor of Our Lady of Mercy church in North Philadelphia and then as founding pastor of the Holy Cross Parish in Springfield from 1948 until his retirement in 1972. He was elevated to Monsignor in 1965 and passed away in 1985.
The Right Reverend Monsignor Louis Meyer papers document the writings, travels, and service of Monsignor Louis Joseph Meyer (1897-1985), a military chaplain in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II and parish priest in the Philadelphia Archdiocese until 1972. This collection dates from 1910 to 2007 (with bulk dates of 1918 to 1985) and consists of Meyer’s theater work, short stories and writings, speeches and sermons, academic materials relating to St. Charles Seminary and the University of Pennsylvania, travel documents and ephemera, correspondence, notes, journals, diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, and subject files containing clippings and other printed materials.
This collection is divided into four series: “I: Theater work, 1925-1960,” “II: Writings and academic papers, 1916-1966,” “III: Personal papers, 1900-1985,” and “IV: Subject files, 1924-1980.”
Series “I: Theater work” dates from 1925 to 1960 and richly documents Meyer’s abilities as a playwright. This series contains playscripts authored by Meyer; playscripts authored by other playwrights; theater ephemera such as playbills, programs, and tickets; assorted notes on plays and playwriting; and secondary materials pertaining to playwriting. Playscripts authored by Meyer are arranged alphabetically by title, and are followed by playscripts authored by other playwrights that are arranged alphabetically by author's last name. All other material within this series follows and is arranged by document type, and then chronologically within each document type.
Series “II: Writings and academic papers” dates from 1916 to 1966 and contains short stories, poems, sermons, speeches, and academic compositions authored by Meyer. Short stories, speeches, and sermons are arranged first by document type and then alphabetically by title, with the exception of the speeches, which are arranged chronologically. Academic compositions and related materials follow and are arranged chronologically. Researchers should note that additional writings authored by Meyer can be found in series “I: Theater work” or with the materials related to travel found in series “III: Personal papers.”
Series “III: Personal papers” dates from 1900 to 1985 and contains travel documents, writings, and ephemera; correspondence; records pertaining to Meyer’s work as a military chaplain; records pertaining to Meyer’s service as a parish priest; educational ephemera; notebooks; diaries; journals; photographs; scrapbooks; keepsakes; and other personal records. The travel documents mostly document the Anno Santo pilgrimage in 1925, which is also referred to in the collection as "Holy Year" or "Jubilee Year." There is also significant documentation of International Eucharistic Congresses, especially the 34th congress held in Budapest in 1938. Of note amongst these materials are notes and clippings regarding the state of Europe in the period preceding World War II. The photographs in this series largely pertain to Meyer’s time at Camp Claiborne in Louisiana in June of 1942 and to Meyer’s time in India as military chaplain with the 20th General Hospital in 1943. Additionally, the role of St. Charles Seminary during the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918, during which time Meyer was a seminarian, is particularly well-documented by several notebooks and diaries in this series. The travel documents in this series are arranged chronologically by trip, with each trip arranged roughly chronologically. Following the travel documents, this series is arranged by document type, and then chronologically within each type.
Series “IV: Subject files” dates from 1924 to 1980 and contains clippings, articles, and assorted printed materials pertaining to various topics of interest to Meyer. Of particular interest in this series are records pertaining to the Holy Cross Parish in Springfield, Pennsylvania, where Meyer served as founding pastor from 1948 until 1972. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject.
Meyer’s theater work, writings, and travels are particularly well represented in this collection. Therefore, this collection will prove especially valuable for researchers interested in 20th century Catholic theater and pilgrimage. Additionally, this collection will prove useful for researchers interested in the history of Holy Cross Parish, or the Spanish Influenza epidemic as it occurred at St. Charles Seminary.
Accession number 2010.003
This is a revision of an older finding aid available on the PAHRC website:
The arrangement of the collection has been altered from this finding aid.
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
This collection was minimally processed in 2013-2014, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.
Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article "More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections," the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages in 16 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 4 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections or complete any preservation work.
- Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Amanda Mita and Evan Peugh
- Finding Aid Date
- 2014 March 6
- The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.