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Diocesan records and episcopal papers

Identifier: A-03-1056

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the personal papers of seven bishops of Charleston as well as records relating to their episcopal administration. Bishops include John England, Ignatius A. Reynolds, Patrick N. Lynch, Henry P. Northrop, William T. Russell, Emmet J. Walsh, and John J. Russell. Also included is pre-diocesan correspondence of Reverend James Wallace. The pre-diocesan correspondence belongs to James Wallace, a Catholic priest and mathematics professor at South Carolina College.  The correspondence ranges from 1818, two years before the erection of the diocese, until 1844.  Included are letters to and from Stephen Elliot, a South Carolina botanist; Wallace’s niece, Elisa Brenan; and Reverend Benedict Fenwick, president of Georgetown College and a priest assigned to the Diocese of Charleston from 1818-1822. John England's material includes personal papers such as the original Diurnal of the Right Rev. John England, D.D., First Bishop of Charleston, S.C., from 1820 to 1823, estate records, and a silk cloth depicting newspaper articles written on the occasion of his death; correspondence; and writings such as the Diocese of Charleston constitution, as well as pastoral and circular letters. Ignatius A. Reynolds's materials contain personal papers, correspondence, and financial records.  Included are a journal containing an accounting of his sea voyage on board the Roscius, an estate book with entries made by Bishop Patrick Lynch, correspondence with letters from Reynolds to Patrick Lynch as well as correspondence from Claudius B. Northrop, and financial account and bank books. Patrick N. Lynch's material includes personal papers such as biographical material including a completed insurance form with various genealogical data, family and personal correspondence, journals, and estate books. There is also a list of slaves, a list of yellow fever patients, and a list of federal prisoners taken at Fort Sumter in 1861. Professional papers include various committee correspondence and rules from organizations such as the Elliott Society of Natural History and the U.S. Centennial Committee.  The Fire Relief Committee contains reports, correspondence, and financial records regarding compensation to Charlestonians for property destroyed during the fire of 1861.  Patrick Lynch’s letter of introduction as a special commissioner to the Confederate States in also included.  The diocesan administrative records includes accounting and seminarian reports for the American College in Rome, a diocesan directory, financial records such as accounting ledgers, a New York charitable contributions list, subscription list of accounts, a hospital account book, the Sisters of Charity charitable subscription list for the relief of the indigent sick at Roper Hospital, a Cathedral fund, and miscellaneous receipts.  Parish records include plans and correspondence regarding the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, St. Mary of the Annunciation, a Blackville Church, a Sullivan’s Island church, the Academy of Our Lady of Mercy, a cemetery, lots belonging to C. B. Northrop in Irwin County, Georgia, and unknown buildings.  Also included is records and correspondence regarding the Ursuline Community in Valle Crucis, near Columbia, South Carolina. Lynch’s writings include essays, sermons, and lectures, as well as "A Few Words on the Domestic Slavery in the Confederate States of America by a Catholic Clergyman” written in English and translated into French, German, and Spanish. Also included is a folder of documents taken by Peter Guilday and returned from Catholic University of America in 2001. This folder contains an 1863 State of the Diocese report to Propaganda Fide with a description of the bombardment of Charleston during the Civil War, the 1861 fire in Charleston, and a property report for diocesan properties throughout the state.  It also includes correspondence from Judah Benjamin to Lynch, and letters to and from Jefferson Davis and Pope Pius IX. Henry P. Northrop's materials includes a diocese of Charleston administrative report and personal papers including correspondence with Mary Brownfield, transcribed letters from Claudius Northrop, and others; estate ledgers containing a copy of Northrop’s last will and testament, as well as information regarding real estate, personal property, and trust funds; and a postcard collection. William T. Russell's materials include personal and professional papers as well as documents from the National Catholic War Council (NCCW). Personal papers include his ordination as bishop of Charleston with a copy of The Patrician: the Bishop Russell Number, printed in honor of his ordination; writings by W. Russell including sermons and printed pamphlets; and material relating to his death.  The professional papers include correspondence; diocesan executive reports including Committee on Women’s Activities, Committee on Men’s Activities, Committee on Reconstruction, Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Committee on Historical Records; and Knights of Columbus.  The National Catholic War Council includes various committee reports and minutes, newsletters, and pamphlets. Emmet M. Walsh's materials include personal and professional papers.  The personal papers include invitations, articles, and ephemera from his installation as bishop of Charleston and Youngstown, as well as the tenth and twentieth anniversaries of his ordination; and death.  His professional papers include correspondence regarding the Apostolic Delegate communications during World War II, mostly addressed to and from Joseph L. Manning, Chancellor; and newspaper clippings. Photographs are of family, parishioners, and men and women religious. John J. Russell, papers include personal papers and professional papers. The personal papers contain documents for the Archdiocese of Washington, including Russell’s appointment of faculties; Russell's installation as bishop of Charleston, with text of his installation sermon; and death.  Professional papers include material relating to Russell’s involvement with the Catholic Committee of the South, such as committee reports, administrative records, meeting minutes, and correspondence. There are also images of Russell’s ordination as well as Masses held at Bishop England High School.


  • Created: 1816-1993, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 02/01/2015


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Diocese of Charleston makes no representation that it is the owner of any copyright or other literary property in the materials contained in its archives. In providing access to or permitting the reproduction of any such materials, the Diocese of Charleston does not assume any responsibility for determining the nature of any rights, ownership or interest therein; nor for obtaining the appropriate permissions to publish or use; nor for determining the nature of any liabilities (for defamation and invasion of privacy) that may arise from any publication or use. This rests entirely with the researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

James Wallace, professor, mathematician, author, and a Jesuit priest, was born circa 1783 in Kilkenny, Ireland. He attended Maynooth Seminary and Georgetown College. In 1818, Wallace, along with Reverend Benedict J. Fenwisk, S.J., left Georgetown to serve as pastors of St. Mary of the Annunciation in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1820, Wallace joined the faculty of South Carolina College. He was a professor of mathematics, natural philosophy, and chemistry until 1834. In 1844, Wallace left the diocese and later married. He died in 1851.

John England, the first Catholic bishop of Charleston, South Carolina, was born in 1786 in Cork, Ireland, to Thomas England and Honora Lordan; owners of a tobacco business. England, the oldest of ten children, became an ordained priest in Cork in 1808, and was then appointed chaplain to the North Presentation Convent in Cork. In 1817, England was transferred from Cork to Bandon, a nearby village where he served as the parish priest. In July 1820, Pope Pius VIII established the Diocese of Charleston which was formed from the Archdiocese of Baltimore under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Baltimore. It encompassed 140,000 square miles and consisted of three states; North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia; with Charleston, South Carolina, as the see city. England was consecrated as bishop in St. Finbar's church in Cork on September 21, 1820. With his sister, Joanna, and Father Denis Corkery, he travelled to Charleston aboard the ship Thomas Gelston, arriving in December 1820. England remained in Charleston as bishop where he created the first Roman Catholic newspaper in the United States, the United States Catholic Miscellany, with the assistance of his sister, Joanna; issued an official constitution that established the rules by which the diocese would be governed, as well as created other works and writings. John England died in 1842.

Ignatius A. Reynolds was born in Bardstown, Kentucky, in 1798 to John Reynolds and Ann French. He was ordained a priest in 1823 in Baltimore, Maryland. Reynolds was a professor in the seminary in Bardstown, St. Joseph’s College, and in 1827 became the seminary president. He also served as rector of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, pastor of St. Louis Church (site of the present Cathedral) in Louisville, Kentucky, and vicar general of the Diocese of Bardstown. In 1843, Reynolds was appointed bishop of Charleston and was installed in 1844. Bishop Reynolds died in 1855.

Patrick Neison Lynch was born in 1817 in Kilberidogue, Ireland, to Conlaw Peter Lynch and Eleanor MacMahon Neison. In 1819, he and his parents immigrated to the United States, where they settled in Cheraw, South Carolina. Lynch attended the Seminary of St. John the Baptist in Charleston, where he studied under Bishop John England. In 1833, Bishop England sent Lynch, then 17 years old, to Rome, Italy, to study at the Collegium Urbanum de Propaganda Fide. In 1840, Lynch became an ordained priest and returned to Charleston where he was assigned as pastor of St. Mary of the Annunciation. After the death of Bishop Ignatius Reynolds in 1855, the presbytery elected Lynch to serve as the administrator of the diocese. Pope Pius IX did not appoint Lynch as bishop of Charleston until 1857. He was consecrated in 1858. In 1864, Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, named Bishop Lynch as special commissioner of the Confederate States of America to the States of the Church. He went to Rome on a diplomatic mission to meet with Pope Pius IX and present himself as the minister of the Confederate States, in hopes of gaining recognition of the confederacy. Pope Pius IX never met with Bishop Lynch in his capacity as special commissioner. The pope did not endorse or support the succession of the Confederate States, and Lynch’s position as a diplomat went no further. After the war, Lynch was in danger of imprisonment and was required to sign an oath of allegiance in exchange for a full pardon. While in Paris, France, he signed the allegiance and received a declaration of pardon. Bishop Lynch died in 1882.

Henry Pinckney Northrop was born in Charleston, South Carolina, to Claudian Byrd Northrop and Hannah Eliza Anderson in 1842. In 1853, he attended Georgetown College but was required to withdraw three years later due to illness. Shortly after, Northrop attended Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and graduated in 1860. Later that same year, Northrop entered the seminary at Mount St. Mary’s College. He also attended North American College in Rome, Italy, where he was ordained while studying for the priesthood in 1865. When he returned home to the Diocese of Charleston, Northrop served at St. Joseph Church, missions in North Carolina, the pro-Cathedral, and Sullivan’s Island. In 1881, Northrop was appointed vicar apostolic of North Carolina as well as titular bishop of Rosalia. In 1883, Northrop was made bishop of Charleston. He remains the longest serving bishop of the Diocese of Charleston (32 years). Bishop Northrop died in 1916.

William Thomas Russell was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1863 to William and Rose Russell. He attended seminary at St. Charles College in Ellicott City, Maryland, the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy, and St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. He was ordained in 1889. His first assignment was pastor of St. James Church in Hyattsville, Maryland, until 1894, when he was appointed private secretary to Cardinal James Gibbons and curate at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Baltimore. In 1908, Russell was named pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., and in 1911 he was elevated to the rank of domestic prelate by Pope Pius X. Russell was appointed Charleston’s fifth bishop in 1916 and installed in 1917. Bishop Russell died in Charleston in 1927.

Emmet Michael Walsh was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, to Thomas Walsh and Wilhelmina Jannerman Walsh in 1892. Walsh’s family moved to Savannah, Georgia, in 1906. He attended Chatham Academy in Savannah and then St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, New York. Walsh returned to Savannah for his ordination in 1916. From 1916-1927, Walsh served as assistant at Immaculate Conception Church in Atlanta, Georgia; pastor of St. Teresa Catholic Church in Albany, Georgia; pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Savannah; and then returned to Atlanta to serve as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church. In 1927, Walsh was appointed and ordained as the sixth bishop of Charleston. In 1949, Bishop Walsh was appointed coadjutor bishop of Youngstown, Ohio, and titular bishop of Rhaedestus, Turkey. He succeeded as bishop of Youngstown in 1952. Walsh died in Youngstown in 1968.

John Joyce Russell was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to John Russell and Mary Joyce Russell in 1897. Russell attended Calvert Hall and Loyola High Schools. He also studied at St. Charles College in Maryland. In 1919, he earned a Master of Arts degree from St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, and in 1923 a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree from the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome. In 1923, Russell’s uncle, William T. Russell, fifth bishop of Charleston, ordained him into the priesthood. Appointed a priest in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Russell served at St. Martin Church from 1923-1937. During that period, he founded the Catholic Evidence Guild, served as director of Catholic Big Brothers, acted as director of the Junior Holy Name society, and served as a tribunal judge for the archdiocese. In 1937, Russell became pastor of St. Ursula Parish and served until 1946. From 1946-1950, Russell served as pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., director of Catholic Charities, and pastor of the Church of the Nativity. In January of 1950, Pope Pius XII appointed Russell seventh bishop of Charleston. He received his episcopal consecration the following March from Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, with Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle and Bishop John Michael McNamara serving as co-consecrators. Bishop John Russell adopted the same coat of arms as his uncle, Bishop William T. Russell. In 1958, Russell became bishop of Richmond and left South Carolina. He retired as bishop of Richmond in 1973. Russell died in 1993 at the age of 95.


4.84 Linear Feet (8 document boxes, 2 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



Personal papers and administrative records of seven bishops of Charleston.  Bishops include John England, Ignatius A. Reynolds, Patrick N. Lynch, Henry P. Northrop, William T. Russell, Emmet J. Walsh, and John J. Russell. Also included is pre-diocesan correspondence of Reverend James Wallace.

Arrangement Note

1. Pre-diocesan papers, 1818-1844, undated 2. John England, 1816-1844, undated 3. Ignatius A. Reynolds, 1845-1857 4. Patrick N. Lynch, 1840-1880, undated 5. Henry Northrop, 1850-1917, undated 6. William Russell, 1917-1927, undated 7. Emmet M. Walsh, 1890, 1927-1949, undated 8. John J. Russell, 1948-1993, undated

Source of Acquisition

Found in collection.

Method of Acquisition

In 1927, Reverend Peter Guilday published The life and times of John England, first bishop of Charleston (1786-1842).  It is believed that Guilday took diocesan documents (correspondence of James Wallace, Bishop John England, Bishop Patrick Lynch and other records) with him to Catholic University of America, where he was an instructor at the time, while researching his book.  Sometime in the 1940s, Guilday transferred documents regarding Archbishop John Hughes to the Archdiocese of New York. It is possible that some Diocese of Charleston documents were included in that transfer. August 13, 1992 – H. Warren Willis, archivist for The Catholic University of America (CUA), contacts Sister Anne Francis Campbell, archivist for the Diocese of Charleston (DOC). August 14, 1992 – Willis sends Bishop Patrick Lynch correspondence to the DOC archives.  These are part of the letters that had been taken by Peter Guilday during his research in the 1920s.  (This material was stored in MSS 2009.029, Box 7/Folder 5. It is now in MSS 1056 Box 5/Folder 2). September 26, 2000 – Eric Fair, archivist for CUA, contacts Mary Giles, DOC archivist, regarding the Edward James Wallace collection, which they believe once belonged to the DOC. February 12, 2001 – CUA transfers the Rev. Edward J. Wallace [sic] papers (and others) from the CUA archives to the DOC archives. There are approximately 250 documents. Spring 2001 – Mary Giles compiles an inventory of the CUA 2001 transfer.  Notes indicate she separated and filed the material into four parts: Wallace correspondence, Non-Wallace correspondence, Pre-Diocesan and Episcopal Records collection (2009.028), and the Episcopal Papers and Records collection (2009.029).  The Episcopal Papers and Records collection (2009.029) possibly includes documents from the 1992 CUA transfer. 2008-2010 – DOC archivist Jennifer E. Neal processes the Episcopal papers and records (2009.029).  She indicates in the acquisitions/scope note: This collection contains original and photocopied materials transferred to the archives from the Chancery, other archival institutions, and several unknown sources.  A majority of this collection was organized by Father William C. Burn * during his tenure as diocesan archivist.  It was reorganized and added to by Father Burn's successors, resulting in unknown provenance and original order. These materials were collected and organized after the completion of the seminarian project in which all diocesan administrative materials from 1727 to 1951 were compiled for the Pre-Diocesan and Episcopal Records collection (2009.028).  The seminarian project began in 1960 and was completed in 1970, in which seminarians were sent to the archives in the summer months to arrange and catalogue the diocesan administrative records according to an adaptation of the system used in the Baltimore Cathedral Archives. Records in this collection (2009.029) include some personal papers and administrative materials regarding the administration of seven bishops of Charleston.  Some records belonging to the diocese were found in various archives around the United States and returned to the archives; one example being part of the Peter Guilday Papers at the Catholic University of America.  Seminarians reported removing many of the Lynch papers from the Pre-Diocesan and Episcopal Records "due to their peculiar nature."  In other words, the papers were of personal interests and family correspondence, not pertaining to Lynch's administration of the diocese.  The collection is divided into seven series; John England, Ignatius A. Reynolds, Patrick N. Lynch, Henry P. Northrop, William T. Russell, Emmet J. Walsh, and John J. Russell.  Materials are arranged by series, and alphabetically by subject at the folder level. February 2013 – DOC archivist Melissa Bronheim Mabry finds loose material in the archives and processes them as small collection MSS 9031, the Bishop Lynch Commission collection. November 10, 2016 – Brian Fahey, DOC archivist, contacts Kate Feighery, Archdiocese of New York archivist, looking for Guilday’s papers on Archbishop Hughes.  Kate Feighery states that the documents are not at the Archdiocese of NY archives and suspects they are at Columbia University archives, possibly in the Henry Joseph Brown papers (Mss 0158). Columbia University staff could not confirm or deny this supposition. February 2017 – Archivist Melissa Bronheim Mabry processes MSS 1056. * Father Burn card catalog numbers 308L and 309L – see accession folder for contents of former boxes.  Father Burn pulled miscellaneous Lynch material from the archives and boxed the records together.  He labelled the boxes 308L and 309L.  A description of the content can be found on the cards.  When this collection was processed in 2009, 308L or 309L were included in each folder title.  This has been removed since it does not reflect the provenance of the material, only a classification schema created in the 1970s.

Related Materials

Pre-Diocesan and Episcopal Records, 1727-1951 (2009.028).

Separated Materials

Oversize Box 1 John England's diurnal Flat file 1/ Drawer 6 OSF 1: Silk cloth - Testimonial Bishop's Residence Silk cloth - Testimonial Oversize Box 2 OSF 2:  Lynch - Biographical - Life insurance form OSF 3: Lynch - Travel - Saint Perpetua etching and description OSF 4: Lynch - Special Commissioner of the Confederate States letter of introduction OSF 5: Lynch - List of federal prisoners taken at Fort Sumter OSF 6: Lynch - Miscellaneous publications - Letter to the pope from Southern bishops requesting a collection for black Catholics and a map of dioceses in the United States OSF 7: Lynch - Essays/sermon OSF 8: Walsh - Personal - Installation souvenir book OSF 9: J. Russell - Personal - Installation souvenir book Photograph envelopes 1-9: John J. Russell

Processing Information

Processed by Melissa Mabry, February 2017.

Inventory of the Diocesan records and episcopal papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston Archives Repository

114 Broad Street
Carriage House
Charleston SC 29401 US