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DeAndreis-Rosati Memorial Archives: 20 years at DePaul


Book cover.  Richard J. Janet.  In Missouri’s Wilds: St. Mary’s of the Barrens and the American Catholic Church, 1818 to 2016.
The book cover for "In Missouri’s Wilds: St. Mary’s of the Barrens and the American Catholic Church, 1818 to 2016," by Richard J. Janet. (Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives)

This year marks the 20thanniversary of the DeAndreis-Rosati Memorial Archives, the records of the Western Province of the Congregation of the Mission, arrival at DePaul.  This essay is the second in a two-part series and shares the experiences of researchers using DRMA materials. Read part one here​.

Special Collections and Archives works extensively with undergraduate students for research and instruction. However, a review of the past 20 years of patron statistics reveals the majority of researchers who use the DRMA collections are visiting scholars, members of the Vincentian family and DePaul staff.

Trends over the last five years also show patrons who use Vincentian collections represent our highest number of repeat research visits when compared to patrons who consult university archives, rare books and manuscript collections. These repeat visits give us an opportunity to develop solid working relationships and learn from the scholars and researchers analyzing primary sources from the DRMA for their projects.

“I recently completed an almost 3-year project for the Vincentian Studies Institute that would have been impossible without the resources available in the DeAndreis-Rosati Memorial Archives," says Ed Young, an assistant research editor in the Division of Mission and Ministry. “I created a database on all Vincentians who had served in this country since their arrival in 1816. Personnel files, historical writings and other sources available in DRMA were brought together into a database that will aid researchers in studying the impact the Vincentian priests and brothers have had in the development of the services to U.S. citizen for the past 200 years."

The archives also serve those beyond DePaul's campuses.

“I have used the DRMA over the past 20 years for sources in the writing articles and a book on the history of the Barrens," says Rick Janet, a professor of history at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri. “I consulted the online finding aids, which have saved immense time in preparing for my campus visits. When I visit the archives now, even after months and years between visits, I feel at home – like I am visiting old friends. The Vincentian heritage is in good hands given the state of the DRMA and DePaul's commitment to maintaining a first-class archives."

The tradition to connect seminarians with the community archives continued when the Rev. Patrick McDevitt, C.M., and the Rev. Tony Dosen, C.M., directed the Vincentian novices at Perboyre Mission House in Chicago. In 2006, the Rev. Jeremy Dixon, C.M., now pastor of St. Vincent's Parish, arranged and described the Provincial Assembly Records of the Midwest Province. He gained an understanding of the importance of the documents, correspondence, photographs and publications collected and created by confreres as they conduct the work of the Province.

The Rev. John Rybolt, C.M., a Vincentian historian and scholar, also has consistently identified and transferred to the archives historical records that should be preserved and made accessible for research. Without his diligent collecting the legacy of the personnel and activities of the Western Province of the Congregation of the Mission would be greatly diminished. Fr. Rybolt sets a fine example of following the instructions St. Vincent de Paul gave to the superiors of the houses in 1660.

“In the future, please keep the letters written to you and to the members of your house, no matter from whom they may come, whenever they contain any noteworthy details that may be important or may be instructive for the future," (Letter no. 3220, Coste [English edition], Volume VIII, p. 467).

If you have questions about accessing these materials, contact Morgen MacIntosh Hodgetts, coordinator of Special Collections and Archives Engagement.​​