Historical Overview

A History of the Commission


The New Jersey Catholic Historical Records Commission was established in 1976 by the Catholic Bishops of New Jersey and Seton Hall University.  Its purpose is to gather and preserve the print and photographic history of Catholics and Catholicism in New Jersey, to supplement these records through oral history interviews, and to make these resources available to all.  The first Chairman of the Commission was the Most Rev. John J. Dougherty; he was succeeded by the Most Rev. Peter Leo Gerety, Archbishop Emeritus of Newark. Upon his resignation in 1992, the Most Rev. Dominic A. Marconi assumed direction of the Commission prior to Msgr. Francis Seymour who assumed this role in 2009.  The founding Executive Director, Dr. Joseph Mahoney who served in this capacity from 1976-2005 provided crucial leadership in regard to the program overall.  In furtherance of its goals, the Commission has undertaken projects in several different preservation areas.  With regard to collecting materials, it has aided in the transfer and organization of the Archdiocese of Newark Archives now housed at Seton Hall University.  The Commission has also held several public programs relating to New Jersey Catholic History; two of these have been aimed at helping the authors of parish and other institutional histories improve their works, others have examined Catholic education in the state and the relation of the Church to various immigrant groups.  Other activities will be undertaken as the Commission enters its 35th year plus of service to Catholic New Jersey and beyond.