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Catholic Council on Civil Liberties records

Identifier: UASC-008

Scope and Contents

The materials in this collection document the creation and operation of the Catholic Council on Civil Liberties, originally named the American Freedoms Council. The collection includes the constitution, bylaws, membership applications, and mailing lists of the organization, as well as briefs filed in court cases, publications, photographs, and newspaper clippings. A large portion of the collection is made up of correspondence of the organization's officers and members, including that of Thomas F. Ritt, director; Russell W. Gibbons, secretary; William B. Ball and A.V. Krebs, members of the national board of directors; and Joseph O'Meara, A.C. Germann, and Rev. Louis A. Gales, members of the national advisory committee. The collection spans 1958-1967.


  • Creation: 1958-1967


Access to Materials

This collection is open and available to the public for research in the University Archives and Special Collections reading room. The materials are non-circulating.

Copyright Notice

The materials in this collection may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The materials are available for personal, educational, and scholarly use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to locate and obtain permission from the copyright owner or his or her heirs for any other use, such as reproduction and publication.

History of the Catholic Council on Civil Liberties

The American Freedoms Council was incorporated on May 26, 1959, in Omaha, Nebraska, by John Holman and Gerald McGuire. The Council was conceived as a type of "Catholic Civil Liberties Union" in which the laity could work for the general welfare without fear of compromising their religious principles.

The aims of the group were to promote closer cooperation of Catholics in a non-political body for the purposes of the benevolence, charity, and education and to educate its members in civic and religious liberty and the constitutional rights of all American citizens. Local chapters soon sprung up in cities across the country, including Cleveland, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; Brooklyn, New York; and Detroit, Michigan.

In 1961, the board of directors voted to change the organization's name to the Catholic Council on Civil Liberties. At this time the national headquarters was moved to Lawndale, California. The group disbanded in 1966.


1.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Administrative records, publications, photographs, and correspondence of the Catholic Council on Civil Liberties--formerly the American Freedoms Council--a national group of Catholics involved in the civil liberties front.


The records of the Catholic Council on Civil Liberties are arranged alphabetically with the exception of the newspaper clippings, which are located at the end of the collection.

Acquisition Information

Russell W. Gibbons, secretary of the CCCL, donated the collection in 1967.

Guide to the Catholic Council on Civil Liberties records, 1958-1967
Lisa Pasquinelli
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University Libraries Repository

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Dayton Ohio 45469-1360