Catholic Daughters of the Americas collection
Scope and Contents
Financial documentation, correspondence, minutes, printed material, programs, scrapbooks, clippings, and photographs, created, collected, and maintained by the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, document the organization's activities: administrative, charitable, and social, at the local, state, and national levels. This collection is split between records created by the National and Texas State Court.
Records in the National Court, 1905-2014 series include publications such as newsletters and meeting minutes of the Biennial National Convention. Also included is correspondence sent to court regents and national bylaws.
Records of the CDA Texas State Court, 1909-2018 primarily consist of materials created by the state or individual courts. Materials grouped within the state records include the minutes of the Biennial State Convention, account books, state newsletters, and administration resources. Materials from individual courts includes items from current and disbanded courts. Individual court records include items such as court histories, meeting minutes, photographs, scrapbooks, membership and financial ledgers.
- Creation: 1905 - 2018
- Catholic Daughters of the Americas (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Materials available by appointment only, contact archivist for assistance.
Do not remove photographs from plastic sleeves.
The Catholic Daughters of the Americas (CDA) is one of the oldest and largest organizations of Catholic lay and religious women in the Americas. Though founded as the "Daughters of Isabella" by John Carberry (the first Supreme Regent of the CDA) and the Knights of Columbus in Utica, New York in 1903, the organization changed its name to the Catholic Daughters of America at its Ninth Biennial Convention in 1921. In 1978, (the name changed again to become the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, due to membership expansion into Canada, Panama, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. The CDA has a 3-tiered organization; the fundamental unit of local "courts" are grouped into state courts and headed by the National Court. All courts are led by elected officer corps. Membership in the CDA is limited to Catholic women over the age of 18 and determined through an application process at the local court level. Under the motto "Be Useful," the CDA founded the Junior Catholic Daughters of the Americas (JCDA) in 1926, with the purpose of providing religious, moral, and social education for Catholic girls ages 6-18. The JCDA is organized and headed by members of the CDA. National membership in the CDA grew steadily from 60 members in 1903 to reach its peak in 1962, with 214,092 members. Today, over 100,000 Catholic women throughout the Americas are active members of the CDA.
The motto of the Catholic Daughters is "Unity and Charity," and its mission is to "strive to embrace the principle of faith working through love in the promotion of justice, equality, and the advancement of human rights and human dignity for all" through volunteering and charitable contributions for the aged, catechetical education, general education and scholarship programs, family issues, disaster and poverty relief, rural life, social welfare, veterans, world missions, and advocacy for Catholic publications. Since 1904, the CDA has published a newsletter. Initially called The Daughters of Isabella Herald, it became Woman's Voice in 1930, News and Views in 1952, and Share in 1970. In addition to its publications and charity work, the CDA holds a National Convention biennially, and requires its state courts to hold their own Biennial Conventions in the intervening years.
The Texas State Court of the CDA was founded in 1917 after the formation of nine local courts in Texas, the first of which (the "mother court") was Austin's Court Maria Galante #115, organized in 1909 under the leadership of its first Grand Regent, Ms. Josephine Theis (also the first secretary of the Texas State Court), and with the participation of 34 charter members. Other Texas Courts include Court Queen of the Universe, currently of Dickinson, TX, which was established in 1959 in La Marque, TX, and was founded with 37 charter members. Court Mother of Love, Houston, TX was formed in March 1974, with first Regent of the Court was Jimmie Crochet. Court Sister Mary Walter, Rosenberg, TX was established in October 1995, with 29 charter members and first Regent Virginia Riviera.
18.5 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Financial documentation, correspondence, minutes, printed material, programs, scrapbooks, clippings, and photographs, created, collected, and maintained by the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, document the organization's activities: administrative, charitable, and social, at the local, state, and national levels.
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Catholic Archives of Texas Repository
6225 E US 290 HWY EB SVRD
Austin TX 78723 United States