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Michael A. Corrigan papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: ADN 0002-002

Scope and Contents

This collection focuses primarily on Corrigan’s tenure as Bishop of Newark from 1873-1880. It also contains, however, a notebook chronicling visitations made to New York parishes between 1880 and 1882, and approximately 75 letters to Bishop Winand Wigger, who succeeded Corrigan as Bishop of Newark, written while Corrigan served as New York’s Archbishop.

The Diocese possessed jurisdiction over all New Jersey parishes until 1881 and this material documents Catholicism’s rapid growth during the 1870s. By the 1880s, New Jersey’s Catholic population numbered approximately 175,000 and parochial schools provided instruction for nearly 25,000 students. Corrigan’s expository entries in the Episcopal register offer informal commentary on his travels throughout the state, and correspondence with priests and laymen detail the administrative and financial problems plaguing many parishes.

Unfortunately, extensive correspondence exists only for the years between 1877 and 1880. The Bishop’s letter files for earlier years have not been located, and documentation therefore remains spotty for the years 1872-1876.


  • 1870-1902

Conditions Governing Access

Temporarily closed to research.

Conditions Governing Use

All materials available in this collection (unless otherwise noted) are the property of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center and Seton Hall University, which reserves the right to limit access to or reproduction of these materials. Reproduction of materials or content is subject to United States copyright restrictions and may be subject to federal or state privacy regulations. Permission to publish exact reproductions must be obtained from the Director of the Archives and Special Collections Center.

Biographical / Historical

Michael A. Corrigan was the third President of Seton Hall College (now Seton Hall University). A native of Newark NJ, the future Bishop was born on August 13, 1839, the fifth child in Thomas and Mary (English) Corrigan's household of nine. His parents emigrated from Ireland in the 1820s, and his father's grocer business and real estate investments enabled them to provide for Michael's education. Corrigan attended St. Mary's College in Wilmington, Delaware from 1853-1855 and upon graduating, entered Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Despite spending a year in Europe with his sister, Michael received his degree with first honors in 1859. Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley, learning of Corrigan's intention to study for the priesthood, assigned him to the first class of the newly established American College at Rome. Cardinal Patrizi conferred ordination on the seminarian on September 19, 1863, and a Doctor of Divinity degree followed one year later.

Shortly after returning to Newark in August 1864, Corrigan was appointed director of Seton Hall's Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and Professor of Dogmatic Theology and Sacred Scripture. In 1865, he became vice President of Seton Hall College, subsequently succeeding Bernard J. McQuaid as College President and Vicar General of the Diocese in 1868.

Pius IX appointed Corrigan Bishop of Newark in 1873, with the consecration taking place in St. Patrick's Cathedral on May 4th of that year. He served there until October 1, 1880, when Cardinal McCloskey, Archbishop of New York, and his suffragen Bishops agreed upon the Newark prelate as coadjutor with right of succession. Upon McCloskey's death in 1885, Corrigan automatically became Archbishop of New York.

For the next seventeen years, the Archbishop became embroiled in virtually every major controversy touching the American Church. A strict canonist, stalwart advocate of parochial schooling and unyielding opponent of secret societies, Corrigan gained wide renown as a principal spokesman for the Church's conservative wing. Widely publicized conflicts with Rev. Edward McGlynn and Archbishop John Ireland added to his reputation.

While conducting a visitation in the Bahamas, Corrigan contracted a severe cold and died on May 5, 1902.

[Biographical sketch from legacy finding aid by unknown author.]


4.5 Linear Feet (, 10 boxes, 1 microfilm reel and 3 bound volumes)

Language of Materials



Michael A. Corrigan was the second Bishop of Newark and the third president of Seton Hall College. The Michael A. Corrigan papers primarily consist of materials related to Corrigan's tenure as Bishop.

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Preservica Public URL

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bulk of the materials were transferred to the Archives and Special Collections Center from the Archdiocese of Newark, date unknown. Some photocopied correspondence was given by the Archdiocese of New York in 1980. Accession number 1980.0004.ADN.

Related Materials

James Roosevelt Bayley papers, 1836-1872, ADN 0002.001, in the Msgr. William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center.

Winand Wigger papers, 1864-1919, ADN 0002.003, in the Msgr. William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center.

Processing Information

Collection was processed and original finding aid written by the Field Archives and Special Collections Center. Finding aid encoded and edited by E. O'Donnell and Maura Kenny in 2009. Further finding aid edits and creation of html document by Tracy M. Jackson in 2012.
Michael A. Corrigan papers, 1870-1902
E. O'Donnell
July 2009, September 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
  • TypeCollection

Repository Details

Part of the The Monsignor Field Archives & Special Collection Center Repository

Archives, Walsh Library
400 South Orange Ave
South Orange NJ 07079 US