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Father John Cavanaugh papers

 Collection — Folder: S243
Identifier: S0243

Scope and Contents

This collection includes a typed carbon copy from Father John Cavanaugh in South Bend, Indiana in 1914 regarding Norte Dame's education and its value to civilization.


  • 1914

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

The Reverend John W. Cavanaugh was born in Leetonia, Ohio, May 21, 1870, to Patrick and Elezabeth Cavanaugh, one of six children. His mother had hopes that one of her five sons would get an education and not be a miner, as were her husband and four sons. John attended the University of Notre Dame in 1886, to study at the Holy Cross Seminary and received the habit in 1889. He made his final vows in 1891 and taught English at St. Joseph's College in Cincinnati until 1892. He then returned to Notre Dame and received minor orders.

He taught at Notre Dame and was ordained a priest in 1894. He was assistant editor of the Ave Maria for fifteen years, beginning in 1892 and was appointed superior of the Holy Cross Seminary in 1898. He continued teaching at the University and became Dean of the English Department in 1902. In 1905, he was appointed president of Notre Dame by Father Zahm, the Provincial. During his presidency, the remains of Father Badin, who had bought the ground on which Notre Dame was founded, were re-interred in their final resting place in the log chapel, and the statue of Father Sorin, the founder of Notre Dame, was unveiled. His presidency was marked by changes in government, religious instruction, the resurrection of the Alumni Association, and the return of military instruction to the University.

He retired in 1919. His activities then included educating the American public about Catholics and their role in the United States, opposing the Ku Klux Klan, teaching at the Holy Cross College in Washington, D.C., and teaching English at Notre Dame from 1921 to 1931. He delivered many speeches through the United States. He served as Curator of the Art Gallery and Museum and the Dante Library. He wrote an introduction and postscript for Knute Rockne's autobiography, after his death in 1931. Cavanaugh was appointed to the Commission on Liquor Control by Indiana Governor McNutt in 1933 and became chairman of the commission in 1934.

He suffered from diabetes during his presidency of Notre Dame, then contracted tuberculosis in 1925. He fell and suffered a severe leg injury in 1934 and died after a brief illness on March 22, 1935 at the University of Notre Dame community infirmary. He is buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery, Notre Dame, Indiana.

"Cavanaugh, John W.". Archives of the University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 2014/09/15.

"Cavanaugh, John W.". U. S., Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current. Retrieved 2014/09/15.

"Cavanaugh, John W.". Worldcat. Retrieved 2014/09/15.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a purchase from David O. Allen in 1970.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2014/09/15 by Edythe Huffman. EAD finding aid created 2014/09/15 by Edythe Huffman.
Father John Cavanaugh papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.