Special Collections and Archives

ARCHBISHOP FULTON J. SHEEN RESEARCH COLLECTION

1913-2000, 3.6 feet.


Research files of Thomas C. Reeves for his biography, America's Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen (2001). The records include interview transcripts, photographs, press clippings, publications by and about Sheen, and subject files. Gift of Thomas C. Reeves, 2001; processed, 2003, 2007.


Biographical Note

Archbishop Fulton John Sheen (1895-1979) was television's first preacher of note in the United States. He was educated at St. Viator College (Bourbonnais, Illinois), St. Paul Seminary (St. Paul, Minnesota), and the Catholic University of Louvain (Louvain, Belgium), where he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1923. A popular instructor, Archbishop Sheen wrote the first of some 90 books in 1925. He hosted a weekly radio broadcast, “The Catholic Hour,” 1930-1950s, and two nationally-syndicated television series, “Life Is worth Living,” 1951-1957, and “The Fulton Sheen Program,” 1961-1968 (first black and white, then color). He was ordained in 1919, served as Auxiliary Bishop of New York, 1951-1965, Bishop of Rochester (New York), 1966-1969, and national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, 1958-1966. He conducted the first religious service broadcast on television, ca. 1955. Sheen's Cause for Canonization was officially opened in 2002. Reruns of his programs continue to air on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).


Scope and Content

The collection includes the following series:

  1. General files on Archbishop Sheen (Box 1) and Catholicism (Box 7) in the United States and subject files, arranged alphabetically (Boxes 1-7).

  2. Personal interview transcripts and notes arranged chronologically.

  3. Publications by and about Sheen, arranged alphabetically by author.

  4. Clippings from magazines and newspapers arranged alphabetically by alphabetically by title.


The records of the Catholic Broadcasters Association, Series 8-2, include a recording of the homily by Archbishop Edward T. O'Meara, Funeral Homily for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (1979).