James Groppi Papers, 1956-1989

Container Title
Mss 166
Part 1 (Mss 166): Original Collection, 1916-1970
Physical Description: 4.2 c.f. (11 archives boxes) 
Biography/History

The Wisconsin Council of Catholic Women, established in 1916, was the first such statewide organization in the United States. Mary Connor, then president of the Madison Catholic Women's Club, invited the presidents of ten other Catholic women's organizations in Wisconsin to set up a federation. August 1, 1916, was the date of this initial “Conference” at which the name “Wisconsin State Council of Catholic Women's Organizations” was adopted.

Gradually other Catholic women's clubs and organizations in Wisconsin joined the Council, increasing its membership, prestige, range of interests, and activities. Public welfare, human rights, education, youth, better films and television, state and national legislation, and general Catholic interests received not only study but also active attention. Scholarships were established; contributions made to welfare causes; legislators contacted; and the Catholic woman's viewpoint was presented to film makers, educational bodies, and other agencies in Wisconsin and throughout the United States.

At this writing (1973) the organization consists of ten districts encompassing the entire state, each directed by a chairman. Overall direction is in the hands of a Board of Directors which, in addition to the state officers, includes the district chairmen and the chairmen of various committees and departments. New interests and altered emphasis are reflected in the activities of the committees over the years. The Council, through its 60 affiliate organizations and individual memberships, represents nearly 75,000 Wisconsin women.

Scope and Content Note

The records of the Wisconsin Council of Catholic Women, 1916-1970, consist of the official records of annual conferences, minutes of board meetings, presidential correspondence, and subject files. Arrangement is chronological within each of the following general categories:

  • Historical data
  • Constitution and bylaws
  • Executive Board minutes, 1923-1970
  • Annual Conference materials, 1919-1970
  • Presidents' general correspondence, 1916-1963
  • Subject file, A-Z
  • Clippings

Board and conference minutes follow the usual format. Included in the annual conference materials, however, are the “calls to Conference,” announcing the date, place, and theme of each; and frequently the program for the meetings and the social events entailed. The general correspondence consists of letters, formal and informal, to and from the various presidents regarding many aspects of the Council's activities. Although the subject file does contain a variety of reports and proposals, it is also largely correspondence exchanged by successive presidents and their fellow board members.

There are gaps in the records, notably the absence of minutes for the annual conferences of 1916-1918, 1930, 1934, 1937-1938, 1945, and 1948. Internal problems arose in 1961, resulting in the resignation of the recently-elected president. Other than letters referring to the controversy itself, there is virtually no correspondence for that period. The records include no correspondence beyond 1963.

The subject file contains material reflecting the various interests of the Council and its affiliates, as well as ordinary operational activities. There are records for each of the ten districts consisting of the minutes and reports of district meetings as well as the reports and correspondence of district officers with the state presidents. The subject file also contains abundant material concerning such topics as education, public welfare, human rights, youth, etc. These subjects are detailed in the contents list.

Overall, the records reflect the human and financial resources of the Council, the economic and political conditions of the times, the attitude of Catholic women and the Catholic hierarchy toward a variety of issues, and the problems encountered in sustaining a “super-organization” composed of many independent local affiliates.

Box   1
Folder   1
Historical Data
Box   1
Folder   2
Constitution and bylaws
Executive Board Minutes
Box   1
Folder   3-5
1923-1951
Box   2
Folder   1-4
1952-1970
Annual Conference Materials
Box   2
Folder   5
1919-1927
Box   2
Folder   6
1928-1929, 1931-1933, 1935-1936
Box   3
Folder   1
1939-1944, 1946-1947
Box   3
Folder   2
1949-1955
Note: “Call to Conference” only for 1951.
Box   3
Folder   3
1956-1958
Box   3
Folder   4
1959-1963
Box   3
Folder   5
1964-1970
Note: Program only for 1965; Call and program only for 1969 and 1970.
Presidents' General Correspondence
Box   4
Folder   1-6
1923-1953
Box   5
Folder   1-4
1954-1963
Subject File
Box   6
Folder   1
Catholic Daughters of America, 1942-1952
Committees
Box   6
Folder   2
Better Radio, TV and Movies, 1937-1938, 1950-1963
Box   6
Folder   3
Publicity, 1950-1956, 1962
Box   6
Folder   4
Various
Conference Planning
Box   6
Folder   5
1947, 1951-1954
Box   6
Folder   6
1955
Box   6
Folder   7
1962-1963
Box   6
Folder   8
Districts, general, 1939-1959
District I
Box   6
Folder   9
1943-1954
Box   7
Folder   1
1955-1962
Box   7
Folder   2
District II, 1949-1962
Box   7
Folder   3
District III, 1949-1962
Box   7
Folder   4
District IV and V, 1942, 1949-1961
Box   7
Folder   5
District VI, 1949-1956
Box   7
Folder   6
District VII, 1949-1955, 1961-1962
Box   8
Folder   1-2
District VIII, 1950-1953
Box   8
Folder   3
District IX, 1949-1956, 1961-1962
Box   8
Folder   4
District X, 1941, 1949-1955, 1961-1962
Box   8
Folder   5
Education, 1929-1963
Note: Includes “Mary Connor Student Loan Fund.”
Box   9
Folder   1
Human Rights, 1951-1963
Box   9
Folder   2
Junior League, 1942-1959, 1962, 1968
Note: See also Youth.
Box   9
Folder   3
Legislation, 1929-1963
Box   11
Folder   5
Miscellaneous
Note: Includes some Informant correspondence.
Box   9
Folder   4
National Council of Catholic Women, 1942-1963
Box   9
Folder   4
Organization, 1937, 1948-1963
Public Welfare
Box   10
Folder   1
1948-1954
Box   10
Folder   2
1958-1963
Box   10
Folder   3
Recording Secretary, 1950-1963
Resolutions
Box   10
Folder   4
1925-1952
Box   10
Folder   5
1953-1970
Box   11
Folder   1
Revisions, 1936, 1948-1955
Treasurer
Note: Includes some auditor papers.
Box   11
Folder   2
1935, 1949-1954
Box   11
Folder   3
1955-1956, 1958, 1961-1963
Box   11
Folder   4
Youth, 1942-1955
Note: See also Junior League.
Box   11
Folder   6
Clippings, unorganized