Basilica of St. Josaphat Album, 1928

Summary Information
Title: Basilica of St. Josaphat Album
Inclusive Dates: 1928

  • Basilica of St. Josaphat (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Call Number: Milwaukee Historic Photo Collection 28

Quantity: 0.8 cubic ft. (1 box)

Archival Location:
Milwaukee Public Library (Map)

Photo album of basilica interior views. Artfully inscribed by hand is the text, "The Pastor, Sisters, and Parishioners of St. Josaphat Parish take much pleasure in dedicating this Album to the great Architect and Builder of their Basilica, Erhard Brielmaier, 1841-1917."


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Language: English

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The parish of the Basilica of St. Josaphat was founded in 1888. With the growing size of the Polish community located on Milwaukee’s south side, Father Wilhelm Grutza hired architect Erhard Brielmaier to design a new structure with a large seating capacity. Brielmaier modeled his design after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and presented his blueprints for it in 1896. Grutza and his parishioners worked continually on the project for years, both on raising funds for the construction and providing the actual labor. In an effort to save money, Grutza purchased materials from the U.S. Post Office and Customs House in Chicago that was being torn down and had them shipped to Milwaukee. On 21 July 1901, the new church was dedicated before 4000 worshippers. It became the largest church in Milwaukee at the time and features one of the largest copper domes in the world. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains a photo album of the Basilica of St. Josaphat. Most of the photos are interior views and include various close-ups of the artwork, altar, and other architectural details inside the basilica. There is a page dedicated to the architect Erhard Brielmaier and another giving a brief overview of the church. The photos are all in black and white.

Arrangement of the Materials

The album is in original order.

Preferred Citation

Basilica of St. Josaphat Album, 1928, Collection 28. Milwaukee Historic Photo Archives, Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Related Material in the Milwaukee Public Library
Archival Collections

Publications and Other Items

Basilica of St. Josaphat

Souvenir Album of the Golden Jubilee of the Dedication of St. Josaphat's Basilica

Administrative/Restriction Information
Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials. The collection is open to all in accordance with state law. The public may view collections from the Milwaukee Historic Photo Archives by appointment at the Central Library. To request an in-person appointment, create/login to your Special Collections Account. If you have any questions, please contact the Archives and Special Collections Department at

Use Restrictions

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright which may be involved in the use of this collection (Wisconsin Statutes 19.21-19.39).

Acquisition Information

Donation information is currently unavailable. Materials accessioned as a Historic Photo Collection.

Processing Information

Initial processing by unknown. Final processing by Bob Jaeger, 2020.