Old Catholic Church

Span Dates: 1960-1981
Bulk Dates:
Volume: 1.3 linear ft.


Old Catholic Church records consist mainly of letters on liturgical matters and lay issues written to the Most Reverend Armand Constantine Whitehead, a priest and subsequently a bishop who was affiliated with several congregations of the Old Catholic Church in America. Correspondents were principally other clergy and church officials in the United States. A few letters are from abroad. The remainder of the material is printed matter of miscellaneous church newsletters, pamphlets and related published and near-print material.

Hist/Bio Note

Old Catholic Church of America was one of a multitude of numerous, small denominations of the Independent Catholic Church movement. This movement began in the seventeenth century in protest to the Catholic doctrine of papal infallibility. The Old Catholic Church originated in the 1870s in Germany, Holland, and Switzerland. A more detailed history of the church is available in the online finding aid. Many leaders of Independent Catholic churches place heavy emphasis on the apostolic succession of the episcopacy, resulting in the proliferation of ecclesiastical titles and ranks of clergy even among very tiny denominations. The Old Catholic Church was one of the few organized sects that welcomed gays and lesbians and ordained openly gay men.

Finding Aid

A finding aid is available online at the following web address.


The collection is held at the Manuscript and Archives Division (Room 328) of the New York Public Library.


Catholic (Independent Catholic Church of Americas (ICCA)) | Catholic (Old Catholic Church) | Ordination/clergy