university archives

Finding aid for the Catholic Council on Civil Liberties records, 1958-1967

Overview of Collection

Repository: University of Dayton. University Archives and Special Collections
Creator: Catholic Council on Civil Liberties
Title: Catholic Council on Civil Liberties records
Dates: 1958-1967
Extent: 1.5 linear feet
Abstract: Administrative records, publications, photographs, and correspondence of the Catholic Council on Civil Liberties--formerly the American Freedoms Council--a national group of Catholics involved in the civil liberties front.
Collection Code: SC 8
Language: English

History of the Catholic Council on Civil Liberties

The American Freedoms Council was incorporated on May 26, 1959, in Omaha, Nebraska, by John Holman and Gerald McGuire. The Council was conceived as a type of "Catholic Civil Liberties Union" in which the laity could work for the general welfare without fear of compromising their religious principles.

The aims of the group were to promote closer cooperation of Catholics in a non-political body for the purposes of the benevolence, charity, and education and to educate its members in civic and religious liberty and the constitutional rights of all American citizens. Local chapters soon sprung up in cities across the country, including Cleveland, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; Brooklyn, New York; and Detroit, Michigan.

In 1961, the board of directors voted to change the organization's name to the Catholic Council on Civil Liberties. At this time the national headquarters was moved to Lawndale, California. The group disbanded in 1966.

Scope and Content

The materials in this collection document the creation and operation of the Catholic Council on Civil Liberties, originally named the American Freedoms Council. The collection includes the constitution, bylaws, membership applications, and mailing lists of the organization, as well as briefs filed in court cases, publications, photographs, and newspaper clippings. A large portion of the collection is made up of correspondence of the organization's officers and members, including that of Thomas F. Ritt, director; Russell W. Gibbons, secretary; William B. Ball and A.V. Krebs, members of the national board of directors; and Joseph O'Meara, A.C. Germann, and Rev. Louis A. Gales, members of the national advisory committee. The collection spans 1958-1967.

Statement of Arrangement

The records of the Catholic Council on Civil Liberties are arranged alphabetically with the exception of the newspaper clippings, which are located at the end of the collection.

Search Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Dayton Libraries Catalog. Researchers may use these headings to search the catalog for resources on related topics, persons, or places.

Personal Names

Ball, William B.
Gales, Louis A.
Germann, A. C.
Gibbons, Richard W.
Holman, John
Krebs, A. V.
McGuire, Gerald
O'Meara, Joseph
Ritt, Thomas F.

Corporate Names

American Freedoms Council
Catholic Council on Civil Liberties


Catholics -- United States
Civil rights
Civil rights -- United States

Administrative Information

Access to Materials

This collection is open and available to the public for research in the University Archives and Special Collections reading room. The materials are non-circulating.


The materials in this collection may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The materials are available for personal, educational, and scholarly use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to locate and obtain permission from the copyright owner or his or her heirs for any other use, such as reproduction and publication.

Acquisition Information

Russell W. Gibbons, secretary of the CCCL, donated the collection in 1967.

Preferred Citation

Catholic Council on Civil Liberties Records, 1958-1967. University Archives and Special Collections, University of Dayton Libraries, Dayton, Ohio.

Box and Folder Listing

Box Folder
1 1 AFC and CCCL -- Constitution and bylaws, 1943, 1958
1 2 AFC and CCCL -- Publications and reprints; news releases; positions statements, 1958-1965
1 3 Articles, statements, and other materials, 1961-1964
1 4 Buffalo Diocesan Chapter records -- Detroit Chapter members and constitution, 1962-1965
1 5 Convention -- University of Dayton, August 1963
1 6 Correspondence -- AFC and CCCL, 1960-1964
1 7 Correspondence -- A.C. Germann, 1962-1964
1 8 Correspondence -- Albert V. Krebs, 1963-1964
1 9 Correspondence -- Joseph O'Meara, 1958-1965
1 10 Correspondence -- Rev. Louis A. Gales, 1962-1964
2 1 Correspondence -- Russell W. Gibbons, 1959-1960
2 2 Correspondence -- Russell W. Gibbons, 1961
2 3-4 Correspondence -- Russell W. Gibbons, 1962
2 5-6 Correspondence -- Russell W. Gibbons, 1963
2 7-8 Correspondence -- Russell W. Gibbons, 1964
2 9 Correspondence -- Russell W. Gibbons, 1965
3 1 Correspondence -- Thomas F. Ritt, 1962
3 2 Correspondence -- Thomas F. Ritt, 1963
3 3 Correspondence -- Thomas F. Ritt, 1964-1965
3 4 Correspondence -- William B. Ball, 1962-1964
3 5 Freedom Award, 1962-1965
3 6 Green vs. Continental Airlines, 1962-1963
3 7 House Un-American Activities Committee -- Publications and correspondence, 1961-1967
3 8 Invoices -- Financial statement, 1963-1965
3 9 Mailing lists, undated
4 1 Membership applications, 1960-1964
4 2 Photographs, undated
4 3-7 Newspaper clippings, undated