Guide to the Records of Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church (Braddock, PA), 1895-1986

Digital Research Library, University Library System

Summary Information

Repository
Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Title
Records of Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church (Braddock, PA)
Creator
Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church (Braddock, PA)
Collection Number
MSS#345
Date [inclusive]
1895-1986
Extent
1.75 cubic feet (3 boxes and 2 shelf volumes)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
Abstract
Polish immigrants in Braddock, PA first dedicated the church as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on property bought on Talbot Avenue at Sixth Street on February 14, 1897. Prior to the formation of the church, Polish immigrants in Braddock had begun to meet and formed an organization known as the Saint Adalbert Society in 1895. This fraternal society was formed to preserve Polish culture, serve the Roman Catholic tradition and to provide help to members in times of illness and poverty. The collection includes financial material, programs, biographies, journals, and dues books. It should be noted that all records are in Polish.
Sponsor Note
This finding aid has been encoded as a part of the Historic Pittsburgh project a joint effort of the University of Pittsburgh and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Funding for this portion of the project has been donated by the Hillman Foundation.

Preferred Citation

Records of Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church (Braddock, PA), 1895-1986, MSS #345, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania.

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Historical Sketch of Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church (Braddock, PA)

Polish immigrants in Braddock, PA first dedicated the church as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on property bought on Talbot Avenue at Sixth Street on February 14, 1897. Prior to the formation of the church, Polish immigrants in Braddock had begun to meet and formed an organization known as the Saint Adalbert Society in 1895. This fraternal society was formed to preserve Polish culture, serve the Roman Catholic tradition and to provide help to members in times of illness and poverty. Through the continued association within the Polish community, the desire to form a Polish church grew. They chose to make St. Adalbert the patron saint of their new parish.

Father Antoni Smelsz organized the parish with the permission of Bishop Richard Phelan. Father Smelsz was assigned to the new parish and left his work in Duquesne for Braddock. As the parish began to grow, the church soon became too small to house it. In 1902 a lot on the corner of Sixth Street and Talbot Avenue was purchased and Archbishop A. Symon dedicated the new church on August 27, 1905. Father Smelsz was sent to a larger parish and was replaced by Father A. Torkowski shortly following the purchase of the new lot.

In 1906, Father Torkowski left the parish and was replaced by Father Jan A. Rykaczewski, who immediately began to improve the parish further. He began by building a new school in 1908, then adding a second and third floor in 1914. A rectory was purchased in 1912 on Talbot Avenue and another rectory was built to house the Felician Sisters who taught in the school. Additional space for housing was added in 1926. A number of societies sprung up in the church and provided an opportunity for people of all ages to get involved with the church. A project to beautify the church soon began, financed by the societies of the church.

Father Rykaczewski served the church until his death on June 17, 1955. Following his passing, Rev. Joseph A. Stankiewicz became pastor of the parish. He renovated and improved the church and its buildings further during his administration. Due to a dwindling population, however, the Sacred Heart Parochial School closed its doors in June 1970. As of 2001, the parish is housed at 1600 Brinton Road in Braddock Hills, PA and the administrator is Rev. Thomas A. Wagner.

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Scope and Content Notes

The collection includes financial material, programs, biographies, journals, and dues books. It should be noted that all records are in Polish.

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Arrangement

The collection has been divided into four series, denoting the St. Adalbert society in Series I, financial records of the St. Joseph Society in Series II, topical records for Series III, and financial records for an unidentified organization in Series IV. It should be noted that all records are in Polish.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church (Braddock, PA), Records, are housed in three archival boxes and two shelf volumes, with folders arranged alphabetically and/or chronologically.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Digital Research Library, University Library System  Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Fall, 2003

Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
library@hswp.org

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or publish, please contact the curator of the Archives.

Acquisition Information

This collection came in one accession in June 2001.

Acc# 2001.0103 Gift of Dorothy Gray, in Memory of the Zygmunt Family of Braddock and Penn Hills, PA.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kaitlin E. Ehrhardt in August 2001.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Robert O. Stakeley on October 31, 2003.

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Collection Inventory

Series I  St. Adalbert Society  

Scope and Content Notes

The first series contains the records of the St. Adalbert society from both before and following the church's formation. The constitution of the society, a dues book, a journal, and minutes of meetings are present. The dates present in the dues book are unclear, but appear to be between 1895-1902. This series is arranged alphabetically by folder title.

  boxfolder
Constitution  1905 11
Minutes  

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Series II  St. Joseph Society Financial Records  

Scope and Content Notes

The second series contains financial records of the St. Joseph Society, a fraternal organization within the church. These records span about a fifteen-year period of time from 1926 to 1940.

  boxvolume
 1936-1940 26

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Series III  Topical  

Scope and Content Notes

The third series contains records arranged topically. It includes an attendance book from the Filaret Society, which was a young persons social organization. It also consists of programs from the church's Golden Jubilee Banquet, including events in honor of Rev. Joseph A. Stankiewicz, short biographies of a few priests, a dues book from the St. Joseph Union national organization, and a summary of financial contributions.

  folder
Golden Jubilee Banquet  1945 1
  folder
Priests  c1970 2
  folder
Stankiewicz, Rev. Joseph A.  1986 3
  folder
Summarized Financial Report & Contributions  1975, 1982 4

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Series IV  Unidentified Organization - Financial Records  

Scope and Content Notes

The fourth series contains the financial records of an as yet unidentified organization. These records encompass the years between 1920 and 1959.

  boxvolume
 1920-1931 39

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