Dear ACWR Members,

We are excited to announce the publication of the first edition of Women Religious History Sources: A Digital Guide to Repositories in North America. Thanks to so many of you who spread the word about this project to your local or regional archival groups. Special acknowledgement is also in order to students Bre’ale Jackson and Logan Maldonado from Cincinnati’s DePaul Cristo Rey High School Corporate Work Study Program, who assisted in digitizing portions of the 1983 edition and contacting communities across the country through Community web contact forms about the project, which resulted in numerous submissions outside of our immediate membership.

As we note in the introduction to the edition, this initiative intends to provide scholars with an update to the last comprehensive resource on Women Religious Archives, Women Religious History Sources: A Guide to Repositories in the United States, edited by Evangeline Thomas, CSJ, and published in 1983. In the Fate of Religious Orders Archives Conference, held at Catholic University on March 29, 2017, Prof. Carol K. Coburn of Avila University noted the importance of the 1983 resource to scholars to this day in conducting research on the many facets to the history of women religious throughout the country. She challenged and encouraged archivists to return to the project by compiling a revised edition and members of the ACWR board in attendance felt this directly aligned with our organization’s mission. The Catholic Research Resource Alliance (CRRA) has graciously offered us a digital platform to share this resource with scholars, teachers, and the public at large.

At the recent Envisioning the Future of Catholic Religious Archives conference, held at Boston College this month, scholars, Community leaders, and archivists gathered to plan collaboratively for preserving and sharing the rich history of Women Religious communities into an uncertain future. A recurring topic echoed by scholars throughout the conference was the need for a “digital roadmap” to available collections across the country. We feel that this resource can form into a robust tool for scholars, raising awareness of these significant collections and their respective place in sharing the history of women religious in the United States and abroad.

The first edition of the directory is currently available on the CRRA website through the announcement banner on the home page (https://www.catholicresearch.org/ ) as well as on the Bibliographies, Directories, and Reports page of the Links and Resources tab at the top of the page (https://www.catholicresearch.org/bibliographies-directories-and-reports). It will also be available through our ACWR resources page in the coming days.

We anticipate releasing subsequent editions in a Google Document database format where entries will be added and updated in real time. It would also provide a search function for the entire directory that may also be linkable to content generated for the CRRA Catholic Portal in the future.

For now, this directory will be updated quarterly as submissions are received. If your community collection is currently not included in this edition, please consider filling out the attached template and return the completed information to the ACWR National Office at archivistsacwr@gmail.com.