Msgr George Gilmary Higgins Papers

Link to the Finding Aid


Closely identified with NCWC, Higgins took part in numerous activities to promote Catholic social thought. He was elevated to Papal Chamberlain with the title of Monsignor in 1953, and was named a Domestic Prelate in 1959. Upon the advent of the Vatican II Council, Higgins used his experience and knowledge for the Preparatory Commission on the Lay Apostolate and as a Consultant to the Council. He attended all four sessions of the council, 1962-1965. He was on the drafting commission for its document on the laity, the first U.S. priest to receive such an appointment.

Collection Size (number of document cases and boxes): Boxes containing Higgins’ Vatican II files are numbered 198, 301-306, 435, 443, 452, 453, 462, 465, 468, and 471.

Collection description:

Box 198 includes subject files Higgins collected and his secretaries organized under a number of subject headings, usually by person or organization. Although many of the subject files contain magazine and newspaper clippings, pamphlets and printed material, there is also a substantial amount of correspondence. Some of the subjects overlap, such as those dealing with the Catholic Church, popes, and encyclicals in relation to labor issues.

  • Boxes 301-306 contain information from the NCWC Rome Office.
  • Box 435 contains his papers from the commission on the role of the laity.
  • Boxes 443, 452, 453, 462 include books he owned about Vatican II.  Boxes 465 and 468 include photos from Vatican II.
  • Box 471 includes a VHS Vatican II interview.