The Archives of the Secular Franciscan Order

T National Fraternity T


September 2004

To: National Fraternity Council

Fr: Sharon Deveaux, SFO, National Archivist

Re: 2004 Annual Report

Since my appointment as National Archivist in March, positive things are happening with the Archives. It was a blessing that a permanent home at SBU and a budget for the Archives had already been established by Mr. William Wicks and his staff prior to my appointment. This made it easy to get started immediately and focus on the needs of the collection.

I first visited the Archives at St. Bonaventure University on May 31st through June 4th. I was accompanied by Elizabeth Allen and John Sanborn and Eleanor Cox met us there. We used this time to transfer 18 boxes of materials from old "bad" boxes into new archival boxes and get them on the shelves. It was also primarily a time to become familiar with everything there. The Archives is located on the ground floor of St. Francis Hall. There is one, large shelving unit that holds 120 boxes and we presently have roughly 40 boxes of papers, photographs and tapes with more materials waiting to be sent.

Following this visit, I wrote the Mission Statement which I hope will help people both inside and outside the Order understand the purpose and intention of the Archives. It was submitted to and approved by the Executive Council.

I also prepared and mailed to every regional secretary a letter of introduction and a list of important regional materials that should be in the Archives. These materials can be either copies or originals. I received some responses of encouragement and support. I know they have many duties as secretaries and that it will take time for all the materials to be found and re-located. All future communications with them will be by e-mail.

My second visit to the Archives was a solo trip from August 23rd to August 26th. This time was spent doing a general survey of the collection as well as planning for the final physical arrangement. Vivian Weaver and Chris Scholze met me there with 5 boxes of materials from the Lady Poverty region, which I reviewed for content, quantity and condition. This gave me the first good look at what the regions may be keeping as archives. Having 3 full working days gave me time to better understand the different areas and activities that are represented.

I would also like to say that Mr. Dennis Franks, the SBU Archivist has been very helpful and generous with his time by accepting our shipments of materials and in conversations with me about archival issues, concepts and their website.

Now I think I can now say that the use of Elizabeth Allen's garage as a temporary archives repository can be terminated. The boxes of archival materials have been transferred to me, which will eventually be taken to SBU.

I'm tentatively planning a 3rd trip in October which will be the last one of 2004. Plans after this include: preparing Collections Guidelines, finalizing goals, objectives and priorities, finding archive materials from the province days, accessioning and cataloging of the collection, acquiring a laptop computer dedicated to the Archives, better preservation methods, and possibly a website.

And many thanks to Elizabeth Allen for her patience and willingness to answer all my questions amidst her busy schedule.

Thank you for the opportunity to do this work for you.


The Secular Franciscan Order in the United States is an organization consisting of a National Fraternity, 31 regional fraternities, many local fraternities and more than 17,000 members. Its history includes many personal and institutional activities, functions, ministries and events which demonstrate and encourage Franciscan spirituality and the vocation to be followers of Christ in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, according to our Rule.

The Archives, located at St. Bonaventure University in New York, serves as the main repository for the historical documents, official records, photographs, books, letters, artwork, memorabilia and many other materials that pertain to the history of the Order in the United States. The establishment of the Archives is in fulfillment of Article 6.3 of the National Statutes.

Its purpose and mission is to actively collect existing materials, appraise materials for historical significance, organize materials into a cohesive collection, ensure the physical care and preservation of the collection and to facilitate scholarly interpretation and use of the collection.