Sisters of the Holy Family Collection, Santa Clara University Archives & Special Collections

Our Hidden Catholic Collection this week reveals the extensive Sisters of the Holy Family Collection at Santa Clara University Archives & Special Collections. The Order was founded by Sr. Elizabeth Dolores Armer (1850-1905) to provide home and child care services, catechism instruction, and social services for underprivileged communities. The collection includes over 250 linear feet of records that include congregational histories, photographs and other media, memorabilia, organizational records, reference files, and documents related to the sisters’ work. You can access the finding aid here. 

The Sisters of the Holy Family was founded in San Francisco in 1872 to advocate for poor and needy families in post-Gold Rush California. In time, their missions took them to Nevada, Texas, Utah, Hawai’i, and Alaska, but they continued to do extraordinary work in the San Francisco Bay Area, running the first-ever day homes where children of the working poor were given food, kindergarten-level activities, and toys and games. When disaster struck, such as the 1906 earthquake, the Sisters were there to provide crucial support.

The Sisters of the Holy Family Collection was recently acquired by Archives & Special Collections at Santa Clara University Library as part of its Women Religious initiative. Learn more in the July/August 2019 issue of Archival Outlook magazine. 

Kelci Baughman McDowell
Research & Instruction Services Coordinator, Archives & Special Collections
Santa Clara University Library
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053

[email protected]
(408) 554-4094

Facebook: @holyfamilysisters
Twitter: @HolyFamilySrs


Sisters read to children at the Holy Family Day Home.
An image of the original members of the Sisters of the Holy Family.