Introduction to the Edward Thompson Oral History Collection

This collection of 90+ recorded interviews of Archdiocesan New York bishops, priests, and religious came about as a result of my being hired by His Eminence, John Cardinal O’Connor in 1998.  At that time, I served as the Executive Director of the U.S. Catholic Historical Society.  I believed that the collection of Catholic stories from often-unrecognized servants of God enhanced the archival record of Catholic institutions serving the poor.  The project continued until 2000.

These histories tell a powerful story of self-sacrifice and devotion to life in a society that rejects the poor and disenfranchised.  The benefit that oral history brings to the historical process is to provide meaning and motivation behind the facts of an historical event.

So, in all these oral histories, we find not just a linear chronology of accomplishments, however important to society.  We discover the passion for helping the most marginalized.  This refreshing spontaneity adds a zest to the historical process, which enhances the record and encourages further research.  It also brings to the public eye clear and convincing examples of selfless service for the greater glory of God.

Click here to see a complete list of oral history interviews at the Archives of the Archdiocese of New York.

Edward J. Thompson, Sr.

March 5, 2015