The Historical Value of Parish Histories

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Thomas F. Rzeznik


Parish histories are a vital resource for those working in the field of U.S. Catholic history.  Though often perceived as narrow institutional accounts, they provide important insights into Catholic community life, faith, and practice.  As part of an initiative of the Catholic Research Resource Alliance, this essay provides a brief background on parish histories as a genre and offers some reflections on the ways that collections of parish histories can be employed by scholars.

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Author Biography

Thomas F. Rzeznik, Seton Hall University

Thomas Rzeznik is associate professor of history at Seton Hall University and co-editor of the quarterly journal, American Catholic Studies.