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Msgr. James A. Magner (1901-IL - 1995 Palm Beach, FL) "author, professor at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.  Magner Hall a dormitory at the university is named after Msgr. Magner.  Both of these priests were the children of James Magner (CT 1857-1937 IL) and Margaret Follen (Ireland 1862-1925 IL).  The parents are both buried in Mt Olivet Cemetery in Wilmington, IL.  The grandparents were Thomas Magner and Elizabeth Fruin.  Msgr. Magner attended Mundelein Seminary near Chicago.   "And how did James Magner get to the seminary in 1921? His parents were both Catholic, but James attended a public grammar school and a public high school. He went to Campion College and graduated in 1921. His journey to the priesthood was an unusual one for the time. He came straight from College into the Major seminary. He would do very well at Mundelein. He had a good mind which caught the attention of Cardinal Mundelein. Eventually Fr. Magner would go on to become the Procurator at Catholic University of America. How did he get to Mundelein Seminary in 1921?"      source: Mundelein Seminary



Early in 1855, His Holiness Pope Pius IX first expressed to members of the American hierarchy his interest in the establishment of a national seminary in Rome for the formation of candidates from the United States.

More than four years later, on December 8, 1859, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the patroness of the United States of America, Pope Pius IX formally inaugurated the Pontifical North American College on the Via dell'Umiltà, a property that the Holy Father himself had given to the bishops of the United States for the purpose of initiating this seminary. In this sixteenth-century former monastery of the Visitation Sisters, located in the historical center of Rome, twelve students began their studies. Since that time, these buildings have continued to serve the North American College community, and are currently being used as the Casa Santa Maria, a residence for the priests who are pursuing graduate studies in theology or canon law at various pontifical universities in Rome.  Francis Joseph Magner was ordained on May 17, 1913.   (older brother of Msgr. Magner)


Source of information below is from the website. 
Catholic University of America
  University's Museum Collection.  

Updating the  “New Catholic Encyclopedia” had been revived in the late 1950’s.  The sequence of events that followed is chronicled by Monsignor James A. Magner in volume III of My Faces & Places. Magner, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, held a number of administrative posts at CUA 1948-69 that involved him in the business and managerial affairs of the New Catholic Encyclopedia. (My Faces & Places, is a personal journal,  privately printed, containing entertaining accounts of many events of interest to U.S. Church historians in the years 1901-81). 

Magner House is one of the Centennial Village Residence Halls. Named for the Reverend Monsignor James A. Magner, former procurator, treasurer, and vice-rector of the university, Magner House is home to 60 graduate men and women. Each room (approximate size of 10' x 11') is connected by a bathroom to another room. Three suites form a wing with a common study area. Each room is carpeted and air-conditioned. The larger roundtable rooms located on the second floor contain lounge furniture, a microwave, an oven, and a television. 

Reliquary and Tabernacle, ca. 1750
From the American Southwest or Mexico.
The Catholic University of America
James A. Magner Museum Collection

Rev. James A. Magner

Magner was an administrator and instructor at the university for many years. In addition to these tasks he was an avid collector, traveler and even an amateur painter. He was especially interested in religious and latin american art, artifacts and people.

The Magner estate was donated to the university in 1995 and contains books (divided between the regular collection and the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections), his manuscript collection (housed in the Archives' Manuscript Collections), and museum items. His museum collection comprises almost half of the university's museum collection. The items range from art and artifacts to furniture, covering antique to modern periods.

For more information on Magner see the description in the Manuscript Collections Description page: Magner Manuscript Collection. 

The CUA Libraries Newsletter
Number 9
November 1995 

Monsignor James Magner:
Personal estate bequeathed to the university. Monsignor Magner collected pre-Columbian artifacts, furniture, objets d'art, paintings, dolls, masks, liturgical objects, reliquary, films and photos, music, archival papers, and books. Incorporating the estate's works of art into the University Museum Collection more than doubles the current holdings. Over 2,500 books owned by the Monsignor are being reviewed for addition to the library collections.  

The CUA Libraries Newsletter
Number 12
October 1997

"A Sampler of Five Selections from Catholic University's Museum and Rare Book Collections." The exhibit brings to light a few lesser-known collections: the photography of Terence Vincent Powderly; classic botanical texts from the library of Herman Theodor Holm; Native American artifacts uncovered during Artheme A. Dutilly's Arctic explorations; Latin American religious folk and fine art collected by James A. Magner; and first editions of works by Henry James and Marianne Moore, owned by bibliophile and professor Richard N. Foley. The exhibit continues through January 30, 1998 in the Timothy C. May Gallery on the first floor of Mullen Library.







Queen of Peace Cemetery, Palm Beach Diocese

The Palm Beach Post, Wednesday, January 4, 1995


Monsignor Magner, 93 years old, of Palm Beach, Florida, died Friday, December 30, 1994 following an extended illness.  A native of Wilmington, Ill., he was born on October 23, 1901, the son of James Magner and Margaret Follen.  Monsignor Magner attended Wilmington Elementary and Public High Schools and later the Campion Academy and College conducted by the Jesuit Fathers at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.  In 1921 he entered as a member of the first class of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois.  He received his M.A. degree there and later was ordained to the Catholic Priesthood by Cardinal Mundelein on September 18, 1926.  Following two years of post-graduate study in Rome at the Urban College of the Propaganda Fidei and the Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, he received doctoral degrees in sacred theology and philosophy.  In 1929 he returned to Chicago where he taught English and Literature at the Quigley Preparatory Seminary.  he also served the parish churches of St. Dominic, St. Gertrude, and St. Lawrence for 11 years.  During this time he contributed as a departmental editor  of the Extension Magazine and the Catholic Historical Review.  In September 1940, Monsignor Magner was appointed to The Catholic University Press, until 1969.  A founder of the Institute of Ibero-American studies of The Catholic University of America in 1940, he served as an officer and lecturer until his retirement from the university in 1968.  In both Chicago and Washington, D.C., he founded and directed the Charles Carroll Forums, named in honor Charles Carroll of Carrollton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  In 1952, Monsignor Magner was awarded the title Knight Commander of the Order of Isabel la Catolica by the government of Spain.  On the recommendation of Cardinal Stritch of Chicago, he was named a Domestic Prelate of the Pope with title Rt. Rev. Monsignor by Pope Pius XII in 1975.  Monsignor Magner retired from active duty from the Catholic University of America and from the Archdiocese of Chicago at the end of 1968.  At that time he established residence in Palm Beach and for three years served as a visiting priest at St. Edward's Catholic Church, then  under the pastorate of Monsignor Jeremiah P. O'Mohony.  Upon Monsignor O'Mohony's retirement in 1973, he accepted the invitation of Monsignor John Delaney to assist as visiting priest at Sacred Heart Church in Lake Worth, Florida.  Following his retirement from the Catholic University of America, Monsignor Magner continued to serve that institution a member of the finance committee of its board of trustees.  He was active in various local activities, including the Palm Beach Opera, the Society of Four Arts, and Norton Art Gallery, the Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach, the Institute of New Dimensions for Adult Education, Il Circolo Italian Cultural Society, the Kiwanis Club of Palm Beach, and was a life member of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus.  In addition to his many accomplishments he was also a noted and respected author.

Survivors include five nieces, Mary Leider of West Palm Beach, Fla., Cecele McCarthy of Danville, Ill., Margaret Hughes of Phoenix, Ariz., Colette McNichols of Claredon Hills, Ill. and Mary Rohen of Indian Head, Ill.

Friends may call at Quattlebaum-Holleman-Burse Funeral Home, 1201 South Olive Ave., West Palm Beach, on Thursday, January 5, 1955 from 6 to 8 pm.  Monsignor Magner will lie in state at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 410 N. M Street on Friday, January 6, 1995 from 7 to 9 pm. with a Wake Service to be held at 7:30 pm.  The Mass of the Resurrection will be held at 10 am. on Saturday, January 7, with interment to follow in the Queen of Peace Cemetery, Royal Palm Beach, Florida.  In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make contributions to St. Vincent de Paul Seminary, 10701 S. Military Trail, Boynton Beach, FL 33436.

University Museum Collection

Timothy J. Meagher, Museum Director
Department of Archives, Manuscripts, and Museum Collections
4 Mullen Library
The Catholic University of America
Washington, D.C. 20064
202-319-6554 (Fax)

Magner, James A. Papers. ca.1920-1994. 125 feet, 85 boxes; 2 file cabinets. Donor: Magner Estate, 1995.

"Born in Illinois in 1901, Magner attended elementary and secondary schools in his native Wilmington and in Prairie de Chien, Wisconsin. Afterwards, he entered Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. Ordained in 1926, he pursued graduate studies in Rome at the Urban College of the Propaganda Fidei and the Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and was awarded doctorates in theology and philosophy. In 1929, he returned to Chicago and taught English and Literature at the Quigley Preparatory Seminary and was a contributor to Extension Magazine and the Catholic Historical Review.

In both Chicago and Washington he founded and directed the Charles Carroll Forums. Magner authored several books and articles and conducted many overseas tours. In 1940, Magner was appointed to The Catholic University of America where he served in various capacities including Assistant Secretary Treasurer, Director of the University Press, and Vice Rector for Business and Finance. In addition, he was a founder of the Institute for Ibero-American Studies at CUA and an occasional lecturer until his retirement in 1968. He spent the remaining years of his life in Palm Beach where he served as a visiting priest in local parishes and remained a member of the CUA Board of Trustees. In 1952 he was awarded the title Knight Commander of the Order of Isobel la Catolica by the Spanish government and in 1957 the Vatican created him a Domestic Prelate with the title of Monsignor.

This large unprocessed collection represents the eclectic nature of Magner's life and interests and does not encompass the large volume of his personal library, much of which went to CUA's Mullen LIbrary or the large assortment of museum objects which are now part of the University's Museum Collection. Records on deposit in the Archives include personal and professional correspondence, reports and meeting minutes, printed materials such as clippings and tourist brochures, manuscript material for his publications, photographs and camera equipment, slides and reel to reel films, and assorted memorabilia."

 source:  University's Museum Collection.



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