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Gerald Ellard papers

Collection MS-2003-026: Gerald Ellard papers


  • Creation: 1933 - 1973

Scope and Content Note

The Gerald Ellard, S.J., Papers comprise approximately .75 linear feet stored in 2 boxes. The collection spans a small portion of Ellard's life and career as a Jesuit. The collection is divided into five series.

Series I. Correspondence: "Correspondence" covers the years from 1956 to 1963, and is arranged chronologically. The correspondence consists primarily of letters written to Ellard, but also includes some copies of letters written by Ellard. The subject of this correspondence focuses primarily upon liturgical reform and the Liturgical Conference. The correspondence written after Ellard's death is by/to Ellard's brother, Augustine.

Series II. Personal Materials: "Personal Materials" covers primarily the years of 1962 and 1963. The material in this series includes notes, addresses, and cards for Ellard's Golden Jubilee Celebration; program and attendance lists for the Liturgical Institute in Honor of Gerald Ellard S.J.; and obituaries and a prayer card for the death of Ellard in 1963. This series also contains a prayer card for Gladstone Augustine Ellard, S.J., Gerald's brother, from 1970.

Series III. Writing: "Writing" includes typescripts and publications written by and about Gerald Ellard, S.J. The materials in this series date from 1933 to 1978. The materials written by Ellard include three articles published for The Catholic Mind in the 1930s; several typescript entries for A Catholic Dictionary of Theology on communion, oblation, offertory, and mass stipends; several typescripts on the Mass; and typescripts on three sacramentaries. The materials written about Ellard include a published copy of a book review on Liturgy for the People: Essays in Honor of Gerald Ellard S.J.; an introduction to Christian Life and Worship by Leo Klein, S.J.; and an article about Ellard by Leo Klein, S.J.

Series IV. Liturgical Reform and Conference: "Liturgical Reform and Conference" dates from 1956 through 1963. This series includes the Liturgical Conference Constitution and By-laws; program and attendance list for Liturgical Week in 1962; copies of "Liturgy: Bulletin of the Liturgical Conference"; a program and invitation to the Roman Catholic-Protestant Colloquium at Harvard Divinity School; and a statement of purpose for the seminar entitled "Sacrament and Symbol." The series also includes mass texts for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost and the Assumption of Mary in German; excerpts from liturgical journals in German; and an essay on bilingual rituals in Spanish.

Series V. Miscellaneous: "Miscellaneous" includes materials dating from 1945 to 1962. This series contains typed and handwritten notes; newspaper clippings and articles; a music supplement in German; acclamation for ordination day; and newsletters for the Vernacular Society of Great Britain and the National Catholic Welfare Conference. This series also contains the Sacred Congregation of Rites to the Diocese of Peru; an appeal from Pope John XXIII for the success of the Second Vatican Council; and a photograph of the offertory procession at a first holy communion.


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright interests have not been transferred to Boston College.

Biographical Note

Gerald Ellard, S.J., was born on 1894 October 8, in Commonwealth, Wisconsin. He was the second of four children to Hugh and Margaret (Fitzgerald) Ellard. Gerald and his brother, Augustine, and his two sisters, Marian and Eileen, all entered the religious life. Gerald and Augustine entered the Society of Jesus, while Marian and Eileen entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Corondelet.

Ellard entered the Society of Jesus on 1912 July 27, at the Sacred Heart novitiate in Los Gatos, California. He was ordained on 1926 June 16. For the following five years, Ellard undertook his doctoral studies in Europe. On his return to the United States, he was assigned to a teaching post in history and religion at St. Louis University. When the Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus transferred the theologate to St. Mary's College in Kansas, Ellard was assigned to the school starting in the fall of 1932. He taught as a professor of liturgy at St. Mary's from 1932 until his death in 1963.

In addition to his life as a teacher, Ellard was also significantly involved in the liturgical reform movement. Ellard co-founded the National Liturgical Conference, and wrote an influential book entitled Christian Life and Worship (1933). He also authored two books on the Mass entitled The Mass of the Future (1948) and The Mass in Transition (1956), both of which were viewed as radical at the time, but anticipated the changes that took effect with the Second Vatican Council.¹

Ellard devoted a significant amount of time to lectures and seminars addressing the subject of the liturgy. Just before his death, Ellard presented a seminar entitled "Sacrament and Symbol" at the Roman Catholic-Protestant Colloquium at the Harvard Divinity School. He was living at Boston College in preparation for the colloquium.

Ellard had a heart attack on 1963 April 1, and died the same day. Father William Leonard, S.J., of Boston College, a close friend and colleague in the liturgical reform movement, traveled with the body back to St. Mary's College in Kansas to preach the eulogy. Ellard was buried in the St. Mary's College cemetery.

¹ "Father Gerald Ellard, S.J.", Liturgy: Bulletin of the Liturgical Conference, (Summer 1963): 1, 7.


.75 Linear Feet (2 containers)

Language of Materials



These papers document the religious career of Gerald Ellard, a Jesuit who taught history and religion and was involved in the early stages of the liturgical reform and the Liturgical Conference. The bulk of the collection includes correspondence, typescripts and published material, and lecture materials dealing with various liturgy-related topics like the Mass and worship.

Series Description

Missing Title

  1. Series I. Correspondence
  2. Series II. Personal Materials
  3. Series III. Writing (by and about Ellard)
  4. Series IV. Liturgical Reform and Conference
  5. Series V. Miscellaneous
Gerald Ellard Papers
Sarah K. Nytroe and Amy Braitsch
Summer 2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States