Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Martin Ignatius Joseph Griffin

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 16
Martin Ignatius Joseph Griffin

by Thomas Francis Meehan


Journalist, historian, b. at Philadelphia, 23 Oct., 1842; d. there, 10 Nov., 1911. In early manhood he was associated as contributor and editor with various Catholic publications. Appointed in 1872 secretary of the Irish Catholic Benevolent Union he founded and edited its organ from 1873 to 1894, first with the title the "I.C.B.U. Journal", and then as "Griffin's Journal". His articles on local Catholic history printed in this "Journal" led to the founding, 22 July, 1884, of the "American Catholic Historical Society" of Philadelphia, of which he was librarian at his death. In January, 1887, he began the publication of the "American Catholic Historical Researches", which he continued to edit till he died. An indefatigable delver into the byways of the past, he collected a large amount of original data that will be of much value and assistance to the historian of the development of the Church in the United States. His most important publications are the "History of Commodore John Barry" (Philadelphia, 1903), and "Catholics and the American Revolution" (3 vols., Philadelphia, 1907-1911). Monographs on the history of old St. Joseph's and several other Philadelphia churches (1881-1882), on Bishop Michael Egan, O.S.F. (1885), Thomas FitzSimons (1887), and "The trial of John Ury" (1899) preserve many details otherwise neglected. Mr. Griffin was also very active in the promotion of the cause of total abstinence, and of the building and loan associations that did so much good in the industrial community of his native city.

American Catholic Historical Researches (Philadelphia, April, 1912); American Catholic Who's Who (St. Louis, 1911); Catholic Standard and Times (Philadelphia), files.

THOMAS F. MEEHAN