Archives and Special Collections – Sisters of St. Joseph of Buffalo

The Archives and Special Collections encompasses the collective history of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Buffalo beginning with the arrival of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canandaigua NY in 1854 through the present. The Archives and Special Collections is dedicated to preserving the history of the Congregation and their missions throughout the years.  Here is a timeline of our history and missions.

Hours and Contact Information
Normal operating hours for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Buffalo Archives and Special Collections are 8am-4pm on Tuesday-Friday.
Archivist is Jessica Anderson-Rath, M.A.
Sisters of St. Joseph at the Clarence Residence
4975 Strickler Road Clarence NY 14031
716-759-6893 Ext 259

Outside visitation to the Clarence Residence is currently restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All relevant information requests are welcome via email, mail, and phone. Virtual meetings with the Archivist can be arranged.


The Archives and Special Collections is located on the second floor of the Clarence Residence at 4975 Strickler Rd Clarence NY 14031. Here is some information about the general history of the Clarence Property that was compiled by Sister Mary Walter Love, former President of the Congregation from 1985-1988 that she wrote in 1968

Archival and Special Collection Holdings

Manuscripts, correspondence, contracts, minutes, newsletters, financial records, newspaper articles, maps, architectural drawings, photographs, scrapbooks, artwork, yearbooks, audiovisual materials, oral interviews, and artifacts.

Some of our collections of interest include the Mt. St. Joseph Academy; St. Mary’s School for the Deaf; the Our Lady of Victory Missions; Mt. St. Joseph Teachers College and Medaille Collection; Sisters of St. Joseph of Buffalo Social Justice Collection; and the Sister Karen Klimczak Center for Nonviolence Collection. Finding aids for select collections are available upon request. Books, dissertations, and other publications written by our Sisters are located in the Special Collections section.

Student illustration found in yearbook for Mt. St. Joseph Academy (1929)
Painting of Mother Agnes Spencer Mother Agnes was the first Reverend Mother of the Community.
Sachel for a Communion handpainted in the early 1900s by Sister Euphemia Cleary.

Letter from Bishop James E. Quigley to Mother Mary Anne Burke granting permission to hold the Meeting for the General Chapter, June 9,1899.

Letter from Rev. Nelson Baker to Mother Constantia Driscoll about Our Lady of Victory Infant Home, March 27,1935.

Research and Access Policies

Archival materials can be accessed by researchers with the permission of the Archivist. Some collections and/or documents in the Archives are restricted due to privacy concerns; access to these collections require the permission of the Congregational President.

Members of the Congregation have the right to access their own personal records in the Archives. Former Sisters of St. Joseph of Buffalo can be accessed with the permission of the Congregational President or Leadership Team. No information requests about living congregational members or former Sisters will be released to the public without the explicit permission of the individual.

Please contact the Archivist for information about reproducing any materials from this collection. Public access to the Archives and Special Collections at the Clarence Residence is strictly for educational and research purposes. Most research requests require the completion of a research request form that will be sent to individual researchers by the Archivist via mail or email.

We do not charge any fees for archival research; we believe that it is important to ensure that the history of the Sisters is available to everyone. If you would like to donate to the Sisters of St. Joseph, you can contact the Mission Advancement office here.

Borrowing Materials

Original copies of archival material cannot leave the Archives Room unless permission is granted by the Archivist and the Congregational President. Select books from the Special Collections are available to borrow, depending on the condition and availability of the item. Completion of a permission form provided by the Archivist is required. Books dedicated to the comprehensive history of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Buffalo: The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph by Mother Sacred Heart Dunne (1934) and Like a Swarm of Bees by Sister Mary Immaculata Maxwell (1957).

Donation Policy

The Sisters of St. Joseph appreciates donations of materials relevant to the Congregation and its present and historical missions. We are requesting donations of photographs and/or copies of photographs of the Sisters and our missions that were taken before 1960s. We are currently seeking any materials related to the following Diocesan Schools: Immaculate Conception School and St. John the Baptist School in Buffalo NY; Sacred Heart School in Dunkirk NY; St. Joseph’s School in Fredonia NY; St. Martin School in Langford NY; St. Mary’s School in Medina NY; St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in New Oregon NY; and St. Patrick’s School in Salamanca NY.

The Sisters of St. Joseph kindly requests that you contact the Archivist before donating items to the Archives. All donations are recorded with a deed of gift form documenting the provenance of the donation. Thank you so much for your donation!

The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur, Eastern Region and the Sisters of Social Service

The Sisters of St. Joseph have been fortunate to have collaborative partnerships with the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur and the Sisters of Social Service. Individual Sisters from these orders live alongside the Sisters of St. Joseph in the Clarence Residence. Although the Archives doesn’t preserve their collective histories, we document their lives within the context of living in the Clarence Residence.

Alumni Materials

The Archives contains select records about the students who attended the schools that the Sisters taught at, such as yearbooks, student albums, and student lists. The bulk of these records are from the high schools taught by the Sisters, including Mt. St. Joseph Academy, Cardinal Mindzenty High School, Our Lady of Victory Academy/Baker-Victory Academy, and Bishop O’Hern High School. Less materials are available for Elementary Diocesan Schools. The Archivist does not have access to student transcripts from Mt. St. Joseph Academy; contact Archivist for more information.

The Archivist cannot provide full copies of any student yearbooks due to copyright restrictions; but may be able to replicate some images from yearbooks for personal and educational use only.

For more information about our alumnae, contact us here.

Obtaining records about individuals outside of the Congregation

Orphanage and Hospital Records

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Clarence have almost no records of the children who lived in the Orphanages administered by the Sisters. The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Special Collections is a potential resource for Orphanage Records (Special Collections |

There are no patient records for Our Lady of Victory Hospital in the Clarence Residence, only records pertaining to the Sisters who worked there and its general history. Contact Catholic Health Medical Records for further information about medical records (Medical Records | Catholic Health – The Right Way to Care (

Sisters Raphael Brick; Ruth Hylkema; St. Mark Smith in the Archives in the mid-1970s.

After Sister Raphael retired in 1991, Sisters brought their own unique contributions to the Archives as Archivist, including Sister Mary Anne Butler, Sister Suzanne Rodriguez, and Sister Eva Amadori. Several lay professionals have served in the role of Archivist since 2008.

Heritage Room

The Sisters of St. Joseph maintains a Heritage Room on the first floor of the Clarence Residence. The heritage room include furniture from our missions, vases, photographic displays, paintings, a cast-bronze bell and cornerstone from Mt. St. Joseph Academy, and other items of interest. The Heritage Room opened in May 1998. It was designed by the Sisters and Associates.

The Archivist provides guided tours of the Heritage Room when there are no visitation restrictions for the Clarence Residence.

Sister Marie Kerwin, one of the Sisters who assisted with the design with the design of the Heritage Room at its Opening in May 1998.
Sister Bea Manzella and Sister Agnes Clare Hatch browse the Heritage Room in May 1998.