Special Collections and Archives


Project files of humanitarian projects worldwide comprise the bulk of the records. These include reports, correspondence, photographs, maps, and architectural drawings. Also included are Fund correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, and publications. Gift of the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters, 2000-[ongoing]. Processed by Mark G. Thiel, C.A. (Certified Archivist), 2003-[ongoing].

Historical Note

Conrad Nicholson Hilton, Sr. (1887-1979), an American hotelier and founder of the worldwide Hilton Hotels. He founded the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (Foundation) in 1944 and directed it to "relieve the suffering, the distressed, and the destitute" in his last will and testament. The Foundation remained relatively small until Hilton’s death, when it received the bulk of his estate. Hilton especially admired the charitable works of Roman Catholic religious sisters, which led the Foundation to establish the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters (Fund) in 1986, and in 1999, it also established the annual Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize. The foundation and its entities have assets of $1.8 billion and have dispersed $250 million in grants since their inception.

The Hilton Fund for Sisters began to award grants in 1988. It operates under the auspices of the Archbishop of Los Angeles and is the principal beneficiary of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Most awards have been under $15,000 for project materials, essential equipment, and operating expenses. The proposals are intended to serve directly the economically disadvantaged and to enable congregations of women religious of the developing world to develop their educational and communication skills. Health care, education, clean water, and economic development are priority concerns and each project must have at least one full-time staff member who is a vowed member of a Roman Catholic woman’s religious congregation. The Fund director regularly visits projects worldwide and networks with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the Foundations and Donors interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA), and the Assembly of Catholic Foundations.

Notable People

Year Executive Director
1987-1990 Sister Barbara Garland, S.C.
1990-1995 Sister Mary Ewens, O.P.
1996-1999 Sister Marcia Sichol, S.H.C.J.
1999-2012? Sister Joyce Meyer, P.B.V.M.
2012?- Sister Marcia Sichol, S.H.C.J.

Notable Events

Year Event
1986 The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (Foundation) established the Archbishop's Fund for Sisters (Fund) as part of the Hilton Foundation but with autonomous administration by a committee under the auspices of the Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles (Archbishop). Fund offices were established at the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
1986-1990s Lengthy litigation between Barron Hilton, the Foundation, and certain congregations of women religious, hampered the Fund's initial development.
1990 The Fund renamed itself the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters.
1992? The Fund separated from the Foundation and incorporated as an independent non-profit with a separate board of directors under the Archbishop's auspices.
  Sr. Joeann Daley accompanied the director to the Fund's meetings with East Central European woman religious and developed art prints (Sr. Joeann Daley, O.P., Collection) to express their feelings.
1995? The Marquette University Archives and Special Collections Department became the Fund's archival repository.
1999 The Fund launched its website and refined its funding goals and procedures. Fund offices relocated to the Foundation.
2008 The Fund revised and published new guidelines.
2010 In conjunction with the Foundation, the fund began new initiatives regarding clean water and homelessness.


Scope and Content

Series 1, Projects: Processed through 2000. The files of funded projects are arranged alphabetically in English by country and there under by city with alternative names included in parenthesis. Those from the United States also included arrangement by state or the District of Columbia as an intermediate level between country and city. Projects from these autonomous and/or newly independent territories are included as separate countries: American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands of the United States (under United States jurisdiction); Bosnia and Hercegovina and Croatia (Yugoslav republics to 1991); Czech Republic and Slovakia (comprised Czechoslovakia to 1993); England and Northern Ireland (countries within the United Kingdom); Eritrea (an Ethiopian province to 1993); Samoa (independent since 1976 but listed as Western Samoa, which was its name to 1997); and West Bank (a Jordanian territory to 1967). English is the principal language employed by the Conrad N. Hilton Fund and English is required for all project documentation. However, occasional documents are written in other lingua francas (e.g. Spanish). All project names are listed in either English or the local language, according to the preference of the project authors.

These project files include proposals and progress reports. Enclosed photography was separated and arranged in a distinct series.

Restrictions: Restricted for 25 years from date of creation. Access to restricted records require permission in writing from the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters.

Series 2, Photography: The photographs are all color prints that were received as part of the project files. For preservation purposes, they were separated but are arranged according to the same scheme as follows. The prints are arranged hierarchically and alphabetically according to the places where the projects were based. The alphabetical arrangement begins with the names of the countries or United States autonomous territories in English. There under the alphabetical arrangement continues with the names of provinces or states and/or cities in English, followed by the project names in English or the language of the given country and dates. Place-names in the language of the country represented appear in parenthesis after the name in English whenever the names differ. Unless regarded as “common knowledge,” abbreviations in titles are written out. Project proposals from the former Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia are alphabetized independently under the names of the succeeding countries, i.e. Bosnia and Hercegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and proposals from the United States autonomous territories are alphabetized independently under the territorial names, i.e. American Samoa, Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands. Although projects may be named in languages other than English, English is the language used in describing all photographs.

Restrictions: Restricted for 25 years from date of creation. Access to restricted records require permission in writing from the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters.

Series 3, Correspondence: Letters, news clippings, reports on finances, historical research, policies and procedures, projects funded, and field trips by the Fund's director; Fund committee and board minutes, annual reports, incorporation papers, bylaws, and amendments; and pertinent Hilton Foundation board minutes. Field trip reports by the executive director exist for only a few international visits. Most notable are:

              1992: 10 meetings in Europe about the Fund for religious communities from the former Communist countries of East Central Europe.

              1994: Toured projects and congregations of women religious in South America.

              1995: Attended and exhibited Fund information in five languages at the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.

              1997: Toured projects in Africa.

Restrictions: Restricted for 25 years from date of creation. Access to restricted records require permission in writing from the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters.

Series 4, Publications.

The Fund's print and video publications describe the vision of Conrad N. Hilton and its implementation. Seeds of Hope: Catholic Sisters in Action around the World (ca. 2009) presents representative case studies of projects financed by the Fund worldwide, a summary of which is available on the Fund's website. Captures of past versions of the Fund's website are available on request.

Series 5, Financial Records: Unprocessed.

Restrictions: Restricted for 25 years from date of creation. Access to restricted records require permission in writing from the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters.

More Related Resources

Marquette resources:

  • Christianity and Native America: Checklist to all Marquette Native Catholic collections plus access to detailed information about them including genealogical records; access to digital image collections and The Indian Sentinel historic magazine online; information for educators about Saint Kateri Tekakwitha and her Native Catholic followers.

  • Guides to Catholic-Related Records about Native Americans in the United States: Over 1,000 repository entries in PDF format to help genealogists and historical researchers find the records they need on American Indians and Alaskan Natives. The entries provide contact information on the repositories, brief descriptions about the records, the Native groups served, and the associated Catholic organizations. Many of the entries include institutional chronologies to explain the history of the records.

  • Sr. Joeann Daley, O.P., Collection

  • : Artwork resulting from the 1992 meetings, which expressed the feelings of women religious from East Central Europe.
  • Index of Collections pertaining to Women

Non-Marquette resources:

Tekakwitha Conference National Center

U.S. Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops > Cultural Diversity in the Church


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