Loretta Carney, comp.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Albany, N.Y.) History Collection, ca. 1976-2012


Quantity: 6 boxes (2.00 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Gift: Loretta Carney, September 2012; accretion January 2017
Processed By: Michelle Fernandez, Student Assistant, State University of New York at Albany, August 2015; revised February 2017

View catalog record

Historical Note:

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was built between 1848 and 1852 on Eagle Street at Madison Avenue in Albany, New York. It is the mother church of the Diocese of Albany, which includes 14 counties in upstate New York. The cathedral was designed by Patrick Charles Keely (1816-1896), a Brooklyn architect, who also designed all of the extant nineteenth-century Catholic cathedrals in New England. It was the second cathedral constructed in New York State, after Saint Patrick’s in New York City. At the time of its construction, it was the tallest building in Albany; in 1976 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The majority of the original parishioners were Irish immigrants who had fled the potato famine. The cathedral was dedicated and opened its doors for services in 1852. However, owing largely to the intricate nature of construction on the building’s south tower, which took 40 years, it was not consecrated until its fiftieth anniversary in 1902. As the mother church of the diocese, it hosts many events presided over by the Bishop, such as the Chrism Mass.

The cathedral boasts several features of architectural interest, including the Stations of the Cross which won first prize at the Paris Exposition in 1889 and were donated to the cathedral in 1898. The majority of the stained glass windows which adorn much of the façade were put in place between 1852 and 1902.

In preparation for the construction of the Empire State Plaza in the 1960s and 1970s the neighborhood surrounding the cathedral was demolished. In fact, the cathedral is one of the few remnants of the neighborhood, thanks to the efforts of then-Governor Nelson Rockefeller. The demolition led to a diminution in the cathedral’s congregation, from about 3,000 households in the early twentieth century to approximately 300.

In the early 2000s, a campaign was organized to collect funds for restoration of the church, which had fallen into disrepair over the latter half of the twentieth century. The exterior work was completed in August 2004, with interior renovations lasting until 2010. A rededication ceremony was held in November 2010.

Scope and Content Note:

The documents in this collection were compiled by Loretta Carney, a longtime congregant and member of various church organizations, including the parish council and the education committee. Included are publications released by the cathedral itself (missives, bulletins, and newsletters), internal documents pertaining to finances, education and administration, and personal items belonging to the donor, such as invitations and programs from weddings and memorial services held at the cathedral. A onetime lector, Ms. Carney saved instructional guides and materials pertaining to this role in the mass, as well as sheet music and prayers from special masses.

Among the collected documents are news clippings spanning the 1970s to 2012, many of which pertain to the church building itself, including its extensive renovation in the early 2000s, as well as to members of its congregation and clergy. Some of the news clippings specifically pertain to notable parishioners, such as the late New York State Governor Hugh Carey, whose funeral took place at the cathedral in 2011.

Box and Folder List:

Box Folder Description
1 1 Church Missives, 1991-1995
1 2 Church Bulletins, 1995-2000
1 3 Church Bulletins, 2001-2005
1 4 Church Bulletins, 2006-2011
1 5 Your Cathedral Today, Vol. I-II (2003-2005)
1 6 Cathedral Chronicle, Vol. 1-4 (2006-2010)
1 7 Cathedral Chronicle, Vol. 5-6 (2011-2012)
1 8 Programs, Sesquicentennial Celebration, 1997
1 9 Programs, Deacon Ordinations, 1997-1998
1 10 Programs, Christmas, 1996-2006
1 11 Programs, Christmas 2007-2010
1 12 Programs, Easter, 2005-2006
1 13 Programs, Easter, 2008-2011
1 14 Christmas and Holy Week Worship Schedules, 2005-2012
1 15 Christmas Memorabilia, 1994-2007
Bookmarks and Keychain
1 16 Promotional Flyers for Fundraisers, 1994-2012
1 17 Promotional Flyers for Lectures, Meetings and Special Events, 1995-2008
1 18 Promotional Flyers and Programs for Musical Performances, 1999-2012
1 19 Musical Scores, 1988-2011
1 20 Into the Future, Together in Faith fundraising publications, 2000
1 21 Financial Reports, 2003-2007
1 22 Rededication Liturgy, Invitation and Ticket, 2010
1 23 Miscellaneous Cathedral Publications
  1. Albany City Deanery Newsletter, June 1989
  2. “Vision” Focus of December/March/July Discussions, 1994
  3. 2003 Calendar
  4. Ministry Summaries and Sign-Up, 2008
  5. “Planning for the Sudden Absence of Priest”
  6. Informational pamphlet on St. Filippo Neri
  7. Postcard depicting the Cathedral
  8. “Five Steps of the Evangelization Process”
1 24 Miscellaneous Prayers
2 1 Documents Relating to Cathedral Construction and Renovation
2 2 News Clippings, 1976-1995
2 3 News Clippings, 1997-2000
2 4 News Clippings, 2001-2009
2 5 News Clippings, 2010-2012
2 6 Parishioner Award Nominations
2 7 Wedding Invitations and Programs, 2000-2005
2 8 Funeral Service Programs and Memorial Prayer Cards, 1998-2009
2 9 Food Pantry and Social Service Statistics, 1993-2009
2 10 Steno Notebook with Meeting Notes, 1994
2 11 Annual Parish Council Retreat Reports, 1991-1994
2 12 Meeting Minutes, Cathedral Parish Council, 1992-1994
2 13 Meeting Minutes, Cathedral Pastoral Council, 1994-2007
2 14 By-Laws, Mission and Goals, Cathedral Pastoral Council, 1994
2 15 Pastoral Council and Committee Reports, Annual Parish Meetings, 1995-2006
2 16 Report of Cathedral Ministry in the Next Millennium Conference, 1998
2 17 Education Committee Correspondence, 1994-1995
2 18 Church Lector Instructional Materials
2 19 Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers, and Proclaimers of the Word, 2011
    Accretion received January 2017 (partially processed)
3   Subject Files – Diocese of Albany
  1. Cathedral restoration
  2. Parish Council Minutes, 1988-1992
  3. Financial Reports, 1992-1994
  4. Constitution and Bylaws of Parish Council, 1987
  5. Bishop Howard Hubbard
  6. Annual Bishop’s Appeal
  7. Program booklets for special services – Christmas, Easter, etc.
4   Subject files – Albany – History, Society, and Politics
  1. Catholic Directory, Diocese of Albany, 1998, 2012
  2. Personal letters and papers of Loretta Carney
  3. Hail Saint Agnus: ninety years of Saint Agnus School History
  4. Albany Town: a guide to historic points of interests by Louise D. Gunn
  5. University Club\
  6. Mendelssohn Club
  7. Other Albany Clubs and Societies
  8. William Kennedy
  9. Albany history, etc. – newspaper clippings
  10. Personal research on settlement of Virginia Colony
5   Assorted newspapers clippings on history of Roman Catholic and other churches in the City of Albany
6   Assorted issues of The Evangelist , official publication of the Diocese of Albany
Last Updated: May 21, 2021