Scope and Contents
Title: The Catholic Ladder Collection
Identifier/Call Number: MS.841
Autry National Center, Braun Research Library
Language of Material:
0.1 linear feet
Date (inclusive): circa 1932-circa 1952
This is a collection of manuscripts and an illustration regarding "The Catholic Ladder." Materials are from circa 1932 to
Bagley, Clarence, 1843-1932
'Catholic ladder' is a general term given to pictorial catechisms that featured vertical sequences of pictures as pathways
to Heaven. They transcended barriers of language and culture and closely followed the teaching styles of Saints Peter, Paul
and Augustine by presenting Christian beliefs as concise and tangible glimpses of God in world history.
The ladders originated in North America from the hand-crafted sticks used by 17-18th century Jesuits and Native American faithful
and evolved into mass-produced charts used to evangelize in oral and visual societies worldwide. As they developed, these
aids increasingly used sequences of pictures with vivid colors and detailed graphics from the Bible and captions or companion
narratives. Father Francis Norbert Blanchet created the Catholic ladder in the present-day state of Washington in 1839. It
began as a stick carved for Native American audiences, which he quickly transposed to paper and revised continuously. He published
several versions (e.g.1839-1843, 1856), which grew gradually in size and complexity from 1843 to 1860.
The ladder has 40 horizontal bars represent the 40 centuries B. C. The 33 dots represent the years of Christ's life on earth.
The 18 bars represent the 18 centuries A. D. The 42 dots represent the 42 succeeding years.
Scope and Contents
This is a collection of manuscripts and an illustration regarding "The Catholic Ladder." Manuscripts include a typed copy
of "Early Catholic Missions in Old Oregon" volume two and "The Catholic Ladder," both edited by Clarence B. Bagley, Lowman
& Hanford Company, Seattle, Washington, 1932; and photograph prints of negatives taken of seven pages from
The Key to the Catholic Ladder; containing a sketch of the Christian Religion and Universal History, Useful to all, with the authorization of the Archbishop of Oregon City, T. W. Strong, Printer, New York, 1859; a typed note from E. Huggins;
and a print of "The Catholic Ladder." Materials are from circa 1932 to circa 1952.
The Catholic Ladder Collection, circa 1932-circa 1952, Braun Research Library Collection, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MS.841.
Processed by Library staff before 1981. Finding aid completed by Holly Rose Larson, NHPRC Processing Archivist, 2012 December
11, made possible through grant funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commissions (NHPRC).
Donation from Marie Walsh Harrington, 1952 January and some materials copied from originals at the University of Washington
Library, 1952 March.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts
must be submitted in writing to the Autry Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry National Center
as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must
also be obtained by the reader.
Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit http://theautry.org/research/research-rules-and-application
or contact library staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Early Catholic Missions in Old Oregon
Indians of North America -- Missions -- Northwest, Pacific
Key to the Catholic Ladder