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Rev. Joseph T. O’Callahan, S.J. Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SC118-OCAL

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence, personal material, citations, awards, other manuscript material, newspaper clippings and obituaries. There are books, magazine articles and booklets about O’Callahan and the manuscript for I Was Chaplain on the Franklin. Memorabilia includes O’Callahan’s Medal of Honor, plaques and material related to the USS O’Callahan.


  • 1945-2011


Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Materials believed to be under copyright or other restrictions are available for limited noncommercial, educational and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States copyright law and with proper citation. Please note that the College of the Holy Cross may not hold the rights to all items in this collection. Users assume responsibility for identifying all copyright holders and for determining whether permission is needed to make any use of the content. For permission under rights held by the College, please contact

Biographical Note

Joseph O’Callahan was born on May 14, 1905, a son of Cornelius J. and Alice (Casey) O’Callahan in Boston, MA. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1922 at St. Andrew-on-Hudson and was ordained at Weston College on June 20, 1934. O’Callahan received his M.A., Ph.D., S.T.L. and Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Georgetown University. He taught at Holy Cross from 1938 to 1940 and was head of the Mathematics department when he entered the Navy as a chaplain in 1940. He served as chaplain aboard the U.S.S. Franklin when it was attacked off the Japanese coast. His bravery and devotion earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor, the first one earned by a chaplain. He wrote a book about his experiences entitled, I was Chaplain on the Franklin. A movie was produced about his experience titled, Battle Stations. After he left the Navy he returned to teach philosophy at Holy Cross. He died on March 18, 1964.


2.75 Cubic Feet (4 document boxes, 3 flat boxes, 2 oversized flat boxes)

Language of Materials


Acquisition Note

Rev. O’Callahan’s Sacred Heart Medal was given to Sister Elizabeth Mary Francis, SP after his death. It was then given to the College in 1985.

Related Materials

The following books can be found in the Archives Book Collection:
- I Was Chaplain on the Franklin by Rev. Joseph T. O’Callahan (call no. D774.F8 O1 1956)
- The Franklin Comes Home by A. A. Hoehling (call no. D774.F8 H64 1997)
- Big Ben, The Flat Top – The Story of the U.S.S. Franklin CV-13 (call no. D774.F87 +B53 1990)
- Battlefield Chaplains: Catholic Priests in World War II by Donald F. Crosby, S.J. (call no. D810.C35 C76 1994)
- U.S.S. Franklin – The Ship That Wouldn’t Die, 1989

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Revised August 2021

Repository Details

Part of the Distinctive Collections Repository

One College Street
Worcester MA 01610