Engelhardt, Zephyrin

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Missionary, historian; b. Bilshausen, Germany, Nov. 13, 1851; d. Santa Barbara, Calif., April 27, 1934. When he was one year old, Charles Anthony, as he was baptized, immigrated with his parents to the U.S. where they settled at Covington, Ky. He joined the Order of Friars Minor at Teutopolis, Ill. (Sept. 22, 1873), and was ordained at St. Louis, Mo. (June 18, 1878). From 1880 to 1900 he was a missionary among the Menominee at Keshina and Superior, Wis., and among the Ottawas at Harbor Springs, Mich. In 1882 he published Kachkenohamatwon Kesekoch (Guide to Heaven), a translation from Chippewa to Menominee, and in 1884 his Kateshim (Catechism) appeared in the same language. He began in 1896 a monthly journal, Anishinabe Enamaid (Praying Indian), written in the Ottawan language. At Harbor Springs, he wrote his first historical works, The Franciscans in California (1897) and The Franciscans in Arizona (1899).

After 1900 Engelhardt devoted his life to travel and the writing of California mission histories. Stationed principally at Mission Santa Barbara, Calif., he journeyed to Florida, New Mexico, and Mexico. His monumental Missions and Missionaries of California was published in four volumes between 1908 and 1915. It was followed by 16 volumes on individual missions and a life of The Holy Man of Santa Clara (1909), Fray Magín Catalá, for whose cause he was vice postulator. He also contributed about 200 historical articles to newspapers and magazines throughout the U.S. Engelhardt's mission histories, which contain abundant translations from original sources, have remained standard works in their field.

Bibliography: Engelhardt Diaries, June 2, 1901Apr. 21, 1934, Santa Barbara Mission Archives. Provincial Annals, ed. m. geiger, 6.2 (April 1944), a review of his life and writings. f. b. steck, Commonweal (June 29, 1934) 236238, an appraisal of the man and his writings.

[m. geiger]