Hanna, Edward Joseph
HANNA, EDWARD JOSEPH
Archbishop of San Francisco, Calif., scholar, civic leader; b. July 21, 1860, Rochester, New York; d. July 10, 1944, Rome, Italy. He was the first child of Edward Hanna and Anne Clark, both Irish immigrants from Ulster. In 1879 he graduated from the Rochester Free Academy, where he was friends with the future promoter of the "social gospel," Walter rauschenbusch. He entered the Urban College in Rome that same year, was ordained at St. John Lateran in 1885, and was awarded a doctorate in sacred theology in 1886 without the need for examination, so impressed was Pope Leo XIII with his academic brilliance.
Hanna returned to Rochester in 1887 and was assigned to St. Andrew's Preparatory School. When the diocese's new seminary, St. Bernard's, opened in 1893 he took up the position of professor of dogmatics. He was a beloved teacher and became an internationally known scholar through contributions to leading journals. In 1907 he was the primary candidate for coadjutor bishop of san francisco, having received the support of his own ordinary, Bernard mcquaid, and that of the archbishop of San Francisco, Patrick riordan, but accusations of Modernism in his writings—arising most strongly from a series, "The Human Knowledge of Christ," in the New York Review ; an essay, "Some Recent Books on Catholic Theology," printed in The American Journal of Theology ; and an entry, "Absolution," in the first edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia —delayed his appointment until Dec. 4, 1912 when he was consecrated as auxiliary to Riordan.
Almost immediately after his arrival in the city, and especially after his appointment as archbishop in July 1915, Hanna became well known in the civic arena on city, state, and national levels. He was one of the founding members of the Commission of Immigration and Housing of California, beginning in 1913, and served as president from 1923 to 1935. Noted in the city for his fairness, he was appointed chairman of the Impartial Wage Arbitration Board, which set pay rates from crafts in San Francisco between 1921 and 1923. Between 1931 and 1932 he served as chairman of the California State Unemployment Commission, which sought to gain people employment during the dark days of the Great Depression. In the spring of 1934, at the request of President Franklin Roosevelt, Hanna led a team that negotiated an end to a dock strike that had paralyzed the west coast. His civic presence was noted through his reception in 1922 of the "Commander of the Crown of Italy" in recognition for his services toward and sympathy for the people of Italy, especially immigrants, and in 1932 the American Hebrew Medal, for his promotion of understanding between Christians and Jews.
Hanna was equally well respected in Church circles. On the national level he was the founding chairman of the Administrative Committee of the National Catholic Welfare Council, serving from 1919 to his retirement in 1935. During this period he was highly influential in assuring that the Church's view was heard and appreciated in several national issues, including the Oregon School case of 1922, the national immigration acts of 1921 and 1924, the political instability and persecution of the Church in Mexico during the 1920s and 1930s, and the question of American recognition of the Soviet Union in 1933. On March 2, 1935 Hanna resigned as archbishop and retired to a villa outside Rome where he died. His remains were returned to San Francisco in 1947.
Bibliography: r. mcnamara, "Archbishop Hanna, Rochesterian," Rochester History 25, no. 2 (April 1963): 1–23. j. p. gaffey, Citizen of No Mean City: Archbishop Patrick Riordan of San Francisco (1841–1914) (Wilmington, N.C. 1976), 275–318. r. gribble, "Church, State, and the American Immigrant: The Multiple Contributions of Archbishop Edward J. Hanna," U.S. Catholic Historian 16, no. 4 (Fall 1998): 1–18; Catholicism and the San Francisco Labor Movement, 1896–1921 (Lewiston, N.Y. 1993), 119–49, 163–67.