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Middleton, Thomas Cooke


Historian; b. Philadelphia, Pa., March 30, 1842; d. Villanova, Pa.; Nov. 19, 1923. He was the oldest of the nine children of Joseph and Lydia (Cooke) Middleton. The Middletons were Quakers before the family was received into the Catholic Church in April 1854. Thomas studied at Villanova College (later University) from 1854 to 1858, when he was sent to the Augustinian novitiate at Tolentino, Italy. He made his vows there on Oct. 10, 1859. After completing his theology in San Agostino in Rome, he was ordained at the Basilica of the Holy Savior (Basilica of St. John Lateran), on Sept. 24, 1864. He returned to the U.S. in 1865 and was assigned to Villanova College, where he remained for the next 58 years. Between 1866 and 1914 he was professor, vice president, and president (187678) of the college, prior of the monastery, counselor (definitor) and regent of studies for the American province, and associate and secretary to the provincial. In 1884 he was one of the founders of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia; he served from then until 1890 as its president. From 1899 to 1905 he was director of the society's publications and editor of its journal, Records of the American Catholic Historical Society. A partial list of his writings includes his Historical Sketch of Villanova (1893), Augustinians in the United States (1909), articles on Augustinian hagiography, accounts of prominent churchmen, descriptions of Philadelphia churches, and lives of priests of his order. His papers, now in the archives of Villanova University, exemplify his contribution to Augustinian and Pennsylvania historiography.

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