Pioneer in Catholic social work; b. Cincinnati, Ohio, Jan. 28, 1872; d. Detroit, Mich., Feb. 20, 1939. A graduate of St. Xavier's College (now Xavier University), Cincinnati, Ohio, he entered the Society of Jesus, received his seminary training at St. Louis University (M.A.,1899), and was ordained June 26, 1907. After further work in sociology and economics at the universities of Innsbruck, Berlin, and Vienna (1909–11), he established in 1914 the first American Catholic school of social work at Loyola University, Chicago, and served as dean from 1914 to 1932. He lectured and preached widely to promote understanding of social problems and the application of Catholic social principles. He was a director of the National Catholic Welfare Council, and an influential member of the National Conference of Catholic Charities, the National Conference of Social Work, and the Illinois Board of Public Welfare Commissioners. He was also vice president of the Committee on Cultural Relations with South America, and founder and president of the Illinois Catholic Historical Society. As executive dean of the University of Detroit, he established the College of Dentistry, became chairman of the Detroit Regional Labor Board, and president of the Michigan Conference of Social Service. He visited the Soviet Union. Siedenburg was dedicated to improving conditions for the underprivileged and establishing professional standards in Catholic social work; he worked also to create an appreciation of the constructive mission of the Catholic Church among his fellow citizens.
Bibliography: j. a. ryan, Social Doctrine in Action (New York 1941). m. sheehan, "A Catholic School of Sociology," Catholic Charities Review 5 (June 1921) 196–198. a. j. murphy, "Father Siedenburg, S.J.," Catholic Charities Review 23 (1939) 85–86.
[r. c. hartnett]