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Layton Family Papers

Layton Family Papers

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Layton Family Papers

J. Edgar and Louis S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans


Profile Description

Creation: XML finding aid derived from Microsoft Word document.
Finding aid written by Bro. Mark Allen, O.S.B., Special Collections & Archives, J. Edgar and Louis S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans.
Language: Description is in English.

Overview of the Collection

Repository: Loyola University (New Orleans, La.)
Monroe Library
6363 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70118
Phone: 504-864-7111
Creator: Layton family
Title: Layton Family Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1834-1879
Extent: 5.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers and objects originally belonging to the Laytons, a prominent New Orleans Catholic family. Primarily collected by Thomas Layton Sr. (1814-1882) and Thomas Layton Jr. (1845-1889), the collection, mostly dating from 1834 to 1879, includes relics of prestigious saints as well as Privileges written by Pope Pius IX.
Collection No.15

System of Arrangement

Collection arranged by material type and then organized chronologically.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers of the Layton Family consist of several types of material: Letters, privileges, authentics, relics, bound materials, a wooden box, and miscellaneous items. These materials date roughly from 1834 to 1879.

Letters: These letters document the Layton family's relationship with the Catholic Church authorities. Bishop Verrea, for example, expressed gratitude for Layton's hospitality and regret that the Civil War prevented him from being able to celebrate the first Mass at the St. Thomas Chapel. One letter revealed that Pope Pius IX held Layton in high esteem. Another letter by Archbishop James Gibbons of Baltimore stated that he said Mass at the Layton's chapel on January 13, 1878.

Privileges: These documents show the favors and privileges that were conferred on the Laytons. For instance, one privilege given to Layton and his son was membership in the Order of the Knights of St. Gregory the Great. Layton and his family also received indulgences at the hour of death. Many of these privileges were written with the pen of Pope Pius IX himself.

Authentics: Official documents of the Catholic Church attesting to the authenticity of a relic. Many relics with their accompanying athentics were given to the Layton family. These authentics are for first and second class relics of very prestigious saints, such as St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. Thomas.

Relics: Most of the relics belonging to the authentics have disappeared. Perhaps the most prominent of those remaining are a relic of the post at which Christ was scourged, a piece of St. Peter's tunic, and pieces of the veil of Our Lady of Loretto.

Bound Materials: This collection contains two volumes of bound materials. The first is a history of the St. Thomas Chapel written by Dr. Thomas Layton, with accompanying materials from Archbishop Perché and with general information about the Knights of St. Gregory. The second volume concerns the consecration of the Southern Bank to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1874. The writers of this consecration were Sr. Mary of the Rosary Layton, R.S.C.J. and Fr. Darius Hubert, S.J. (d. 1893).

Miscellaneous: Most of these miscellaneous items are religious in nature. An exception to this is a patent signed by President Andrew Jackson for an invention by a James Herron for an improvement in the construction of railroad carriages, cars, and wagons. There are also items collected during travels and pilgrimages throughout Europe and the Holy Land. These include a 14.5" x 11" signed picture of Pope Pius IX.

Wooden Box: All of the collection's items were originally contained in a 2.5" x 18.25" x 12" box. The title on it states: "Family of Thomas Layton. Privileges conferred by His Holiness Pope Pius the Ninth." The privileges and authentics were kept in a file on the bottom of the box. The relics and other items rested on top of this file.

Administrative/Biographical History

The Layton Family Papers pertain to the special relationship that existed between the family of Thomas Layton Sr. and the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. These papers reveal that the Laytons received many favors and privileges for help they gave ecclesiastical authorities in times of crisis. Thomas Layton's wife was Mary Adelaide Layton, and their daughter was Sr. Mary of the Rosary Layton (1853-1875), a Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Although mother and daughter undoubtedly helped the Church, these papers are mainly concerned with the activities of Thomas Layton Sr. and his son, Thomas Layton Jr.

Thomas Layton Sr. was born in 1814 in New Orleans. He was president of the Southern Bank, which was located at 11 St. Charles Ave. He and his family resided at 67 Chartres Street (now 315 Chartres Street), and it was there that he had his sanctioned residential chapel, which was called the St. Thomas Chapel. This privilege was conferred upon him and his family for the help they gave to James Verrea of Linares and Monterrey and several of the bishop's priests. Bishop Verrea and his priests were exiled from Mexico after the defeat of the Clerical Party by President Benito Juarez and arrived in New Orleans in the early part of 1861. Apparently Layton also served the local church, Archbishop Napoleon Joseph Perché of New Orleans appointed him treasurer of the Archconfraternity of St. Peter's (Peter's Pence). Layton died on February 2, 1882.

Thomas Layton Jr. was born on January 22, 1845. He graduated from Jesuits' College in New Orleans in 1863. He went to Paris to study medicine. While in Europe Dr. Layton reportedly provided medical assistance to papal forces that were protecting the Papal States from siege by armed forces that were trying to unify Italy. His contribution won him acclaim at the battle of Mantana and recognition by Pope Pius IX. Dr. Layton returned to New Orleans and a life of apparent accomplishment and prominence. He was the Vice President of the Board of Directors of Charity Hospital and established the hospital's ambulance corps. He was a physician at the French asylum on St. Ann St., and a member of the Howard Association. He was also the first president of the Alumni Association of the College of the Immaculate Conception (formerly Jesuits' College). In January 1871 he and his father were made Knights of St. Gregory the Great. He died on May 6, 1889. The family house on Chartres St. was sold in 1905, and the chapel furnishings were reportedly given to a church in Carencro, Louisiana


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission must be obtained from Special Collections & Archives and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Item], Layton Family papers, Collection 15, Special Collections & Archives, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University, New Orleans.

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