University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The items in the Digital Collections of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library contain materials which represent or depict sensitive topics or were written from perspectives using outdated or biased language. The Library condemns discrimination and hatred on any grounds. As a research library that supports the mission and values of this land grant institution, it is incumbent upon the University Library to preserve, describe, and provide access to materials to accurately document our past, support learning about it, and effect change in the present. In accordance with the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement, we do not censor our materials or prevent patrons from accessing them.

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Charles Chiniquy Collection (Digitized Content)

The digitized content of the Charles Chiniquy Collection (1878-1909) consists of correspondence from Charles Chiniquy, John Carroll Power, and others to Edwin A. Sherman; one from Sherman; and a small collection of leaflets and broadsides. Subjects include the Roman Catholic Church, Abraham Lincoln, and the activities of the Lincoln Grand Guard of Honor, an organization founded to protect the tomb of Abraham Lincoln.

Charles Chiniquy (1809-1899) was a Canadian Catholic priest who left the Catholic Church in 1858 and became strongly anti-Catholic. In 1885 he wrote a book entitled Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, in which he charged that the Vatican was behind the Confederate cause and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Edwin A. Sherman was an American soldier, miner, and resident of the Western states, notable for serving as the Commander in Chief of the Lincoln Grand Guard of Honor and for being vigorously anti-Catholic. His book, The Engineers of Hell: or, Rome’s Sappers and Miners (1883), purported to uncover and tell the story of the secret code of the Jesuits and their plans for world domination.

The digitized content contains letters, primarily from Charles Chiniquy, but also from others, addressed to Edwin A. Sherman. It also contains a few letters from Sherman to members of the Lincoln Grand Guard of Honor. Also included are a few broadsides, leaflets, and circulars related to the books published by Sherman and Chiniquy.

The Illinois History and Lincoln Collections unit at the University of Illinois Library manages the physical items of the Charles Chiniquy Collection (MS 134). The collection was completely digitized in 2023. For more information, contact an archivist at