American Background Books (Lives of Catholic Heroes and Heroines in American History)
Published by P.J. Kennedy & Sons
36 Total Books

American Background Books is a splendid series for readers ten to fourteen dealing with the lives of Catholic men and women who have played an important role in the history of our Continent. Although most of them concern those whose contributions were made to the discovery, exploration and development of the United States, the series also introduces to boys and girls the heroes and heroines of Canada and other countries of North America. Great explorers, colonizers, war heroes, pioneer women and missionaries are among those whose lives and adventures light up the pages of these books.

American Background Books fill a noticeable gap in the shelves of books devoted to American biography. They tell the stories of great men and women of the Catholic Faith, many of whom have been neglected by biographers in general. Without overstressing the religious element of these lives, the Catholic contribution to American history is shown in its true proportions, and faith is revealed as a living element in the principles, undertakings and achievements of each individual.

American Background Books have been written by fine writers eminently qualified to deal with each period and subject. Without departing from the fact, they handle the material in a way that stresses human interest and adventure. These books will foster pride in the American and Catholic heritage and make more vivid some of the most dramatic and exciting episodes in American history.

From Lucrezia Bori of the Metropolitan Opera

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But I’m not Catholic! (or Jewish, or Mormon, or…)
Guest post by Johanna Bittle | October 01, 2018

One of the best ways to discover these pilgrim stories is through books that feature their faith prominently, acknowledging it as a real and driving “why” behind both their devotion to our country and their many contributions to exploration, discovery, medicine, education, innovation, settlement, and statesmanship. I can open my children’s eyes to the lives of many of the Catholics who are an integral part of the fabric of our country, men and women whose names and contributions are either missing from the Landmark and Signature series, or whose stories are told there, but in an incomplete way, without the illuminating context of their faith.

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Example page

Cover Title Author Publication date
Adventurous Lady: Margaret Brent of Maryland Adventurous Lady: Margaret Brent of Maryland Grant, Dorothy Fremont 1957
Black Robe Peacemaker: Pierre de Smet Black Robe Peacemaker: Pierre de Smet Hopkins, J.G.E 1958
Cavalry Hero: Casimir Pulaski Cavalry Hero: Casimir Pulaski Adams, Dorothy 1957
Chaplain in Gray: Abram Ryan Chaplain in Gray: Abram Ryan Heagney, H.J. 1958
Charles Carroll and The American Revolution Charles Carroll and The American Revolution Lomask, Milton 1959
Charles John Seghers: Pioneer in Alaska Charles John Seghers: Pioneer in Alaska Bosco, Antoinette 1960
Colonial Governor: Thomas Dongan of New York Colonial Governor: Thomas Dongan of New York Hopkins, J.G.E 1957
Commandant Paul and the Founding of Montreal Commandant Paul and the Founding of Montreal Wilson, Charles Morrow 1966
Daniel Duluth: Explorer of the Northlands Daniel Duluth: Explorer of the Northlands Abodaher, David J. 1966
De Tonti of the Iron Hand and the Exploration of the Mississippi De Tonti of the Iron Hand and the Exploration of the Mississippi Heagney, Ann 1959
Don Diego de Vargas: The Peaceful Conquistador Don Diego de Vargas: The Peaceful Conquistador Buchanan, Rosemary 1963
Fanny Allen: Green Mountain Rebel Fanny Allen: Green Mountain Rebel Betz, Eva K. 1962
Father Flanagan: Builder of Boys Father Flanagan: Builder of Boys Stevens, Clifford J 1967
The Friar and The Knight: Padre Olmedo and Cortez The Friar and The Knight: Padre Olmedo and Cortez Strousse, Flora 1957
General Phil Sheridan and The Union Cavalry General Phil Sheridan and The Union Cavalry Lomask, Milton 1959
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Man of Courage John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Man of Courage Strousse, Flora 1964
John Hughes: Eagle of the Church John Hughes: Eagle of the Church Hurley, Doran 1961
John LaFarge: Gentle Jesuit John LaFarge: Gentle Jesuit Strousse, Flora 1967
Joseph the Huron Joseph the Huron Bosco, Antoinette 1961
Knute Rockne: Football Wizard of Notre Dame Knute Rockne: Football Wizard of Notre Dame Daley, Arthur 1960
Lucrezia Bori of the Metropolitan Opera Lucrezia Bori of the Metropolitan Opera Marion, John Francis 1962
Margaret Haughery: Bread Woman of New Orleans Margaret Haughery: Bread Woman of New Orleans Strousse, Flora 1961
Mathew Carey: Pamphleteer for Freedom Mathew Carey: Pamphleteer for Freedom Hindman, Jane F. 1960
Mere Marie of New France Mere Marie of New France Windeatt, Mary Fabyan 1958
Padre Kino and the Trail to the Pacific Padre Kino and the Trail to the Pacific Steffan, Jack 1960
Padre Pro: Mexican Hero Padre Pro: Mexican Hero Royer, Fanchon 1963
Pedro MenÚndez de AvilÚs and the Founding of St. Augustine Pedro MenÚndez de AvilÚs and the Founding of St. Augustine Stone, Elaine Murray 1969
Pierre Toussaint: Pioneer in Brotherhood Pierre Toussaint: Pioneer in Brotherhood Sheehan, Elizabeth Odell, Sheehan, Arthur 1963
Princess Isabel of Brazil and the Glittering Pen Princess Isabel of Brazil and the Glittering Pen Comfort, Mildred Houghton 1969
Raphael Semmes: Confederate Admiral Raphael Semmes: Confederate Admiral Daly, Robert W. 1965
Rochambeau and Our French Allies Rochambeau and Our French Allies Lomask, Milton 1965
Rose Greenhow: Confederate Secret Agent Rose Greenhow: Confederate Secret Agent Grant, Dorothy Fremont 1961
Sidewalk Statesman: Alfred E. Smith Sidewalk Statesman: Alfred E. Smith Schofield, William G. 1958
Simon Brute and The Western Adventure Simon Brute and The Western Adventure Bartelme, Elizabeth 1959
Virgil Barber: New England Pied Piper Virgil Barber: New England Pied Piper Betz, Eva K. 1963
William Gaston: Fighter for Justice William Gaston: Fighter for Justice Betz, Eva K. 1964