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Bro. Daniel Burke Papers

Identifier: UA.01.041

Scope and Contents Note

The Bro. Daniel Burke Papers span the time from his inauguration as president in 1969 to his role as the founder and director of the La Salle Art Gallery (later the La Salle University Art Museum) in the 1980s and 1990s. The materials also touch on his time as an english professor, though the bulk of the material is from his time as president. Of note are the meeting minutes and enclosures for the Board of Trustees and the College Council, documentation of the discussion of the university's move to coeducation, and planning documents related to the creation of the Urban Studies and Community Service Center.


  • 1960s-1990s

Biographical Sketch

Daniel William Burke was born in Pittsburgh in 1926. In 1944 he received both the Robe of the Christian Brothers and also the religious name of Brother Fidelian of Mary. He would be known to everyone by this name until 1966 when the Christian Brothers reverted to their baptismal names and surnames.

In 1945 Brother Fidelian moved to the Christian Brothers’ house of studies in Washington, D.C. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in English from Catholic University with Phi Beta Kappa honors, he taught mostly English at West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys, La Salle Hall, and De La Salle College.

Brother Fidelian was named to the faculty of La Salle College in 1957 as assistant professor of English. In 1960 he became the Vice President for Academic Affairs, a post which he held for nine years. He attained master’s and doctoral degrees in English from Catholic University. Professionally, he was made full professor in 1968.

Brother Daniel was chosen as the 25th president of La Salle College in June of 1969. He was the last La Salle president to be chosen by the superiors of the Christian Brothers. Brother Daniel was the first La Salle president to have a formal inauguration ceremony in October of 1969. He was re-elected by La Salle’s Board of Trustees to a second five-year term in 1974. Two years later, however, Brother Daniel announced his desire to voluntarily step away from the presidency to pursue research and writing.

Perhaps the most significant milestone that Burke oversaw as president was La Salle’s becoming a co-educational institution in September 1970. Other major accomplishments included the expansion of the Honors Program, overseeing revamped curricula, the beginning of the Concert and Lecture Series, Building Blocks Day Care Center, Continuing Education for Women, the Urban Studies Center, and the MBA program. Campus improvements included the construction of Olney Hall, Hayman Hall (later expanded as Hayman Center), and the Wister Hall Library Annex.

Of special interest to Brother Daniel was an avid desire to build a teaching art collection at La Salle. In November 1975 the La Salle Art Gallery officially opened its doors in the lower level of Olney Hall. Brother Daniel became its director in 1981. The collection was later expanded and renamed the La Salle University Art Museum.


19.5 Linear feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The Bro. Daniel Burke Papers are arranged in five series: Subject Files, Lectures and Talks, Psalter for the New American Bible, and Manuscripts for Publications. The subject files came in from Burke's office in unlabeled envelopes. The materials were refoldered and labeled with the subject matter of their contents and kept in their original order. As such, the folders are not in alphabetical order and many of the subjects repeat. The other four series arrived labeled by Burke and this original order was preserved.

Guide to the Bro. Daniel Burke Papers UA.01.041
Finding aid prepared by Catherine Carey
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the La Salle University Archives Repository

1900 West Olney Avenue
Philadelphia PA 19141 United States