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Bro. Elzear Alfred Papers

Identifier: UA.01.045

Scope and Content

The bulk of this collection relates to Bro. Alfred’s work as the founding president of the La Salle Civic and Social Congress. The collection also includes correspondence from Alfred’s time at Calvert Hall and as president of La Salle College, as well as a small amount of personal materials and photographs.


  • 1931-1952

Biographical Note

(Note in Progress)

Brother Elzear Alfred was born Bernard Kelly in Phoenixville, PA on October 19, 1872. He joined the Christian Brothers in 1888 and went on to teach at various parochial schools in Baltimore, MD. He was next assigned to Calvert Hall, then appointed director of the La Salle Institute in Cumberland, MD. In 1915, he was appointed director of St. John's College in Washington, DC. He worked alternately between the La Salle Institute and St. John’s until being named president of La Salle College in 1928.

During his tenure as president, Bro. Alfred saw the school through its move to 20th and Olney and the early years of the Depression. He stepped down from the position in 1932.

Bro. Alfred returned to La Salle as President Emeritus and taught ethics and public speaking. In 1938, he founded the La Salle Civic and Social Congress, a worker education program that ran free courses in psychology, management, and public speaking for Philadelphia’s businessmen and workers. The teaching arm of this program eventually became the Evening Division at La Salle College and subsequently the College of Professional and Continuing Studies.

The LSCSC also established the De La Salle Medal for Distinguished Service in the Cause of World Peace and Social Security. This award honored “men and women for meritorious achievement in the fields of labor, management, and civic and social endeavors”; President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the medal’s first recipient.

La Salle University’s Kelly Social Justice Research Center was named for Bro. Elzear Alfred (Bernard Kelly) because of his involvement with social justice work. The center supports faculty scholarship on problems facing the marginalized, particularly those living in urban areas.


0.5 Linear feet

Language of Materials


Guide to the Brother Elzear Alfred Papers UA.01.045
Finding aid prepared by Catherine Carey
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the La Salle University Archives Repository

1900 West Olney Avenue
Philadelphia PA 19141 United States