The People’s Association (Volksverein) for Catholic Germany, founded in 1890, was the largest and most important mass organization within German Catholicism. From its inception, the association
considered itself an engine of far-reaching social reforms and endeavored to realize a social order based on Christian principles. In order to achieve that goal, it employed all available means with
great virtuosity: intensive public education efforts from the grass roots up; training a qualified cadre of leaders; and, above all, effecting a considered publications policy that produced an exhaustive
and differentiated printed corpus of information.
The present reference guide provides a bibliographical »stock-taking« on the basis of the rich collections located in the Volksverein library in Mönchengladbach, which survived the Nazi period. It
organizes chronologically the entire body of writing on the Volksverein as well as the primary and secondary literature on the association’s leading personalities, more than 6,000 titles in
all. An introduction that covers the Volksverein’s history, biographical sketches of its leading personalities, and numerous organizational diagrams provide a historical framework for the reference
This bibliography reflects the Volksverein’s far-ranging activities. Operating in the field of tension between Catholic associations, parties, and the episcopate, the
Volksverein endeavored to implement its own public education and social policy ideas. Among other authors, this reference book presents the writings of such personalities as Fr. Hitze,
K. Trimborn, A. Gröber, F. Porsch, H. Brauns, J. Joos, J. Giesberts, A. Pieper, and O. Müller. These men also assumed leadership positions outside the Volksverein,
with the Center Party, the Christian unions, and the Catholic workers’ associations. The handbook thus constitutes an essential building block on the way to a comprehensive bibliography of the
history of the entire Catholic social movement in Germany.