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Ann Stull Papers

Identifier: harsh-1999-04

Scope and Contents

This collection includes serials, pamphlets, newspaper clipping files and phonographs. Ann Stull’s collection of serials is largely focused on race relations in the United States and the role of the Catholic Church in helping to eliminate racism. These serials reflects her 1960s work on housing and education issues in Chicago, and ongoing support for the civil rights movement in the South. Among the most important documents in this collection is an unedited copy of the Advisory Panel on Integration of the Public Schools report, completed in March 1964. The Chicago Board of Education accepted receipt of the report, but sharply divided over its conclusions. The collection of newspaper articles written in the week following the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. offers a window into what Chicagoans were thinking during and shortly after the riot.


  • 1942 - 1972

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.

Biographical / Historical

Shirley Ann Stull (Petta)

Ann Stull, as she was known most of her life, was a lay Catholic activist for racial and social justice. She was born Shirley Ann Stull in St. Louis, Missouri on December 3, 1926. Her parents were Wilfred and Irene (Taylor) Stull. She graduated from Webster College, then a Catholic women’s school in a St. Louis suburb. She became active in Catholic interracial activities and moved to Chicago to work at Friendship House, an organization dedicated to improving race relations.

Friendship House was a Catholic interracial missionary organization founded in the early 1930s by Catholic social justice activist Catherine de Hueck Doherty. Though its original Toronto center was forced to close, it was soon adopted by Catholic Interracial Council and set up operations in New York City’s Harlem in 1938. Friendship House established its second center in Chicago in 1942, located at 4233 South Indiana Avenue in Bronzeville.

Ann Stull served as director of Chicago Friendship House from 1951 through 1955. In the years that followed, Chicago’s Friendship House became a volunteer organization. and Stull continued to be active in its work. She was especially involved in the fight against housing segregation. While volunteering at Friendship House, she became an English teacher at Kelly High School, where she taught for some thirty years.

From 1980 through 2000 the Chicago Friendship House also operated a day shelter for the homeless. Friendship House closed its doors in 2000. For much of her life Stull lived in the Hyde Park-Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago. In 2002 she married Frank Petta, and moved to Elgin, Illinois.

In 1999 Stull donated her collection of periodicals, pamphlets and clippings on race relations to the Chicago Public Library’s Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature. Ann Stull (Petta) died on March 8, 2009.


Obituary, Shirley Ann Petta, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Illinois), March 11, 2009

Hawkins, J. Russell and Phillip Sintiere, Christians and the Color Line: Race and Religion after Divided by Faith. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013

Schorsch III, Albert, "Uncommon Women and Others: Memoirs and Lessons from Radical Catholics at Friendship House,” U.S. Catholic Historian 9(4): 371-386, Fall 1990.

Stull, Ann, “Housing Speculators,” Community 17, no. 11, July 1958


4 Linear Feet (in 5 archival boxes, 1 oversized box, 5 phonograph records)

Language of Materials



Ann Stull was director of Friendship House in Chicago from 1951 to 1955. Friendship House was a Roman Catholic mission that preached and practiced racial tolerance in the pre-civil rights era. Her collection of rare serials and newspaper clippings documents racism, Catholicism’s involvement in interracial justice, labor relations, housing and educational discrimination on Chicago’s West Side.


This collection is arranged into three series.

Series 1: Serials, 1942-1971 The serials are arranged alphabetically in Box 1 by the title of the serial. Oversize serials are mostly “keepsake” special issues. They have been placed in Boxes 2 and 3, and are also arranged alphabetically by the title of the serial.

Series 2: Pamphlets and Clipping Files, 1962-1968 This series includes six folders of pamphlets and newspaper clipping files. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series 3: Phonograph Records, 1942-1972 This small group of LP music albums reflects Anne Stull’s deep appreciation African American vocal music in general and for Paul Robeson’s music especially. We were not able to determine the publication date of some of the Robeson records. The phonographs are listed chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donation of Ann Stull in 1999.

Related Materials

Related materials in the Chicago Public Library include:

Archdiocese of Chicago/Black History Educational Program Archives

Timuel D. Black Papers

Chicago Public Library Archive. George Cleveland Hall Branch Archives

Chicago SNCC History Project Archives

Leonard Wash Papers

Rev. Addie and Rev. Claude Wyatt Papers

Related collections at other institutions include:

Friendship House Records and the John Kearny Papers at the Chicago History Museum

Ann Harrigan Makletzoff Papers at University of Notre Dame Archives

Guide to the Ann Stull Papers
Originally processed by Tammy Hampton, Archives Intern, and Michael Flug, Senior Archivist, Harsh Archival Processing Project. Revised by Elizabeth Loch in 2020.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection Repository

Woodson Regional Library
Chicago Public Library
9525 S. Halsted Street
Chicago IL 60628 United States
(312) 745-2080