Printing Holy Cards in New York

Holy Cards were just one type of product from the rapidly growing printing companies in cities around the world. New York City saw an increase in publishing in the mid 19th century as it became the leading center for information in the United States. The top newspapers of the day such as the New York Times, New York Sun, New York World, and New York Tribune were all located down the street from the action of City Hall and the New York Police Department headquarters. As a result, this area along Park Row became known as Printing House Square. Increased literacy rates, as well as the constant improvements to printing technologies resulted in an increased desire for printed reading materials by 19th century New Yorkers.  This surge in print production was not only true for secular newspapers and publishing houses, but also for religious companies as well. On the other side of City Hall Park, opposite Printing House Square, sat St. Peter’s Church on Barclays Street; the first Catholic Church in New York City. Situated along Barclays Street were the various publishing companies such as Benziger Brothers, The Catholic News newspaper, D & J Sadlier Co., and many more.  This area became the religious version of Printing House Square.

Using advertisements found in The Catholic Directory and The Catholic News, the locations of the various publishers were plotted on the map below. These advertisements also aided in determining the creation of many of these companies. It should be noted that there were other religious goods stores alone Barclays Street in the 19th century, but this section is only focusing on the publishing companies.  Many of these publishing houses produced books of all types, magazines, and devotional items, like Holy Cards. Click around the map to learn about the various religious publishing companies in New York City. 


Map Key:

Blue dots: religious publishing companies

Red dots: secular newspaper companies