In 1887, Franciscan friars established St. Michael's Mission in Apache County, AZ. Its purpose was to bring Catholic doctrine and education to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. St. Michael's Press was established in 1909, and still produces materials on Navajo and missionary topics.
The collection includes correspondence, financial records, official documents, reports, maps, articles, publications, photographs, postcards, and notes. The bulk of the collection is correspondence and records relating to the establishment and operation of missions and schools, primarily at St. Michael's. These document activity between Franciscan friars, the Navajo population, Catholic organizations, the U. S. Government, and the Land Commissioner of the Santa Fe Pacific Railroad Company. Included are materials on Navajo land allotments, education, language, social conditions, government and church relations, tourism, and origins of the Navajo Tribal Council.
Information in publications includes background material relating to the first Navajo dictionary; Kay Bennett's book The Navajo Saga; Robert L. Wilken's book Anselm Weber; and the periodical The Padre's Trail. Also present are extracts and complete examples of church publications on Navajo Indians and missionary work. Correspondents include Berard Haile, Leopold Ostermann, and Anselm Weber, other Franciscan Fathers, U.S. government officials, Catholic missionary organizations, Navajo individuals, and others. The papers of Emanuel Trockur include correspondence, writings, and his work with the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Photographs represent events, mission buildings, equipment and personnel.