American Catholic literature emerged in the early 1900s as its own genre. Catholic literature is not exclusively literature written by Catholic authors or about Catholic things, but rather Catholic literature is “defined… by a particular Catholic perspective applied to its subject matter.”
In the years after the American Civil War, there was a young priest by the name of Fr. Isaac Hecker. A convert to the Catholic faith, he went around giving lectures with the aim of evangelizing the Catholic faith to both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. In 1865, Fr. Heckler started a periodical which he named the Catholic World and in 1867 he founded the Catholic Publication Society to help publish and distribute them on a national level.
In the decades before World War II, many American Catholics didn’t think much about their faith on an intellectual level and not many literature works that were decidedly Catholic in nature can be found from that time period. But in 1927, there was a growing curiosity toward the Catholic culture among the faith community. As Catholic literature was more readily accepted, more and more pieces of literature with Catholic themes and subjects were published.