Edward Joseph Hanna

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The Most Reverend

Edward Joseph Hanna
Archbishop emeritus of San Francisco
SeeSan Francisco
InstalledJune 1, 1915
Term endedMarch 2, 1935
PredecessorPatrick William Riordan
SuccessorJohn Joseph Mitty
Other postsAuxiliary Bishop of San Francisco (1912-15)
OrdinationMay 30, 1885
ConsecrationDecember 4, 1912
Personal details
Born(1860-07-21)July 21, 1860
Rochester, New York, United States
DiedJuly 10, 1944(1944-07-10) (aged 83)
Rome, Italy
DenominationRoman Catholic Church

Edward Joseph Hanna (July 21, 1860 – July 10, 1944) was an American clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of San Francisco from 1915 to 1935.

Early life and education[edit]

Edward Hanna was born in Rochester, New York, to Edward and Anne (née Clark) Hanna, who were Irish immigrants.[1] The eldest of six children, he had two brothers and three sisters, one of whom died in infancy.[2] In 1867, at age seven, he began his education at Public School No. 2 in his native city.[1] The following year, he was sent to St. Patrick's School.[2] He entered Rochester Free Academy in 1875, and graduated as valedictorian in 1879.[2] He there befriended his classmate, Walter Rauschenbusch, a future Baptist theologian and proponent of the Social Gospel. He and Rauschenbusch were two of the nineteen founding brothers of Pi Phi Fraternity at the academy in 1878.[2] At the commencement ceremony, he delivered a well-received oration on Irish political leader Daniel O'Connell.[1]

Deciding to embrace the ecclesiastical state, Hanna was sent by Bishop Bernard John McQuaid to study at the Pontifical North American College and the Urban College of Propaganda.[3] His professor at the Propaganda, Benedetto Lorenzelli (a future cardinal), selected him and fellow student Edward A. Pace as the American representatives at a philosophical disputation before Pope Leo XIII in 1882.[2]

Early ministry[edit]

On May 30, 1885, Hanna was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Giulio Lenti at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.[4] Pope Leo XIII was so impressed with his intellectual acumen that he conferred a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree without the need for an oral examination in 1886.[1]

He was a professor at St. Bernard's Seminary from 1893 to 1912. On October 22, 1912, he was named by Pope Pius X auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of San Francisco and titular bishop of Titiopolis. He was ordained to the episcopate on December 4, 1912.


Following the death of Archbishop Patrick William Riordan on December 27, 1914. Pope Benedict XV named Hanna the third Archbishop of San Francisco on June 1, 1915.[4]

Hanna had a close friendship with San Francisco Mayor James Rolph, Jr. The archbishop and "Sunny Jim" were seen at many civic functions. Edward J. Hanna would support Rolph in his run for governor in 1930. Governor Rolph died in office June 2, 1934; nine months later, Hanna asked to retire.

As archbishop, Hanna was often tasked with helping resolve labor disputes. In 1921, he was named chairman of San Francisco's Wage Arbitration Boards; Hanna served on the boards through 1924.[5] Governor James Rolph appointed Hanna as the chairman of a state mediation board to resolve the 1933 cotton strike in Corcoran, California.[6] During the 1934 West Coast waterfront strike, President Franklin Roosevelt named Archbishop Hanna chairman of the National Longshoremen's Board. The board was tasked with resolving the strike by mediating between the International Longshoremen's Association, the International Seamen’s Union, and their employers.[5]

In 1923 his portrait was painted three-quarters seated by the Swiss-born American portrait painter Adolfo Müller-Ury (1862–1947), shortly afterwards being exhibited at Gumps, in San Francisco. Its present whereabouts is unknown.

Hanna was key to the founding of St. Joseph's Seminary in Mountain View, California, and it was considered "the jewel of his accomplishments."[7]

National Catholic Welfare Council[edit]

In 1919, Hanna was elected by the bishops of the United States as the first chairman of the National Catholic Welfare Council, a predecessor of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which was renamed the National Catholic Welfare Conference in 1922; he continued as chairman through his retirement in 1935. As chairman, he was responsible for coordinating the American bishops' lobbying efforts and response to the domestic and foreign policies of the government.[8]

Retirement and death[edit]

Hanna's vault at Holy Cross

Archbishop Hanna retired March 2, 1935, due to ill health and advancing age. Pope Pius XI appointed Hanna the titular Archbishop of Gortyna.[9] He was succeeded as Archbishop of San Francisco by John Joseph Mitty. Archbishop Hanna moved to Rome after his retirement, where he died on July 10, 1944.[10] Archbishop Hanna's body was returned to San Francisco in 1947. He is buried in the Archbishop's Crypt at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, California.

Archbishop Hanna High School, part of the Hanna Boys Center in Sonoma, California, since 1945, is a residential treatment center for at-risk boys.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Gribble, Richard (2006). An Archbishop for the People: The Life of Edward J. Hanna. Mahwah: Paulist Press.
  2. ^ a b c d e McKelvey, Blake, ed. (April 1963). Rochester History. XXV. Rochester Public Library.
  3. ^ "ARCHBISHOP HANNA, FRIEND OF LABOR, 83". The New York Times. 1944-07-11.
  4. ^ a b "Archbishop Edward Joseph Hanna". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.[self-published source]
  5. ^ a b Jaime Garcia De Alba (2000-12-20). "Apostle of the Dock: Archbishop Edward J. Hanna's Role as Chairman of the National Longshoremen's During the 1934 San Francisco Waterfront Strike". Ex Post Facto. San Francisco State University. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
  6. ^ Samora, Julian; Vandel Simon, Patricia (1977). "Chapter 18". A History of the Mexican-American People. Archived from the original on 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
  7. ^ Gribble, Richard (2006). An Archbishop for the People: The Life of Edward J. Hanna. pp. 78–79. ISBN 0809144050.
  8. ^ Richard Gribble. "Roman Catholicism and U.S. foreign policy - 1919-1935: a clash of policies". Journal of Church and State (Winter, 2008). Retrieved 2009-01-05.
  9. ^ "Hanna Retires". TIME. 1935-03-18. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
  10. ^ "Died. The Most Rev. Edward Joseph Hanna". TIME. 1944-07-24. Retrieved 2009-01-05.


  • Gribble, Richard, CSC. An Archbishop for the People: The Life of Edward J. Hanna. Boston: Paulist Press, 2006. ISBN 0-8091-4405-0

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Patrick William Riordan
Archbishop of San Francisco
Succeeded by
John Joseph Mitty