Talk:Dorothy Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Social Christianity Group[edit]

Peter Maurin definitely ought be a name included in that list. Day acknowledged again and again (see The Long Loneliness) that if it weren't for Peter, she would never have gotten The Catholic Worker going. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:44, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

Day's politics[edit]

According to Day's biographer Robert Coles she left socialism behind for distributism, so it is wrong to say, as the introduction says, that she was both. Yes, she was both, but not that the same time. She was a socialist in her early days, not in her mature days.

Day's own video-taped commentary on the matter, viewed here:

She allowed that she had WORKED for the Communist Party--but many individuals had some affiliation to the CP without ever themselves becoming a "member." Here are some of her remarks, transcribed from aforementioned video:

J: Were you a member of the IWW?

D: I was a card-carrying member of the IWW—yes.

J: Were you really?

D: Yes, I was.

J: I didn’t know that…

D: When I worked for the Communists they didn’t have card-carrying members. But the IWW did—they had the red card.

J: Yes…

D: And, another thing that attracted me about the IWW was…it had an essentially religious theme. Their motto was, “an injury to one is an injury to all.” And, that’s the saying again, of St. Paul, that we are all members of the One Body. And, we’re members, one of another. And, when the health of one member suffers the health of the whole body is undermined.

J: Was there a problem for you coming from being a member of the IWW, and joining the Catholic Church? Was there a contradiction there?

D: Well, I felt it was a great struggle, yes, because, after all, religion was the opium of the people…

J: Yes…

D: …the whole radical movement…

J: Right…

D: …and, I had to take that risk of…but I soon found I didn’t have to. After all, I continued to express myself as I always had—in religious terms…My old Communist friends used to say, “Dorothy would never be a good Communist—she’s too religious.” Fred Ellis, who was the cartoonist for the Daily Worker—and, a very fine artist—made that remark. But, it was a struggle…but I just felt absolutely…the necessity—and, I think it was…just a steady growth in religious thinking.

Stonewhite 21:58, 31 January 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stonewhite (talkcontribs)

Day is said to be a distributist and a socialist. Which is it? She cannot be both. The fact is she left socialism behind and took up distributism. If you are going to say she is a socialist you should say a former socialist or one-time socialist.

Áthe phrase "initially Marxist, became Catholic in 1927" is problematic. She was a member of IWW- more anarchistic than Marxist. "Initially" seems to indicate she had to leave this position to become Catholic- a problematic position.

Dorothy Day was a member of the Communist Party; she was a staff writer for The Masses, The Call and The Liberator, all CPUSA press organs. Also, she did leave many of the positions both the IWW and the CPUSA held, primarily their stances on religion and the role of the state. The IWW in the early 1930's wasn't nearly the anarchistic union it is today and it fell very deeply in with the communists; being the largest radical union movement in the United States at the time. Dorothy Day's positions of Distributionism and Personalism, both based in the Rerum Novarum, reject the communist ideals out of hand as another version of worker suppression, and rejected the IWW for its support of the Communist Party. So, no, this is not problematic so much as it is true. --TheGrza 11:12, May 8, 2005 (UTC)

I was under the impression that, for most of her life, Day was an anarcho-pacifist. My source for this is "Demanding the Impossible" by Peter Marshall, a book on the history of anarchism. There are various bios on the net which describe her as an anarchist -- she is cited in Wikipedia's article on Christian anarchism. -- james

I'm not sure what that means. --TheGrza 22:39, May 16, 2005 (UTC)

She was a communist in fact, for most of her life, and only converted to Christianity in end of her life.

This is patently, absolutely, utterly false. Why on earth would anyone even suggest such a thing? 20:45, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Shut up and leave, troll. Few pages actually offend me in their vandalism, this being one of them. Piss off somewhere else if you insist on failing to contribute something useful to life.--TheGrza 13:08, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

I'll offer that some of the comments by TheGrza above seem accurate to me. However, one comment is, in my view, simply wrong. Since their annual convention in 1908 — the one at which Socialist Labor Party head Daniel DeLeon was apprised of how unwelcome were his feuds with the Socialist Party, and his attempts to dominate the IWW as a recruiting ground for the SLP — the IWW has constitutionally prohibited any support in the name of the union, or using any union funds, for any political party. This remains true to the present. The notion that the IWW supported the Communist Party is simply incorrect, it has never happened. (Support for rank and file unionized workers who happened to be organized by communists was a different matter-- the IWW has always tried to support all workers.)
Within a few months after the October Revolution, the IWW began editorializing in its newspapers that the Bolsheviks were a new group of bosses, taking power in the name of the workers. Why, you might ask? One possible reason is because the Bolsheviks "ordered" the IWW to dissolve itself, and to disperse its membership into the American Federation of Labor. Not a suggestion that is conducive to generating support, i can assure you.
In 1925, IWW organizers were killed in the Leningrad shipyards while trying to organize workers. Why would that have happened, if the IWW supported the Communist Party that by then controlled Leningrad?
In 1921, Bill Haywood Fled to Russia. And in 1924, there was a split in the IWW. Two parallel organizations were formed. As a result of the chaos caused by the split, a significant number of the IWW membership left to join the communists. That's a lot different than saying that the IWW supported the Communist Party. Richard Myers 09:39, 21 February 2007 (UTC) (talk) 21:50, 4 May 2012 (UTC) New biography, All Is Grace by Jim Forest covers her nursing experience during the 1918 epidemic, the fact that Lionel Moise (father of child aborted) got her a reporter job, and her brief marriage that may have extensive bearing on her strong desire to marry Tamar's father, and lacking that opening may have chosen religion by default (my emphasis).

Describing her journey[edit]

To say Day was seeking more "reverence" in her life strikes me as awkward, perhaps it would be more correct to say she was looking for more spirituality in her life. Comments? - Mark Dixon 02:52, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Recent attempt to completely substitute a new article for this one[edit]

I reverted the replacement (possibly a copyvio, possibly somebody's school paper); but it looked like there might be some salvagable information in there, if it had been sourced. Can somebody more knowledgable than myself about her life take a look at it? --Orange Mike 14:42, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I'll be glad to take a look at it. Runkelp 17:45, 30 October 2007 (UTC)Phil Runkel (

Broken Link[edit]

The link to the premier of "Don't Call Me a Saint" at Marquette appears to be broken. Pustelnik (talk) 03:41, 26 February 2008 (UTC)


I do think this is some other Dorothy Day!! Pustelnik (talk) 02:13, 11 July 2008 (UTC) OK , it was fixed. Pustelnik (talk) 22:16, 30 November 2008 (UTC)


Wasn't she an atheist for some time before joining the RNC?

question about link removal[edit]

A link was removed with the explanation, "Removed at the request of VCVB-TV, which holds copyright."


Here's what was removed from the article:

Bio and a video clip of Dorothy Day talking about anarchism and voluntary poverty at Jesus Radicals

  • I'm puzzled; how can a mere link to a web page be a copyright issue, since it is merely a pointer?
  • How was this "request" conveyed?
  • What is the relationship between VCVB-TV, and the website that was linked?
  • And finally, what is VCVB-TV, since i can find nothing of any substance about such an entity in a Google search?
  • That would be WCVB-TV Boston

Stonewhite 21:38, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm not challenging the removal of a link from the article; i would just like an explanation, so that i can determine whether i should challenge it. thanks, Richard Myers (talk) 01:20, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Dormity Honors[edit]

There is also a dormitory at Seattle University named after her. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tdwuhs (talkcontribs) 19:04, 11 October 2009 (UTC) lmkh —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:29, 12 January 2010 (UTC)


The article has a large Anarchist template, but I can find nowhere in it where her anarchist beliefs are listed. I see over at Christian_anarchism#Catholic_Worker_Movement and Christian_anarchism#List_of_key_individuals that she's listed as one, but I can't find anywhere so far where she espouses anarchism, Christian or otherwise. For now, I'm removing the template, as it's just confusing without any explanation in the body of the article. Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 15:54, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

External links[edit]

There is contention about whether or not the following links meet the guidelines of WP:EL Please discuss below. Active Banana (talk) 00:04, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Potential external links[edit]

1) "Dorothy Day Library" Includes biographies, photos, and an indexed, searchable collection of most of her writings. From the main website for the Catholic Worker movement,

2) Dorothy Day-Catholic Worker Collection at Marquette University; official repository of her papers.

3) Guild For the Canonization of Dorothy Day

4) Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story at the Internet Movie Database

5)Dorothy Day: Don't Call Me a Saint, a documentary

Comments and discussion about whether any of the above links meet the guidelines and should be returned to the article[edit]

Films are not uncommon to be included in the articles. Is there any specific policy that would deprecate it in articles about people? If not, the documentary page (5), and perhaps imdb page (4) should be returned. The guild page (3) - if one would want to return that one, let him provide a reason (ie writings of Day - if there are such on the said site), I can't really see it. Catholic worker site (1) however, is not just a site of the organization she founded, but it also contains numerous biographies, her bibliography, gallery, and tons of her writings. It's definitely a keep, no question about it. As for "Dorothy Day-Catholic Worker Collection" (2), someone should research that site if it lists any Day's works that (1) does not. I didn't, so I can't say.
In short, (1) should be returned, (3) perhaps not, and (2) - someone else should say. (4) and (5) might be returned, depending on the policy on films in articles about persons (I'm not familiar).

P.S. To whoever removed it first (too lazy to look now), please ASK first next time. The default should innocent (keep) until proven (discussed) guilty (remove). This isn't German Wikipedia. --Paxcoder (talk) 14:05, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

RE the p.s. portion of the above comment, from WP:EL "it is not Wikipedia's purpose to include a lengthy or comprehensive list of external links related to each topic. No page should be linked from a Wikipedia article unless its inclusion is justifiable according to this guideline and common sense. " Active Banana (talk) 15:07, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
The point was that until proven against the WP you mentioned, sources should be left on because obviously someone thought they were "justifiable" (the good-will assumption). So I ask again that you first discuss whether removal is indeed necessary unless it's completely obvious that it is (eg. spam and perhaps POV). In this particular case, at least one link is unjustifiably removed. --Paxcoder (talk) 17:22, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
The first link may be acceptable, although I don't really see how it improves the article. The second link offers no real information about Dorothy Day so I don't see why that should be here. The third link doesn't belong because it is biased and irrelevant. This article is a general article about Dorothy Day, not one advocating her canonization. The fourth link is to a film about Dorothy Day. Again this doesn't offer an encyclopedic extension of the article's topic. It may belong in an article about the movie itself but not one on Dorothy Day, as it isn't directly related to the article's subject. The same goes with the last link.

"This article is a general article about Dorothy Day"...[edit]

and, therefore, what could POSSIBLY be more relevant to an article about Day THAN DAY HERSELF SPEAKING OF HER OWN SOCIO-RELIGIOUS PRAXIS?

The YouTube video link clearly states that it is SHE who is being interviewed.

Here is the link:

Please leave said link at article. These are the ONLY extant interviews with Day. I requested--and received--upload permission from 1) The Christophers, and 2) WCVB-TV, Boston BEFORE uploading to YT.


Dr. Phil Runkel is the archivist at Marquette University, which is the sole academic repository of Day's writings (bequeathed to MU): correspondence, journals, personal photos, etc.

Please allow the link to that archive to remain on the article, as that archive is the height of relevance to an article about Day. And here it is:

Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stonewhite (talkcontribs) 19:40, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

So feel free to reinsert the first link, but I would bring this up for further discussion before entering any of the others, since they quite clearly fail our external link guidelines. Note that per WP:ELBURDEN disputed links should be removed by default unless a consensus for inclusion emerges. Also, cleanup-minded editors typically don't ask for permission before cleaning up articles since most articles aren't carefully watched (which allows these linkfarms to build). Only if I see that an external links section is disputed or has bad history would I would post on the talkpage before editing. ThemFromSpace 22:00, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
So we basically agree, save for one matter: How is a film about Dorothy Day not related to the subject of her article? Actually, I'm not familiar with the movie - perhaps it holds no value, but I would include links to documentaries, wouldn't you agree? Btw. It would be helpful if you'd link to exact subsections of WP articles (ie. a link with #Subtitle in it). Well, it would be helpful to me. Reverting the first link now. --Paxcoder (talk) 12:48, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
There's a distinction between a person and a film (even if the film is about the person). Imagine what would happen if we linked to every movie or documentary about, say, Adolf Hitler, in his article. It would be overrun with external links to various pieces of media and would be a linkfarm. In our guideline this is expressed as WP:ELNO point 13 which reads that editors should avoid Sites that are only indirectly related to the article's subject: the link should be directly related to the subject of the article. A general site that has information about a variety of subjects should usually not be linked to from an article on a more specific subject. Similarly, a website on a specific subject should usually not be linked from an article about a general subject. If a section of a general website is devoted to the subject of the article, and meets the other criteria for linking, then that part of the site could be deep linked. I hope this helps. ThemFromSpace 18:04, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm afraid it doesn't really. Your only argument here can be reduced to "there are many films about Hitler". Both film and the documentary are directly related to the "subject of the article". It's not a specialization (unless you'd say any documentary that doesn't cover birth to death is not general enough). Or did I miss something else you wanted to say? Your quote is mighty long, you might not be getting through. --Paxcoder (talk) 10:13, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

The correct link for the Dorothy Day-Catholic Worker Collection is now I think it should be reinserted, as it does contain information about Day (writings, correspondence, photographs, etc.)

runkelp (talk) 13:30, 27 October 2010


Should there be a Bibliography of Day's published works in this article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:09, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Photo of Day in 1916[edit]

I question if this in the public domain. Corbis appears to claim copyright.I haven't seen any evidence that it was published prior to 1923.

Runkelp (talk) 14:00, 11 October 2012 (UTC)Phil Runkel, Marquette University Archives

Unclear references[edit]

There are three references that are unclear what they are referring to. Only page numbers are given, and it isn't obvious what author/title/publication they are for, though it might be implicit in the text. To find these unclear references, simply search in the page for "(p.". I'm not sure if the respective author names should be explicitly added to the parenthetical references or if the article's citation method should be more generally improved. I'd lean towards the latter. — djr13 (talk) 20:18, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

I agree. Would be happy to help out in implementing, if there is general agreement to adopt the template-style referencing more usual in recent Wikipedia articles. RashersTierney (talk) 20:46, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Hohenloh has thankfully fixed these instances. I'd still support changing what citation method is used, but I'm simply not a fan of the current style in general. djr13 (talk) 09:57, 27 December 2012 (UTC)


I've come upon the entry rather by accident and discovered a seriously deficient entry. There's lots of discussion of politics and conflict, but in no particular sequence and sometimes its buried in a section called "Legacy" rather than in the biography. I read phrases like "shortly after" or "in these years" and find it impossible to know what decade we're talking about. I'd describe the overall problem as one where too many hands have been involved, often trying to make points on one side or another of one's view of her activism. Some of that is definitely appropriate at some point, but its really difficult to make sense of when we haven't told the main story: her life.

I've tried to shuffle what is already there into a chronological sequence, doing some (I hope) respectful editing along the way. I'll next try to get a good biography and focus on getting her chronology in place. Just the straightforward facts to the extent that is possible. The tougher pieces to write -- explications and evaluations of her politics and charism -- will remain. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 14:30, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

And ten days later I'll call it quits. I've learned a lot about her and it's clear that her thinking is hard to summarize. She was often provocative (praising Mao to make a point about everyone's humanity) and seemingly contrary, like opposing much of what we think of as progressive legislation because her anarchist side, which was very idiosyncratic, prefers that we all help each other instead. Utopian. Exasperating. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 17:40, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

"I was moved to see the names of the Americans"[edit]

It's a Wikipedia, not a trash can. Billions of people don't care about such deep reflections. Xx234 (talk) 12:41, 29 January 2015 (UTC)


Under "beliefs," I removed this comment, labeled "Revolution." The context of the quote does not focus on any political revolution in a standard sense of the word. In fact, it sounds like she's describing these "Johnsons" as viewing the Catholic Worker as revolutionary, not expressing her own opinion. --GoldCoastPrior (talk) 20:26, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

In the January 1970 Catholic Worker, she wrote that "Neither of the Johnsons thought of our work as charity, in its bad sense, but as a work of justice. In other words we were a revolutionary headquarters rather than a Bowery mission, as most newspapers like to picture us." Day, Dorothy (January 1970). "On Pilgrimage: Mary Johnson". Dorothy Day Collection. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 

— Previous version of the article

She saw herself as a revolutionary, just not the kind of revolution anyone but a Christian anarchist would take seriously. See her articles in the October 1941 and January 1942 issues of the Catholic Worker. AECwriter 00:33, 13 October 2015 (UTC)AECwriter — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aecwriter (talkcontribs)


The article says she married Tobey and they were in Europe, then skips to talking about her next lover and Tobey is never mentioned again. What happened to the marriage? john k (talk) 02:03, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 3 external links on Dorothy Day. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 23:53, 15 December 2016 (UTC)