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Who is Nano Nagle History of the Sisters of the Presentation


The mission of Presentation Archives is to centralize, organize, preserve, protect and make available the unique records and materials which pertain to the origin, history, spirit and growth of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (PBVM) and its members.

Presentation Roots Newsletters


Spring 2017


Summer 2017



Spring 2016


Summer 2016


Autumn 2016

Collections Overview

The archival collections reflect the institutional history of the Sisters of Presentation and their various individual ministries since the time of their foundation in San Francisco, California in 1854 up to present day.  The unique historical materials reflect the sisters’ viewpoint of participation in these ministries and that of their relationship to those served through these ministries.

Collections spanning the years since 1854 document the sisters’ lives and their ministries in California, New Mexico and Washington; and on sisters’ ministries in response to Vatican II, including mission work in Mexico and Guatemala, and their involvement in social justice issues.  Administrative records include minutes of general councils, chapter assemblies and various committees, including national and international groups. Additional collections include artifacts such as objects from convent life; photographs; scrapbooks; and Audio/Visual materials.

Early historical materials dating from the mid-late 19th century to 1906 are sparse because of the devastation caused by the earthquake and fire disaster that year when the sisters lost both of their San Francisco convents.  Among the surviving records are the constitutions, Rules and Customs of the Presentation Sisters beginning from 1809; and financial and property records between 1860 and 1875.  Chronicles and annals from this era include the memoir of Mother Teresa Comerford published in 1882; first-person accounts of the 1906 earthquake and fire, and the sisters’ relief work conducted in the aftermath; a published history based on reconstituted annals by Mother Mary Josephine Hagarty, 1854-1906; a sister’s historical account of the events and descriptions of life at Sacred Heart Presentation Convent (1868-1906); correspondence on the issue of school ownership with Archbishop Patrick William Riordan (1906), and letter books containing copy-correspondence on official matters with Archbishop Sadoc Alemany, O.P. (1855-1882).

Contemporary historical records document the changes that occurred in community life and ministry during and after the changes brought on by Vatican II. Examples of this activity include the sisters’ process of Renewal in 1965; their establishment of missions in Latin America in the 1960s; individual ministries started in the 1970s in response to the poor and marginalized; and their involvement with the Sanctuary Movement in San Francisco during the 1980s.

Areas of Research:

  • Genealogy
  • Historical:  Catholic Women Religious, Education, Irish-American, Women, San Francisco, American Catholicism
  • Special Topics:  Social Justice, Spirituality, Religious Formation, Religious Life

Highlighted Collections:

  • 19th century student registers for schools in Berkeley, Sonoma, and Gilroy
  • Photographs and first-person accounts of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire experience and aftermath, including relief works
  • Administration and Governance records, including Minutes of General Councils, Chapters, and various committees (1855 -  )
  • Annals (1854 - 2010): San Francisco foundation, individual convents, ministries and members
  • Architectural drawings and blueprints (1855, bulk 1910 – 1930)
  • Books of Religious Profession and Postulancy* (1854 -  )
  • Chronicle of Ministry Assignments and Directories (1949 -  )
  • Living, deceased, and former members’ files (incl. 1854 -  )
  • Manuscripts and theses
  • Rules and Directions on religious and community life (1870s – 1970s)
  • Missions in Latin America (1965 -  )
  • Oral histories (1970s -  )
  • Photographs (1880s -  )
* Ledgers containing the names and biographical data of women who entered the convent to become a vowed religious.

Terms of Access

Presentation Archives makes every effort to provide access to its collections while observing institutional policies regarding copyright, records retention policies, and privacy and confidentiality. The use of certain records and unpublished materials may be restricted by statute, office, origin, or by request of the donor.


Contact Information

Rachel Foote, Archivist
Presentation Archives
2340 Turk Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94118-4340
Tel:    415-751-0406
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Appointment Required.

For research requests, email presarchives@pbvmsf.org or call 415-751-0406.

Home Page Who we are Where We Serve Ministries Alumnae Transcripts
Events Gift Giving Associates Contact Information Prayer Request Shopping Cart