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John Gilmary Shea papers

Identifier: CSC-014

Scope and Contents

This collection contains papers related to John Gilmary Shea's work as a historian. It includes correspondence with other historians, advertisements from a rare book dealer, and research notes. It also contains primary source documents used by Shea, including a transcription of a letter from Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore to Father Gabriel Richard and the title page of a 1683 French monograph on the Louisiana territory.


  • 1683-1890
  • Majority of material found within 1853 - 1890


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open and available to the public for research in the U.S. Catholic Special Collections reading room. The materials are non-circulating.

Copyright Notice

The materials in this collection may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The materials are available for personal, educational, and scholarly use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to locate and obtain permission from the copyright owner or his or her heirs for any other use, such as reproduction and publication.

Biography of John Gilmary Shea

John Dawson Gilmary Shea was born in 1824 in New York City. He attended law school before joining the Society of Jesus in 1848. He then studied at St. John's College (Fordham, NY) and St. Mary's College (Montreal, Canada). Shea left the order in 1852 to pursue a career as a historian. He married Sophie Savage in 1854. During his lifetime, Shea wrote or edited over 250 titles. His most popular works included Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley (1852), History of the Catholic Missions among the Native American Tribes of the U.S., 1529-1854 (1854), and the four-volume History of the Catholic Church in the U.S. (1886-1892). Shea's articles on Catholic history appeared in U.S. Catholic Magazine, the Catholic World, and the American Catholic Quarterly Review, among others. He was one of the founders of the U.S. Catholic Historical Society, and the first editor of the United States Catholic Historical Magazine. He received honorary degrees from Fordham University and Georgetown University, and was the first recipient of Notre Dame's Laetare Medal in 1883. Shea died in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1892.


0.05 Linear Feet (2 folders in Small Collections Box 3)

Language of Materials



Primary source material and notes by Catholic historian John Gilmary Shea, as well as correspondence concerning his work on American Catholic history.

Statement of Arrangement

The original order that this collection was received in has been retained.


U.S. Catholic Special Collections, 302 Roesch Library, University of Dayton

Related Material

The bulk of John Gilmary Shea's papers are held at the Georgetown University Library.

Guide to the John Gilmary Shea papers, 1683-1890, bulk 1853-1890
Colleen Mahoney
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University Libraries Repository

300 College Park Dr.
Dayton Ohio 45469-1360