Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Jerome S. Ricard, S.J., Papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (78.99 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Jerome S. Ricard, S.J., Papers
    Dates: 1864-1951
    Bulk Dates: 1906-1930
    Accession number: PP-Ricard
    Creator: Ricard, Jerome S.
    Collection Size: 3 linear feet
    Repository: Santa Clara University Archives
    Santa Clara, CA 95053
    Abstract: The Jerome S. Ricard, S.J., Papers consist of biographical materials, publications, research papers, and correspondence relating to Ricard's work as SCU faculty member, astronomer, meteorologist and seismologist.
    Physical location: Stored in the Santa Clara Unviersity Archives.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Santa Clara University permits public access to its archives within the context of respect for individual privacy, administrative confidentiality, and the integrity of the records. It reserves the right to close all or any portion of its records to researchers.
    The archival files of any office may be opened to a qualified researcher by the administrator of that office or his/her designee at any time.
    Archival collections may be used by researchers only in the Reading Room of the University Archives and may be photocopied only at the discretion of the archivist.

    Publication Rights

    Permission to copy or publish any portion of the Archives' materials must be given by the Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Jerome S. Ricard, S.J., Papers, Santa Clara University. University Archives.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Jerome Sixtus Ricard was born in Plaisans, France on January 21, 1850, the only one of Leger and Mary Ann Ricard's seven children to leave his native land for America. After attending public schools in Plaisans and the Jesuit Colleges at Avignon, France, and Turin, Italy, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1871 in Monaco and became a member of the Turin Province of the Society of Jesus.
    Ricard came to America in 1873 and studied philosophy for several years at Santa Clara College. From 1877-1880 he taught grammar and mathematics at Santa Clara, then at St. Ignatius College in San Francisco. From 1883-1887 he completed his theological studies at Woodstock, Maryland, and was ordained in 1886. Upon completion of his Jesuit tertianship at Florissant, Missouri, in 1891, he returned to Santa Clara to teach ethics, mathematics, political economy, and history.
    Ricard first became interested in astronomy about 1890 when he enrolled in a summer astronomy course at Creighton University. Around 1900 he began a systematic study of sunspots with an 8-inch telescope mounted in the Mission Gardens. He was elected a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1907, and thereupon brought forth his theory that terrestrial weather phenomena are affected by sunspot activity.
    Although most of the scientific world scoffed at his proposals, Ricard quietly held his ground. He left the classroom and began a meteorological career that expanded from ten-day forecasts to monthly and even seasonal predictions. These forecasts appeared in The Santa Clara and in newspapers throughout the West Coast and other parts of the United States. A conglomeration of agriculturists, athletic directors, and motion picture companies were regular subscribers to his monthly magazine, The Sunspot, and would base their activities on his forecasts.
    Ricard came to be well-known in his time because of the practical application of his scientific studies to people's everyday needs, and was affectionately called "Padre of the Rains."
    To aid him in his meteorological work, the Ricard Observatory was constructed between 1924 and 1928 through a fund drive organized by the Knights of Columbus and others who relied on his observations and forecasts. An underground concrete room was built just to the north of the observatory to house two seismographs, accommodating another of Ricard's scientific interests, seismology, which he began to pursue after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Through his efforts, Santa Clara University became an official Seismological Station and a member of the Jesuit Seismological Association.
    Ricard died on 1930 at Santa Clara.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Ricard papers consist of biographical information and personal papers and objects; Ricard's publications; his reference collection and scientific research papers (e.g., notes, calculations, charts, diagrams); and correspondence. One portion of his correspondence (1924-1928) deals with the construction of Ricard Observatory on the SCU campus.
    Photographs of Ricard and his work are in the Portrait Collection and the SCU Collection respectively, in the Santa Clara University Archives.
    References to Ricard can also be found in the Santa Clara University Archives in the papers of C.J. McCoy, S.J.; Z.J. Macer, S.J.; The Redwood 1929, 1931; Santa Clara University newspaper clipping scrapbooks; the Albert Newlin papers; the John Weber papers; and records of the Ricard Observatory.
    See "A History of the University of Santa Clara Seismological Station" by E. Shipsey, S.J. for information on Ricard's seismological work. The surviving seismograms are preserved in the Ricard Observatory Collection in the SCU Archives.
    Correspondence between Ricard and Lick Observatory staff (esp. Campbell) is available at U.C. Santa Cruz Shane Archives of Lick Observatory. (as of 3/31/89, Jokeefe)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Santa Clara University (Calif.)
    Ricard, Jerome S. (1850-1930)
    Ricard Observatory