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Inventory of Papers of Arthur Dunning Spearman, S.J., 1899-1977
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Essay
  • Scope and Content Notes

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Inventory of Papers of Arthur Dunning Spearman, S.J.,
    Date (inclusive): 1899-1977
    Creator: Spearman, Arthur D.
    Repository: Santa Clara University Archives
    Santa Clara, CA 95053
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    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.

    Publications Rights

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

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Papers of Arthur Dunning Spearman, S.J., Santa Clara University. University Archives.

    Biographical Essay

    by Mary Shipsey
    Arthur Dunning Spearman was born August 26, 1899 at Wheaton, Illinois. His father, Frank Hamilton Spearman, was a well-known author of Western novels and short stories. He was the sixth child of Frank and Euginie Amelia Lonergan Spearman. The six children listed in his genealogical table are Thomas Clark, Thomas Lonergan, Eugene, Elaine, Frank Hamilton and Arthur Dunning. Of these only four are pictured or mentioned in his papers; Thomas Lonergan and Elaine do not appear.
    The Spearmans moved from Wheaton to Hollywood, California in 1905 after Frank Hamilton Spearman's best-selling novel, Whispering Smith, was purchased by early filmmakers to make a movie. In 1906 the family spent a year in Rome and Florence. An audience with the Pope made a deep impression on ADS (see his autobiographical notes, folder 27). The family spent summers on Nantucket, perhaps also visiting relatives in Maryland.
    Spearman's education began at parochial schools in Rome, Evanstown and Chicago (Loyola). He attended Saint Vincent's Preparatory School in Los Angeles, before entering the Society of Jesus at the University of Santa Clara in 1918. ADS spent two years as a scholastic at Santa Clara before continuing his studies at Gonzaga. In 1921, constant insomnia and headaches forced a break from his studies at Gonzaga. He was sent home to live with his parents for a year. Subsequently Spearman was stationed at St. Ignatius Mission, Montana. There he began to write stories, which were related to him by the old missionaries, and these stories were published regularly in the Western Jesuit.His interest in Indians increased.
    ADS returned to Gonzaga and completed his BA in Theology in 1926 and his MA in English in 1927. In 1927-28 he taught high school English and history as a scholastic at Gonzaga. Spearman began studies for the Sacred Theology Licentiate (STL) in 1928 at Weston College in Weston, Illinois. The rector at Weston thought he was "too meticulous" to be ordained; ADS was transferred to St. Louis and ordained a week later on June 25, 1931. He was awarded the STL at St. Louis University in l932.
    After ordination ADS suffered a physical breakdown from which he never fully recovered. He attributed this to the "over-intensity and mild friction" of 13 years of novitiate and difficult study. It is unclear how long this illness lasted, or where he was when it overtook him. ADS returned to Santa Clara in 1933-34 as a teacher of English and religion, before moving to Los Angeles as director of the Loyola library from 1935 to 1947. He was transferred to San Diego in 1947 to work in Spanish-speaking and African American parishes. During the 1949 to 1954 period he began his research in the history of early Maryland and Delaware, and he compiled a four-volume family history.
    In 1954 Spearman moved to Loyola University in Los Angeles and began his research on the early Mission Santa Clara and Santa Clara College. He returned to Santa Clara in 1957 as the university archivist, and he continued his historical research. From 1957 to 1971 ADS also served as chaplain of the Santa Clara Carmelite nuns and of the Catholic Daughters. He was chairman of the Historical Landmarks Commission from 1960 to 1964, and was curator of Mission exhibits at the DeSaisset Museum from 1960 to 1971.
    Spearman was a prolific writer, producing books, essays and articles on the history of Mission Santa Clara and Santa Clara College, family history, religion, and Indians. His first major book was The Five Franciscan Churches of Mission Santa Clara, 1777-1825, published in 1963; in 1967 he published a biography titled John Joseph Montgomery, Father of Basic Flying. The guide to the Spearman collection includes a complete bibliography of his writing.
    ADS suffered a stroke in 1971, which sharply curtailed his involvement in local history and research, although he continued as archivist. Spearman died at Santa Clara on April 9, 1977.

    Scope and Content Notes

    The Spearman papers consist of notes, correspondence, manuscripts, books, photos, albums, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, videotapes and audiotapes. The collection is divided into eight primary subject areas: biographical materials; family materials; subject files dealing with mission, local and California history; Spearman's writings about the mission and the University; his research on Jesuits and other religious; ADS' research and writing about John J. Montgomery; his miscellaneous writings on religious and patriotic themes; and his correspondence.
    A detailed item index of the collection, on 4x6 cards, forms box #8 of the collection. Boxes 1 to 5 contain the bulk of the collection, 203 files of correspondence, research and manuscripts. The files are numbered consecutively, and are referred to in this guide by file number. Boxes 6 and 7 contain memorabilia and book production materials, and are referred to by box number. The collection also includes an additional eight boxes of photos, each photo numbered consecutively, and the photos are referenced here by these numbers. Other items, such as books, bound manuscripts, oversize materials, and tapes, are indicated here by the appropriate form number.