Scope and Content of the Collection
Language of Material:
Archives & Special Collections, Santa Clara University Library
Title: Reid Family Papers
Reid, Bernard J. (Bernard
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.1986.9.11
Identifier/Call Number: 114
9.17 linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1827-1961 (bulk 1846-1916)
Abstract: The Reid Family Papers,1827-1961 (bulk
1846-1916), document the personal and professional lives of several members of the Reid
family. This collection includes material related to Bernard J. Reid's 1849 overland journey
to California from Missouri, including his personal diary from the trip. The records consist
of correspondence, business documents, poetry, journals, annotated books, photographs,
newspaper clippings, and maps. This collection is arranged into four series: Series I.
Bernard J. Reid Papers, 1840-1961 (bulk 1840-1904); Series II. Ambrose Reid Papers,
1871-1935 (bulk 1871-1916); Series III. Reid Family Diaries, Books and Miscellanea,
1843-1940 (bulk 1861-1918); and Series IV. Reid Family Photographs,1849-1902 (bulk
Physical Location: This collection is located in Santa
Clara University Library's Archives & Special Collections.
Language of Material: English
The collection is open for research. There are no restrictions.
Materials in Archives & Special Collections may be subject to copyright. All requests
for permission to publish from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the University
Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Archives & Special
Collections as the owner of the physical materials, and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained. Copyright restrictions also
apply to digital reproductions of the original materials.
Reid Family Papers, MSS.1986.9.11, Santa Clara University Library, Archives & Special
Collection processed by Michelle Runyon. Finding aid EAD encoded by Shannon Hartman.
Reviewed by Erin Louthen. Folder-level descriptive information added by Daniela Baez and Mia
Hope in 2018.
Bernard J. Reid was born April 24, 1823 in Youngstown, Pennsylvania, the son of Irish
immigrants. At the age of seventeen, B.J. Reid became the teacher of the district school at
Pleasant Unity, Pennsylvania. When he was nineteen, he moved to Clarion, Pennsylvania where
he taught school and did land surveying. The following year, he and his brother John C. Reid
founded and published
The Iron County Democrat, which later
The Clarion Democrat.
In 1849, Reid participated in the great migration to Gold Rush California. Upon his arrival
in California, after a difficult overland journey with the Pioneer Line, Reid worked as a
miner near Weber's Creek. In 1851, Reid arrived at the newly established Santa Clara College
where he became one of the school's first lay professors. He worked closely with Fr. Nobili,
the founder of Santa Clara College, and other faculty to assist with the school's
establishment. He taught English and mathematics there until 1852.
In 1852, Reid returned to Clarion, Pennsylvania by way of the Isthmus of Panama. In
Clarion, he completed his legal studies and was admitted to the bar on December 3, 1853.
Reid married Letitia Farran in 1854, daughter of John and Letitia Farran. Together, they had
nine children, including Ambrose, whose papers are also included in this collection. During
the Civil War, Reid served as Captain of Company F, 63rd Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Following the war, he resumed an active legal practice in Clarion.
Bernard J. Reid died on November 15, 1904 in Pittsburgh as a result of an attack of
Ambrose Reid was born on February 3, 1857 in Clarion, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the
University of Notre Dame and then began to study law under his father in 1875. In 1878,
Ambrose was admitted to the bar and became a member of his father's firm. In 1911, he ran
for and won the office of judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. He served
in this office for the remainder of his life. In December 1933, Ambrose was bestowed the
honor of becoming the fifth president judge of Allegheny County. Like his father, Ambrose
took an active interest in the community and was a member of several religious and civic
Ambrose Reid died in 1941 as a result of a long term illness.
Note: Most of the biographical information contained here comes from a legacy finding aid,
which we believe drew much of its information from the collection itself.
Santa Clara University was founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus as Santa Clara College
and is California's oldest operating institution of higher learning. It was established on
the grounds of Mission Santa Clara de Asìs, the eighth of the original 21 California
missions. The college originally operated as a preparatory school and did not offer courses
of collegiate rank until 1853. The institution became known as the University of Santa Clara
in 1912, when the schools of engineering and law were added. For 110 years, Santa Clara
University was an all-male school. In 1961, women were accepted as undergraduates and Santa
Clara University became the first coeducational Catholic university in California. The
number of students and faculty tripled over the next decade and the university began the
largest building program in school history with eight residence halls, a student union, and
an athletic stadium. In the early 1970s, the Board of Trustees voted to limit the size of
the undergraduate population, an action that was intended to preserve the character and
ensure the quality of the university for generations to come. In 1985, the university
adopted Santa Clara University as its official name.
Santa Clara University. "About SCU – History." www.scu.edu/about/history.cfm (Accessed Nov.
McKevitt, Gerald, S.J.
The University of Santa Clara: A History,
Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1979.
This collection is arranged into four series: Series I. Bernard J. Reid Papers, 1840-1961
(bulk 1840-1904); Series II. Ambrose Reid Papers, 1871-1935 (bulk 1871-1916); Series III.
Reid Family Diaries, Books and Miscellanea, 1843-1940 (bulk 1861-1918); and Series IV. Reid
Family Photographs,1849-1902 (bulk 1860-1880).
Scope and Content of the Collection
The Reid Family Papers, 1827-1961 (bulk 1846-1916), document the personal and professional
lives of several members of the Reid family. This collection includes material related to
Bernard J. Reid's 1849 overland journey to California from Missouri, including his personal
diary from the trip. The records predominantly consist of the personal papers of Bernard J.
Reid and his son Ambrose Reid. Bernard J. Reid was the first lay faculty member at Santa
Clara College, now called Santa Clara University, and a successful lawyer in Clarion,
Pennsylvania. Ambrose Reid was also a successful lawyer and judge of Allegheny County,
Overland to California with the Pioneer Line: The Gold Rush Diary of Bernard J.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Santa Clara University -- History
Education, Higher -- California -- San Jose
Pioneers -- California -- Biography
Santa Clara College (Calif.)
University of Santa Clara (Calif.)
Santa Clara University (Calif.)