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Inventory of Presidents' Papers, Papers of John Nobili, S.J., 1851-1856
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The Nobili Papers contain virtually all the documents of the early days of Santa Clara College. Included are financial records, legal papers (particularly dealing with securing the former Mission land from various claimants), and correspondence with Church and State officials, parents, and merchants. Of special interest are documents related to the Orchard Trial, in which Nobili and Bishop Alemany seek to establish claim to land formerly held by Mission Santa Clara. In addition to Santa Clara College documents, there are papers related to St. Joseph's Church (San Jose), Mission Dolores (San Francisco) property, and Mission San Jose.
Giovanni [John] Nobili was born in Rome on April 8, 1812. After entering the Jesuits in 1828 at the age of 16, he began his preliminary studies at the Roman College where he was reported to be an excellent student. As a scholastic, he taught at the colleges of Loretto and Fermo and published several works in physics and mathematics. He began his theological studies in 1840 and was ordained in 1843. A year later he accompanied Father Peter De Smet to the Indian missions of Oregon. After a year of strenuous ministry near Port Vancouver, Nobili, at age thirty-three, was assigned to a new mission in New Caledonia in Western Canada, what is today British Columbia. There he stayed for three difficult years, ministering to the traders and trappers of the Hudson's Bay Company and to the Indian tribes inhabiting the wilderness surrounding the mission.
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