Scope and Content
Title: Inventory of George M.A. Schoener Collection
Record group: PP-Schoener
Schoener, George M.A.
Extent: ca. 4 boxes
Santa Clara University Archives
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[Identification of item], George M.A. Schoener Collection, Santa Clara University. University Archives.
Father George M. A. Schoener, the "Padre of the Roses", was born in 1864 near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1870, he and his
family returned to their native country, Switzerland, in order to provide their son with a good education. At the age of sixteen,
he was sent to Maria Einsiedeln, a Benedictine monastary where he studied art and architecture. However, instead of pursuing
a career as an artist, he entered the priesthood and returned to America. In 1889, he became the parish priest for St. Cecilia's
in Rochester, Pennsylvania where he directed the building of a new church. His work on the building project took a toll on
his health. As a result of his poor health, he left St. Cecilia's and became a parish priest in Brooks, Oregon.
Schoener first became interested in roses while he at Brooks and began to breed them in his garden. In a few years he was
well known for his new breeds of roses and fruit trees. Then, after a fire in 1915 that burned his parish and gardens, Schoener
went to Portland, Oregon, to work in McKenna Park. Soon after, his reputation in research got him an invitation to continue
his experiments in Santa Barbara, California, where he worked for twenty years. It was here where he earned his title as the
"Padre of the Roses," a title known throughout the United States. Some roses he bred were over twenty feet tall; another was
almost black; and one had petals with two colors, yellow on top and red underneath. He also experimented with different fruits.
A rose-apple, a raspberry with vanilla flavor, and an apple with the flavor and color of an orange are but some of his hybrids.
In 1938, Schoener left his gardens in Santa Barbara because he could not raise enough money to support his work. At the age
of seventy-three, Schoener accepted an invitation to work at the University of Santa Clara. He wanted all of his roses brought
to Santa Clara so that he could continue his research. By this time he had over 5000 different varieties of roses. However,
most of them were never planted because Schoener was unable to direct the work himself. He had many complaints against the
administration and was never satisfied with his treatment at the university. He became ill and died on February 10, 1941 of
a heart ailment.
Scope and Content
The Schoener Collection contains correspondence, poems both in German and English, and articles on rose breeding and horticulture.
There also exist approximately thirty notebooks containing rough drafts of articles and personal thoughts. Included in the
papers is Schoener's manual on Church doctrine, which was never published. He ordered the remainder of his papers to be burned
after his death. The Collection also includes a biography of Schoener by B. Russel based on Schoener's recollections. His
photographs can be found in the Schoener Photo Collection (#27,001-#27, 005). Other Schoener papers are available at the Huntington