Scope and Content Notes
Title: Inventory of Papers of Arthur Dunning Spearman, S.J.,
Date (inclusive): 1899-1977
Spearman, Arthur D.
Santa Clara University Archives
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.
Permission to copy or publish any portion of the Archives' materials must be given by the
[Identification of item], Papers of Arthur Dunning Spearman, S.J., Santa Clara
University. University Archives.
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
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,
published in 1963; in 1967 he published a biography titled
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
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.