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Inventory of Bernard J. Reid Collection
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Introduction

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Inventory of Bernard J. Reid Collection
    Record group: PP-Reid
    Accession Number: 978-001 & 983-078
    Creator: Reid, Bernard J.
    Extent: ca. 19 boxes
    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], Bernard J. Reid Collection, Santa Clara University. University Archives.


    Bernard J. Reid was born April 24, 1823 in Youngstown, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Meredith Reid and Eleanor Hanlon, Irish immigrants to this country. 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 surveying. The following year, he and his brother founded and published The Iron County Democrat, which later became The Clarion Democrat.
    In July, 1846, Reid traveled to St. Louis where he became Examiner of Surveys in the office of the U.S. Surveyor General.
    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. Leaving the mines, he went to San Francisco where he worked as a surveyor and typesetter. In San Francisco, in late 1850, Reid met Mr. Hawxhurst "My old friend and partner" who had just purchased property in Santa Clara Valley and who offered to take Reid in as a "partner in farming and trading" (letter of Reid to Hermana Mia- his sister Mary- 3/12/51).
    In 1851, Reid came to the newly established Santa Clara College where he became one of the school's first lay professors. He worked closely with Fr. Nobili and other faculty to help get the school established. He taught English and mathematics there until 1852.
    In 1852, Reid returned to Clarion by way of the Isthmus of Panama. In Clarion, he completed his legal studies and was admitted to the bar on December 3, 1853.
    In 1854, Reid married Letitia Farran, daughter of John and Letitia Farran. Together , they had nine children and enjoyed fifty-eight years of married life.
    Their children included Anna Josephine, who married and died as a result of complications in the birth of her first child; Ambrose, whose life is detailed below; Mary Agnes who became a nun at St. Joseph's convent of Mercy taking the name Sr. Mary Agnes; Charles Vincent who became a businessman; John James who died at the age of two; George M. Joseph who joined the priesthood; Letitia Eleanor who became a nun at St. Mary's Convent taking the name of Sr. Mary Alphonsa; Norbert Stanislaus who also became a businessman; and Genevieve Elizabeth who died at age twenty-six from a heart ailment.
    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.
    Reid died on November 15, 1904 in Pittsburgh as a result of an attack of pneumonia.
    The Bernard J. Reid Collection also contains the papers of Ambrose Reid, B.J. Reid's oldest son. Ambrose Reid was born on February 3, 1857 in Clarion. 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 1890, Ambrose moved to Pittsburgh where he became a legal partner with A.V.D. Watterson. 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 1896, Ambrose married Lucille Hopkins, daughter of Dr. Abram and Katherine Hopkins. With Lucy, he raised two sons, Meredith and Albert.
    In December 1933, Ambrose had 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 groups.
    Ambrose died in 1941 as a result of a long term illness.
    The Bernard J. Reid Collection is the result of the gift of Alfred D. Reid, great-grandson of Bernard J. Reid, to the University of Santa Clara Archives over the period 1978-1980. (SCU Accession #78-01)
    The Bernard J. Reid Collection is numbered as follows:
    • Body of the collection- PP-Reid
    • Oversized Materials- PP-Reid/Ricard; Map Drawers
    • Photographs- 24,969 and following
    • Full-size Newspapers- Map Drawer
    Deborah Ann Whipple

    Gigia Louise Bjorn

    28 May 1981
    Additional B.J. Reid materials were presented to the SCU Archives in 1983 (SCU Accession # 983-078). These include the original 1849 Diary, Reid's lecture on California, Joseph Ware's Map of the Route to California, and the Pioneer Line Passenger List. See addenda to the Collection, p. 65-67.
    Julia O'Keefe, University Archivist

    June 1985