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Richard G. Shea, SJ papers

Collection BC-2005-005: Richard G. Shea, SJ papers


  • Creation: 1928-1984, undated
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1943 - 1959

Scope and Contents

The papers document Richard G. Shea's career as a military chaplain and a professor of literature and theology at Boston College. Military materials include correspondence, Shea's service records, instructional and training materials, publications, and orders given by the War Department. Boston College materials include theology teaching materials and memoranda to department chairs. The collection also contains personal materials, including newspaper articles, photographs, and correspondence with Shea's sister, Martha.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical Note

Richard G. Shea was born on September 28, 1902, to John F. Shea and Mary A. O'Sullivan in Springfield, Massachusetts. He had two siblings, a brother Lawrence and a sister Martha.

He joined the Society of Jesus at the novitiate at St. Andrew-on-the-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1922 and was ordained in 1934. In 1927, Shea earned a BA degree in philosophy from Boston College, and a year later he earned his MA in philosophy. In 1931, Shea entered Weston College, where he obtained his licentiate in sacred theology (STL) in 1935.

Shea taught at Boston College in the Literature Department from 1929 until he enrolled at Weston College in 1931. Shea returned to teaching literature at Boston College from 1937 until 1943. He also counseled students and served as moderator of the Fulton Debating Society from 1940 to 1943.

Shea enlisted as a chaplain with the United States Army in 1943, first taking a four week Chaplain’s School course at Harvard University in preparation. Throughout World War II, Shea served at military bases in Hampton Roads and Patrick Henry, Virginia; Blanding, Florida; Reynolds, Pennsylvania; and the 9th Air Force Service Command, serving until 1946.

After World War II, Shea taught again at Boston College in the Classics and Theology Departments from 1946-1951 and 1956-1958. (He continued in his role as a military chaplain with the United States Air Force from 1949 to 1962, and was again on active duty from 1951 through 1956.) Shea was appointed University chaplain in 1958, a position he served in until 1969. During his career at Boston College, Shea also taught classes in Latin, English, and composition.

Shea died in 1984, at the age of 82.


"Richard Shea, SJ, University chaplain in '60s, dead at 82." Boston College Biweekly. Vol. 4, No. 15, April 5, 1984.


3 Linear Feet (5 containers)

Language of Materials



These papers consist of the correspondence, military records, teaching materials, and personal materials of twentieth-century military chaplain and Boston College professor Richard G. Shea, SJ.


Arranged in three series: I. Boston College, II. Military, and III. Personal.


Because the current accessioning system was not used until January 1986, it is not possible to know exactly the dates of acquisition of materials received before that time. Additional materials were received from the Archives of the Society of Jesus of New England in 2000.

Richard G. Shea, SJ Papers
1928-1984, undated (bulk 1943-1959)
Sarah K. Nytroe, 2005; revised by AnneMarie Anderson, 2010; Ray Hartley and Rachael Young
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States