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Philip Caraman, SJ papers

Collection MS-1998-030: Philip Caraman, SJ papers


  • Creation: 1944 - 1998

Scope and Contents

Philip Caraman, SJ Papers contain correspondence; manuscripts and typescripts of novels, essays, articles, sermons and book reviews; genealogical information; clippings; photographs; and research materials, reflecting the pastoral, professional and personal life of Philip Caraman, SJ.

Notable correspondents represented in the papers include John W. Gran, of Oslo, Norway; Francis Sweeney, SJ of Boston College; and authors John Betjeman, Peter Levi, André Malraux, Norman Sherry, and Muriel Spark. The papers also include correspondence, photographs, and other materials documenting Caraman's relationships with his mentor Martin Cyril D'Arcy, SJ, Catherine Walston, Graham Greene, Edith Sitwell, and Evelyn Waugh.

Of significance among the manuscripts and typescripts are articles composed by Caraman for the 1985 Jesuit Encyclopedia and Caraman's published and unpublished books: Henry Morse, Priest of the Plague (1956-1958), The Recusants (unpublished circa 1964-1966), Norway (1967), The Lost Paradise (1975), Sweden (unpublished, 1976), The Lost Empire (1985), The Jesuits in Australia (1987), and Ignatius Loyola (1990-1991).


Language of Materials

English and French

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

Philip Caraman was born in 1911 in London, England, to René André Caraman and Betina Pasqua. Both parents were Catholics and instilled strong religious beliefs in their nine children; their sons, Philip and John, became priests and two of their daughters became nuns. Philip and John attended Stonyhurst College, a Jesuit institution in Lancashire. Philip joined the Society of Jesus in 1930.

Caraman continued his religious training at Oxford under mentor Martin D'Arcy, SJ. With D'Arcy's guidance, Caraman made connections with influential Catholics, including Laura and Evelyn Waugh. Caraman was ordained a priest in Mayfair in 1945. After his ordination, he became editor of the Jesuit periodical The Month. With the help of writers such as Waugh and Graham Greene, Caraman was able to shift the fledging periodical to a prominent magazine.

Caraman published John Gerard: The Autobiography of an Elizabethan (1951), the first of his translations from Latin of Catholic autobiographies, followed by William Weston: An Autobiography from the Jesuit Underground (1955). Caraman continued to write about historically influential Catholics, publishing: Henry Morse: Priest of the Plague (1957), a biography; The Other Face: Catholic Life under Elizabeth I (1960), chronicling Elizabethan Catholic life; Henry Garnet and the Gunpowder Plot (1961), detailing Garnet's involvement in the plot against King James and his subsequent imprisonment and execution, and C. C. Martindale: A Biography (1967). During the 1950s, Caraman was also involved in the conversion of several influential British literary figures to Catholicism, including Muriel Spark and Edith Sitwell.

Following the ordination of John W. Gran as the first Norwegian-born bishop of Oslo in the early 1960s, Caraman became the chaplain to the English-speaking population there. While there, Caraman completed The Years of Siege, a continuation of the story of Catholics in England. Caraman traveled between Londonand Scandinavia in the 1960s, inspiring his guides Norway (1969) and Sweden (unpublished). In the early 1970s, Caraman went to Africa with his brother John and also visited South America. He subsequently published The Lost Paradise: the Jesuit Republic in South America (1975) and The Lost Empire: the Story of Jesuits in Ethiopia (1985).

Caraman returned to Oslo for a three-year appointment at St. Olav's in Tønsberg, Norway in 1976, then returned to England at age 70.

After this, Caraman made frequent trips to Rome, contributed to the Encyclopedia of the Jesuits, and worked at small parishes. Caraman published: Ignatius Loyola: a Biography of the Founder of the Jesuits (1990); The Western Rising (1994), an account of sixteenth-century Catholic uprisings; and Meditations for To-morrow, (1998) published posthumously.

Philip Caraman, SJ, died on May 6, 1998, at the age of 86.


Rockett, June. A Gentle Jesuit: Philip Caraman, SJ (1911-1998). Herefordshire, England: Gracewing, 2004.


3.75 Linear Feet (10 containers)


Correspondence, photographs, clippings, and writings comprise the papers of British Jesuit Philip Caraman. The bulk of the collection is his personal and professional correspondence with other Jesuits, authors, and poets. Among the correspondents are: John Betjeman; Martin Cyril D'Arcy, SJ; John W. Gran; Graham Greene; Peter Levi; André Malraux; Norman Sherry; Edith Sitwell; Muriel Spark; Francis Sweeney, SJ; Catherine Walston; and Evelyn Waugh. Some of the writers are further represented by photographs and clippings. The papers also include manuscripts and typescripts of Caraman's novels, essays, articles, sermons and book reviews, and other writings.


The collection is arranged into eight series. I. Correspondence; II. Articles; III. Sermons; IV. Reviews; V. Genealogical information; VI. Books; VII. Research materials; and VIII. Personal documents.


Materials were acquired from multiple sources including Philip Caraman, SJ in 1986; The Society of Jesus, British Province in 1998 and 2010; and Francis Sweeney, SJ in 2002.

Related Materials

Edith Sitwell collection, MS.1986.079, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Grahame Greene papers, MS.1995.003, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Martin Cyril D'Arcy, SJ collection, MS.1986.190, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Processing Information

Some of these materials were previously described separately. The materials from the former Caraman-Betjeman, D'Arcy, and Malraux collection (MS.1986.178); Caraman-Greene/Walston papers (MS.1986.149); Caraman-Edith Sitwell papers (MS.1986.147); and Caraman-Waugh papers (MS.1986.148) have been fully reincorporated into the correspondence series of this collection.

Most of Caraman's correpondence from Edith Sitwell is the original manuscript, but it also includes a few photocopies, presumably for letters where Caraman kept the original. Since these copies filled gaps in the correspondence, they have been intefiled.

Philip Caraman, SJ Papers
Dana Lawton (October 2005); Dana Lawton and Valerie Manos (Fall 2005); AnneMarie Anderson (Spring 2010): 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