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James F. Geary, SJ papers

Collection BC-2000-120: James F. Geary, SJ papers


  • Creation: 1926-1973, undated

Scope and Contents

These papers document the life and work of James F. Geary, SJ. Materials include correspondence, primarily from Geary to his sister Elizabeth; manuscript material; materials from Geary’s service as a World War II chaplain; notes, outlines and other course materials from his teaching; and personal materials including award certificates, photographs, and a scrapbook relating to the party marking Geary’s retirement from teaching.


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

James Francis Geary was born in South Boston on May 21, 1905 to Margaret (O’Brien) and Joseph T. Geary. He grew up with two brothers and two sisters. After enrollment in Nazareth Grammar and High School in South Boston, Geary attended Boston College High School, graduating in 1923. In 1925, he entered the Society of Jesus at the Shadowbrook Novitiate in Lenox, Massachusetts. Geary received his Bachelor of Arts in 1931 and his Master of Arts in 1932 from Boston College. He was ordained from Weston College in 1937 and received his licentiate in sacred theology in 1938.

Geary taught history at Holy Cross College from 1932-1934 and at Shadowbrook from 1939-1941. Then, he became a history professor at Boston College. He volunteered on April 30, 1944 to serve in World War II as a chaplain in the United States Army. He was assigned to duty in Camp Croft, South Carolina and to the 115th Station Hospital in Europe. Geary saw duty in England, France, Belgium, and Germany. He was honorably discharged on January 28, 1946 and obtained the rank of Captain.

After the war, Geary continued to teach history at Boston College and in 1950, became the School of Nursing's Regent. In 1954, he returned to Holy Cross College. In 1958, Geary was appointed Superior of the School of Saint Philip Neri for Delayed Vocations and remained at that position through the spring of 1964. He then continued teaching history at Boston College and also served as the Student Counselor to the School of Nursing. Geary retired from teaching in June, 1970 and became an assistant pastor in the St. Francis Xavier Chapel in Boston’s Prudential Center.

Geary died on September 8, 1980.


Boston College Faculty Collection, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

[Obituary] Boston Globe (Sept. 12, 1980): 69.

Sweeney, Fr. Francis, SJ. “Former SON Regent Geary Dies at 75.” The Heights (Sept. 15, 1980): 12.


4.5 Linear Feet (8 containers)

Language of Materials



The papers document the life and work of twentieth-century Boston College professor and military chaplain James F. Geary, SJ. Contains correspondence, teaching notes, military documents, certificates, and photographs.


The papers are arranged into six series: I. Booklists; II. Correspondence; III. Course materials; VI. Manuscripts; V. Military records; and VI. Personal materials.


Donations from the New England Province of the Society of Jesus through Paul Nelligan, SJ, in 2000 and 2002.

Processing Information

Material relating to Geary’s courses is largely undated and has not been organized by the archivist.

James F. Geary, SJ Papers
1926-1973, undated
Edward B. Copenhagen, December 2000; AnneMarie Anderson, March 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