Skip to main content

William Van Etten Casey, SJ papers

Collection BC-1991-035: William Van Etten Casey, SJ papers


  • Creation: 1943 - 1992

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the work and life of twentieth-century Jesuit author, scholar, and faculty member at Boston College, William Van Etten Casey, SJ. The papers primarily document his academic work and include materials on Gerard Manley Hopkins, correspondence from his time as the director of the American School of Oriental Research, and materials on Fathers Daniel and Philip Berrigan. The papers include manuscripts, research materials, correspondence, clippings, photographs, journals, personal memorabilia, and artifacts.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research. One folder containing student works is closed.

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

William Van Etten Casey, SJ was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 7, 1914. A 1931 graduate of Boston Latin High School, Casey entered the Society of Jesus after his freshman year at Boston College. He earned graduate degrees in philosophy, English, and theology and was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1944.

Casey was appointed to the Boston College theology faculty in 1946. As chair of the department during the early 1950s, he organized the first summer institute for biblical and theological studies at a U.S. Catholic college. In 1956 he became dean of the Boston College School of Arts and Sciences and, in 1958, the first academic vice president.

During the 1960s, Casey was Professor of Theology at the College of the Holy Cross, where he obtained an imprimatur from Cardinal Cushing for a Protestant edition of the Bible, the Revised Standard Version Annotated. The imprimatur allowed English-speaking Catholics and Protestants to read the same text of the Bible for the first time since the Reformation.

Casey took a sabbatical from teaching during the 1967-1968 academic year to become the first Catholic priest to act as director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem. In 1969, he became editor of the Holy Cross Quarterly and won the Newsweek prize for the best coverage of public affairs by a college periodical in 1971. Casey retired in 1979.

In 1987 Casey wrote Immortal Diamond, a one-act play about the nineteenth-century Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins. Immortal Diamond was produced in 1989 at several colleges and churches around the country and published in 1990 by Loyola Press.

Casey died on June 13, 1990 at age 75.


The Berrigans, ed. by W.V.E. Casey, New York: Avon Paperbacks, 1971.

"Brideshead Revisited, Revisited." Boston Globe, March 24, 1982.

"College Theology." Proceedings, National Jesuit Institute on College Religion, August 1951. Published by Jesuit Education Association, New York, 1952.

"Dan and Phil & Edgar and John . . "New York Times, March 19, 1971.

GMH: A Jesuit in Poet’s Corner, Chicago: Loyola Press, 1990.

"One Palestine, Complete." Holy Cross Quarterly, Summer 1972.

"Our Lady’s Poet." America, issue 68, October 17, 1942.

"The Poet Who Would Not Die" Boston College Magazine, March 1987.

"Symbol of a Nation." Extension, Issue 38, April 1944.


11 Linear Feet (16 containers)

Language of Materials



Papers documenting the work and life of William Van Etten Casey, SJ, a twentieth-century Jesuit author, academic, and faculty member at Boston College. Materials include correspondence, clippings, photographs, manuscript and printed materials, artifacts, and personal materials.


Organized into five series: I. Academic materials, II. American School of Oriental Research, III. Gerard Manley Hopkins, IV. Personal materials, and V. Writings.


Gift of William Van Etten Casey (1990), and transfer from the Boston College Office of the University Historian (1991).

William Van Etten Casey, SJ, Papers
1943-1992, undated
Mary Mulkerrin and Kelli Armstrong; revised by 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