John Dawson Gilmary Shea

New Catholic Dictionary illustration of John Dawson Gilmary SheaProfile

Writer, editor, and historian of both American history in general and American Catholic history specifically. Son of James Shea, an Irish immigrant and school principal, and Mary Ann (Flannigan) Shea. He spent several years in the Jesuit novitiate and studied at Saint John’s College (modern Fordham University) then left the order and devoted himself to the study of early Indian missions and published the History of the Catholic Missions among the Indian Tribes of the United States, 1529-1854. Married to Sophie Savage in 1854. He contributed articles on Indians to the Encyclopedia Britannica, was literary editor of Frank Leslie’s publications, and in 1888 became editor of Catholic News. His great work is the History of the Catholic Church in the United States. He also wrote The Life of Pius X and The Heirarchy of the Catholic Church in the United States. Winner of the first Laetare Medal. The John Gilmary Shea Papers, a collection of correspondence, manuscripts, and research materials, are preserved in the Georgetown University Library (Special Collections Division).



MLA Citation

  • “John Dawson Gilmary Shea”. People of the Faith. CatholicSaints.Info. 2010. Web. 19 September 2020. <>