Fr. James P. Shannon Presidential Records, 1939-1969 | University of St. Thomas Archives & Manuscript Collections

Collection Overview

Title: Fr. James P. Shannon Presidential Records, 1939-1969Add to your cart.

ID: RS2/12/02

Primary Creator: Shannon, James P. (1921-2003)

Other Creators: College of St. Thomas (Saint Paul, Minn.). President's Office

Extent: 11.25 Cubic Feet

Subjects: College of St. Thomas (Saint Paul, Minn.). President's Office, Shannon, James P., 1921-2003

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection contains correspondence and subject files primarily from the years James Shannon was president of the College of Saint Thomas (1956-1966).  The records document both the operation of the College of St. Thomas and St. Thomas Academy as well Shannon’s interaction with regional and national educational organizations.

Collection Historical Note

James P. Shannon was born on February 16, 1921 in South St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended St. Thomas Military Academy, graduating 1938.  Completing his college coursework in just three years, Shannon received a bachelor’s degree in classics from the College of St. Thomas in 1941.

Shannon attended Saint Paul Seminary and was ordained into the priesthood on June 8, 1946. His first assignment was as assistant pastor to Cathedral parish in St. Paul.  In 1948, he was appointed Associate Professor of Greek and English at Nazareth Hall Preparatory Seminary where he taught until 1950.  Shannon received a master's degree in English from the University of Minnesota in 1951 and completed a Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale University in 1955. His dissertation, Catholic Colonization on the Western Frontier, was published by Yale University Press in 1957.

Shannon was appointed Assistant Professor of History at the College of St. Thomas in 1954.  Only two years later, the college’s Board of Trustees named him President of the College of St. Thomas and St. Thomas Military Academy.  During his tenure as president, the college grew physically, with the construction of a new library, a student union and a residence hall.  The “Program for Great Teaching” development campaign allowed the school to increase its endowment as well as improve its academic programs and reputation. He served as president of St. Thomas Academy until 1965, when the academy moved from the College of St. Thomas campus to a site in Mendota Heights.

Shannon was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul in 1965. The press of duties from this position compelled him to resign as president of St. Thomas in 1966. He then was named pastor of the Church of St. Helena in Minneapolis where he served until November 1968.

From 1956 - 1968, Shannon participated in many religious and educational organizations including the National Catholic Educational Association, the Association of American Colleges and the Minnesota Private College Council.  Shannon was a very visible member of the clergy, speaking out against the war in Vietnam and appearing with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, AL.  He was also a delegate from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to the Second Vatican Council.

Shannon took a leave of absence from his position as bishop in 1968, accepting a position on the faculty of St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM.  Shannon resigned from his bishopric in late 1968. He was offered the position as Vice President at St. John’s College and continued in the position until 1970 when it evolved into the position of Provost.  He entered the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1970, graduated in 1973, and practiced law in Santa Fe until 1974.

Shannon married Ruth Wilkinson in August 1969, which resulted in his excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church.  A new code of Canon Law, enacted in 1983, abolished this penalty and allowed him to remain a Roman Catholic while "suspending" him from his apostolic role as a priest.

Shannon became Executive Director of the Minneapolis Foundation in 1974, remaining with this organization until 1978.  In 1980 Shannon accepted a position as Associate Director of the General Mills Foundation and was quickly promoted to Vice-President and Executive Director of the Foundation, a position he held until 1988.

James Patrick Shannon passed away August 28, 2003 in Wayzata, MN.

Subject/Index Terms

College of St. Thomas (Saint Paul, Minn.). President's Office
Shannon, James P., 1921-2003

Administrative Information

Repository: University of St. Thomas Archives & Manuscript Collections

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on the use of the collection for research purposes.

Use Restrictions: The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property and libel laws as they apply.

Acquisition Method: The bulk of the materials in the collection were transferred to the University Archives from the Office of the President in 1977.  Additions to the collection were given by James Shannon's estate in September 2003.

Related Materials: James P. Shannon Papers, Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information please see http://www.mnhs.org/library/findaids/00085.html.

Related Publications:

Shannon, James, Catholic Colonization on the Western Frontier, Yale University Press, 1957.

Shannon, James, Reluctant Dissenter, Crossroad Publishing Company, New York: 1998.

Preferred Citation: Fr. James P. Shannon Presidential Records.  RS02/12/02. University of St. Thomas Archives, Saint Paul, Minn.

Processing Information: The collection was processed in April 2001 by Ian Stade. Additions to the collection were added in November 2003 and September 2004.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series I: Speeches and Writings],
[Series II: College of St. Thomas],
[Series III: External Affairs],
[Series IV: Personal Materials],
[Series V: Memoribilia],
[All]

Series I: Speeches and WritingsAdd to your cart.
Box/Folder 1/1: Interview by Al Smeby, 1941Add to your cart.
Box/Folder 1/2: Speeches and Writings, nd., 1953 – 1969Add to your cart.

-    Archbishop Ireland’s Experiences as a Civil War Chaplain, Catholic Historical Review, Vol 39, No. 3, Oct 1953.

-    Inaugural Address, May 8, 1957

-    Our Neglected Heritage, Villa Madonna College, June 3, 1957

-    The Irish Catholic Immigration, Roman Catholicism and the American Way of Life, University of Notre Dame Press, 1960

-    Apostolate of Excellence, National Catholic Education Association, April 22, 1960

-    Minnesota, the Civil War, and the Sioux Uprising, Minnesota Legislature, March 2, 1961

-    Opening Convocation, September 20, 1961

-    Over the Counter, The Business History Review, Vol 35, No. 3, Autumn 1961

-    Pink Professors and Blue Businessmen, St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, May 9, 1962

-    Pink Professors and Blue Businessmen, Alumni News, June 1962

-    Vatican II Council, Holy Name Rally, September 30, 1962

-    Meeting Modern Man, Mass for Shut-Ins, March 10, 1963

-    The Tradition of Respectful Argument, reprint from Aquin, March1963

-    This New Generation, America, October 5, 1963

-    Sermon at Requiem Mass for President John F. Kennedy, Cathedral of St. Paul, November 25, 1963

-    Tradition of Respectful Argument, The Benet, December 1963

-    On Academic Freedom, Aquin, April 10, 1964

-    A College President Speaks His Mind, College of St. Thomas, 1965

-    Pastors of the Church: The Authority of Service, Liturgical Conference, August 1965

-    On Schema 13, October 4, 1965 (for St. Paul Dispatch)

-    Report from Rome, November 17, 1965 (for St. Paul Dispatch)

-    The Challenge of the Creative Teacher, Education Age, Jan/Feb 1966

-    Catholic Magazine Publishing as I See It, Catholic Press Association, May 12, 1966

-    The Farewell of a College President, St. Thomas Bulletin,  July 1966

-    American Catholics and Vietnam, Commonweal, Vol 89, No. 21, February 28, 1969

-    The Church and Change, The Priest, June 1969

-    The Case for the Liberal Arts College, nd.

-    The Catholic College in the Age of Renewal, nd.

-    Changes Challenges, Controversy, and Colleges, nd.

-    Ferment and Freedom on the Campus, nd.

-    Liberal Arts Education for a Twentieth Century Aristocracy,  Macalester College, nd.

-    The President’s Corner, nd

-    Scholars and Vatican II, nd (for Our Sunday Visitor)

Box/Folder 1/3: Student Convocations, 1960-1964Add to your cart.
Box/Folder 7/1: "The Pilgrim Church" columns published in The Catholic Bulletin, nd, 1967 – 1968Add to your cart.
Box/Folder 7/2a: "The Pilgrim Church" columns published in Our Sunday Visitor, 1967 – 1969Add to your cart.
Box/Folder 7/2b: “The Pilgrim Church” original columns, Our Sunday Visitor, 1967 - 1969Add to your cart.
Box/Folder 7/3: Correspondence re: columns, 1967 – 1968Add to your cart.
Box/Folder 7/4: Responses to Our Sunday Visitor columns, 1967 - 1968Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Speeches and Writings],
[Series II: College of St. Thomas],
[Series III: External Affairs],
[Series IV: Personal Materials],
[Series V: Memoribilia],
[All]
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