Special Collections

The Saint John’s University Archives includes six manuscript collections of substance:

Jon Hassler Papers
Edward L. Henry Archives
Paul Marx, OSB Papers
Kilian McDonnell, OSB Papers
Bela Petheo Papers
Robert Spaeth Papers

Jon Hassler Papers, 1985-1997

(1933-2008) Jon Hassler, Regents Professor Emeritus of Fiction, graduated from SJU in 1955 and was appointed writer-in-residence in 1980 until his retirement in 1997. He was a nationally respected author of novels, plays and nonfiction. (See also Jon Hassler: Distinguished author and educator, which includes photos, Jon’s paintings, memorials, and other links.) The collection, which spans the years 1985-1997, includes drafts, galley proofs, and miscellanea of and related to Hassler’s novels, plays, screenplays, and other works, some with handwritten revisions. The following Hassler titles are represented, at least in part, in the Archives:

Simon’s Night
A Green Journey
Book of Brendan
Grand Opening
North of Hope
Dear James
Rookery Blues
The Dean’s List
Screenplays, Plays, etc. 

Finding Aid: Jon Hassler Papers

Edward L. Henry Archives

(1921-2010) Dr. Edward L. Henry, a 1943 Saint John’s graduate, had a long and distinguished career in public service. Among other positions, Dr. Henry served as a professor of political science at Saint John’s, its Vice President for Institutional Development, mayor of St. Cloud, president of Saint Mary’s and Saint Michael’s Colleges, and as the founder of the Center for the Study of Local Government at Saint John’s. Dr. Henry was an advocate of small communities, Catholic education, and effective government. This collection includes the papers of Dr. Henry that have been donated to the Archives by the Henry family. Included in the collection are his authored articles and public addresses, newspaper articles concerning his professional career, documents relating to his service in World War II, and various personal items. The Archives have his papers from the early 1930’s to the late 1990’s.

Finding Aid: Edward L. Henry Archives

Paul Marx, OSB Papers

(1920-2010) Founder and first chair of the Sociology department at SJU, Father Paul Marx developed and founded the Human Life Center at Saint John’s from 1972 to 1980, and was the founder and senior editor of Review of Natural Family Planning. In 1981 Father Paul founded Human Life International in Washington, D.C., and served as its leader until 1999. He became the “apostle for life,” as he was known in the pro-life movement. Father Paul also founded the Population Research Institute (1989). In a papal audience in 1979, Pope John Paul II told Paul Marx: “You are doing the most important work on earth.” Planned Parenthood labeled him as “Public Enemy #1.” The Archives have his papers from 1952-1983.

Finding Aid: Paux Marx, OSB Papers

Kilian McDonnell, OSB Papers

(1921-   ) Kilian McDonnell, OSB, was the founder and director of the St. John’s Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, now called the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research. The Institute, begun in 1967, is an American center of scholarly research to nurture the best of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theology, and welcomes scholars from all over the country and world. The Archives have Father Kilian’s papers from 1955-2005, as well as his poetry drafts and published books of poetry.

Finding Aid: Kilian McDonnell, OSB Papers

Bela Petheo Papers

(1934-2017) Bela Petheo taught art history and painting at Saint John’s University for more than thirty years, served as chair of the Art Department, and led the first semester-long study abroad group from St. John’s. This manuscript collection focuses on Petheo’s activity as an artist. It includes correspondence, catalogs, and newspaper articles. The Archives have his papers from 1961 to 2011.

Finding Aid: Bela Petheo Papers

Robert Spaeth Papers

(1934-1994) Robert L. Spaeth came to Saint John’s University as visiting professor and director of Freshman Colloquium in 1977. He was appointed dean in 1979 and held that post for nine years, resigning in 1988 to return to teaching, which he did up until his death in 1994. As dean, Spaeth supported initiatives in curriculum development and revision which resulted in the First Year Symposium (FYS), the Forum, the core curriculum, the Christian Humanism program and the Honors Program. His work, Exploring the Human Condition, served as a guidebook for the first year experience program. The Archives have his papers from 1960-1993.

Finding Aid: Robert Spaeth Papers