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John Gilmary Shea (July 22, 1824 – February 22, 1892) was a writer, editor, and historian of both American history in general and American Catholic history specifically. Shea was born in New York City to James Shea, an Irish immigrant and school principal, and Mary Ann (Flannigan) Shea. He studied at St. John's College (now Fordham University), married Sophie Savage in 1854, and died in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

He was the first person to be awarded the Laetare Medal by the University of Notre Dame in 1883.[1] The John Gilmary Shea Papers, a collection of correspondence, manuscripts, and research materials, are preserved in the Georgetown University Library (Special Collections Division).


  1. ^ Hope, Arthur J., 1943, Notre Dame — 100 Years, Chapter XVI, University of Notre Dame Press.
  • John Gilmary Shea: Father of American Catholic History, 1824-1892, Peter Guilday, (New York: United States Catholic Historical Society, 1926).

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