Thomas J. Steele, S.J. Collection

Arrangement and Description

Thomas J. Steele, S.J. Collection

Scope and Content

The materials in the Thomas J. Steele, S.J. Collection include papers, published articles and books, artwork, and the Regis University Native American Collection. 

Thomas J. Steele Papers: These materials include Steele’s personal records for rank and tenure; photographs both of his family and friends, as well as photographs taken by Steele for his publications; manuscripts of both published and unpublished writings; unpublished manuscripts by Fr. B.A.Schiffini, a Jesuit priest who worked in the New Mexico Mission from 1883 -1913, presumably the topic of a future project by Steele; and lastly, reprints of articles by other writers Steele used for his own research.

Published articles and books by Thomas J. Steele: Although some publications are unavailable, over ninety books and articles have been collected, inventoried, and archived.

Artwork by Thomas J. Steele: Six original oil paintings by Thomas J. Steele.

Regis Native American Collection: The culture of the Southwest was often the primary subject of Steele’s writing and collecting. The core of this Native American collection, however, began with pottery acquired by Armand W. Forstall, S.J., although no records specifically itemize these pieces. Beginning in the 1970s, Steele added more pottery, as well as some newer pieces by potters reviving the aesthetic traditions of their pueblos. He expanded the collection to contain additional items of native culture, such as blankets, arrow heads, moccasins, sand paintings, a cradleboard, jewelry and more. Because only guesswork can identify which of the 193 items were contributed by each of these two Jesuits, the entire collection is inventoried as the Regis Native American Collection.

Series Listing and Description

Series 1 - Personal records 

   There are two file folders in this series. The first contains Fr. Steele’s faculty evaluations, as well as a listing of his publications, news clippings and materials documenting his application for Regis University tenure. The other folder contains the program from his funeral, and an obituary from the Denver Post. A 5-disc set of interviews with Fr. Steele conducted by Dr. A. Gabriel Melendez in 2009 begin with Steele’s decision to enter the Society of Jesus through his education and teaching, as well as his research and scholarship. An index of topics on each disc is included.

Series 2 - Business Records  

   Funding applications, copyright permissions for quotes and photographs are contained in this series.

Series 3 - Photographs   

   This series contains photographs of his family and friends. There is also a file with the enlarged photographs displayed at his funeral, as well as the photographs Fr. Steele took himself for three of his published books.                           

Series 4 - Clippings 

   A few clippings from the 1980s and 1990s describing Steele’s work creating the Regis University’s Santos collection.

Series 5 - Teaching Materials 

   Fr. Steele taught courses with Professor Randolph Lumpp on the religion and culture of the southwest. The syllabus for a course, notes, and published textbooks are included.

Series 6 - Published articles

   From the 1970s to the early 2000s, Fr. Steele published articles covering aspects of western culture and its intersection with the southwest. A call number for the publication is listed in the Container List.

Series 7 - Manuscripts by Steele

   Fr. Steele was a prolific writer and constant scholar. This series contains over 30 manuscripts that he wrote himself or co-authored with another but never got published. It also contains manuscripts and notes for three published books: Frazer Haps and Mishaps: the diary of Mary E. Cozens; Diary of the Jesuit Residence of Our Lady of Guadalupe; and, New Mexican Spanish Religious Oratory, 1800 – 1900.

Series 8 - Manuscripts by B.A. Schiffini

   This series contain the handwritten sermons and reflections of Blaise Antonio Schiffini collected by Fr. Steele. Blaisus Schiffini, as he is referred to in the Woodstock Letters , was born in Santa Domenica Talao, Calabria, Italy in 1839. He was educated in France and Belgium, came to the United States and taught philosophy at Woodstock from 1873 – 1880. For the last 27 years of his life he served in the Mission of New Mexico: he was a priest in Las Vegas, NM, a priest in Denver, CO, and from 1902 – 1913 a priest in Trinidad, CO. He died March 13, 1913.

Series 9 - Research materials

   This material are loose articles used by Fr. Steele for scholarship. Most, but not all, of the materials concern subject matter dealing with the southwest, especially New Mexico. There are also 12 ring binders of articles and clippings on the historical and present day southwest. Three of the ring binders, labeled Alabados #1, #2, #3, include a concordance of hymn titles used in his book The Alabados of New Mexico. The topics in the other ring binders include religious movements in New Mexico, especially the Penitentes, as well as the role native and Christian religions play within their communities. Native ritual as a teaching device is also discussed. Some articles deal with the history of land grants and disputed claims. Modern urbanization is another topic, as well as the modification of land use by the introduction of European plants.