Frank H. Spearman Finding Aid

Frank H. Spearman Finding Aid
Breanna Bello

Collection Title: Frank H. Spearman Collection

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Contact Mount St. Mary’s College Archives

Collection Overview

The collection is arranged by three series. The first series contains thirty-one published articles by or on behalf of Frank Hamilton Spearman from 1898–1937. The second series is an album of twelve family photographs and memorabilia. The third series includes three nonfiction manuscripts and ten published short stories by Spearman.

Rev. Arthur Dunning Spearman, S.J. (d.1977), son of Frank and Eugenie Spearman, donated his father’s papers and ephemera to Mount St. Mary’s College. The Frank Hamilton Spearman material that was given to the college in an envelope (11 x 15 inches) has this handwritten note in pencil: “All Frank H. Spearman pictures, letters, notes, etc., bound or unbound, are property of Mount St. Mary’s College Library—Los Angeles California— Spearman Collection—as of December 1, 1947, and should be sent there at once if I die— [signed] AD Spearman SJ, Jan. 21, 1949–Jan. 22, 1950.” Most of the material is in in fairly good condition; only a few items show any significant deterioration.

The collection may be viewed online but not downloaded. For additional information, contact the Mount St. Mary’s College Archives at (310) 954-4377.

The collection is available for research purposes. For additional information, contact Mount St. Mary’s College Archives at (310) 954-4377. Office hours are Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.– 4 p.m., by appointment only.

Collection Details

Title: Frank Hamilton Spearman

Date(s): All articles and short stories in the collection were published between the years 1899–1937.

Creator/Collector: Frank Hamilton Spearman, Mount St. Mary’s College Archives

Language: Collection material is in English

Mount St. Mary’s College Archives
Chalon Campus
12001 Chalon Rd.
Los Angeles, CA  90049
Housed in the Charles Willard Coe Memorial Library, the archives are on the first (ground) floor in the Spearman Room.
(310) 954-4377

Author: Finding aid prepared by Breanna Bello and Victoria McCargar, MA, MLIS

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions:
Office hours are Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m., by appointment only.
Housed in the Charles Willard Coe Memorial Library, the archives are on the first (ground) floor in the Spearman Room. For additional information, contact Mount St. Mary’s College Archives at (310) 954-4377.

Publications Rights:
Inquiries regarding publication permissions and rights should be directed to the Mount St. Mary’s Archives.

Preferred Citation:
Finding aid of the Frank H. Spearman Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Charles Willard Coe Memorial Library, Mount St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles. [Cite the item and series as appropriate].

Processing Information:
An inventory of the materials was created and updated in 2008 by Victoria McCargar, MA, MLIS, Mount St. Mary’s College Archivist. In 2013, the collection finding aid was updated as part of a Mount St. Mary’s Humanities Graduate student group project to create a digital resource for Spearman’s novel Whispering Smith.

Scope and Content of the Collection:
Frank Hamilton Spearman (September 6, 1859–December 29, 1937) was a benefactor of Mount St. Mary’s College. Spearman was an author of popular western novels, and was a well-known commentator on topics concerning the Catholic Church. The collection includes family memorabilia and work that is written by or about Spearman. Also included are examples of Spearman’s serious journal articles that reflect his political and religious views as a Catholic. His short stories express the western genre he is well known for writing.

Extent: Three boxes

The collection consists of three series: the first is published material comprising short stories and magazine articles by and about Frank Hamilton Spearman. The second is an album of family photographs as well as other family memorabilia. The third series, arranged in a box by folders, contains nonfiction manuscripts and published short stories by Spearman. The following is the arrangement of the published material and family memorabilia:

  • Short stories: 23
  • Magazine articles, nonfiction: 12
  • Manuscripts, nonfiction: 3
  • Articles about Frank H. Spearman: 6
  • Spearman family memorabilia: 12

Frank Spearman as a Subject:

Benson, A.C. “Frank H. Spearman Returns to Theme of Other Successes and Creates a Worthy Rival to Whispering Smith.” Oakland Tribune 4-W: (June 14, 1925) Print.

The Oakland Review critiques Frank Hamilton Spearman’s new western novel, Selwood of Sleepy Cat. The latest western novel is said to reflect the promise of Whispering Smith. Frank Hamilton Spearman is declared a model writer in the domain of the western genre.

Spearman, Frank H. “Noted Author Tells How He Wrote Most Successful Book.” Los Angeles Sunday Times. Part III (March 1, 1925): 26. Print.

Spearman reminisces about his journey in discovering the model for his character, Whispering Smith, and the influence of railroad lines in his writing. He further explains his process in creating the character of Whispering Smith, revealing that a western hero must be notable and possess distinct qualities conveyed in the western genre.

Whalen, Louise M. “A Visit to the Home of a Catholic Novelist.” Extension Magazine 7.11 (April 1913): 16–17, 28. Print.

In this interview, Spearman is affirmed to be a private man, content to live a quiet life on his estate. A devoted Catholic, Spearman’s religious beliefs were a significant influence on his professional and personal life.

Tully, Jim. “Noted Author of L.A. Writes New Novel: Jim Tully Comments on Other Works of Famous Western Writer.” Los Angeles Evening Herald. A4 (June 9, 1925) Print.

In this interview, Spearman’s latest western novel, Selwood of Sleepy Cat, is revealed to be unlike any of his previously published works of literature. For instance, the hero is a gambler, making him an unconventional protagonist for a western novel. According to Jim Tully, Selwood of Sleepy Cat is the best western novel created by Frank Hamilton Spearman.

Articles Written by Frank Spearman:

Spearman, Frank H. “They Must Not Get Away with It: Press Correspondents See Only Red.” America LVI (56).7 (November 21, 1936): 152. Print.

This article concerns the Spanish Civil War (1936 –1939). Spearman comments on the negative press generated by American journalists toward the Catholic faith. He argues that American society is impressionable to mass communication and tabloids.

Spearman, Frank H. “Will Power Versus Lust: ‘If You Don’t Run Your Sex Impulse, Your Sex Impulse Will Run You.’” The Sign 11.11, (June 1932): 649–650. Print.

In this article, Frank Hamilton Spearman discusses the issues of sex and will power. He examines the masculine attitude toward fidelity and sexual desire. Spearman reflects that a man who controls his sexual desires is recognized as the ultimate hero.

Spearman, Frank H. “The Road to Sodom: ‘Sensual Gratification without Responsibility.’” The Sign 10.7 (February 1931): 399–401. Print.

Spearman discusses social issues concerning American society. Among the issues are artificial birth control, the modern woman, and adultery. He claims that as long as these issues exist they will interfere with a life founded on Christian principles.

Spearman, Frank. “Plain Thoughts on the Judiciary Issue: What If Tables Turned on Catholics?” America LVII.7 (May 22, 1937): 148–149. Print.

In this article, Frank Hamilton Spearman brings to light political issues concerning religious freedom. President Franklin D. Roosevelt is petitioning to increase the number of U.S. Supreme Court Judges. He conveys a serious interest toward the American Catholic minority, which is alarming the U.S. Congress. Spearman explains that including Catholic minorities in the U.S. Supreme Court is not a problem. This branch of the U.S. government makes decisions independently from all political parties and congress. Most significantly, Spearman reflects on how these public issues may affect Catholic Americans.

Spearman, Frank H. “Modern Marriage—Its Problems: Part V. The Deluge of Divorce.” The Commonweal 1.18 (Wednesday, March 11, 1925): 480–81. Print.

Spearman discusses divorce as an issue affecting modern marriage in the 1920s. He explains that divorce is corrupting the sanctity of marriage. He stresses that modern marriage is taken lightly by American society.

Short Stories by Frank Spearman:

Spearman, Frank H. “Cromwell and the Dutch Brigade.” The Youth’s Companion 74.44 (November 1, 1900): 573–574. Print.

This short story is primarily concerning four male characters. The main characters come from diverse social class backgrounds. The plot of the story is a quarrel between the laborers and owners of the town’s saw mill.

Spearman, Frank H. “Cromwell’s First Honors.” The Youth’s Companion 74.35 (August 30, 1900): 573–574. Print.

In this short story, Spearman centers the plot on two characters: Cromwell Parks and George Burton. The plot deals with the idea of honesty, conveying that to be truly successful, one must put in hard work and effort.

Spearman, Frank H. “The San Panco Blend.” The Youth’s Companion 76.41 (October 9, 1902): 482–483. Print.

Spearman creates a fictional success story about a young coffee business manager named Walter Stevens. Through Walter, Spearman demonstrates that with an open, positive mind and hard work one can accomplish success.

Spearman, Frank H. “When the Desert Speaks.” Extension Magazine XIX.11 (April 1925): 16–18, 33–34. Print.

This short story is another in the western genre about an outlaw named Henry Venable. This is one of the longer short stories in the Mount St. Mary’s College Archives – Frank Spearman collection. The writer describes the account of how Venable received his nickname and the fate that ultimately led him to live the life of a desert outlaw.

Spearman Family Memorabilia:
This series consists of a family album and two framed photographs. The album includes pictures of residences and members of the Spearman family that date from the 1890s–­1920s. There is a framed photographic portrait of Frank H. Spearman and his wife, Eugenie Lonergan Spearman. A couple of framed memorial prayer cards accompany the family memorabilia. They contain an elegy to Frank H. Spearman by Eugenie L. Spearman, dated October 21, 1939.

Subject – Topics:
Adultery – Marriage
Birth control – Religious aspects – Catholic Church
Catholic Church – America
Catholic women – United States
Celibacy – Catholic Church
Christian ethics – Catholic authors
Divorce – Catholic Church
Families – Religious life
Heroes– Religious aspects – Christianity
Marriage – Religious aspects – Catholic Church
Railroads – West (U.S.) – History
Sex – Religious aspects – Christianity
Homosexuality – Religious aspects – Catholic Church
Span – History – 1868–1931
West (U.S.) – In literature

Types and Forms of Materials:
Family memorabilia
Journal articles
Short stories

Project Contributors:
Dee Bakker
Breanna Bello
Lynnel Bryson-Davis
Lauren Buisson
Liz Goumas
Veronica Guardado
Rosemary Irvine
Lauren Lees
Jessica Record
Jennifer Tran Smith, PhD


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