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John Dear Papers

Identifier: SCPC-DG-201

Scope and Contents

This collection includes biographical information, correspondence, information about speaking engagements, involvement with Spirit of Life Plowshares, manuscripts and reviews of Dear's books, unpublished manuscripts, and reference material about Daniel and Philip Berrigan, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, and Henri Nouwen. The papers include information about Dear's involvement with and imprisonment on behalf of social justice movements, including the issues of peace, nuclear disarmament, and homelessness. Dear's collection has come to the SCPC in good condition, with some initial sorting and labeling done by Dear. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence and Dear's writings. The papers are divided into multiple sections , the first made up of the original accession donated in 1999, and the other parts consisting of the accessions received since. Correspondents include Daniel Berrigan (S.J.), Jerry and Carol Berrigan, Philip Berrigan and Liz McAlister, Dom Helder Camara, Cesar Chavez, Janet Chisholm, S. Joan Chittister (O.S.B.), William Sloane Coffin, Richard Deats, Pat and Ray Donovan, Jim and Shelley Douglass, Eileen Egan, Jim Forest, Lynn Fredriksson, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Brother Patrick Hart, Franziska Jagerstatter, Steve Kelly (S.J.), Mary Lou Kownacki, Denise Levertov, Colman McCarthy, Bill McNichols (S.J.), Richard McSorley (S.J.), Senator Barbara Mikulski, Henri Nouwen, Sister Helen Prejean, Fred Rogers, Martin Sheen, Mitch Snyder, Bishop Walter Sullivan, Mother Teresa, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Jean Vanier, Jim Wallis, and Gordon Zahn.

Photos of Dear, Daniel Berrigan (S.J.), Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Martin Sheen and others were removed to the Photograph Collection; videos, audiocassettes and CDs were removed to the Audiovisual Collection; graphics were removed to the Subject File: Art in War and Peace; a cotton banner and a certificate from Morehouse College were removed to the Oversized Items Collection; and, posters were removed to the Poster Collection. Books written by John Dear are catalogued (see online library catalog Tripod) and available in the Book Collection (one set of his books is in permanent storage and may not be borrowed).


  • Creation: 1979-


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access Note

All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff at at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.

Conditions Governing Use


Biographical Note

Rev. John Dear is an internationally recognized voice and leader for peace and nonviolence. A priest, activist and author, he served for years as the director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the U.S. After September 11, 2001, he was a Red Cross coordinator of chaplains at the Family Assistance Center in New York, and counseled thousands of relatives and rescue workers. John has traveled the war zones of the world, been arrested some 80 times for peace, led Nobel Peace prize winners to Iraq, given thousands of lectures on peace across the U.S., and served as a pastor of several churches in New Mexico. He arranged on many occasions for Mother Teresa to speak to various governors to stop an impending execution, and recently helped draft Pope Francis’ Jan. 1, 2017 World Day of Peace message on nonviolence. He is a co-founder of Campaign Nonviolence and the Nonviolent Cities Project.

His thirty five books include: The Beatitudes of Peace; They Will Inherit the Earth; The Nonviolent Life; Radical Prayers; Walking the Way; Thomas Merton Peacemaker; A Persistent Peace; Transfiguration; You Will Be My Witnesses; Living Peace; The Questions of Jesus; The God of Peace; Jesus the Rebel; Peace Behind Bars; Lazarus Come Forth! and Disarming the Heart. He has been nominated many times for the Nobel Peace Prize, including by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Sen. Barbara Mikulski. A former Jesuit, he works for, and is a priest of the Diocese of Monterey, Cal..

Dear was born on August. 13, 1959 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University, and two masters degrees in theology from the Graduate Theological Union in California.

For more information on John Dear, see his web site at


50.66 linear ft. (105 Hollinger boxes; 3 half Hollinger boxes; and 5 Paige Cartons [through Acc. 2022-014])


Father John Dear is a Jesuit priest, peace and nonviolence activist, lecturer, and author of books on peace and social justice issues. His papers reflect his focus on nonviolent witness through all aspects of his life.


  1. Series A. Biographical information
  2. Series B. Correspondence
  3. Series C. Public Life and Witness
  4. Series D. Writings
  5. Series E. Reference Material

Other Finding Aids

For the catalog record for this collection and to find materials on similar topics, search the library's online catalog.

Custodial History

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these papers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of John Dear, 1999-2009 [Acc. 99A-058]; [Acc. 01A-025], [Acc.01A-031]; [Acc.02A-016]; [Acc. 03A-023]; [Acc. 04A-031]; [Acc. 05A-011]; [Acc. 06A-005]; [Acc. 07A-012]; [Acc. 08A-013]; [Acc. 09A-007]; etc.

Related Materials

  1. Fellowship of Reconciliation (DG 013), Acc. 99A-037 and Acc. 01A-031
  2. Archived websites created by John Dear

Legal Status

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

Processed initially by Anne Yoder, May 2000; revised and updated by Anne Yoder and student assistants, May 2004, March 2005, Summer 2006.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2018: The file list was standardized in Summer 2017 by Min Cheng in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace. Tessa Chambers added the notes in Fall 2017.

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore 19081-1399 USA US
610-328-8544 (Fax)