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Bernard R. Hubbard, S.J. Papers

Identifier: MSS-1985-07-16

Scope and Content of the Collection

The Bernard R. Hubbard, S.J. Papers, 1852-2001 (1921-1958), document the life of Father Hubbard through his correspondence, photographs, films, and artifacts. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs taken by Father Hubbard and his crew. The formats of the photographs greatly vary, including negatives, color negatives, glass plates, interpositives, and prints. Films, which come in cassettes or film rolls, also make up a portion of the collection. The correspondence section of the collection contains letters, telegrams, magazines, newspapers, postcards, notebooks, and a multitude of other formats. The series for artifacts consists of differing materials depending on the specific box, including Alaskan indigenous tools, mass kits, and exploration equipment.


  • 1852-2001 (bulk 1921-1958)


Language of Materials



This collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Materials in Archives and Special Collections may be subject to copyright. All requests for permission to publish from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the University Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Archives and Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials, and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials.

Organizational History

Santa Clara University was founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus as Santa Clara College and is California’s oldest operating institution of higher learning. It was established on the grounds of Mission Santa Clara de Asìs, the eighth of the original 21 California missions. The college originally operated as a preparatory school and did not offer courses of collegiate rank until 1853. The institution became known as the University of Santa Clara in 1912, when the schools of engineering and law were added. For 110 years, Santa Clara University was an all-male school. In 1961, women were accepted as undergraduates and Santa Clara University became the first coeducational Catholic university in California. The number of students and faculty tripled over the next decade and the university began the largest building program in school history with eight residence halls, a student union, and an athletic stadium. In the early 1970s, the Board of Trustees voted to limit the size of the undergraduate population, an action that was intended to preserve the character and ensure the quality of the university for generations to come. In 1985, the university adopted Santa Clara University as its official name.


Santa Clara University. “About SCU – History.” (Accessed Nov. 23, 2010)

McKevitt, Gerald, S.J. The University of Santa Clara: A History, 1851-1977. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1979.


144.31 linear feet (, 202 boxes.)


The Bernard R. Hubbard, S.J. Papers, 1852-2001 (1921-1958), documents the life of priest, explorer, and lecturer Father Bernard Rosencrans Hubbard, also known as the Glacier Priest. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs and films taken by Father Hubbard during his travels and artifacts both owned and collected by him. The records consist of correspondence between Hubbard and friends, coworkers, fellow members of the priesthood, and a variety of other people, including fans to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The collection also contains a multitude of other paper formats, such as newspaper clippings, articles, research notes, and other miscellaneous documents. This collection is arranged into eight series: Series I. Correspondence, 1852-1962 (1924-1953); Series II. Miscellaneous Documents, 1900-2001 (1932-1954); Series III. Related Persons Materials, 1928-1996 (1934-1996); Series IV. Artifacts, 1938, undated; Series V. Alaska Photographs, 1923-1960 (1927-1958); Series VI. Personal and World Photographs, 1921-1956 (1922-1946); Series VII. Films, 1914-1996 (1949-1962); and Series VIII. Oversize Materials, 1917-1959 (1926-1954).


This collection is arranged into eight series: Series I. Correspondence, 1852-1962 (1924-1953); Series II. Miscellaneous Documents, 1900-2001 (1932-1954); Series III. Related Persons Materials, 1928-1996 (1934-1996); Series IV. Artifacts, 1938, undated; Series V. Alaska Photographs, 1923-1960 (1927-1958); Series VI. Personal and World Photographs, 1921-1956 (1922-1946); Series VII. Films, 1914-1996 (1949-1962); and Series VIII. Oversize Materials, 1917-1959 (1926-1954).

Physical Location

This collection is located in Santa Clara University's Archives and Special Collections.

Related Materials

Lawrence Desmond collection

Hubbard King Island Digital Collection:

SCU Video Collection/SCU Audio Collection (Box 10 of 17: AC #76-88 Oral Histories contains an interview with Robert “Dick” Douglas from 8-30-1985 in which he discusses his 1931 expedition to Alaska with Fr. Hubbard, format is supported by SCU Archives and Special Collections) (link to permanent bibliographic record):

Records of the Ricard Observatory, 1912-1975 (link to permanent bibliographic record):

The Arctic: its plants, animals, and natural phenomena (link to permanent bibliographic record):

Beyond the Moon Crater Myth: a new history of the Aniakchak landscape: a historic resource study for Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve (link to permanent bibliographic record):

The Legacy of the “Glacier Priest”: Bernard R. Hubbard (link to permanent bibliographic record):

Three dogs, two mules, and a reindeer: true animal adventures on the Alaska frontier (link to permanent bibliographic record):

Also note that there are archival collections with other Hubbard materials including but not limited to the Human Studies Film Archives/Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Marywood University, the California Jesuit Archives, University of Alaska, Alaska State Library, Yale University, the Watson Library of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and University of Washington.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Daniel Morales, Michelle Runyon, and Andrea Hoff in 2017. Finding aid EAD encoded by Andrea Hoff in 2017.

Biographical History

Bernard Rosecrans Hubbard, S.J., (1888-1962), known as the "Glacier Priest," was an explorer, photographer, and popular lecturer. He was born 24 November 1888 in San Francisco, son of George M. Hubbard (d. 1914) and Catherine Wilder Hubbard (d. 1910). He had a brother John, a mining engineer, and a sister, Mary Hubbard Stanley. Hubbard grew up in Santa Cruz, California, and lived for a time in a house built by his brother John in the Santa Cruz mountains near Ben Lomond. The site is now owned by Lockheed Corporation.

Hubbard attended Santa Clara College from 1906 to 1908. He entered the Jesuit order on 7 Sept. 1908, and spent the years 1908-1910 at the Jesuit Novitiate in Los Gatos, California. He served his regency at Los Angeles College from 1913-1918. Hubbard studied philosophy at Mt.St. Michael's, a Jesuit seminary in Spokane, Washington, receiving an M.A. degree through Gonzaga University in 1921.

Prior to his ordination as a priest, Hubbard studied theology at Innsbruck, Austria, in 1921-22. During his stay in Austria, he became friendly with some of the actors in the Oberammergau Passion Play, including Anton Lang. Hubbard was ordained a priest in Austria in 1923. He returned to Santa Clara, where he taught German, geology, and religion. He received honorary doctorates from Marquette University in 1937 and Trinity College in 1941.

Hubbard first went to Alaska in 1927. His summer expeditions of exploration and photography became an annual event. During the winters, he traveled around the United States giving lectures and showing his films, with the proceeds going to support the Jesuit missions in Alaska. "Half the year the highest paid lecturer in the world, the other half a wanderer among treacherous craters and glaciers": as described by The Literary Digest in 1937. Hubbard's best know expeditions were perhaps that of 1931, during which he completed both a 1600-mile mush down the Yukon River, visiting missions, and an expedition into the erupting Aniakchak crater, and his expedition of 1936 to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes.

During and after World War II, Hubbard became involved with the U.S. military, both as an adviser on Alaska and as lecturer/chaplain to the troops. In 1945, he traveled around the world, photographing damaged and destroyed Jesuit institutions as part of a fund-raising campaign. In his later years, Hubbard returned to Santa Clara, where he established the Hubbard Educational Films, also called Hubbard Laboratories, an educational film production and distribution service based on the University campus.

In 1955 Hubbard had a stroke in Hartford, Connecticut, during a lecture tour. He had to curtail some of his activity, although he returned to Alaska a few more times. Accounts of the last years of his life describe him as writing his autobiography and cataloguing his photographs, neither of which he finished. Hubbard died 28 May 1962 in Donohoe Infirmary at the University of Santa Clara.

The above is an edited version of the Biographical History section of a legacy finding aid at our institution.

Guide to the Bernard R. Hubbard, S.J. Papers
Daniel Morales, Michelle Runyon, and Andrea Hoff
© 2017 Santa Clara University. All rights reserved.
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Repository Details

Part of the Archives & Special Collections, Santa Clara University Library Repository

Santa Clara University Library
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara California 95053-0500 USA US