Finn, Francis James

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Jesuit, teacher; b. St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 1859; d. Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 2, 1928. He was the son of John and Mary (Whyte) Finn, both Irish immigrants. After several years at St. Louis University, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Florissant, Mo., on July 10, 1877. Further studies were interrupted by teaching at St. Mary's College, Kans. (188183, 188485); St. Xavier College, Cincinnati (188586); and Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis. (188890). He studied philosophy and theology at Wood-stock College, Woodstock, Md. (188384, 188688, 189093), and was ordained in 1893. In 1897 he began his 31-year stay at St. Xavier's College and Church in Cincinnati. He was active in parish work and established a nationwide circulating library, but his most notable work was his fiction for young people. At St. Mary's he had observed the effect of good books on the young, and after a day in class he would reward his students by reading his plays or stories to them. When confined to bed for long periods at Woodstock, he wrote reminiscences of his teaching days. His most popular work was Tom Playfair (1891), which his publisher (Benziger) then called "the most successful book for Catholic boys and girls ever published in the English language." His 27 books were translated into many foreign languages.

[w. e. shiels]