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Mengarini, Gregorio


Missionary, philologist; b. Rome, July 21, 1811; d. Santa Clara, Calif., Sept. 23, 1886. After entering the Jesuit novitiate on Oct. 28, 1828, he taught grammar in Italian Jesuit colleges for several years. Following his ordination in March 1840 he responded to Bp. Joseph Rosati's plea for priests to serve the Flathead people. In the company of the Rev. Pierre de smet and other missionaries, Mengarini journeyed to Fort Hall, Idaho, in 1841. From there Flathead guides took them to St. Mary's Mission, Montana. Difficulties with the Blackfeet forced St. Mary's to close in 1850, and Mengarini was transferred to the Oregon mission at St. Paul. Sent to California, he helped to found the College of Santa Clara; he remained at the college until his death, serving as an instructor of modern languages and filling various administrative posts. Mengarini maintained a continuing interest in the Flathead language after the publication in 1861 of his classic Salish or Flathead Grammar; Grammatica linguae Salicae. He compiled A Dictionary of the Kalispel or Flathead Indian Language (2 v. 187779) and furnished material on Salish dialects for John Wesley Powell's Contributions to American Ethnology (1877). Mengarini's reminiscences appeared in Woodstock Letters (1888).

[j. l. morrison]

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