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Pollen, John Hungerford


Historian and journalist; b. London, England, Sept. 22, 1858; d. Roehampton, April 8, 1925. He was the third of ten children born to John H. Pollen, professor of fine arts at the Catholic University in Dublin during Newman's brief rectorship, and Maria Margaret Laprimaudeye, daughter of the future Cardinal manning's curate at Lavington. After schooling in Münster, Westphalia, and later at the Oratory, Birmingham, Pollen entered the Society of Jesus in 1877. A year spent, between his philosophical and theological studies, in assisting Father John Morris, then vice-postulator of the cause of the English martyrs, determined the direction his own work was to take; after ordination (1891) he was appointed to the Jesuit House of Writers at Farm Street, London, where he led a life of single-minded devotion to the tasks of research, writing, and lecturing, mainly on the English martyrs and related matters. (see england, scotland, and wales, martyrs of.) He became vice-postulator of the cause, in succession to Father Morris, whose "Life" he wrote. He also edited and contributed to sundry volumes published by the Catholic Record Society, and contributed to the "Lives of the English Martyrs," collaborating with Dom Bede Camm, OSB, in the first series, and with Canon E. H. Burton in the second.

For almost 40 years, although not formally attached to the staff of the Jesuit review, the month, he regularly contributed articles that evidenced a first-class historical mind. These soon led to an invitation to speak before the Scottish Historical Society, which resulted in the publication of the documents contained in Papal Negotiations with Mary, Queen of Scots (1901) edited by Pollen with a long introductory study. He returned to the theme intermittently in the pages of the Month until 1922, when he published Queen Mary and the Babington Plot.

Pollen's most considerable work was The English Catholics in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth: A Study of Their Politics, Civil Life, and Government, 15581580 (1920). It gave final shape to the conclusions he had reached in piecemeal studies published in the Month over the years, and was generally accepted as at once scholarly and authoritative. It has stood the test of time, as reference to such a work as Philip Hughes's The Reformation in England (5th ed. 1963) clearly indicates.

Bibliography: Month 145 (1925) 446448.

[r. moffat]

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