Scottish Jesuit priest and historian; b. Berwick-on-Tweed, Nov. 27, 1806; d. London, Feb. 8, 1895. He was educated at Durham and Glasgow University but renounced his intention of becoming a minister of the Church of Scotland. From 1831 he was employed on historical manuscripts at the British Museum and the Record Office. He married Mary Ann Craig of Glasgow in 1831, and on becoming librarian of Durham Cathedral in 1842 took Anglican orders. From 1849 to 1862 he was vicar of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, during which period he continued to publish numerous editions and translations of medieval literary and historical texts. He took a leading part in the inception of the Rolls Series, to which he contributed four volumes. His studies led him to enter the Catholic Church in 1863. Although compelled to resign from the Record Office, he continued to work for the Historical Manuscripts Commission in Birmingham, where, after the death of his wife, he was ordained priest in 1872. Work for the British government in the vatican library was followed by his entry into the English Province of the Society of Jesus in 1877. He resumed his historical work in London, and published altogether more than 50 volumes besides numerous articles, reports, and miscellaneous papers.
Bibliography: e. f. sutcliffe, comp., Bibliography of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, 1773–1953 (London 1957). j. h. pollen, In Memoriam. Father Joseph Stevenson, S.J. A Biographical Sketch, with a List of His Published Works (London; reprinted from Month, March-April 1895). d. knowles, Great Historical Enterprises (Edinburgh 1963).