John Hungerford Pollen (Jesuit)

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John Hungerford Pollen (22 September 1858–1925) was an English Jesuit, known as a historian of the Protestant Reformation.[1]


John Hungerford Pollen was the son of John Hungerford Pollen and Maria Margaret Pollen. The third of ten children, he was born in London in 1858. His father was professor of fine arts at the Catholic University in Dublin. Pollen entered the Society of Jesus in 1877 and was ordained in 1891.[citation needed]

In 1895 he was assigned the task of creating a history of the Society in England. Pollen became involved in historical research and archives. By 1920 he held the title of Keeper of the Archives.[2]

He was one of the group of Jesuit historians restoring the reputation of Robert Persons.[3] He was influential in the history of the term Counter-Reformation, accepting for the Catholic side the appellation for the period of Catholic reform centred on the Council of Trent, but at the same time offering an interpretation that made it less reactive, in relation to the Protestant Reformation. These ideas were put forth in the 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia article he wrote on the subject.[4][5]

He was a correspondent of Georg Cantor, from 1896[6] and an active member of the Catholic Record Society (founded by Joseph Stanislaus Hansom in 1904).


  • Acts of the English Martyrs (1891)
  • Papal Negotiations with Mary, Queen of Scots (1901)[7]
  • The Bedingfield Papers (1909)
  • A Jesuit Challenge: Edmund Campion's Debates at the Tower of London in 1581 (1914; edited with Joseph Rickaby)
  • The English Catholics in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth (1920)
  • Unpublished Documents Relating to the English Martyrs


  1. ^ John Vidmar, English Catholic Historians and the English Reformation, 1585-1954: 1585-1954 (2005) pp. 134-35.
  2. ^ Allen, M., "The Jesuits who Shaped the Province Archives", Jesuits in Britain, June 20, 2016
  3. ^ Victor Houliston, Catholic Resistance in Elizabethan England: Robert Persons's Jesuit Polemic, 1580-1610 (2007), p. 19.
  4. ^ John W. O'Malley, The Historiography of the Society of Jesus, p. 20, in John W. O'Malley, Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Steve J. Harris, T. Frank Kennedy, The Jesuits: Cultures, Sciences, and the Arts, 1540-1773 (1999).
  5. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "The Counter-Reformation" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  6. ^ Christian Tapp, Kardinalität und Kardinäle: Wissenschaftshistorische Aufarbeitung der Korrespondenz zwischen Georg Cantor und katholischen Theologen seiner Zeit (2005), p. 478.
  7. ^ "Review of Papal Negotiations with Mary, Queen of Scots by John Hungerford Pollen, S. J." The Athenæum (3867): 767–769. 7 December 1901.

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