Jean Baptiste Salpointe was born at St. Maurice, Puy de Dome, France on February 21, 1825. After studying theology at Clermont Seminary, he was ordained as a priest. He held several posts in Europe before arriving in the United States as a missionary for Archbishop Lamy of Santa Fe. Salpointe was sent to the Arizona Territory, and when this region was converted to a vicariate, Salpoint was named the First Vicar Apostolic of Arizona, his territory including Arizona, New Mexico and a part of Texas. He was again promoted in 1884, this time to archbishop, succeeding Lamy. He resigned this position in 1894, returning to Tucson, where he died four years later.
This collection consists largely of photocopies of translations in English of letters in the Archives of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson. The original letters written in French are in the Archive of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, in Lyons, France. Numbers in the upper right hand corner of the transcripts reflect classification in that archive. The originals were photocopied in France by a Tucson priest and translated by Marcel G. Langlois. The bulk of the material contained in Folder 1 are letters and progress reports from Bishop Salpointe written to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, relating the financial outlook of the Vicariate Apostolic of Arizona and progress with churches, schools and missions. There are a few letters from Salpointe to others, and some letters received by Salpointe. Additionally, there are a few letters that are neither from or to Salpointe, but discuss Salpointe or the Vicariate. One letter of interest received by Bishop Salpointe was from Charles Ewing, Catholic Commissioner for Indian Missions, dated July 2, 1874, assuring the Bishop that his request for the removal of R.A. Wilbur, Indian Agent to the Papagos had been completed. In Folder 2, there are also photocopies of holographic translated excerpts from some of the letters and reports found in Folder 1, that discuss the Indians in the region and progress by the Catholic Church in conversion efforts amongst the Indians.