Rev. Francis A. Barnum, SJ was born in Baltimore in 1849. After having attended Loyola School in Baltimore and Georgetown College in Washington, DC, Fr. Barnum joined the Society of Jesus, although circumstances warranted his withdrawal from Frederick Novitiate soon thereafter. He rejoined the Society in 1880, after a period of time spent traveling throughout the world. After ordination, Fr. Barnum was sent to Alaska, where he spent the better part of the 1890s. While there, he accumulated knowledge of Innuit, a native Alaskan language (now known as Central Yup'ik). In 1901 he published a grammar of Innuit, entitled 'Grammatical Fundamentals of the Innuit Language as Spoken by the Eskimo of the Western Coast of Alaska' (Boston: Ginn & Co., Publishers, The Athenaeum Press). Fr. Barnum left Alaska in 1898, after which time he served as a chaplain on Ward's Island in New York Harbor, finally settling at Georgetown, where he was made archivist. Fr. Barnum died at Georgetown in 1921.