Frank A. Cleary of Momence, Ill., graduated from St. Viator College, Bourbonais, Ill., in 1911 and became a priest in 1914. He was the pastor of St. Edmunds Church, Watseka, Ill., and of St. Joseph's Church, Crescent City, Ill., 1928-35. In 1934, Cleary was appointed Consultor of Peoria Diocese.
The collection consists largely of Cleary's notebooks, school mementos, and correspondence regarding anti-Catholic sentiment, the Depression in central Illinois, and the daily administrative duties of Catholic priests. The collection also contains financial records and circulars from St. Edmunds.
Richard K. Lindstrom of St. Joseph, Ill., donated the collection to the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections in 1984.