John Bertram Peterson (July 15, 1871 – March 15, 1944) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Manchester from 1932 until his death in 1944.


John Peterson was born in Salem, Massachusetts, to a Scandinavian sea captain and an Irish mother. He attended a commercial college in Boston and then worked at Pope Manufacturing Company; he also served as a newspaper reporter. After deciding to join the priesthood, he entered the Marist College in Van Buren, Maine. He then studied at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire (1893-1895) and St. John's Seminary in Brighton. One of his students at St. John's was Richard Cushing, who would later, as auxiliary bishop of Boston, deliver the eulogy at Peterson's funeral. Monsignor Peterson would tell his students, "Take your priesthood seriously, never yourself."[1]

Peterson was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston on September 15, 1899.[2] After two years in study in Paris and Rome, he served as a professor and later rector (1911-1926) at St. John's Seminary.[3]

On October 7, 1927, Peterson was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Boston and Titular Bishop of Hippos by Pope Pius XI.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following November 10 from Cardinal William Henry O'Connell, with Bishops George Albert Guertin and John Gregory Murray serving as co-consecrators.[2] During his time as an auxiliary, he was also pastor of St. Catherine of Genoa Church in Somerville.

Peterson was named the fourth Bishop of Manchester on May 13, 1932.[2] He was installed at the Cathedral of St. Joseph on the following July 14.[3] He guided the Catholics of New Hampshire through the Great Depression and World War II. He later died at age 72.


  1. ^ Dever, Joseph. Cushing of Boston, Branden Books, 1975 ISBN 9780828313827, p. 39
  2. ^ a b c d "Bishop John Bertram Peterson".
  3. ^ a b "Bishops of the Diocese of Manchester". Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester. Archived from the original on 2011-10-08.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
George Albert Guertin
Bishop of Manchester
Succeeded by
Ernest John Primeau