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O'Reilly, Mary Boyle, 1873-1939


Biographical Note

Mary O'Reilly was born in 1873 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Her father, John Boyle OReilly, was a noted poet and Irish nationalist, and her mother, Mary Smiley (Murphy) OReilly, was a journalist. As a young woman, OReilly was active in the charitable life of the city of Boston. In the early 1900s she served as a member of the Massachusetts Prison Commission, became a trustee of the Childrens Institutions in Boston, and wrote and lectured on topics in social work and sociology. In 1913, OReilly accepted a position as foreign correspondent for the Newspaper Enterprise Association, and was placed in charge of the London office. During World War I, OReilly performed relief work and sent dispatches from Europe. She returned to the United States in 1917, and went on a speaking tour of the country on the topic of her war experience. She settled back in the Boston area, and continued writing until her death from a heart attack at the age of 66, in 1939.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Boston College collection of John Boyle O'Reilly

Abstract This collection documents the later life of Irish political activist, author, and editor John Boyle O'Reilly during his years living in Boston, Massachusetts. Materials include his correspondence, hand-written poems, published songs, and the scrapbooks he assembled to document his literary career. The collection also contains materials by others concerning O'Reilly, including correspondence by his peers; manuscript and published articles; speeches; and tributes by Massachusetts organizations...
Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Dates: 1857 - 1981; 1870 - 1924

Mary Boyle O'Reilly papers


The Mary Boyle O’Reilly papers document her work as a journalist and political activist, particularly during World War I. They include O’Reilly’s correspondence from Europe during the war, her typescripts, a small series of individually typed or handwritten poems, many with inscriptions from O'Reilly's friends, and family photographs.

Restrictions on access

Collection contains some original materials too fragile to handle. Access copies have been provided for most, but the correspondence series is closed pending conservation. Box 1 contains open materials. Box 2 contains fragile materials and is closed.

Dates: 1870 - 1937; Majority of material found within 1913 - 1917