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George F. O'Dwyer papers

Collection MS-2003-039: George F. O'Dwyer papers


  • Creation: 1782-1929
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1917-1929

Scope and Contents

Papers consist of the correspondence, writings, and research materials of George F. O'Dwyer, author of The Irish Catholic Genesis of Lowell (1920). There are a small number of personal photographs in the collection, as well as programs from theater productions in which O'Dwyer was featured. Most materials pertain to Irish Catholics in New England, specifically in Lowell, Massachusetts, and to O'Dwyer's professional and personal genealogical interests. In addition to The Irish Catholic Genesis of Lowell, O'Dwyer wrote numerous plays, sketches, poems, and articles and letters to the editor of many local newspapers. Also included are materials relating to O'Dwyer's position as Secretary and Archivist in the Lowell chapter of the American Irish Historical Society.


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research.

Negatives, in Shared box 1715, are not an access medium and are not available for use.

Conditions Governing Use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note

George Francis O'Dwyer was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on July 15, 1877, the eldest of seven children, to Jeremiah and Margaret O'Dwyer. He spent the majority of his life in Lowell, and later in life lived with his sister, Anna O'Dwyer. In 1917, George F. O'Dwyer joined the American Irish Historical Society, and would go on to serve as Secretary and Archivist of the Lowell chapter in the early 1920s. He was a self-employed historian, predominantly compiled genealogies of Irish families in New England, and published The Irish Catholic Genesis of Lowell in 1920. During this time, O'Dwyer was also published widely in local newspapers, sometimes as a contributor and sometimes in letters to the editor. He wrote Stone Inscriptions in St. Augustine's Cemetery, 1819-1900 for the Boston Athenæum around 1926. It may be the case that O'Dwyer completed a law degree sometime in the 1920s, as some of his correspondents addressed him as Esquire. Throughout his lifetime, he also wrote plays, short stories, and poetry, and performed as a pianist. O'Dwyer died on May 18, 1942.


"George Francis O'Dwyer." Family Search, (

"In November 1818, St. Augustine's Cemetery in South Boston became the city's first Catholic cemetery." IRISH BOSTON HISTORY & HERITAGE, (, November 14, 2021.

"Remembering O'Dwyer's 'Irish Catholic Genesis of Lowell'." Lowell Historical Society, (, September 15, 2013.


4 Linear Feet (6 containers)

Language of Materials



Papers documenting the scholarly work and personal life of twentieth-century historian and genealogist, George F. O'Dwyer. The collection is composed of family photographs, correspondence, genealogical research, writings and notes, and records of the American Irish Historical Society. The bulk of the material relates to the history of Irish Catholics in Lowell, Massachusetts.


Arranged in six series: I. Biographical; II. Genealogy; III. Correspondence; IV. Writings; V. Research and notes; and VI. American Irish Historical Society. Each series is arranged alphabetically.


Because the current accessioning system was not used until January 1986, it is not possible to know exactly the dates of acquisition of materials received before that time.

Related Materials

George D. Cahill papers, MS.1993.041, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Thomas Murray family papers, MS.2000.073, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

George F. O'Dwyer Collection. Archives and Distinctive Collections. College of the Holy Cross.

Separated Materials

Published works associated with this collection have been transferred within the Burns Library and can be found in the Boston College Library catalog.

George F. O'Dwyer Papers
1782-1929, (bulk 1917-1929)
Molly Aleshire
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States