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Patrick Cahill Collection of Belloc and Chesterton Materials

Collection MS-1986-138: Patrick Cahill Collection of Belloc and Chesterton Materials


  • Creation: 1909-1973, undated
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1951-1958

Scope and Contents

This collection documents Patrick Cahill's research and work on British writers Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton. It includes manuscript and typescript versions of some of Cahill's publications such as "Chesterton and the Future of Democracy"; Old Thunder: A Centenary Tribute to Hilaire Belloc; and Cahill's principal work,The English First Editions of Hilaire Belloc.

The collection also includes copies of works by other authors, including several musical scores of Belloc's works such as "The Birds" and "Our Lord and Lady," as well as a signed copy of John J. Sullivan's poem "Going to Work on Monday Morning in November." The correspondence in this collection pertains primarily to Cahill's search for existing copies of Belloc's works, as well as his frequent sale of his own copies of Belloc's texts.

The collection also features a few letters from Hilaire Belloc to various correspondents, as well as some of Cahill's research notes from his work on The English First Editions of Hilaire Belloc. Of particular interest is a sound recording entitled The Authentic Voice of H. Belloc Singing. This recording features Belloc singing four of his own songs: "Ha'nacker Mill," "The Islands (Cruise of the Nona)," "Tarantella," and "The Winged Horse." The reverse side of the record includes Ian Wallace singing four of Belloc's songs.


Language of Materials


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on 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: Patrick Cahill

British writer Patrick C. Cahill researched and wrote on the works of Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton. Cahill produced the first significant bibliography of Belloc’s works entitled The English First Editions of Hilaire Belloc (1953). Additional biographical information on Cahill is currently unavailable. Users of this collection are encouraged to provide additional biographical information if possible.

Biographical Note: Hilaire Belloc

The British writer Joseph Hilaire Peter Belloc was born in Celle Saint-Cloud, France, on 27 July 1870. In 1896 he married an American, Elodie Hogan, with whom he had five children -three sons and two daughters. Belloc began his literary career with Verses and Sonnets (1895). He next published The Bad Child’s Book of Beasts (1896), a collection of nonsense verse that was so popular it sold out in four days. Belloc then produced a series of biographies that included Danton (1899) and Robespiere (1901). In 1902 he published Path to Rome, which is perhaps his most representative work for its combination of Belloc’s love for travel and his fierce Roman Catholicism. It recounts Belloc’s journey on foot from Toul, France to Rome, Italy.

In 1906 Belloc was elected to the House of Commons as the representative for South Salford, a seat that he held until 1910. He left his political career to pursue journalism, founding the political journal, New Witness, with G.K. Chesterton. His political broadsides written with Chesterton and his brother, Cecil, were popularly known as the “Chesterbellocs.”

Belloc also served as editor of Land and Water, a journal devoted to the progress of the First World War, from 1914 to 1920. Belloc published prolifically over the course of his life. He authored 153 books of essays, fiction, history, biography, and poetry, as well as numerous articles for periodicals.

He continued to travel extensively until suffering a stroke in 1942. On 12 July 1953, Belloc accidentally fell into his fireplace while sleeping beside it. He was badly burned and died on 16 July 1953.

Biographical Note: G.K. Chesterton

G.K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton (1874–1936), writer, was born on 29 May 1874 in London. At the age of eighteen, Chesterton enrolled in the Slade School of Fine Art at University College, London. Chesterton toyed with the idea of becoming a professional artist, but financial concerns and his great love of literature inspired him to pursue a career as a writer.

Following World War I Chesterton became the President of the Distributist League, an organization promoting the idea that land should be divided into the smallest possible holdings and then distributed equally throughout society. During this time Chesterton wrote a significant volume of material expressing his dislike of government and modern progress; his views were often considered ruralist, anti-modernist and Victorian. In addition to his work with the Distributist League, Chesterton edited the literary publications The New Witness and his ownG.K.'s Weekly.

In 1922 Chesterton converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism. Shortly after his conversion he wrote several theologically oriented works, including biographies of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Thomas Aquinas. In 1934 he received the honor of Knight Commander with Star, Order of St. Gregory the Great.

Chesterton died on 14 June 1936, at his home in Beaconsfield.


.75 Linear Feet (2 containers)


Papers pertain to writer Patrick Cahill's research and publication on Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton. It contains manuscripts and typescripts of Cahill's essays on Belloc and Chesterton; Cahill's research notes; correspondence; Distributist League Reports from 1927-1936; a sound recording of Hilaire Belloc, and a photocopy of Hilaire Belloc's will.


Arranged into six series. Series I. Works by Patrick Cahill; Series II. Works by Other Authors; Series III. Correspondence; Series IV. Research Notes; Series V. Miscellaneous; and Series VI. Publications on Belloc and Chesterton.


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

Belloc Family Correspondence, MS.1996.028, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Belloc Family correspondence, MS.2007.007, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Belloc Family Correspondence, MS.2007.008, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Belloc Family Correspondence and Administrative Documents, MS.2007.009, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Bessie Rayner Parkes Belloc - Kelsey Family Collection, MS.1998.027, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Elodie (Hogan) Belloc Correspondence, MS.2007.005, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Hilary A. Belloc Papers, MS.1998.004, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Hilaire Belloc Papers, MS.2005.002, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Hilaire Belloc Papers, MS.2005.003, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Hilaire Belloc papers, MS.2007.012, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Herbert Family - Hilaire Belloc Correspondence, MS.1991.003, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Hoffman Nickerson - Hilaire Belloc Collection, MS.1988.008, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Maurice Baring papers, MS.1996.041, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

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.

Processing Information

All material except for Box 2, Folder 21 is from accession number MS.1986.138.

Patrick Cahill Collection of Belloc and Chesterton Materials
1909-1973, undated [bulk 1951-1958]
Matthew Heitzman
2007 July
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