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Annie and Elizabeth O'Brien Christitch papers

Collection MS-1994-039: Annie and Elizabeth O'Brien Christitch papers


  • Creation: 1879 - 1977

Scope and Contents

These papers document the professional lives of Elizabeth O'Brien Christitch and her daughter Annie Christitch, both writers and political activists in the early twentieth century. Their materials include correspondence; drafts and published copies of their writing; ephemera; newspaper clippings; and photographs of their family and the International Council of Women. Much of the correspondence concerns the Catholic Church in Serbia, the women’s rights movement, publishing, and Annie's lecture tours. Publications include programs from lectures, ceremonies, and political gatherings; magazine articles; and clippings. A number of the articles deal with Ireland. Manuscripts for each writer are present; many of those by Elizabeth O'Brien Christitch are signed "Ben Hurst." The bulk of the photographs are of Elizabeth, Annie, and Annie’s sister Janie. There are also images of the International Council of Women. Ephemera includes prayer cards, a Fianna Eireann membership card, and biographical information on Annie Christitch.


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: Annie Christitch

Annie Christitch was born in Belgrade in 1885, the daughter of Colonel L. N. Christitch and Elizabeth O'Brien Christitch. Her grandfather was the Prime Minister who helped form the young Serbian kingdom. Annie, her brother Nikola, and her sister Janie received most of their early education from their mother. Annie later received her B. A. at London University and attained fluency in English, French, Italian, German, Serb, Croat, Russian, and Gaelic. She served as lady-in-waiting to Queen Marie of Yugoslavia, and she and her brother accompanied the Duke of York (later King George VI) to Belgrade for the baptism of the Crown Prince Peter.

During the First World War, Annie Christitch worked with her mother as a nurse in Serbia and supervised several military hospitals. It is at this time that she and her mother were held prisoners. Christitch gave lectures in England in order to raise funds for medical supplies. She ran a soup kitchen for the Red Cross.

During WWII, Annie Christitch helped allied soldiers escape from Balkan countries, and she worked with Queen Marie and the British Red Cross to supply Yugoslav prisoners of war in Germany and Italy with parcels.

Annie Christitch worked for many years for the Daily Express and was one of the first women reporters to fly in an airplane. She was a founding member of the Catholic Women's Suffrage Society, which later became St. Jone's Alliance. In 1919, Pope Benedict XV gave her his blessing on the women's franchise movement. For the International Council of Women, she served as the Convener for the Press Committee from 1838 to 1947. The committee acted as a liaison between ICW and the Press Committees of National Councils.

She received the Order of the Serbian White Eagle and the Order of St. Sava. She was also decorated by The Yugoslavian Red Cross and the Czechoslovak White Lion.

Annie Christitch died in 1977 in London.


"Women in the News," short biography of Annie Christitch, Box 1, Folder 28, Annie and Elizabeth O'Brien Christitch papers, MS.1994.039, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Biographical Note: Elizabeth O'Brien Christitch

Elizabeth O'Brien Christitch was born in Limerick, Ireland as the daughter of John O'Brien of Loughghur, Limerick. She married Colonel L. N. Christitch of the Royal Serbian Army. She had three children: Nikola, Annie, and Janie, who later became Mother Mary of the Cross.

During the First World War she worked in Belgrade for the Red Cross. She was also an original member of the Serbian Relief Fund Committee. She and her daughter Annie were held as prisoners in Serbia for three and a half years, with their release aided by the Pope.

Christitch was a writer, poet, and translator. She wrote under the pen name Ben Hurst and was best known for her novel The Pride of Garr (1925). She was a correspondent for the Tribe, and her translation of the Serbian National Anthem was sung in England during the War. During the Balkan War she wrote for several London daily papers and The Chicago Tribune.

Christitch received the Serbian Cross of Merit for her work in the Balkan War of 1913, and a medal from the Red Cross Society for her service in Belgrade during World War I.

Elizabeth O'Brien Christitch died in London on January 26, 1933 at the age of seventy-three.


Obituary, Catholic News Service news feed, February 6, 1933. Accessed on February 2, 2022 at


0.5 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



These papers document the professional lives of Elizabeth O'Brien Christitch and Annie Christitch, Serbian-Irish mother-and-daughter writers and political activists. Their materials include correspondence; drafts and published copies of their writing; ephemera; newspaper clippings; and photographs of their family and the International Council of Women.


This collection is organized into five series: I. Correspondence; II. Printed materials; III. Manuscripts; IV. Photographs; and V. Ephemera.

Series I. Correspondence is arranged in four subseries: A. Letters; B. Postcards; C. Telegrams; and D. Invitations.

Series II. Publications is arranged in three subseries: A. Programs; B. Magazine publications; and C. Newspaper clippings.

Series III. Manuscripts is arranged in three subseries: A. By Annie Christitch; B. By Elizabeth O'Brien Christitch; and C. Unattributed.

Series IV. Photographs is arranged in three subseries: A. Family; B. International Council of Women; and C. Others.


Gift of M. Jacqueline Galvin (1994).

Name forms

The Library of Congress authorized form of Annie's name is Annie Hristic. However, materials in this collection almost exclusively refer to her as Annie Christitch. Elizabeth does not have an authorized form, but her cataloged works use Elizabeth Christitch. The Christitch name form has been used for both women throughout the collection.

Annie and Elizabeth O'Brien Christitch Papers
Kimberly Maher (2008), revised
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