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Thomas P. Cahill Papers

Collection MS-1997-015: Thomas P. Cahill Papers


  • Creation: 1897-1967

Scope and Contents

The Thomas P. Cahill Papers consist primarily of the correspondence, manuscripts, and published works of Thomas P. Cahill. Correspondence is both incoming and outgoing and includes letters from Col. John Y.F. Blake, Boer hero John Oliver "Jack" Hindon, and a copy of the letter from Knights of Columbus Secretary James Murtha recognizing the quality of Cahill's work in France during the First World War. There is also significant correspondence between Cahill and Bryan Hannon discussing Irish history and the state of Irish American affairs between 1940 and 1941. The manuscript and printed materials contain mainly typescript and pamphlet versions of Cahill's works on the "Manchester Martyrs" and Irish history in general. There is also a typescript of the memoirs of Boer General Piet Cronje translated by Hindon.

The remainder of the collection comprises Cahill's scrapbook; Irish and Irish language periodicals; ephemera and artifacts including photographs; clippings and research materials concerning the Cahill family; and the Carnegie Medal awarded to Thomas Cahill in 1912.


Language of Materials

English, Irish

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 / Historical

Thomas P. Cahill, journalist and historian, was born in Manchester, England in 1862 to James and Catherine Cahill. James Cahill was involved in the 1867 rescue of fellow Fenians Timothy Deasy and Thomas J. Kelly, which resulted in the death of British police sergeant Charles Brett and the subsequent execution of Cahill's companions Allen, Larkin, and O'Brien (also known as the "Manchester Martyrs"). Cahill, along with his family, escaped to the United States. This event would be influential on the life and work of Thomas P. Cahill.

As a young man, Thomas Cahill helped to organize labor unions among the workers of the textile industries and served as the National Secretary of the National Union of Textile Workers. In 1912, Cahill was awarded the Carnegie Medal for saving the life of a young girl who was nearly struck and killed by a street car. During World War I, he was a war secretary for the Knights of Columbus with the 2nd Army, serving in France and earning recognition for the efficiency and merit of his work, especially during the Battle of the Argonne.

Cahill was also an editor, journalist, and author who composed works of verse and historical prose. Of particular interest to Cahill were the topics of the Manchester Rescue and the role of Irish Americans --especially Captain Jeremiah O'Brien of Machias, Maine -- in the American Revolutionary War. It is largely owing to Cahill's efforts that O'Brien has been recognized as the first naval officer commissioned for the Revolutionary War.

In his later years, Cahill became a celebrated historian and lecturer. He belonged to and was honored by a number of historical and Irish American societies including the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He died in the O'Brien Convalescent Home in Somerville, Massachusetts at the age of 80. His wife, Margaret Hamill Cahill, had died the previous year.

Source: The Thomas P. Cahill Family Papers, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.


3.25 Linear Feet (4 containers)


The papers contain manuscripts and publications of journalist and historian Thomas P. Cahill, as well as photographs, periodicals, newspaper clippings, correspondence and related items, mainly concerning Irish history and the role of James Cahill in the Manchester rescue of 1867. Also included is an account of the Boer War by P.A. Cronje.


Arranged in six series. I. Correspondence; II. Manuscripts; III. Printed Materials; IV. Scrapbook; V. Periodicals; and VI. Artifacts and Ephemera.


Gift of Winifred Olivieri in 1997.

Processing Information

Three binders containing typescripts were disassembled for preservation purposes and are designated as Binder I, II and III in the inventory to reflect their original housings.

A scrapbook that was received disassembled but in order has been assigned page numbers and organized accordingly.

Thomas P. Cahill Papers
AnneMarie Anderson, February 2010; Ray Hartley and Rachael Young
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