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Letters to Bridget Hughes

Collection MS-2004-074: Letters to Bridget Hughes


  • Creation: 1846-approximately 1850

Scope and Contents

This collection contains five letters written to Bridget Hughes, a recent immigrant to America, by her family in Ireland, including her father Daniel McConville and her uncles James and John McConville. The letters discuss both family news and general events. They are particularly noteworthy in their discussion of the economic and social impact of the Irish Famine. Transcriptions are also included.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research; digital version also available.

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

Bridget Hughes was the daughter of Mary McConville and Daniel Hughes. The Hughes and McConvilles were Catholic farming families living in Creenkill, a town in County Armagh of Northern Ireland. At the brink of the Great Famine in 1846, Bridget emigrated with her aunt, Ellen McConville, from Ireland to America. They initially lived in Boston but eventually settled in Hingham, Massachusetts near Ellen's sister, Alice McConville Crowley, who had emigrated a year earlier. The McConville and Hughes men joined them around 1848 or 1849. However, they were displeased by Hingham’s level of industrialization. As a result, most family members migrated to the American Midwest (the Hugheses to southern Wisconsin and the McConvilles to Illinois) in search of farmland and a more familiar agricultural life.


Hughes-McConville family letters, MS.2004.074, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

McCreave, Eamon. “Crossmaglen Famine Letters to America.” Seanchas Ard Mhacha, 20:1 (2004): 140-161.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



This collection contains letters to Bridget Hughes, a mid-nineteenth century immigrant to America from Ireland, from her Hughes and McConville family in Ireland. The letters discuss both family news and general events, but are particularly noteworthy for their documentation of the economic and social impact of the Irish Famine.



Custodial History

The letters came to Rosemary Grundin Royer from her maternal aunt, Mabelle Zimmer Bailey (d. May 15, 1984). Mabelle received them from Rose McConville Zimmer (her mother) who died December 17, 1925. It is presumed that Rose Zimmer received these letters from her father John McConville.


Gift of Rosemary G. Royer and Kathryn R. Linscott in 2004.

Existence of digital copies

This collection is available digitally. Links are included in the inventory.

Related Materials

Mary Josephine Ryan Landrey collection of Irish letters, MS1997.035, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

George R. Ingham collection of the William James MacNeven family, MS.2009.002, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

James Prendergast family correspondence, MS.1986.141, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Processing Information

The letters were transcribed by Burns Library staff during processing in 2004.

Letters to Bridget Hughes
1846-approximately 1850
Moira E. O’Connell, Fall 2004; Edward Copenhagen, Spring 2005; revised by Lynn Moulton
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