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John O'Brien papers

Collection MS-1986-028: John O'Brien papers


  • Creation: 1842 - 1910

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence addressed to Reverend John O’Brien. Most of the letters are thank you notes from across the country for souvenir editions of The Sacred Heart Review issued after the Eucharistic Congress in Montreal in 1910. The collection also contains letters that were collected by O’Brien, including one signed by Irish politician Daniel O’Connell. Additionally, there is a facsimile of a Protestant oath and three images relating to the family of Ansel and Violet O'Connor.


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: John O'Brien

Monsignor John O’Brien was born on April 2, 1838 in County Cork, Ireland. In 1850, he moved with his parents to the United States. Ten years later, he began studies at St. Charles College in Maryland and upon graduation went to St. Joseph’s Seminary in Troy, New York. O’Brien was ordained on June 6, 1868.

O’Brien was sent from his parish in Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts, to a new parish in East Cambridge, the Sacred Heart Church. It was at this new parish that he started an “Advanced Class in Christian Doctrine,” which was a class separate from Sunday school meant for boys and girls in the church aged fourteen to eighteen. It was through this class that O’Brien created The Sacred Heart Review in 1888 for the members of the class to publish items they had researched on the Catholic Church. In 1894, one hundred Catholic priests in New England formed the Review Publishing Company to expand The Sacred Heart Review. O’Brien ran the newspaper until his death on July 19, 1917.


“Death of Monsignor O’Brien.” The Sacred Heart Review, July 28, 1917.


3.5 Linear Feet (3 containers)

Language of Materials



This collection contains letters belonging to John O'Brien, a Catholic priest who founded The Sacred Heart Review, including his own correspondence and those that he collected. Of note is a letter signed by the Irish politician Daniel O'Connell. Also included is a facsimile of a Protestant oath.


The collection is divided into three series: I. Collected correspondence; II. John O'Brien's correspondence; and III. Printed materials.

Materials are 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.

John O'Brien Papers
Elizabeth Delaney, 1986. Revised by Stephanie Hall
August 2018
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