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Patrick A. Collins papers

Collection MS-1986-038: Patrick A. Collins papers


  • Creation: 1858-1947, undated
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1880 - 1905

Scope and Contents

The Patrick A. Collins papers include correspondence, certificates, photographs, manuscripts, and printed materials related to his life and work as a lawyer, politician, and activist for Irish independence. Much of the correspondence is concerned with the operations of the American branch of the Land League (Ireland), of which Collins was president. It also documents Boston and American political life in the late nineteenth century. Notable correspondents include Mark Twain, Grover Cleveland, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and John Boyle O'Reilly.


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 A. Collins was born on March 12, 1844, in Fermoy, County Cork, Ireland. After the death of his father he and his family immigrated to the United States in 1848 and settled in Chelsea, Massachusetts. With limited formal education, he worked his way up in the upholstery trade, became involved in union activities and began to study the law. He graduated from Harvard Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1871. In 1873, he married Mary E. Carey, and they had three children, Paul, Marie, and Alice.

Collins also entered politics starting first as a Massachusetts State Representative in 1868 and then a State Senator in 1870. He served as a Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts from 1883-1889 and then was appointed Consul General to London by President Grover Cleveland from 1893-1897. He was also heavily involved in Irish politics, becoming president of the American Land League in 1880, a branch of the Land League (Ireland), an organization which fought to abolish landlordism in Ireland.

In 1901 Collins was elected mayor of Boston and served in that position until his death on September 14, 1905.


"Collins, Patrick Andrew, (1844-1905)." Biographical Directory of United States Congress.

Kennedy, Lawrence. "Young Patrick A. Collins and Boston Politics after the Civil War." Historical Journal of Massachusetts, vol. 38 no. 1, Spring 2010.

"Mayor-Elect of Boston: Interesting Life History of Gen. Patrick A. Collins." New York Times, December 15, 1901.

"Patrick A. Collins." Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.


4.25 Linear Feet (4 containers)

Language of Materials



These papers document the work of Irish immigrant Patrick A. Collins (1884-1905), a lawyer, politician, and activist for Irish independence, through his correspondence, certificates, photographs, manuscripts, and printed materials.


The collection is arranged into five series: I. Correspondence; II. Graphic materials; III. Manuscripts; IV. Official documents, and V. Printed materials.

Series I is arranged into three subseries: A. Patrick A. Collins; B. Family; and C. Other.

Series IV is arranged into two subseries: A. Of Patrick A. Collins; and B. Collected by Collins.


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

Boston College collection of John Boyle O'Reilly, MS.2004.093, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

George D. Cahill papers, MS.1993.041, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Mary Boyle O'Reilly papers, MS.2003.045, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Patrick Cahill Collection of Belloc and Chesterton Materials, MS.1986.138, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Patrick A. Collins Papers
1858-1947 (bulk 1880-1905)
Annalisa Moretti
March 2019
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