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Mary Josephine Ryan Landrey collection of Irish letters

Collection MS-1997-035: Mary Josephine Ryan Landrey collection of Irish letters


  • Creation: 1878 - 1888

Scope and Contents

The majority of this collection documents Irish émigré Jane Conlon's incremental payments to the Cunard Steamship Company from 1882 to 1888 in order to purchase passage from Ireland to the United States for her sister. There is also a letter to Conlon from her maternal uncle in Ireland, which mentions the upcoming introduction of Home Rule and a recent outbreak of cholera. One additional letter from Ireland details the experience of Bridget Skelly, an Irish émigré, on a visit home to her parents, as written to her friend and employer Mrs. Tomlinson in the United States.


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: Jane and Maria Conlon

Jane Conlon emigrated from Doongelagh, County Sligo, Ireland to Boston in 1882. She worked as a maid in the home of the Chauncey Brewers in the Back Bay neighborhood. She purchased steerage passage to America for her sister, Maria, aboard a Cunard Steamship Company vessel in the early 1880s. She paid for the ticket in installments beginning in 1882 and continuing through 1888. After the passage was paid, Jane married John Donaher in 1888 and Maria was her maid of honor. Maria worked as a maid for the Russel Grays in Marlboro Street in Boston. Jane died in 1911 and Maria in 1965.

Source: Donor correspondence

Biographical note: Bridget Skelly

Bridget Skelly emigrated from Streamstown, Newton Cashel, County Longford, Ireland to Woodbury, Connecticut in about 1870 to live with her brother Michael Skelly. While in Connecticut, she worked as a governess for Mrs. Tomlinson. About 1874 she returned to Ireland to care for her ailing parents. She later returned to the United States and lived with her other brother John Skelly in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, where she died in 1895.

Source: Donor correspondence


.5 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



This collection documents two Irish émigrés to the United States through correspondence and ephemera. Themes covered include funding emigration for relatives in Ireland and conditions there in the 1870s and 1880s.



Custodial History

Jane Conlan was Mary Josephine Ryan Landrey's maternal grandmother, and Landrey received the papers from Conlon's younger sister Maria. Bridget Skelly's brother Michael was Mary Josephine Ryan Landrey's great-grandfather, and the letter was passed down through the family.


Gift of Leo R. Landrey, husband of Mary Josephine Ryan Landrey, in 1997.

Related Materials

Letters to Bridget Hughes, MS.2004.074, 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.

Mary Josephine Ryan Landrey Collection of Irish Letters
Helen Brady, Spring 2005; 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