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Martin P. Harney, SJ papers

Collection BC-1988-026: Martin P. Harney, SJ papers


  • Creation: 1819-1976
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1915-1976

Scope and Contents

Composed of journals, professional correspondence, lectures, sermons, research and notes, typescripts and drafts, postcards, faculty work, and medals and realia. Most of the scholarly material is related to Jesuit and Catholic history and rites, and the culture and history of Ireland. Research files include the papers of the Hackett family, and document Irish immigration in the mid-nineteenth-century. Harney's personal life is also documented through extensive series of photographs and slides, diaries, family correspondence, and biographical records.


Language of Materials

Materials in this collection are primarily in English, with some French and Irish.

Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research.

Negatives, in Shared box 1715, are not an access medium and are not available for use. The photographs in Box 26 are closed pending conservation review.

Audio recordings have been digitally copied; all original media were retained, but may not be played due to format. Digital use copies can only be accessed in the Burns Library Reading Room.

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

Martin Patrick Harney, SJ was born on August 4, 1896 in Lynn, Massachusetts to Jennie (Martin) Harney and Martin B. Harney. He attended Sacred Heart and St. Mary's grammar schools and graduated from Lynn Classical High School in 1915. After his freshman year at Boston College, Harney entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1916. He earned his bachelor and master degrees from Woodstock College in Maryland in 1922 and 1923. His first classroom assignment was as a scholastic at Boston College in 1923, and he was ordained a Jesuit priest at Weston College in 1929. Harney went on to teach history at Boston College from 1930 to 1933, spent one year teaching at St. Bueno's College in North Wales, and returned to Boston College in 1934. He remained on the faculty as a professor of European History and Irish Cultural Studies until his death in 1976.

Harney authored a number of books about the history of the Jesuits and Catholicism and the history of Ireland. His published works include: The Jesuits in History (1941), published on the 400th anniversary of the order, Brother and Sister Saints (1957), Medieval ties between Italy and Ireland (1963), Good Father in Brittany (1964), Magnificent Witnesses (1970), The Legacy of Saint Patrick (1972), The Catholic Church through the Ages (1974), and Families who Followed the Lord (1974). Harney also founded the Blessed Oliver Plunkett Society, a cultural and social club fostering interests in Irish literature, traditions, songs, and folk dance. In 1965, he received a Gold Medal from the Eire Society of Boston, and in 1966 he received the St. Brendan Society Gold Medal Award. He was also a member of the American Historical Association, the American Catholic Historical Association, the American Jesuit Historical Conference (past president), the Irish Historical Society of Dublin, the American Commission for Irish Studies, and Les Amis de Saint Columban of Luxeuil, France.

Martin P. Harney, SJ died on November 10, 1976 at the Campion Center, Weston College.


"Fr. Harney, Professor for 46 Years, Dies." Obituary in Boston Globe. November 11, 1976.

"Martin Patrick Harney." WikiTree. (accessed June 15, 2023).


39 Linear Feet (37 containers)

0.28 Gigabytes (2 files with approximately 9 minutes of audio)


These papers document the scholarly work and personal life of twentieth-century Jesuit, Boston College history professor, and author, Martin P. Harney, SJ. The collection is composed of correspondence, typescripts and research, photographs and slides, sermons and lectures, a postcard collection, and several diaries and Harney family records. The bulk of the material relates to Harney's work as an author, with a focus on the history of the Jesuits and Catholicism, and the history of Ireland.


Arranged in seven series: I. Personal materials; II. Correspondence; III. Religious material; IV. Faculty work; V. Writings and research; VI. Visual materials; and VII. Hackett family papers.


The majority of the collection was acquired prior to 1986. 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. Other materials were received as a gift from Elizabeth O'Doherty in 1988, and transferred from the Office of the University Historian in 1993.

Related Materials

Eire Society of Boston Records, MS.2010.012, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

George E. Ryan papers, MS.2002.033, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Separated Materials

Published works associated with this collection have been transferred within the Burns Library and can be found in the Boston College Library catalog.

Martin P. Harney, SJ Papers
1819-1976, (bulk 1915-1976)
Molly Aleshire
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