Mary O'Hara papers

The Mary O'Hara papers document the performances, public career, and personal life of Irish soprano and harpist Mary O'Hara. The collection highlights her early rise to fame in the 1950s until her entrance to Stanbrook Abbey in 1962, as well her return to her music career in 1974 until her retirement in 1994. O'Hara was married to the American poet Richard Selig from 1956 until his death in 1957, and her selected personal correspondence with him as well as some of his manuscripts are part of this collection. In addition, these papers include some notebooks and artwork from her time as a nun at Stanbrook Abbey (1962-1974).


The collection consists primarily of business and personal correspondence. It also includes audio and video recordings, performance scripts, publicity materials, literary manuscripts, sheet music, diaries, photographs, ephemera, and subject files. There are also electronic records and a few pieces of art and artifacts, including O'Hara's first professional harp.



Publicity materials include press releases, clippings, concert and tour schedules, ephemera, fan club newsletters, journal articles, posters, programs, flyers, and unpublished articles. Photographs include prints, slides, transparencies, and contact sheets. Subject files comprise published articles, photographs, and notes on subjects of interest to O'Hara. Scrapbooks are fragile and compile newspaper clippings that are duplicated in Series IX, Subseries B.



This collection is arranged in thirteen series: I. Art and artifacts; II. Audiovisual materials; III. Correspondence; IV. Diaries and notebooks; V. Electronic records; VI. Literary manuscripts; VII. Performance scripts and related materials; VIII. Photographs; IX. Publicity materials; X. Printed materials; XI. Scrapbooks; XII. Sheet music and song lyrics; XIII. Subject files.



Audiovisual materials are further divided into six subseries: A. Published sound cassettes; B. Published sound discs: analog, 33 1/3 rpm; C. Published sound discs: analog, 45 rpm; D. Published videodiscs (DVD-R); E. Unpublished sound cassettes; F. Unpublished sound discs: analog, 33 1/3 rpm.



Correspondence is further divided into three subseries: A. Business correspondence; B. Fan mail; C. Personal correspondence.



Performance scripts and related materials are divided into three subseries: A. Albums and repertoire; B. Live musical performances; C. Television and radio.



Printed materials are divided into two subseries: A. Music books; B. Other books.



Publicity materials are divided into nine subseries: A. Biographical notes and press releases; B. Clippings; C. Concert and tour schedules; D. Ephemera; E. Fan club newsletters; F. Journals; G. Posters; H. Programs and fliers; I. Unpublished articles.

Sheet music and song lyrics are divided into two subseries: A. Sheet music; B. Song lyrics.


Physical characteristics

37.0 Linear feet (52 boxes)




Custodial History

Gift of Mary O'Hara and Padraig O'Toole, 2009-2013.

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Added by John J. Burns Library | Last updated on: 10 April 2018