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Seán O'Faoláin letters to John and Mary Marshall

Identifier: MSS 0099-F0623

Scope and Content Note

Ten letters and postcards in this collection were written by O'Faoláin to the Marshalls from 1930-1958. They include details of O'Faoláin's daily routine and of his current projects, as well as the logistics of the Marshalls' trip to Ireland. An eleventh letter was written by Mary Marshall to her friend "Becky" on 9 January 1934, and includes details of how the Marshalls came to know the O'Faoláins. Widely recognized for his novels and short stories, O'Faoláin filled his writing with images of modern Irish life, examining what it meant to be Irish Catholic. His letters to Marshall address such themes as well.


  • Creation: 1930-1958, undated


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Seán O'Faoláin (1900-1991)

Irish author Seán O'Faoláin was born John Francis Whelanon February 22, 1900, in County Cork, Ireland.

In 1918, while a student at University College at Cork of National University of Ireland, O'Faoláin embraced Irish nationalism, joined the Irish Volunteers, and changed his name to its Gaelic equivalent. O'Faoláin fought in the Irish Revolution from 1918-1921, and served as the director of publicity for the Irish Republican Army in 1923. During this period of Irish social and political upheaval O'Faoláin began to write.

He eventually was graduated from the National University of Ireland with a B.A. in 1921, and an M.A. in 1925. From 1927 to 1929 O'Faoláin completed an M.A. at Harvard on a Commonwealth Fellowship to study Yeats's manuscripts. While in Cambridge, O'Faoláin made the acquaintance of John and Mary Marshall. His wife, Eileen, taught elementary school with Mrs. Marshall, and John Marshall was involved in the Mediaeval Academy of America, and with the publication of their journal, Speculum, in Cambridge.

After leaving Harvard, O'Faoláin served as a lecturer in English at Princeton University (1929); Boston College (1929); and St. Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, England (1929-1933), before returning to Ireland.

Both his novels and short stories have received critical acclaim as well as being widely popular. His first published collection of short stories, Midsummer Night Madness and Other Stories (1932), received a Femina Prize nomination in 1932. O'Faoláin continued to compose numerous short stories throughout his life, contributing to journals and popular magazines, such as Colliers, McCall's, and Playboy, and culminating in his Collected Stories in 1980.

In addition to writing short stories and novels, O'Faoláin authored biographies of Eamon de Valera, Constance Markievicz, Daniel O'Connell, Hugh O'Neill, John Henry Newman, as well as his own autobiography titled Vive Moi! (1964). He was also responsible for establishing the Irish journal, The Bell, in 1940, and he worked as its editor until 1945.

Seán O'Faoláin died April 20, 1991, in Dublin, Ireland.

Metzger, Linda (ed.)Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Vol. 12. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1984. pp. 349 351. Trosky, Susan M. (ed.)Contemporary Authors. Vol. 134. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1992. p. 377.


11 item (20 pages, with 2 envelopes)


Ten letters and postcards written by Seán O'Faoláin to John and Mary Marshall and one letter from Mary Marshall.


Purchase, February 1999.

Related Materials in this Repository

This item forms part of MSS 0099 Miscellaneous Literary and Historical Manuscripts.

MSS 0099, F0442 Seán O'Faoláin and Brian Friel letters to Joel Wells.

MSS 0124 Signatures records.

MSS 0136 Frank Hugh O'Donnell papers.

MSS 0141 Seán O'Faoláin letters.

Shelving Summary

F0623: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0099 manuscript boxes.

OCLC Number


Processed by Devin Harner, September 1999. Encoded by Debra Johnson, June 2007. Further encoded by George Apodaca, October 2015.

Finding aid for Seán O'Faoláin letters to John and Mary Marshall
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2006 March 16
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

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Newark DE 19717-5267 USA