Eleanor C. Donnelly papers. 1873-1905 (MC 48)

Eleanor C. Donnelly (1838-1917) was a significant figure on the Philadelphia literary scene.  Called “The Poet of the Pure Soul”, she wrote 85 books, contributed to numerous Catholic magazines and newspapers, and served as editor of the Augustinian magazine, “Our Lady of Good Counsel.”

This collection contains correspondence, largely from priests and Bishops throughout the United States in answer to her requests for facsimiles of episcopal seals. Also included is an autograph book containing signatures of American Confederate prisoners of war held at the Johnson’s Island prison.

1 box, 0.4 linear ft.

*Materials in this collection, including the autograph book, have been digitized and can be viewed at the Digital Library @ Villanova University.

Patrick Reilly papers, 1828-1878 (MC 42)

A priest who served in Wilmington, Delaware, Patrick Reilly (1807-1885) founded and ran St. Mary’s College in 1841. The school was considered the most prominent Catholic men’s boarding school in the mid-Atlantic region. Attendance at the school dropped significantly during the Civil War due to the fact that more than one third of the student body was from the southern states. It closed in 1866.

The bulk of the collection is correspondence, most of it covering the years 1841-1866 when Reilly ran St. Mary’s College. Most of this correspondence concerns matters at the school. Some of the letters from students document their experiences during the Civil War. The collection also includes business and legal records of the school. [17 linear feet]

Robert M. O’Reilly papers, 1862-1925 (MC 34)

Portrait photograph of Robert M. O'Reilly, circa 1870

circa 1870

Robert Maitland O’Reilly (1845-1912) was the 20th Surgeon General of the United States Army serving from September 7, 1902 to January 14, 1909. O’Reilly served a long military medical career beginning as a medical cadet in August 1862 during the Civil War. Other notable appointments include physician at the White House during both of President Grover Cleveland’s administrations, attending surgeon in Washington, D. C., and chief surgeon for several units during the Spanish-American War. He also served as a delegate at the International Conference for the Revision of the Geneva Convention in Geneva in 1906. During his time as surgeon general, O’Reilly made significant improvements by elevating the status and personnel of the army medical corps and furthering medical research.

This collection contains both personal and professional correspondence, much of which documents O’Reilly’s service during the Civil War. Also included are personal papers, including certificates of appointment and assignments, military circulars, and ephemera as well as a scrapbook documenting the 1906 Geneva Convention Conference.

0.4 Linear feet ; 1 box

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William C. White letters, 1861-1869 (MC 17)

William C. White (dates of birth and death are unknown) was an Irish Catholic Union soldier from Philadelphia. White began his Civil War service as a volunteer with the 69th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers on August 19, 1861 and served in some of the bloodiest and most important battles of the War – Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.

This collection contains letters from White to his parents in Philadelphia, recounting his experiences during the war.

0.4 Linear feet ; 1 box

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