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Edwin O'Connor Papers

 Collection — Container: MS Am. 1600
Call Number: MS Am 1600

Scope and Contents

This collection dates from 1935 to 1969 and documents the life and career of American novelist Edwin O’Connor. It contains material from his years as a student at the University of Notre Dame, his service in the US Coast Guard, and his professional career as both a radio announcer and writer. Drafts and copies of all of O’Connor’s published novels and plays, such as The Last Hurrah and Edge of Sadness, are included as are published reviews. Also present are copies of several of his short stories, articles, and radio scripts, drafts for unpublished material, photographs, and some autobiographical content, including a short journal. Among the material documenting O’Connor’s years at Notre Dame are notes and papers prepared for classes. The collection also contains a large amount of professional and personal correspondence discussing and commenting on O’Connor’s published works, his winning the Pulitzer Prize, and the film production of The Last Hurrah. Letters of condolence received by Veniette O’Connor upon the death of her husband Edwin O’Connor, and correspondence relating to the posthumous editing and publishing of The Best and Last of Edwin O’Connor, are also included.


  • 1937-1969
  • Other: Date acquired: 09/22/1971


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Edwin O’Connor was an American writer whose novels frequently centered on the experience of Irish-Americans. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 29, 1918 and grew up in nearby Woonsocket. O’Connor attended the University of Notre Dame from 1935 to 1939. After graduating he worked in radio until 1942, when he enlisted in the Coast Guard. O’Connor settled in Boston in 1945 where he worked as a freelance writer. A number of his articles and stories were published in Atlantic Monthly. In 1962 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his novel The Edge of Sadness. O’Connor died in 1968.


441.00 Items

Language of Materials



Arranged into 5 sections:

Works -- Folders 1-71

Letters -- Folders 72-308

Reviews -- Folders 309-355

Oversize Material -- Folders 365-361

Addenda -- Folders 362-441

Method of Acquisition

Donated to the Boston Public Library by Mrs. Edwin O'Connor in 1971.

Processing Information

Finding aid written by Rare Books and Manuscripts staff.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.
Edwin O'Connor Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2013-07: Updated by Rachel Stanton, July 2013.

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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