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Frank O'Connor Collection: Home

Frank O'Connor's personal library.

About the Collection

This is O'Connor's personal library. The collection comprises c.700 items of which 10 are 19th century items and the remainder 20th century. In addition, there is a small selection of vinyl records. Languages in the collection include English, Irish Gaelic, Latin and French.

The collection prefix before the call number is: O'Connor.


The collection was acquired from Harriet O’Donovan Sheehy, Frank O’Connor’s widow. 

Biographical History

Frank O’Connor, born Michael Francis O'Donovan, (1903-1966) was an Irish author and translator, writing poetry (original and translations from Irish), dramatic works, memoir and criticism but is best known for his short stories. O’Connor was raised in Cork and was the only child of Minnie and Michael O'Donovan. He attended Saint Patrick’s School on Gardiner's Hill and was influenced greatly by his teacher Daniel Corkery, and he also attended North Monastery School.  O’Connor was active on the republican side in the civil war and in 1922 was interned in Gormanston. Following this he turned away from republicanism and political violence. Following his release and until 1938 he worked as a librarian in Sligo, Cork, and Dublin. He began publishing short stories and translations of poems from Irish in the mid-1920s an after 1938 he focused on his writing and did not return to live in Cork. As a writer of short stories O'Connor used Irish characters and settings almost exclusively, with a significant proportion of stories set in and around Cork.  

In the 1930s O'Connor became a member and later director of the board of the Abbey Theatre. Following Yeats’ death he resigned from the theatre. In 1939 O'Connor married Esther Evelyn Bowen Speaight, a divorced Welsh actress. The marriage created difficult professional and personal situations for him in Ireland in the 1940s. In the same period several of his publications were banned and he defended his friend, the traditional storyteller Timothy Buckley, and the banned book by Eric Cross The tailor and Ansty (1943). During the early 1940s he served as poetry editor of and contributor to The Bell. He moved to England and then the US. His marriage ended and in 1953 he married Harriet Randolph Rich. After his second marriage he returned to Ireland more often re-establishing a base in Dublin.  O'Connor's international reputation expanded in the 1950s-1960 and his work regularly featured in The New Yorker.  He died in Dublin in 1966.

Collection Highlights

More Information

UCC Library's Special Collections holds a collection that is the bibliographic record of Frank O'Connor's works.

In addition UCC Library Archives Service holds:

  • the Frank O'Connor (Agents) Collection (BL/L/FOCA). The Frank O’Connor (Agents) collection is a group of mainly files generated by 3 agents, Don Congdon (1918 – 2009), Cyrilly Abels (1903 – 1975) and Joan Daves (1919 – 1977), who handled O’Connor’s literary affairs.
  • Correspondence with Frank O'Connor & Seán O'Faolain (BL/L/JVK;PD;GW). This is an artificial collection, comprising three small collections which all involve correspondence with and about the Irish writer Frank O’Connor and Sean O’Faolain.
  • Ruth Sherry: Index Cards (BL/AR/RS/1). The collection contains handwritten index cards, in pencil and ink, created by Ruth Sherry during the course of researching and compiling the definitive bibliography of the writer Frank O’Connor. Professor Sherry passed away before the work was published.