The Mary Anne Sadlier Archive

Mary Anne Sadlier (1820-1903), an Irish-American immigrant, wrote sixty volumes of work -- from domestic novels to historical romances to children's catechisms.

While largely forgotten today, Sadlier's work stands as an important part of American literary history.

First, Sadlier was one of the first fiction writers to address the Irish Famine. In addition, Sadlier's novels narrate that other great journey west across the frontier -- the trans-Atlantic voyage west of millions of immigrants.

Sadlier's novels ask us to redefine our conception of the nineteenth-century American genres. What does it mean, for example, when the rugged individual lighting out for the territories is not Natty Bumpo or Huck Finn, but an eighteen-year -old domestic servant named Bessy Conway?

The Mary Anne Sadlier Archive is designed to stimulate critical discussion of this important and fascinating writer. Sadlier's novels are now out of print and can be read at only a handful of libraries. By putting Sadlier's novel on-line, I hope to get her work out of the "rare book room" and back into circulation. From this web site, you will be able to read one of Sadlier's domestic novels, Bessy Conway, the story of an Irish domestic servant who journeys to American to see the world and make her fortune during the era of the Great Famine. You will also be able to access a critical introduction to her work, related links and information about Sadlier's cultural context, the most comprehensive biographical sketch available, a complete bibliography of all of her works as well an extensive bibliography of related material.


Maintained by Liz Szabo at the University of Virginia.

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