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, in New Lights; or Life in Galway (1851),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.

Mary Anne Sadlier's Life and Work

Bessy Conway; or, The Irish Girl in America. 1861

Critical Introduction to the Work of Mary Anne Sadlier

Select Bibliography

Mary Anne Sadlier's Biography


Mary Anne Sadlier's Cultural Context

Irish History

Women and Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century America

The Domestic Novel

The Irish Domestic Servant

Nineteenth-Century Women Writers

Ireland and Catholicism

Anti-Immigrant Sentiment

Living Conditions on New York's Lower East Side (1840-1900)





Maintained by Liz Szabo at the University of Virginia.

Email to eas5e@virginia.edu
Since May 2, 1996 this page has received 24 hits.