Mary Lavin Papers

Mary Lavin

Mary Lavin

UCD Special Collections holds the papers of Mary Lavin.

Identity Statement

Reference code IE/UCD/SC/LAV

Mary Lavin Papers.


Level of Description

40 boxes.


Mary Lavin (1912-1996).

Biographical History

  • Mary Lavin was born in East Walpole, Massachusetts, to Irish parents. 
  • When she was ten the family returned to Ireland.
  • Mary attended Loreto Convent School in Dublin and University College Dublin, where she studied English and French.
  • She received her M.A. in English from UCD in 1936 and wrote her first short story, Miss Holland on the back of a typed draft of her Ph.D. dissertation on Virginia Woolf.
  • The story was published in the Dublin Magazine in 1939.
  • In 1940 her short story The Green Grave and the Black Grave appeared in the American publication Atlantic Monthly.
  • Lavin’s first collection of short stories, Tales from Bective Bridge, was published in 1942, and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.
  • Mary Lavin married William Walsh in 1942. The couple moved to County Meath and had three daughters before Walsh’s death in 1954.
  • During this period Lavin continued her prolific career, publishing several collections of short stories and a novel, Mary O’Grady.
    In 1969, Lavin married again to Michael Scott, a former Jesuit priest.
  • She received several awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship (1959, 1961), the Katherine Mansfield Prize (1961) and an honorary Doctorate of Literature from UCD (1968).
  • Her short stories appeared in many prestigious periodicals such as the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and the Kenyon Review
  • In 1992 the members of Aosdána elected Mary Lavin as Saoi (the highest honour the organisation can bestow) for achieving ‘singular and sustained distinction’ in literature. 

Source of Acquisition

  • 38 boxes - Author's bequest 1997, 2017
  • 2 boxes - gift of Maureen Murphy, 2013
  • 6 letters purchased, 1998.

Scope and Content

  • Drafts of short stories and poems [1938-87]
  • Personal correspondence, publishing agreements and examination certificates [1926-87?]

Access and Use

The materials in this collection are available by appointment only to research students, reaching staff and scholars. Research students should have a letter of recommendation from their supervisor.

Photocopying or digital photographing of this material is not permitted.


Finding Aid
Partial descriptive list; requires revision.

More Information

Find information on Mary Lavin in the Dictionary of Irish Biography (UCD only).