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

19 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 {Italics 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
Author's donation, through Professor Augustine Martin, 1985; bequest, 1997. Six letters bought, 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).