Marianne Reilly Papers, Archdiocese of Cincinnati Archives

Our Hidden Catholic Collection this week highlights the personal papers of Marianne Reilly (1804-1895), a lay Catholic woman living in rapidly growing early 19th century Cincinnati, now held at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Archives. The 3.5 linear feet in this collection includes correspondence (1827-1873), journals (1825-1886), and papers related to her estate and genealogy. You can access the finding aid online.

Reilly was active in social and church activities in Cincinnati; her family enjoyed a close relationship with Archbishop John B. Purcell. When Sisters of Charity first arrived in Cincinnati in 1829, they stayed with the Reilly family.

Reilly’s journals detail family life, social engagements, travels, weather reports, sickness concerns, and parish life. They include poetry in English and French, a financial journal, and her travels to other places with large Catholic populations, such as New Orleans, Louisville, Baltimore, and Mexico. Such a rich collection of personal papers documenting the life of a 19th century lay Catholic over such a long period enables us to get a rich glimpse into her world in a city straddling the North and South.

Michelle Smith
Archdiocesan Archivist
Archives of the Chancery
100 E. 8th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

[email protected]
(513) 263-3387

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A letter written from Archbishop John Purcell to Marianne Reilly on 18 May 1836.
Sketch of a funny figure in one of Reilly’s journals.
A dried flower preserved within one of Reilly’s journals.
The covers of three journals kept by Marianne Reilly now in the collection at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.