Five College Archives and Manuscript
                        Collections
Home >> Sophia Smith Collection >> Kathleen O'Shea Papers, 1910-2006
Smith College seal
Kathleen O'Shea Papers, 1910-2006
6 boxes (6 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 578

Abstract:
Author; Lesbian activist; Social reform advocate; Catholic nun. Papers include documents and memorabilia from O'Shea's childhood, including her education in becoming a nun; correspondence; photographs; and a small amount of materials pertaining to lesbian former nuns. Photographs such luminaries as Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Sister Helen Prejean, and David Kaczynski (brother of infamous "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski). Also included is research related to O'Shea's writings on women on death row with files on sixty-five women prisoners, including correspondence from some, and video tapes about women in prison, including Aileen Wuornos.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the unpublished works by the creator of this collection. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Kathleen O'Shea was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in November 26, 1944. She was adopted in infancy by Sarah Alida Conde O'Shea and James O'Shea and grew up in Salina, Kansas. In eighth grade she decided to become a nun in the Catholic Church. In 1958 she became an Aspirant of the Apostolic School at Nazareth Motherhouse in Concordia, Kansas, but was sent home at the end of the year to wait until she was "more mature." In 1960, O'Shea began her Postulancy at St. Joseph's Villa in Peapack, New Jersey, graduating in 1962. She entered the Immaculate Heart Novitiate in Glen Cove, New York in August, 1961, and became a nun (Sister Mary Fidelis) in 1963. O'Shea was a nun for 30 years, after which she began work as social worker doing research on female offenders, with an emphasis on women on death row. She is the author of Female Offenders: An Annotated Bibliography (1997), Women and the Death Penalty in the United States: 1900-1998 (1999), and Women on the Row: Revelations From Both Sides of the Bars (2000), which was nominated for a Pulitzer.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Papers include documents and memorabilia from O'Shea's childhood, including her education in becoming a nun; correspondence with close friends; and photographs of O'Shea and friends; and a small amount of materials pertaining to lesbian former nuns. Photographs of events feature such luminaries as Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Sister Helen Prejean, and David Kaczynski (brother of infamous "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski). Also included is research related to O'Shea's writings on women on death row with files on sixty-five women prisoners, including correspondence from some, and video tapes about women in prison, including several about Aileen Wuornos. O'Shea has provided extensive annotation, explanatory notes, and biographical information, which add to the collection's richness and depth.

[NOTE: The contents list for this collection is not online. Contact the Sophia Smith Collection if you would like one sent to you.]


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

This collection has not been fully processed and therefore may be difficult to use.

Access to audiovisual materials may first require production of research copies.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the unpublished works by the creator of this collection. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Kathleen O'Shea Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

The papers were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Kathleen A. O'Shea in 2007.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to collection are expected and may not be reflected in this record.

Processing Information

Processed by Burd Schlessinger, 2007.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English


Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Capital punishment--United States--History--Sources
  • Catholic women--Biography--Sources
  • Death row inmates--United States--History--Sources
  • Death row--United States--History--Sources
  • Lesbian nuns--United States--Biography--Sources
  • Nuns--United States--Biography--Sources
  • O'Shea, Kathleen A.
  • Women and religion--United States--History
  • Women murderers--United States--History--Sources
  • Women prisoners--United States--History--Sources


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
Home | Help | About | Search