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Robert Brennan and Maeve Brennan papers, 1935-1967Description of Series
Robert Brennan and Maeve Brennan papers, 1935-1967

University of Delaware Library

Special Collections

Newark, Delaware 19717-5267

Phone: 302-831-2229

Fax: 302-831-6003


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Brennan, Maeve.
Title:Robert Brennan and Maeve Brennan papers, 1935-1967
Call Number:MSS 243
Extent: 1 linear foot (7 boxes)
Abstract: The Brennan papers consist of writings from the author and diplomat, Robert Brennan, and writings and correspondence belonging to his daughter, the author, Maeve Brennan.
Language:Materials in English and Irish.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Related Materials in This Repository

MSS 103 John Malcolm Brinnin papers


Purchase, 1987.


MSS 243, Robert Brennan and Maeve Brennan papers, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Robert Brennan was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1881. Brennan was trained as a surveyor and was employed in the early part of his career as a surveyor with the Wexford County Council. He subsequently became a journalist and joined the staff of the Enniscorthy Echo.

Brennan was active in local and national politics. He helped organize militia volunteers in Wexford and was quartermaster of the local Brigade. He participated in the 1916 Rising and was sentenced to death; the sentence was commuted, however, and Brennan was imprisoned briefly in Dartmoor Prison. Following his release from prison, Brennan continued his political activity, which resulted in a second imprisonment in Cork Jail in 1917.

By 1918 Brennan was active with organizers for Sinn Fein and was Director of Elections in the 1918 General Election. Brennan was arrested and imprisoned once more in 1920, but his political career continued to flourish. Following service as Irish Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, he became director of publicity for the Republican Forces during the Irish Civil War.

Brennan helped found The Irish Press and served as general manager from 1930 until 1934, when he was appointed Secretary to the Irish Legation in Washington. In 1938 Brennan was appointed Charge d'Affaires and in August of that year became Irish Minister in Washington. In 1947 Brennan returned to Ireland to assume the position of Director of Broadcasting at Radio Eirann. Brennan retired from that position in 1948.

Following his retirement Brennan wrote extensively and produced fiction, including novels, short stories, and mysteries, plays, and essays. Brennan's best-known works include the novel The Man Who Walked Like a Dancer (1951), and the play Good Night Mr. O'Donnell (1951). Brennan's autobiography Allegiance, was published in 1950. Much of Brennan's writing remains unpublished. Robert Brennan died in Ireland in 1964.

Maeve Brennan was born in Dublin, Ireland, on January 6, 1917. She moved to the United States when her father, Robert Brennan, was appointed Secretary to the Irish Legation in 1934. During the 1940s Brennan worked for Harper's Bazaar and subsequently joined the staff of The New Yorker. She was married to her fellow New Yorker writer St. Clair McKelway, but the marriage ended in divorce.

Brennan wrote a substantial number of stories, essays, and short casual pieces which were published in The New Yorker, often under the pen name "The Long-Winded Lady." Brennan had several collections of her stories published including In and Out of Never-Never Land (1969), The Long-Winded Lady (1969), and Christmas Eve (1974). Maeve Brennan died in New York City in 1993.

Scope and Content Note

The Brennan papers consist of manuscripts and papers of the author and diplomat, Robert Brennan, and of his daughter, the author, Maeve Brennan.


  • Series I. Robert Brennan manuscripts, circa 1948-1953
  • Series II. Maeve Brennan papers, circa 1953-1966
    • II.1. Correspondence, undated
    • II.2. Herbert's Retreat [novel], undated
    • II.3. The New Yorker galleys, circa 1953-1966
  • Series III. Miscellaneous Papers, undated
    • III.1. Personal miscellany, undated
    • III.2. Personal miscellany, undated
    • III.3. Printed ephemera, undated
    • III.4. Cuala Press broadsides, 1935, 1937
    • III.5. Pamphlets and magazines, 1908-1963

Selected Search Terms

Corporate Names

Cuala Press.

Uniform Title

New Yorker (New York, 1925-)

Topical Terms

Authors, Irish--History--20th century--Sources.

Irish literature--History--20th century--Sources.

Women authors, Irish--History--20th century--Sources.

Form/Genre Terms


Galley proofs.










Personal Contributors

Brennan, Robert, b. 1881.