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Edward O'Dowd Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS188

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

The Edward J. O'Dowd Papers are a gift of his niece, Miss J.D. Marguerite Horrigan. The collection consists of a biographical sketch by Miss Horrigan about her uncle; an autograph/memento book belonging to O'Dowd, photographs and some printed items. Abbreviations used in this register include: EO'D (Edward O'Dowd); TLS (typed letter signed). Bulk dates: 1907-1948 Span dates: 1908-1985 Size: 0.25 linear feet, 1 Box


  • 1907 - 1985
  • Majority of material found within 1907 - 1948

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical note

The following brief account of the life of Edward Joseph O'Dowd has been gleened from the reminiscences of his niece, J.D. Marguerite Horrigan, whose biographical sketch can be read in Folder 1 of this collection of her uncle's papers. Edward Joseph O'Dowd was born in Liverpool, England, on November 29, 1881. His parents were John Lynn O'Dowd of Donegal, Ireland, and Sarah Harrison Phibbs of Sligo, Ireland. Apparently Miss Phibbs married a Catholic against her family's wishes. She later converted. John and Sarah O'Dowd had a family of four children: Charles John (1866), Edward Joseph (1881), Sarah (1883), and Mary, J.D. Marguerite Horrigan's mother (1886). Both Charles John and Edward Joseph were educated at St. Francis Xavier's College, Liverpool, where together with the atmosphere at home, the Jesuit influence was strong.

Eventually, Edward O'Dowd entered the Jesuit novitiate and was posted to the University of Louvain in Belgium (1908-1911). Later, he would also reside for some time in Alexandria, Egypt. While at Louvain, O'Dowd apparently demonstrated his interest in theater. In her biographical sketch, his niece, Miss Horrigan, remarks that the program of a play, 'Vice Versa' in which her uncle participated, seems to attest to this.

O'Dowd was never ordained. The reasons for this are unclear. According to his niece, there may have been a 'falling out' with church authorities, and his relationship was never quite the same again. During the First World War, O'Dowd worked as a journalist. There is a photograph (included in this collection, Folder 4) that shows him with a group in military uniform. However, Miss Horrigan believes that this was a sort of home guard for London, as O'Dowd was not considered fit for the army. Included among his papers is a certificate of Freedom of the City of London' dated June 8, 1915. Again Miss Horrigan expresses doubt as to whether it was presented for any actual military service rendered by her uncle during the war, or whether it was recognition for some financial support for the war effort.

Not long after 1926, Edward O'Dowd married Nance Horrigan, the sister of Miss J.D. Marguerite Horrigan's father. A photograph taken in 1926 shows Edward O'Dowd, Nance Horrigan and Marguerite [see Folder 4]. After they were married, Nance Horrigan pursued her career as a visiting nurse, while her husband looked after the household. During the period between 1934 and 1947 a rift occurred in the relationship between O'Dowd and his sister Mary. Hence, Miss Horrigan can relate little regarding her uncle's activities at this time other than that he had settled on Alderney in the Channel Islands and worked for a while as secretary to a writer. Edward O'Dowd died and was buried on Alderney in 1948.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Provenance: Gift of Miss J.D. Marguerite Horrigan, September 1985.

Edward O'Dowd Papers
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057