Guide to the Patricia O’Connell Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: O'Connell, Patricia, 1920-1996
Title: Patricia O'Connell Papers
Dates: 1884-1972 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 3.0 linear feet
Collection Number: Mss 613
Summary: This collection includes researcher Patricia O’Connell’s notes and documents related to the arrival of Ursuline nuns, especially Mother Amadeus, in Montana in 1884 and their work at missions on the Indian reservations.
Repository: University of Montana--Missoula
Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library
Archives and Special Collections

The University of Montana--Missoula
Missoula, MT 59812

Languages: Materials are in English 

Biographical Note

Patricia O’Connell was born on October 9, 1920 in Watkins, Minnesota to Joe and Helen Finley. She attended grade school in Carthage, South Dakota, high school in Billings, Montana, and graduated with a teaching degree from The University of Montana in Missoula. She taught grade school in Ennis, Montana for one year before marrying C. J. O’Connell in 1946 in Missoula. The couple moved to Bozeman at that time. After her husband passed away in 1971, she moved to Billings for a short time and then to Polson where she lived from 1975 to 1994. She then moved to Wenatchea, Washington where she lived at the time of her death on April 29, 1996.

Mrs. O’Connell was a member of several historical groups and did research on the exploration and settlement of Montana. She was particularly interested in the arrival and work of Ursuline nuns in Montana, primarily at the missions on reservations, and especially the life of Mother Amadeus.

Content Description

The bulk of this collection is correspondence, photocopied documents, news articles, interviews and research notes related to the arrival of Ursuline nuns, especially Mother Amadeus, in Montana in 1884 and their work at missions on the Indian reservations. The collection also contains some class notes, drafts of unpublished stories and articles, and miscellaneous including a small amount of correspondence as well as articles and essays about religion, primarily Catholicism.

The collection has been divided into five series. Series I, Research, contains materials related to the background of the Ursuline nuns in the United States, the arrival of the Ursuline nuns in Montana beginning in 1884, prominent Ursuline nuns including Mother Amadeus and Mother Angela, specific research on Mother Amadeus’s secular family, the Dunnes, and the Ursuline missions mostly located on Montana’s Indian reservations. Series II, Correspondence with Mother Amata, contains O’Connell’s initial correspondence with Mother Amata Dunne, the niece of Mother Amadeus, regarding the life of Mother Amadeus and the history of Ursuline nuns. It also contains later correspondence in which O’Connell addresses Mother Amata more as a friend and spiritual advisor. Series III, Class notes, contains English, labor history, general U.S. history and writing class notes as well as research about writing and miscellaneous topics. Series IV, Drafts of stories and articles, contains O’Connell’s original drafts of unpublished stories and articles, the latter related to Montana history. Series V, Miscellaneous, contains miscellaneous correspondence, magazine rejection slips, articles and essays about religion, particularly Catholicism, and some Catholic related ephemera.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of Archives and Special Collections, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, and The University of Montana--Missoula.

Restrictions on Use :  

Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. and any other applicable statutes. Copyright status unknown.

Preferred Citation :  

[Name of document or photograph number], Patricia O'Connell Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana-Missoula.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The collection is divided into five series:

Series I: Research, 1.75 linear feet, 1884-1971

Series II: Correspondence with Mother Amata, 0.5 linear feet, 1957-1971

Series III: Class notes, 0.2 linear feet, 1944-1969

Series IV: Drafts of stories and articles, 0.3 linear feet, undated

Series V: Miscellaneous, 0.25 linear feet, 1944-1972

Custodial History :  

Patricia O’Connell gathered and wrote the materials in this collection until her death when the collection was delivered to the archives by her son, Dan O’Connell, at her request

Acquisition Information :  

Donation following death bequest of Patricia O’Connell, 1996.

Processing Note :  

This collection was maintained in an approximation of the existing order that consisted of envelopes holding topically similar materials. Correspondence was put in chronological order and research materials were separated by type but maintained in the original categories. Loose materials were filed within original categories and where necessary, new categories were created.

Related Materials :  

An oral history interview conducted by Patricia O'Connell with Mother Amata Dunne is housed at the Montana Historical Society (OH 1388).

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I:  Research, 1884-1971
1.75 linear feet
1/1 Notes from interview with Mother Amato, undated
1/2 Notes including questions to ask Mother Amato, undated
1/3 Timeline of Ursuline nuns in Montana, undated
1/4 Article titled "Departing Ursulines," Toledo Blade, 1884
1/5 Research correspondence about Mother Amadeus, 1957
1/6 Research correspondence about Mother Amadeus, 1958
1/7 Research correspondence about Mother Amadeus, 1959
1/8 Research correspondence about Mother Amadeus Dunne and the Ursuline order in Montana, 1960
1/9 Correspondence regarding the writing of the Mother Amadeus story, 1958-1964
1/10 Research correspondence and notes about Mother Angela, the former Florence Lincoln, 1960-1994
1/11 Mother Angela, the former Florence Lincoln, photographs, undated
1/12 Research correspondence regarding Ursuline nuns, 1957-1958
1/13 Travel research notebook, 1958
1/14 Notes from Ursulines of the West, undated
1/15 Notes from Life of Mother Amadeus of the Heart of Jesus: Founder of the Ursuline Missions of Montana and Alaska, undated
1/16 Notes from Tom Nash’s paper, undated
1/17 Descriptions of Mother Amadeus, undated
1/18 Drafts of chapters on Mother Amadeus, undated
1/19 Notes about nuns and missions in Montana from various publications, undated
1/20 News clippings and articles about Ursuline nuns, 1927-1960
1/21 History of the Cleveland Ursulines, undated
1/22 Note about Marie (Tours) of the Incarnation, undated
1/23 Draft of chapter about Ursuline nuns, undated
1/24 Notes on trip to New York and Ursuline convents, undated
1/25 Research notes about nuns, undated
1/26 Holy card from funeral of Mother Amadeus, 1919
1/27 Research correspondence on Dunne family, 1957-1959
1/28 Research correspondence on Dunne family, 1960-1961
1/29 Research correspondence on Dunne family, 1963-1964
1/30 Research correspondence on Dunne family, 1967
1/31 Notes on the Dunne family and Mother Amadeus, undated
1/32 Notes from manuscript titled "Historical Memoir of the Dunne and O’Dunne families in Ireland and the U.S.A., 1957
2/1 Research on Irish background of Dunne family, 1964-1967
2/2 Correspondence regarding the Holy Family Mission, Browning, Montana, 1957-1966
2/3 The Ursuline Building at the Holy Family Mission near Browning, Montana photographs, 1960
2/4 The Ursuline Building at the Holy Family Mission near Browning, Montana photographs, 1959
2/5 Brief research notes on the Blackfeet tribe, undated
2/6 "Out of the North: A Brief Historical Sketch of the Blackfeet Indian Tribe" by Frank Linderman, undated
2/7 "The Story of the Blackfeet" by John C. Ewers, 1952
2/8 Correspondence regarding Mother Amadeus and St. Ignatius, 1958
2/9 St. Ignatius interview and research notes, 1958
2/10 St. Ignatius and miscellaneous research notes, undated
2/11 St. Ignatius news clippings, undated
2/12 St. Ignatius Centennial Historical Pageant, undated
2/13 "100 Years in the Flathead Valley: The St. Ignatius, Centennial", 1954
2/14 A History of St. Ignatius Mission by Reverend William L. Davis, S. J., 1954
2/15 Correspondence regarding St. Labre’s Mission, Montana, 1957-1968
2/16 Reminiscences of Sister St. Angela Abair of St. Labre’s Mission, 1938-1961
2/17 Research and interview notes about St. Labre’s Mission, undated
2/18 "Race of Sorrows" newsletter about the history of St. Labre’s Mission, 1956-1957
2/19 Clippings and articles about the Northern Cheyenne and St. Labre’s Mission, 1958-1963
2/20 Research regarding George Yoakum and the early St. Labre’s Mission, 1958
2/21 Correspondence regarding the arrival of Ursuline nuns in Miles City, Montana, 1958
2/22 Research notes on Ursuline nuns arriving in Miles City, Montana, undated
3/1 Correspondence regarding St. Paul’s Mission, Blaine County, Montana, 1957-1958
3/2 Research on St. Paul’s Mission, undated
3/3 Travel and interview diary of trip to St. Paul’s Mission, 1958
3/4 Photo and description of St. Paul’s Mission on Fort Belknap Reservation, Montana, circa 1890
3/5 News clippings and articles about Fort Belknap Reservation and St. Paul’s Mission, 1952-1961
3/6 Unidentified photo of three nuns standing in front of building, probably at St. Paul’s Mission, undated
3/7 Unidentified photos taken on Fort Belknap Reservation, undated
3/8 Draft of chapter on St. Paul’s Mission, undated
3/9 Yearbook for Mission High School, Hays, Montana, 1958
3/10 Notes on articles and interview about St. Peter’s Mission near Cascade, Montana, undated
3/11 Correspondence with former St. Peter’s Mission students, 1957
3/12 Interview with Mrs. McCartney about St. Peter’s Mission, undated
3/13 Novices, Sisters, and Mothers at St. Peter’s Mission, undated
3/14 Miscellaneous notes on St. Peter’s Mission, undated
3/15 News clippings and articles about St. Peter’s Mission, 1958-1959
3/16 Notes from Edward Albright’s 1949 thesis titled "St. Peter’s Mission", undated
3/17 Buildings and partial structures still standing at St. Peter’s Mission, photographs, undated
3/18 Draft of chapter about Mother Amadeus and St. Peter’s Mission, undated
3/19 Correspondence regarding the Crow Indians and St. Frances Xavier Mission, 1957-1959
3/20 Interview notes on St. Frances Xavier Mission at Crow Agency, Montana, undated
3/21 Research notes on St. Frances Xavier Mission at Crow Agency, Montana, undated
3/22 News clippings regarding St. Frances Xavier Mission, undated
3/23 Draft of chapter on St. Frances Xavier Mission and the Crow Reservation, undated
3/24 News clippings regarding the Crow Indians, the Crow Reservation, and the Battle of the Little Big Horn, 1960
3/25 News clippings about nuns and convents in Montana, undated
3/26 Correspondence regarding research about priests in Montana, 1958-1964
3/27 Research notes about priests in Montana, undated
3/28 Jesuits in Montana by Wilfred Schoenberg, S.J., 1960
3/29 Articles about priests outside of Montana, 1958-1963
3/30 News clippings about Catholic institutions in Montana, 1954-1960
4/1 Research notes about Indians in Montana, undated
4/2 News clippings about Indians in Montana, 1958-1972
4/3 Correspondence about Indian housing, 1958-1959
4/4 "Indians of the Montana and Wyoming Billings Area" by the BIA, 1957
4/5 "Indian and Archaeology Information" by Carling Malouf and Verne Dusenberry, undated
4/6 Research notes about Indians in the U.S., undated
4/7 Clippings and pamphlets about Indians in the U.S., 1957-1971
4/8 Unidentified photo postcards of Indians, undated
4/9 Correspondence related to Montana historical research, 1957-1958
4/10 Montana history research notes, undated
4/11 News clippings about Montana history, 1960-1971
4/12 Brochures and articles about Montana history and locales, undated
4/13 Miscellaneous news clippings about Montana, 1965-1971
4/14 Postcards of Montana, undated

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Series II:  Correspondence with Mother Amata, 1957-1971
0.5 linear feet
4/15 Correspondence to Mother Amata, 1957
4/16 Correspondence to Mother Amata, 1958
4/17 Correspondence to Mother Amata, 1959
4/18 Correspondence to Mother Amata, 1960
4/19 Correspondence to Mother Amata, 1963
4/20 Correspondence to Mother Amata, 1964
4/21 Correspondence to Mother Amata, 1965
4/22 Correspondence to Mother Amata, 1969
4/23 Correspondence from Mother Amata, 1957
4/24 Correspondence from Mother Amata, 1958
4/25 Correspondence from Mother Amata, 1959
4/26 Correspondence from Mother Amata, 1960
4/27 Correspondence from Mother Amata, 1961
4/28 Correspondence from Mother Amata, 1962
5/1 Correspondence from Mother Amata, 1963
5/2 Correspondence from Mother Amata, 1964
5/3 Correspondence from Mother Amata, 1965
5/4 Correspondence from Mother Amata, 1966-1971
5/5 Correspondence to Marc O’Connell from Mother Amata, 1964
5/6 Correspondence to and from others at the Ursuline Convent, St. Ignatius, Montana, 1963-1969

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Series III:  Class and Research Notes, 1944-1969
0.2 linear feet
5/7 English class notes, 1944
5/8 Labor history class notes, undated
5/9 General U.S. history notes, undated
5/10 Writing class notes, 1969
5/11 Class and story structure notes, undated
5/12 Miscellaneous story research, undated
5/13 Miscellaneous research notes, undated
5/14 Miscellaneous research resource notes, undated
5/15 News clippings and articles about writing, undated

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Series IV:  Drafts of Stories and Articles, undated
0.3 linear feet
5/16 "The Fabulous Place", undated
5/17 "First Family", undated
5/18 "Lafcadio Hearn", undated
5/19 "Maunie", undated
5/20 "Me ‘n Cinderella", undated
5/21 "Old House – New House", undated
5/22 "The Road West", undated
6/1 "The Stranger", undated
6/2 "To Grandma with Love", undated
6/3 Chapter Two, "Montana, Its Geography and History", undated
6/4 Chapter Three, "The Pioneers – Tell Me a Story", undated
6/5 Untitled story about family life and a Catholic retreat, undated
6/6 Untitled story, undated
6/7 Untitled story, undated
6/8 Untitled drafts and notes, undated
6/9 A fifteen minute suspense drama, undated

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Series V:  Miscellaneous, 1944-1972
0.25 linear feet
6/10 Miscellaneous correspondence related to writing, 1955-1957
6/11 Magazine rejection slips, undated
6/12 Personal notes and letters, 1944-1971
6/13 Correspondence and personal essays about religion, 1957-1965
6/14 Miscellaneous correspondence, 1964
6/15 Essay on The Liturgy of the Mass, 1972
6/16 Miscellaneous notes about religion, undated
6/17 Prayer cards and missals, undated
6/18 Two unidentified photos, one of pageant participants and the other of a nun and a first communicant, 1957
6/19 Six photos of unidentified Ursuline house and surrounding area, undated
6/20 News clippings and articles about contemporary nuns and convents, 1955-1964
6/21 News clippings and articles about assorted Catholic and other religious issues, 1957-1962
6/22 Magazines and pamphlets about religion, 1960-1963

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This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Personal Names :
  • Amadeus, Mother
  • Corporate Names :
  • Catholic Church--Missions--Montana
  • Ursulines--Missions--Montana
  • Subject Terms :
  • Indians of North America--Missions--Montana
  • Missions--Montana

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