Phone: 603.899.4392

Office: 310 Petrocelli Hall, Rindge

Mary C. Kelly Ph.D.

Professor of History

PH.D. Syracuse University; Modern U.S.
M.A. National University of Ireland, Galway
B.A. National University of Ireland, Galway

Professor Mary Kelley at her book signing

Professor Kelly’s new book Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History is published by Rowman & Littlefield. The book was launched by Professor Catherine B. Shannon at an event hosted by the Eire Society in Milton Public Library, Milton, MA, on Sunday March 9, 2014. The book is available from the publisher and on Amazon.

Teaching Areas:

  • Modern United States: Cultural/Intellectual, Women’s, Immigrant, Irish-American, Religion and Politics
  • Modern Europe: Ireland

“My teaching interests include Modern American surveys and upper-level courses in Cultural, Intellectual, Women’s, and Ethnic History. As students encounter the events that shaped American history, and the personalities who enliven its narratives, they witness the interplay of such factors as diversity, gender, race, politics and ethnic identity. They start to think in new and exciting ways about the influence of history and its lessons for us today. Offering a Women's History upper-level course dovetails with my involvement in the Women in Leadership program, and I seek to more fully explore connections between politics and religion in the classroom. Speaking of politics and religion, the history of Ireland occasionally finds its way into our curricular offerings.”

Dr. Kelly's promotion to Professor of History took effect in fall 2013. She was honored with Faculty Appreciation Awards from the Franklin Pierce University Class of 2012, Class of 2011 and Class of 2009; and the Faculty of the Year award in 2002. Beyond her History Departmental course offerings, her pedagogical interests include the First Year Experience, curricular assessment, and FPU’s New England Center for Civic Life.

Dr. Kelly was honored with a Keene State College President’s Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Award in March 2014.

Research Interests

  • 19th Century and Modern Irish-America, Cultural and Intellectual history; Irish-American Identity
  • Ireland’s Famine: History, Memory and Legacy

Current Research and Recent Publications

Dr. Kelly’s new book Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History: Enshrining a Fateful Memory is now available from Rowman & Littlefield. She is currently researching 19th Century ethnic Irish leadership and intellectual culture in Boston and Irish-American identity.

Professor Mary Kelley
Professor Mary Kelley
Professor Kelly pictured beside the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Auxiliary of the Ancient Order of Hibernians memorial to Famine Irish emigrants lost when the brig St. John went down off Cohasset, Mass. in 1849; less than a day's sail out from Boston."
Recent Publications:
  • Coarse cloth and clerical tailoring: negotiating Boston-Irish cultural imperatives in the Famine era”  in Irish Studies Review, 23, no. 1 (Spring 2015): online at:
  • Working title: “Mass Imperatives: The Hierarchy, the Press, and the Boston Irish in the 1840s.” forthcoming publication in Irish Studies Review, 2015.
  • “’A Sentinel of Our Liberties’: Archbishop John Hughes and Irish-American Intellectual Negotiation in the Civil War Era.” Irish Studies Review 18, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 155-172.
  • “The Great Famine, Irish-American Transition, and a Century of Intellectual and Cultural History.” Ireland’s Great Hunger: Vol. II, ed. David A. Valone. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 2009.
Recent Reviews:
  • Forthcoming reviews in The Journal of American History and The American Historical Review, Fall 2014.
  • Irish Nationalists and the Making of the Irish Race, by Bruce Nelson. The Journal of American History 99, no. 3 (December 2012): 879-880.
  • The Roots of English Colonialism in Ireland, by John Patrick Montaño. The Irish Literary Supplement: A Review of Irish Books (Fall 2012).

Professional Development, Presentations and Conference Attendance

  • Co-host, New England Historical Association Fall Conference, October 18, 2015
  • “Regular conference presentations enliven the academic year and allow me to connect with colleagues engaged in similar research projects. American Conference for Irish Studies and New England Historical Association meetings are particularly beneficial, and I enjoy visiting favorite archives such as Boston College’s Burns Library and New York's American Irish Historical Society. Serving as a consultant and textbook reviewer and attending New Hampshire Women in Higher Education Leadership meetings expand my professional interests in productive directions.”

Recent Conferences Presentations:

  • Invited book talk: Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History, Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, Quinnipiac University, September 25, 2014
  • Plenary: UMass Lowell, “The Irish in MA: Historical Significance, Lasting Legacy Conference,” September 25, 2014
  • Panelist: Roundtable; “Latitudes and Lassitudes: Interpreting Irish-American Identity,” ACIS Dublin, June 16, 2014
  • Presenter: “Long Threatening Comes at Last: The Famine’s Irish-American Legacy” New England Historical Association, Springfield College, MA, April 26, 2014    
  • Forbes House Museum, Milton, MA: Jamestown Exhibition Committee:     2014-
  • Address: Keene State College; President’s Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Award, March 25, 2014
  • Book Launch: Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History, Milton Public Library, Milton, MA., March 9, 2014
  • "Still Useful? Teaching Gender History to Generation Blend," public talk to American Association of University Women chapter in Keene, NH; Nov. 18, 2013 
  • Chair and panelist, "Hyphenated Identities: The Many Meanings of Irish-American" (Roundtable Discussion), at "Irish Spirits, Irish Souls," New England ACIS Conference, Community College of Rhode Island, RI Nov. 1-2, 2013
  • Chair “Identity and Historical Memory,” Phi Alpha Theta New England Regional Conference, Quinnipiac University, April 27, 2013
  • Co-convener, Roundtable, “Challenges for the Small History Department: General Education, Assessment, Enrollment and Budgets,” New England Historical Association Conference, Westfield State University, April 20, 2013
Mary Kelly
Prof. Kelly pictured harbor side in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at the Canadian Association for Irish Studies Conference in May 2010

Professional Membership

  • American Conference for Irish Studies
  • American Historical Association
  • Charitable Irish Society (Boston)
  • New England Historical Association
  • American Association of University Women

Professor Kelly lives with husband Mike and daughter Eileen in nearby Keene, N.H. They continue to enjoy the occasional sojourn in the West of Ireland.