Mary C. Kelly, Ph.D.

Professor of History

Mary Kelly's Bio Photo


B.A.  (Hons.): History/English. National University of Ireland, Galway, 1988
M.A.  (1st Class): Modern Irish History. National University of Ireland, Galway, 1988
Ph.D.  Modern American History. Maxwell School (History), Syracuse University, 1997

Phone: (603) 899-4392

Courses Taught
  • Modern U.S. Surveys
  • American Intellectual & Cultural History
  • American Immigrant History
  • American/European Gender History
  • Modern Ireland/Modern European Survey
Research Interests & Expertise Areas
  • Modern Irish-America: Famine-1920s
  • Irish-American Cultural & Intellectual
  • Irish-American Identity

Honors & Awards

2017, 2012, 2011, 2009: FPU Faculty Appreciation Awards

2016: City of Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Ambassador Award

2014: Keene State College President’s Outstanding Women of NH Award

Featured in "Getting to Know You" podcast

Publications and Presentations


Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History: Enshrining a Fateful Memory. 2014; Rowman & Littlefield. Paperback ed. 2016.

The Shamrock and the Lily: The New York Irish and the Creation of a Transatlantic Identity, 1845-1921. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2005.

Book Chapters/Articles:

“The Hand of Friendship: Protestants, Irish Americans and 1916-era Nationalism.” Chapter in Ireland’s Allies: America and the 1916 Easter Rising, ed. Miriam Nyhan Grey. Dublin: UCD Press, 2016: 218-227.

“Great Famine, The.” Entry in Edward J. Blum, ed. America in the World, 1776 to the Present: A Supplement to the Dictionary of American History. 2 vols. Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2016.

“The Tip: Shoe Shops, American Dreams and the Ultimate Irish-American Hard Luck Story,” with Bill Brennan. Studies in Arts and Humanities, vol. 1, no. 2 (2015): 68-82.

“Coarse Cloth and Clerical Tailoring: Negotiating Boston Irish Cultural Imperatives in the Famine Era”. Irish Studies Review 23, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 135-153.

Book Reviews:

Double review in American Historical Review; forthcoming, 2020
Review in Journal of American Ethnic History; forthcoming, 2019
Dagger John: Archbishop John Hughes and the Making of Irish America, by John Loughery.
Journal of American History, 106, no. 1 (June 2019): 172–173.

Excommunicated from the Union: How the Civil War Created a Separate Catholic America, by William B. Kurtz. Journal of Southern History LXXXIII, no. 1 (Feb. 2017): 187-188.

Compassionate Stranger: Asenath Nicholson and the Great Irish Famine, by Maureen O’Rourke Murphy. New Hibernia Review 19, no. 4 (Winter/Geimhreadh 2015): 150-152.

Who’s Your Paddy? Racial Expectations and the Struggle for Irish American Identity, by Jennifer Nugent Duffy. American Historical Review 119, no. 5 (Dec. 2014): 1739-1740.

Between Raid and Rebellion: The Irish in Buffalo and Toronto, 1867-1916, by William Jenkins.Journal of American History 101, no. 2 (2014): 607-608. 

Conference Papers/Keynotes/Invited Talks:

Paper: “Keeping his Friends close: Dev and his Protestant Squad: 1919-21.” NE-ACIS Regional Conference, October 17, 2019

Lecture: “Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History.” Cathedral of the Pines, Rindge, NH; June 12, 2019.

Presentation: “Fateful History, Inexorable Memory: The Famine’s Irish-American Legacy.” New Hampshire Humanities Council, May 17, 2019.

Paper: “Not Strange Bedfellows: Boston Irish Nationalist Strains, 1919-1920.” ACIS National Conference, March 21, 2019.

Panelist: “What Were They Thinking? Irish-American Intellectual Strains 1919-1922.” Global Irish Diaspora Congress, UCD, Dublin; 15-19 August, 2017.

Keynote: “Irish-America & the 1916 Years.” Irish Cultural Center of Western Massachusetts, October 30, 2016.

Panel Chair and presenter: “BFFs or Frenemies? The Protestant Friends of Ireland post-1916.” Celtic Studies Northeast Popular/American Culture Association Conference, Keene State College, NH; October 22, 2016

Invited presenter: “The Hand of Friendship: Protestants, Irish Americans & 1916-era Nationalism.” NYU Ireland House 1916 Forum “Independent Spirit,” April 22, 2016

Paper, “Confounding Crusaders: The Protestant Friends of Ireland in post-1916 Irish-American Diaspora Nationalism,” ACIS, University of Notre Dame, March 31, 2016

“From the Famine to the Rising.”  Conversation with Author” series, Holyoke Public Library, Holyoke, MA. March 19, 2016

Professional Memberships

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

Conferences Attended

  • EDUCAUSE Annual Conference
  • American Conference for Irish Studies (regional/national)
  • Organization of American Historians
  • New England Women in Higher Education Leadership
  • American Conference for Irish Studies (regional/national)
  • Organization of American Historians
  • New England Historical Association
  • New England Women in Higher Education Leadership


Grants Received

  • FPU Faculty Research Grants: 2017, 2016
  • FPU Faculty Development Grants (annual)


  • RFF Vice-President, Fall 2018-
  • FPU 5-Year Strategic Plan: Goal 3 Committee; Summer 2019-
  • History Club Advisor 2012-