Monsignor John O’Connor Papers

Monsignor John O’Connor with G.K. Chesterton
Monsignor John O’Connor, left, and G.K. Chesterton

About the Collection

Monsignor John O’Connor (1870-1952) was a Roman Catholic priest who after meeting G.K. Chesterton in 1904 became the model for Chesterton’s character “Father Brown”. Chesterton and O’Connor remained friends for over thirty years. O’Connor maintained connections with several other Catholic writers including Hilaire Belloc, Maurice Baring and typographer Eric Gill. Throughout his life O’Connor published poems, book reviews and prose in English Catholic periodicals and newspapers.

The Monsignor John O’Connor Papers consists of a collection of hand-written and typed manuscripts, poems, translations, and radio transcripts created and accumulated by Monsignor John O’Connor. The collection also includes correspondence, collected ephemera such as newspaper clippings, Christmas cards, posters, pamphlets and small press publications and research notes. The majority of the material relates to O’Connor’s relationship with G.K. Chesterton but includes translations of Latin religious poetry done by O’Connor as well as examples of his prose pieces on literature, Church history, morality, religion and philosophy.

The Monsignor John O’Connor Papers range in date from 1884-1952 and were a gift Kevin Scannell the previous owner. Additionally, the Monsignor John O’Connor papers can be found in the University of Toronto Library catalogue.

Finding Guide

The physical extent of the material is ca. 24 cm of textual records, and 25 photographs : b&w ; 15.2 x 21 cm and smaller.

There is no finding guide available at this time. More detailed descriptions are available in the archives through the in-house database.

Related Material

G.K. Chesterton Archival Collection

Using the Special Collections