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


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 2017, 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 and curricular assessment.

Dr. Kelly was honored to receive the City of Holyoke, MA, St. Patrick’s Day Ambassador Award in March 2016, in recognition of her work to enhance cultural connections between Ireland and the United States.

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
  • Modern Irish America; 1916-Era Irish-American Engagement; Irish-American Cultural, Intellectual, Identity

Current Research and Recent Publications

Dr. Kelly's book Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish-American History: Enshrining a Fateful Memory was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2014. She is currently researching 1916-era Irish-American engagement in preparation for the centenary of the 1916 Rising next year. 

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:
  • Journal of Southern History book review; forthcoming, 2016.
  • 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.
  • “The Hand of Friendship: Protestants, Irish Americans and 1916-era Nationalism.” Book chapter, NYU/UCD Press, Dublin; in press; forthcoming, 2016
  • "Irish-American Engagement with 1916 and its Legacy." Book chapter, forthcoming, 2016
  • Review for New Hibernia Review; forthcoming, 2016
  • "Coarse cloth and clerical tailoring: negotiating Boston-Irish cultural imperatives in the Famine era.”  Irish Studies Review, 23, no. 1 (Spring 2015).
  • "Great Famine." Dictionary of American History. Edward J. Blum, ed. Charles Scribner's Sons

Professional Development, Presentations and Conference Attendance

  • American Conference for Irish Studies Dr. James S. Donnelly Book Prize Committee Member, 2014-15

Recent Conferences & Presentations:

  • Panel Chair and presenter: 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
  • Presenter, “Confounding Crusaders: The Protestant Friends of Ireland in post-1916 Irish-American Diaspora Nationalism,” ACIS, University of Notre Dame, March 31, 2016
  • Chair, “Race, Region, and Remembrance: New Perspectives on Fenianism, 1871-1956.” ACIS, University of Notre Dame, March 31, 2016

Professional Activities

  • Yours Faithfully, Florence Burke, by Ellen Alden; book launch citation and blurb, May 2016
  • Book manuscript and proposal reviewer, University Press, May 2016
  • Article manuscript reviewer, American Catholic Studies, May 2016
  • Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Ambassador Award keynote speech; Holyoke, 3.20.2016
  • “From the Famine to the Rising,” “Conversation with Author” series, Holyoke Public Library, Holyoke, Massachusetts, 3.19.2016

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.