COLLECTION GUIDES

1936-2001

Guide to the Collection

Restrictions on Access

The bulk of the John T. Lenahan O'Connell papers are stored offsite and must be requested at least one business day in advance. Contact the Library at library@masshist.org or (617) 536-1608 to request materials. Please discuss your request with the reading room staff before requesting cartons by barcode.


Collection Summary

Abstract

The collection consists of correspondence, military papers, and a scrapbook of World War II soldier and Boston, Mass. lawyer John T. Lenahan O'Connell.

Biographical Sketch

John Thomas Lenahan O'Connell, the son of Joseph Francis O'Connell and Marietta (Lenahan) O'Connell, was born in Boston, Mass. on 6 June 1913. Known to family and friends as "Lenahan," he graduated from Boston College in 1934 and Boston University Law School in 1938, and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar the same year. He was employed in his father's law firm in Boston, the Law Offices of Joseph F. O'Connell. In the meantime, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private in 1936 and graduated from the Massachusetts Military Academy the same year with a promotion to second lieutenant, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1965. Lenahan served during World War II in camps around the U.S. and in Dutch New Guinea (from July 1944), and in the National Guard and Reserves until his retirement. On 7 Sep. 1942, he married Priscilla Halloran, the daughter of Aloysius T. Halloran of Jamaica Plain, Mass.

Collection Description

The collection consists of correspondence, military papers, and a scrapbook of World War II soldier and Boston, Mass. lawyer John T. Lenahan O'Connell (known as "Lenahan"), 1936-2001. The correspondence includes personal letters between Lenahan and his wife Priscilla (Halloran) O'Connell, as well as his brothers Joseph F. O'Connell, Jr. and Finbarr O'Connell. Some of the letters to Priscilla were written while Lenahan was serving in New Guinea during World War II. The collection also contains business letters to his father Joseph F. O'Connell and office assistant Margaret M. Kelly while working in his father's legal firm. Military papers relate to O'Connell's active duty in the U.S. Army, including service during World War II in the 332nd Field Artillery and in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, and to his service in the National Guard and Reserves. Also included is an oversize scrapbook containing wartime newspaper clippings and ephemera.

Acquisition Information

Gift of John T. Lenahan O'Connell in March 2005, with additions in December 2012.

Restrictions on Access

The bulk of the John T. Lenahan O'Connell papers are stored offsite and must be requested at least one business day in advance. Contact the Library at library@masshist.org or (617) 536-1608 to request materials. Please discuss your request with the reading room staff before requesting cartons by barcode.

Restrictions on Use

The Massachusetts Historical Society does not claim ownership to the literary rights (copyright) of letters and manuscripts written by individuals other than Lenahan O'Connell in this collection. The Massachusetts Historical Society cannot give permission to publish or quote from documents by individuals for whom it does not hold copyright. Use of these materials does not imply permission to publish. It is the sole responsibility of the researcher to obtain formal permission from the owners of the literary rights (copyright) to publish or quote from documents in this collection.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Correspondence, 1941-1945

A. Personal correspondence, 1942-1945

This subseries consists almost exclusively of correspondence between Lenahan and Priscilla O'Connell. Included are a few letters from Lenahan's brothers Joseph F. O'Connell, Jr. ("Junior") and Finbarr O'Connell. The subseries also contains some letters, principally written in 1943, from members of Priscilla's family when she was traveling with Lenahan, as well as letters by Lenahan from points around the United States and from New Guinea (beginning in July 1944).

Carton 1SH 17BR 5Folder 1-45
Personal correspondence, 1942-May 1945
Carton 2SH 17BS 6Folder 1-11
Personal correspondence, June-Sep. 1945

B. Office correspondence, 1941-1945

This subseries includes letters from Lenahan to his father Joseph F. O'Connell and office assistant Margaret M. Kelly on legal and financial matters, as well as some letters from Kelly to Lenahan.

Carton 2SH 17BS 6Folder 12-18

II. Military papers, 1936-2001

This series consists of military papers documenting Lenahan O'Connell's active duty in the U.S. Army, including his service in the 332nd Field Artillery and in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, and his service in the National Guard and Reserves.

A. Active duty, 1936-1946

Included are papers related to medical matters, appointments, orders, identification, schedules, memoranda, life insurance, certificates, requests for leave, correspondence, requests for transfers, and material concerning transport to New Guinea.

Carton 2SH 17BS 6Folder 19-28

B. National Guard and Reserves, 1936-2001

Included are certificates, orders, discharges, active duty reports, medical papers, War Savings Bond accounts, voucher citations, retirement material (from 1965), and health care and insurance papers.

Carton 2SH 17BS 6Folder 29-46

III. Scrapbook, 1943-1945

This scrapbook contains clippings, newsletters, correspondence, ephemera, and miscellaneous other items.

NOTE: This item is stored onsite at Ms. N-2379.

Box OS

Preferred Citation

John T. Lenahan O'Connell papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Photographs Removed from the Collection

Photographs have been removed from this collection to the John T. Lenahan O'Connell photographs, 1932-1956. Photo. Coll. 500.57.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.

Persons:

Kelly, Margaret M.
O'Connell, Finbarr.
O'Connell, Joseph F.
O'Connell, Joseph F., Jr.
O'Connell, Priscilla Halloran.

Organizations:

United States. Army. Field Artillery Battalion, 322nd.

Subjects:

Family history--1900-1949.
Family history--1950-1999.
Lawyers--Massachusetts--Boston.
Scrapbooks--1943-1945.
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American.