Katharine O'Brien Papers, 1905-1986

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Volume: 3 linear feet

Organization/Arrangement: Organized as a single series.

Biographical Note: Born in Amesbury, Massachusetts, in 1901, Katharine O'Brien moved to Maine with her family at the age of three and graduated as valedictorian of her 1918 Deering High School class. O'Brien studied English and Math at Bates College and then earned a Masters degree in Mathematics from Cornell. She began her teaching career at New Rochelle College in the English department, and then taught Math for the remainder of her career. While teaching at the college level, she wrote a great number of poems, many of which appeared local and national publications.

In 1937 O'Brien went on to earn her Doctorate in Mathematics from Brown University, and in 1940 she joined the Mathematics Department of Deering High School, being appointed Head of the Department in 1945. O'Brien earned great respect and affection from her colleagues and students, and in 1964, the students established the Katharine E. O'Brien Mathematics award, given annually to an outstanding student. O'Brien was also a talented pianist, directed the Girls' Glee Club for several years, and composed scores for them to perform.

In addition to teaching at Deering, O'Brien lectured at Brown University and the University of Maine, and continued to write and publish poetry, a collection of which was published by the Anthoensen Press in 1967 (Excavation and Other Verse). O'Brien was awarded three honorary doctorates between 1960-65, from Bates, the University of Maine, and Bowdoin College, and received the Deborah Morton Award from Westbrook College in 1985. Throughout her career, O'Brien was active in numerous professional and academic organizations, including Phi Beta Kappa, the Poetry Society of America, and the Mathematical Association of America.

Description: This collection documents O'Brien's creative work as well as her high school teaching career. Among the creative works included are poetry notes and drafts, published verse, musical scores, and literary correspondence. The collection includes O'Brien's Deering High School files from 1940-1971. These files are made up of class schedules, correspondence, programs from events, annual reports of the Math Department, and clippings about students and the school (especially regarding honors won by her students.) Other professional correspondence is also included, as well as biographical information and material pertaining to O'Brien's honorary degrees.

Access Restrictions: None

Please cite as: Katharine O'Brien Papers, Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England, Portland, Maine

Container List:

001.  Poetry manuscripts
002.  Poetry with correspondence
003.  Poetry and correspondence, 1966-68
004.  Poetry notes and drafts - journal
005.  Poetry notes and drafts - journal inserts
006.  Poetry notes and drafts - journal inserts
007.  Notes and clippings
008.  Poetry - Two Year College Mathmatics Journal, November 1981
009.  Published Verse [scrapbook], 1931-1988
010.  Published Verse [scrapbook], 1931-1988
011.  Articles: Mathematics Teacher, February 1956
012.  Articles: Phantasm 5(2) 1980
013.  Music: 10 manuscripts/sheet music
014.  [Musical scores]
015.  Music: When I Set Out For Lyonesse
016.  Music programs: Rossini Club
017.  Music: 1941 certificate and score sheet - Western Maine Music Festival
018.  Music: Correspondence
019.  Thesis - abbreviated form
020.  Literary Correspondence (1/2), 1931-56
021.  Literary Correspondence (2/2), 1931-56
022.  Literary Correspondence, 1947-64
023.  Correspondence, 1958-69
024.  Literary Correspondence, 1957-73
025.  Literary Correspondence, 1966-70
026.  [Correspondence with Poetry Society of America], 1971-75
027.  Literary Correspondence, 1973-80
028.  Literary Correspondence, 1974-82
029-031.  Letters about Excavation and Other Verse
032.  Percy Grainger autographed photograph
033.  Photographs of KOB, 1905, 1930s, 1965
034.  Deering High School Files, Girls' Glee Club, 1940-45
035.  Deering High School Files, 1940-41
036.  Deering High School Files, 1941-42
037.  Deering High School Files, 1942-43
038.  Deering High School Files, 1943-44
039.  Deering High School Files, 1944-45
040.  Deering High School Files, 1945-46
041.  Deering High School Files, 1946-47
042.  Deering High School Files, 1947-48
043.  Deering High School Files, 1948-49
044.  Deering High School Files, 1949-50
045.  Deering High School Files, 1950-51
046.  Deering High School Files, 1951-52
047.  Deering High School Files, 1952-53
048.  Deering High School Files, 1953-54
049.  Deering High School Files, 1954-55
050.  Deering High School Files, 1955-56
051.  Deering High School Files, 1956-57
052.  Deering High School Files, 1957-58
053.  Deering High School Files, 1959-60
054.  Deering High School Files, 1960-61
055.  Deering High School Files, 1961-62
056.  Deering High School Files, 1962-63
057.  Mu Alpha Theta - Governor 1962-64
058.  Deering High School Files, 1963-64
059.  Deering High School Files, 1964-65
060.  Deering High School Files, 1965-66
061.  Deering High School Files, [Bowdoin Correspondence], 1965-66
062.  Deering High School Files, Correspondence re: Bowdoin honors, 1965
063.  Deering High School Files, 1966-67
064.  Deering High School Files, 1967-68
065.  Deering High School Files, Math Department Library, 1968
066.  Deering High School Files, 1968-69
067.  Deering High School Files, 1969-70
068.  Deering High School Files, 1970-71
069.  Deering High School Files, Class record book, 1970-71
070.  Deering High School Files, Evaluations, 1958-68
071.  Deering High School Files, Clippings and correspondence, 1948-71
072.  Deering High School Files, Clippings, 1958-71
073.  Deering High School Files, Clippings to Keep, 1958-71
074.  Deering High School Files, Student honors, 1972-82
075.  Correspondence, 1970-74
076.  [Correspondence re: naming Vocational Center after Carleton Wiggin], 1975-76
077.  Letters re: Vocational-Technical Center, 1976
078.  Class of '58 reunion, 1988
079.  Nabokov
080.  [Math material]
081-82.  [Mathematics and poetry]
083.  [Colby College Special Collections 1986-87]
084-85.  Biographical information
086.  "A Portrait of Katherine O'Brien" by Maureen Doyle, 12/10/68
087.  [Hobbies / interests]
088.  Westbrook College Commencement -Deborah Morton Award, 1985
088a.  Deborah Morton Society Citation, 1985
089.  [Honorary doctorate - material and photos]
090.  Honorary diploma - University of Maine, 1960
091.  Hardy Music at Colby - A Checklist, 1945
092.  The American Mathematical Monthly, December 1960
093.  Bowdoin Alumnus, July 1965
094.  Bates College Bulletin, September 1965
095.  Bowdoin College Bulletin, March 1968
096.  The Maine Alumnus, January-February 1971
097.  Westbrook College Alumni Magazine, Fall 1985
098.  Bates Alumni Magazine, September 1986
099.  Mathematical Calendars w/KOB's poetry, 1983; 1984
100.  Laminated article re: KOB's retirement, 1971