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Death of Thomas H. O’Connor

May 30, 2012

By Staff Reporter

Professor Thomas O'Connor. Boston College

The death has taken place of Professor Thomas H. O’Connor, one of Boston’s and Irish America’s leading historians of recent decades.

O’Connor, who penned the celebrated and definitive work, “The Boston Irish: A Political History,” died at his home on Sunday, May 20, in Milton, Mass. He was 89.

Professor Emeritus and University Historian at Boston College, O’Connor, according to a Boston Globe report, wrote 20 books and hundreds of scholarly papers on various aspects of Boston, New England and American history.

The report stated that O’Connor’s book, “Bibles, Brahmins and Bosses,” published in 1976, opened up a treasure trove of untapped topics, which his subsequent books delved into, including: “Fitzpatrick’s Boston” (1984); “South Boston: My Home Town” (1988); “The Boston Irish: A Political History” (1995) and “Boston Catholics” (1998).

O’Connor was also a Civil War historian who penned pamphlets and books on the war in general, and the role of Massachusetts in the 1861-65 conflict between the states.

O’Connor was also a crucial figure behind the Boston Irish Famine Memorial project of 1998. The Eire Society of Boston presented him with its prestigious gold medal in 1999.

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