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D'Olier family papers

Call Number: MS 246


This collection of manuscripts and published sources concerns the life and ancestry of Richard D'Olier of Dublin, Ireland, a leader in 18th century Dublin Methodism whose Huguenot ancestors emigrated from France to Ireland. Included is a memoir recounting the 1793 to 1794 imprisonment of the Richard D'Olier family members who were residing at Montauban in the south of France when the Reign of Terror commenced.


  • Creation: approximately 1884-1909


Language of Materials

French; English

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the D'Olier Family

Richard D'Olier was born in 1737 in Dublin, Ireland to Isaac and Joyce (Keene) D'Olier. Richard D'Olier's grandfather Isaac D'Olier, a native of Montauban, France, emigrated in the 1680s to Ireland, where he married Martha Pilkington.

Richard D'Olier's French ancestors of the Olier surname included Charles-François Olier, Marquis of Nointel and French Ambassador to Constantinople in the reign of Louis XIV. On Charles-François Olier's return from a trade mission to Constantinople in 1674, he visited the Parthenon at Athens, where his accompanying artist produced the only surviving drawings of the Parthenon's sculptures as they appeared prior to their severe damage from a 1687 explosion.

In Ireland, Richard D'Olier married Sarah Rosanna Ogle and became one of the leaders of Dublin Methodism. In August 1791, they and three of their children took respite in the south of France at Montauban for purposes of improving Richard D'Olier's health in a warmer climate. When France's Reign of Terror commenced in 1793, the D'Olier family was imprisoned for nearly a year by order of Robespierre, who in September of 1793 decreed imprisonment of the country's English inhabitants.

After securing their freedom, the D'Olier family returned to Dublin, where their daughter Anna Maria (Mrs. David) Courtney later wrote a memoir of their imprisonment. Richard D'Olier died at Dublin on January 7, 1816. His wife Sarah died on October 9 of the same year.


.5 Linear Feet (1 document case + 1 oversize folder) : Bound manuscripts, letters, published papers, photographs.

Scope and Contents

The D'Olier family papers contain both manuscript and published accounts of the imprisonment of the Richard D'Olier family during France's Reign of Terror, including notes of affidavits on their behalf and a handwritten statement of Richard D'Olier's petition for release.

In the contents are genealogical notes regarding the ancestral lines of the D'Olier family and publications in both French and English regarding the history of the Huguenots. Included are two articles by Albert Vandal regarding the return voyage from Constantinople (1673-1675) of French Ambassador Charles-François Olier. Also included are several photographic prints of the village of Montauban, taken by Montauban photographer Achille Bouis, together with his 1889 letter of their transmittal. An oversize leaf, located at Q39, lists earliest members of the Olier family line in France.

Collection holdings at MS 246 include two bound volumes. One contains a handwritten copy of Anna Maria D'Olier Courtney's 42-page memoir of her D'Olier family's imprisonment ("An account of my mother's visit to France..."). The other contains transcribed records of the Pilkington family line of Martha Pilkington (Mrs. Isaac) D'Olier in England and Ireland. In Folder 3 is the March 19, 1908 letter from Major D. C. Courtney by which Anna Maria D'Olier's memoir of 1853 was transmitted to Isaac D'Olier of County Dublin.

The collection also contains a published account of the family's imprisonment (Une famille Irlandaise recluse à Montauban pendant La Terreur by Édouard Forestié), which contains the text of Anna Maria D'Olier Courtney's memoir.

Physical Location

MS 246

Physical Location

MS Q39

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Ken Spelman Booksellers, 2006

Guide to the D'Olier Family Collection
D'Olier family papers
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2009. Finding aid encoded by mh, 2009.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
D'Olier family papers, Department of Special Collections, MS 246, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States