John Boyle O'Reilly (1844-1890)

John Boyle O'Reilly (1844-1890), Bronze bust by Samuel Kitson, 1890, The Catholic University of America Museum Collection

O'Reilly was an Irish immigrant not American born, but as the distinguished editor of the Boston Pilot, and a successful novelist, poet, and essayist, he won prestige among non Catholics and Catholics alike, and, therefore, became an icon of the new Catholic respectability in the 1880s. This bust given to Catholic University at its founding was gratefully accepted for it identified the new University with the dean of American Catholic letters.