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Correspondence between Mary O'Hea and Charles Stonehill

 Single Item
MS. 22908
Held in our offsite storage facility

  • Request

Correspondence between Mary O'Hea and Charles Stonehill relating to Stonehill's antiquarian bookselling business. The correspondnece during Stonehill's trips abroad demonstrates that Mary’s responsibilities extended well beyond secretarial duties, dealing with all aspects of the business in his absence and included management of the Stonehills’ estate. The correspondence also reveals that the O’Heas and the Stonehills became good friends and regularly socialised with each other. Mary and Kay (Charles and Katharine’s daughter) became particularly close.

There are references to Mary and Kay’s visit to Oxford in February 1951, where Mary’s brother Alan was at Brasenose College. Alan was sharing rooms with Bruce Kent (1929-2022), an old school friend from Stonyhurst College and Mary and Bruce corresponded with each other in 1951-1952 and attended the Brasenose Ball together in June 1952.


  1. Correspondence, 14 Jan 1949-30 Mar 1955, with typescripts 'Newly Discovered Manuscript' about a 16th century Portuguese manuscript and 'The Arthurian Cycle of Romances, n.d.
  2. Letters to Mary O'Hea from Major J.R. Abbey and the Earl of Crawford following Charles Stonehill's death, 1955, with reference for her from Robert J. Barry, Stonehill's business partner, 1958, and a postcard of Sole Farm House (with Mary's writing on the reverse)..
  3. Facsimiles of three of Stonehill's catalogues: 'Rare Books, 1469-1699', no. 149, 1950; 'Law. Legal Books, 1473-1699', no. 150, 1951; 'English Literature, 1527-1699', no. 151, 1952.
  4. Note on the papers by Mary O'Hea's daughter, 2023.


  • Creation: 1949-1958 and 2023


1 box

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 22908, folio 1].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.


MS. 22908

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 22908


Correspondence between Mary O'Hea and Charles Stonehill.

Biographical / Historical

Biographical Note by Katharine Knollys, the daughter of Mary Ault.

Mary Ault (née O’Hea) 18 August 1928 – 13 March 2019

Daughter of businessman Ignatius John O’Hea (known as Jack) and Mildred Wigzell (known as Jill) of Leatherhead, Surrey, the second of their four children. She was educated at St Andrew’s Convent, Leatherhead and, when the school was bombed, she went to Farnborough Hill boarding school, Hampshire. She studied French at Nyon in Switzerland in 1946-7.

Mary worked for the antiquarian bookseller Charles Stonehill from 1949 until 1955, at his home in Great Bookham, Surrey. Following Charles’s death in 1955, Mary continued, for a while, to work for his business partner, Robert J. Barry, and assisted Charles’s widow, Katharine (known as Kit) and family. She travelled to Rome with Katharine in March 1956. Mary was a devout Roman Catholic and through a contact at Bishop’s House in Southwark arranged an audience with Pope Pius XII for herself and Katharine (not RC). (Correspondence between Rev. P. Wall, Monsignor A. P. Landi, and Monsignor David Cashman [private collection] provides details of the arrangements, and other matters.) Mary continued to correspond with Katharine Stonehill until 1990.

Following her work with Stonehill, Mary took a job as PA to an aesthetician in London in early 1958, but very soon after was engaged to Patrick Denis Ault, whom she married in August 1958. They had three children, living first in Pyrford, then in West Byfleet and Weybridge.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Bodleian by Mary Ault's daughter in 2023.

Catalogue of Correspondence between Mary O'Hea and Charles Stonehill
Lucy McCann
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
First edition.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom