O'Malley, Cormac K. H.

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International lawyer.

From the description of Papers, 1914-1981, 1960-1981 (bulk) (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155474016

Ernie O'Malley (1897-1957) was an Irish Republican Army officer during the Irish War of Independence of 1919-1921 and a senior commander of the anti-treaty IRA during the Irish Civil War, 1922-1923. O'Malley wrote four books, On Another Man's Wound, The Singing Flame, Raids and Rallies, Sean Connolly of Longford in addition to numerous poems, short stories, articles and reviews. A renaissance man, O'Malley was interested in art, archaeology, folklore, photography, literature and history, but also in the lives of those he fought with during the Irish Independence movement. In the 1950s he interviewed over 450 survivors of those he had fought along with, and these interviews were the basis for the episodes covered in his Raids and Rallies and Sean Connolly .

O'Malley was studying medicine at University College Dublin in 1916 when the Easter Rising took place. Although not a nationalist at the time, O'Malley having been invited by some friends to help defend Trinity College, Dublin in case the Irish Volunteers attempted to take it over, he decided his sympathies were with the rebels and thus began his military career. When he went on the run in 1917, he was asked by Michael Collins to organize IRA brigade units throughout rural Ireland and later as a Commandant General, at age 24, he commanded the IRA's Second Southern Division in Munster with 7,000 men. O'Malley was captured twice during his military career, the first time by the British in Kilkenny in December 1920 after which he was interrogated and badly beaten. With the threat of execution imminent he, and two other IRA men, escaped from Kilmainham Jail on February 14, 1921. At this arrest he had identified himself as 'Bernard Stewart' and when he escaped, his true identity was still unknown. O'Malley was captured a second time in the civil war on November 4, 1922 after a shoot-out with Free State troops in a house in Dublin. Critically wounded, he managed to survive prison for almost two years and 41 days on hunger strike before finally being released in July of 1924. Although still not well, he decided to seek a warmer climate hoping to recover both physically and spiritually and traveled in Europe spending time hiking in the Pyrenes, museum hopping and self-studying art and architecture while constantly writing. After returning to medical studies in Dublin for 1926-28, he was asked to go with Frank Aiken to the United States by Eamon de Valera to raise funds for the establishment of a new independent newspaper, The Irish Press . His notes and impressions of these journeys, 1928-1935, are included in the collection in Notebook Series and elsewhere in the Correspondence Series. O'Malley settled in Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico for 1929-1932 and while there met many artists and writers and occasionally lectured on modern Irish history and literature while writing his memoirs. He also traveled extensively in Mexico in 1931 for nine months following his interests in folklore, archaeology, modern Mexican art and teaching, - all the while writing.

In 1932 during the height of the Depression, O'Malley returned to New York to finish and publish his memoir, On Another Man's Wound . With introductions from Paul Strand, met many of the city’s literary, theatre and artistic circles. He continued to write articles, poems and short stories, but only his poems were published. The manuscript for his memoir was rejected many times. In the meantime with the change in government in Ireland, he became eligible for a pension for his military service and wounds, and this led to his return to Ireland to secure his pension. While in New York he also met his future wife here, Helen Hooker, a sculptor and photographer, who had travelled extensively in Europe and Russia. Helen was the daughter of Elon Huntington Hooker, a wealthy businessman and founder of Hooker Electrochemical Company from Greenwich, Connecticut. When he returned to Ireland in 1935 she followed him. They married on September 27, 1935, and he returned to medical school. The couple settled initially in Dublin and later in County Mayo, Ireland, on a farm. O’Malley continued writing and Helen continued her sculpture, photography and theatre interests. The couple had three children. After the marriage broke down in the late 1940s and Helen effectively returned to the United States, seized two of the children, Cathal and Etain, and brought then to America where she initiated divorce proceedings in 1950. O'Malley’s youngest son, Cormac, remained with his father. The divorce was finalized in 1952. After being in poor health for several years Ernie O’Malley died in 1957 in Dublin.

During his lifetime, O'Malley published one critically acclaimed work about his experiences in the Irish War for Independence: On Another Man's Wound . His second volume, The Singing Flame, covering the Civil War was only published posthumously. O'Malley had published a series of articles in The Sunday Press in 1955-56 describing his and other fighters' experiences, using the interviews he had conducted with former IRA men. These were also published after his death as Raids and Rallies . The collection includes this serialization as well as reviews and publicity on these works and others in the Clippings and Publicity Series.

In 1991, Prisoners: The Civil War Letters of Ernie O'Malley was published by his son Cormac and Richard English, the latter who also went on to write his biography, Ernie O'Malley: IRA Intellectual in 1998. In 2007, Cormac edited and published No Surrender Here!The Civil War Papers of Ernie O'Malley, 1922-1924, being a compilation of anti-Treaty military communications and his father’s letters from prison during the Civil War. Cormac also edited and published Rising-Out: Sean Connolly of Longford, 1890-1921 in 2007. Broken Landscapes: Selected Letters of Ernie O'Malley, 1924-1957, also co-edited by Cormac and Nicholas Allen was published in 2011.

From the guide to the Ernie O'Malley Papers, Bulk, 1920-1957, 1643-2010; bulk 1920-1957, (Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive)

Cormac Kevin Hooker O’Malley was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1942. His father was Ernie O'Malley (1897-1957), Irish revolutionary, author and patron of the arts, and his mother was American artist and socialite Helen Huntington Hooker (1905-1993). Upon the death of his father, O’Malley left Ireland to finish his education in the United States, obtaining a BA from Harvard in 1965 and a JD from Columbia University in 1970. He pursued a career in international law in New York, first with Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, then, from 1981 with Bristol-Myers, living in Mexico, Brussels, London, and New York according to the dictates of his career. In the 1990s, upon retirement from Bristol-Myers Squibb, O’Malley became active as an advisor to Glucksman Ireland House at New York University.

When in New York, O’Malley was involved with the Irish American community, joining various cultural, academic, and social organizations, such as the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in the City of New York, the American Committee (later Conference) for Irish Studies, and the Irish Arts Center in New York. During the 1970s-1980s, O’Malley served as an officer or on the board of four such groups: the American Irish Historical Society, the Irish American National Bicentennial Committee, the Ireland Fund (now the American Ireland Fund) and the National University of Ireland Club. O’Malley also had an interest in the civil rights struggle in Northern Ireland. From 1971-1978 he served as national coordinator for the American Committee for Ulster Justice, a group of Irish American lawyers and activists intent on eliminating anti-Catholic discrimination and exposing British complicity in the region's conflict.

O'Malley is the author of "The Publication History of On Another Man's Wound " in New Hibernia Review 7:3 (2003): 136-139 and co-author with Keith Highet of Current Aspects of Doing Business in Black Africa (American Bar Association, 1975).

From the guide to the Cormac K. H. O'Malley Papers, Bulk, 1969-1981, 1930-2000, (Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf O'Malley, Cormac K. H. Papers, 1914-1981, 1960-1981 (bulk) Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Cormac K. H. O'Malley Papers, Bulk, 1969-1981, 1930-2000 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
creatorOf Ernie O'Malley Papers, Bulk, 1920-1957, 1643-2010; bulk 1920-1957 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Committee for Ulster Justice. corporateBody
associatedWith American Irish Development Committee, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith American Irish Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith American-Irish Historical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith An Taisce (National Trust for Ireland). corporateBody
associatedWith Association of Irish Business Graduates. corporateBody
associatedWith Canadian Association for Irish Studies. corporateBody
associatedWith Claidheamh Soluis (New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Connolly, James B. (James Brendan), 1868-1957 person
associatedWith Crane, Hart, 1899-1932 person
associatedWith De Valera, Eamon, 1882-1975 person
associatedWith Healy, James A. person
associatedWith Hone, Evie, 1894-1955 person
associatedWith Irish American Cultural Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Irish American National Bicentennial Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Irish Georgian Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Irish Republican Army. corporateBody
associatedWith Le Brocquy, Louis, 1916- person
associatedWith Luhan, Mabel Dodge, 1879-1962 person
associatedWith MacGowran, Jack, 1918-1973 person
associatedWith McKiernan, John Thomas, 1915-2004 person
associatedWith National University of Ireland Club. corporateBody
associatedWith O'Dwyer, Paul, 1907- person
associatedWith O'Malley, Ernie, 1897-1957 person
associatedWith Roelofs, Helen Hooker O'Malley, 1905-1993 person
associatedWith Strand, Paul, 1890-1976 person
associatedWith United States Chamber of Commerce in Ireland. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Congress. corporateBody
associatedWith Yeats, Jack Butler, 1871-1957 person
associatedWith Young, Ella, 1867-1956 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (N.Y.)
Northern Ireland |x History |y 1969-1994.
Taos Pueblo (N.M.)
Ireland |x History |y 20th century
Ireland |x History |y Civil War, 1922-1923 |v Personal narratives.
Ireland |x History |y Civil War, 1922-1923.
Northern Ireland
Ireland |x History |y Easter Rising, 1916
Irish American associations, institutions, etc
Political prisoners--Ireland
National characteristics, Irish
Irish Americans--Social life and customs
Irish newspapers
Irish Americans


Active 1914

Active 1981

Gaelic; Scottish Gaelic,



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