A priest who served in Wilmington, Delaware, Patrick Reilly (1807-1885) founded and ran St. Mary’s College in 1841. The school was considered the most prominent Catholic men’s boarding school in the mid-Atlantic region. Attendance at the school dropped significantly during the Civil War due to the fact that more than one third of the student body was from the southern states. It closed in 1866.

The bulk of the collection is correspondence, most of it covering the years 1841-1866 when Reilly ran St. Mary’s College. Most of this correspondence concerns matters at the school. Some of the letters from students document their experiences during the Civil War. The collection also includes business and legal records of the school. [17 linear feet]