Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Charles J. O'Malley


"Charles J. O'Malley . . . was born near Morganfield, Kentucky, February 9, 1857. Through his father O'Malley was related to Father Abram J. Ryan, the poet-priest of the Confederacy; and his mother was of Spanish descent. He was educated at Cecilian College, in Hardin county, Kentucky, and at Spring Hill, a Jesuit institution near Mobile, Alabama, from which he returned to Kentucky and made his home for some years at Henderson. His contributions in prose and verse to the newspapers of southwest Kentucky made him well-known in the State. A series of prose papers included Summer in Kentucky, By marsh and Pool, and The Poets and Poetry of Southwest Kentucky, attracted much favorable comment. His finest poem, Enceladus, appeared in The Century Magazine for February, 1892, and much of his subsequent work was published in that periodical. In 1893 O'Malley removed to Mt. Vernon, Indiana, to become editor of The Advocate, a Roman Catholic periodical. His first and best known book, The Building of the Moon and Other Poems (Mt. Vernon, 1894), brought together his finest work in verse. From this time until his death he was an editor of Roman Catholic publications and a contributor of poems to The Century, Cosmopolitan, and other high-class magazines. For several years O'Malley was editor of The Midland Review, of Louisville, and this was the best periodical he ever edited. . . . Besides The Building of the Moon, O'Malley published The Great White Shepherd of Christendom (Chicago, 1903), which was a large life of Pope Leo XIII; and Thisledrift (Chicago, 1909), a little book of poems and prose pastels. For several years prior to his passing, he planned a complete collection of his poems to be entitled Songs of Dawn, but he did not live to finish this work. At the time of his death, which occurred at Chicago, March 26, 1910, O'Malley was editor of The New World, a Catholic weekly. Today he lies buried near his Kentucky birthplace . . . . " [John Wilson Townsend, 2 Kentucky in American Letters 1784-1912 86-88 (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: The Torch Press, 1913)]

The authors of still another biographical sketch identify O'Malley's birthplace as Waverly, Alabama and provide no indication in the least that he was ever associated with Kentucky. This biographical profile reads:

O'Malley, Charles J., lawyer, editor, poet, was born near Waverly, Ala., February 9, 1857. On his father's side he comes of the famous O'Malley family of Ireland; on his mother's side he is English and Spanish. For twenty years he has been engaged in editorial lines of work. He is a writer of exquisite grace and polish, and from time to time has produced verse which has been widely copied. His books include: 'Out of the White Mist,' a volume of poems (1875), 'Out of Aready,' a volume of poems, 'The Building of the Moon, and Other Poems' (Evansville, Ind., Keller Publishing Company, 1894), 'Thistle-drift,' poems and epigrams (Chicago, The New World Company, 1908), 'Songs of Dawn' (Chicago, J.S. Hyland and Company, 1909), and three serial stories, 'Kentucky People,' 'Drouth,' and 'Deluded.' Mr. O'Malley's work, which is typically Southern, has appeared in most of the high-class magazines. He married, October 16, 1882, Sallie M. Hill. He is at present editor of the New World, a paper published in Chicago, Ill. The degree of Litt.D. has been conferred upon him in recognition of his literary attainments.

[Source: Edwin Anderson Alderman & Joel Chandler Harris (eds.), Library of Southern Literature 327 (New Orleans: Martin & Hoyt Co., 1910)(1907)(Vol. 15, Biographical Dictionary of Authors, Lucian Lamar Knight ed.)] [The Biographical Dictionary of Authors places O'Malley's birth in 1857; other sources give his birth as 1867.] [We find no OCLC database listings for Out of the White Mist, Out of Aready, and Songs of Dawn.]


Charles J. O'Malley, The Building of the Moon and Other Poems (Mt. Vernon, Indiana: Advocate Publishing, 1894)

_______________, Thistledrift. Flight First (Chicago: New World Company, 1909)


Charles J. O'Malley, "Noon in Kentucky," in Josiah Henry Combs (ed.), All That's Kentucky 124 (Louisville: John P. Morton & Company, 1915) [online text]


Charles J. O'Malley, History of Union County (Evansville, Indiana: Courier Co., 1886)

_______________, The Great White Shepherd of Christendom: His Holiness Pope Leo XIII; His Life, Poems, Encyclicals and Public Documents (Chicago: J.S.Hyland, 1903)

_______________, It Was News To Me (Boston: Bruce Humphries, 1939)