Mary Olivia Kennedy

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Mary Olivia Kennedy (born 17 September 1880 in Dublin – died 18 December 1943 in Dublin) was a journalist based in Dublin and London, and the first woman staff reporter of The Times newspaper.[1]


Daughter of a prominent surgeon, Hugh Boyle Kennedy, and younger sister of Hugh Kennedy K.C., first Chief Justice of the Irish Free State from 1924 to 1936. She was educated at Loreto College, St Stephen's Green, Dublin, and like her brother attended University College Dublin, where she graduated with honours. Before joining The Times in 1917, Kennedy was the theatre critic and book reviewer for the Dublin Evening Mail and the Dublin Daily Express; editor of the theatre page for the Sunday paper London Budget; fashion editor of Vanity Fair; the Pall Mall Gazette woman's page editor; theatre critic for Nash's Magazine and contributor of The Strand Magazine. She began to contribute to The Times in May 1914 and on 1 February 1917 became its first woman staff reporter until 31 March 1942. After a long and distinguished career as a professional journalist, Kennedy retired in 1942 and returned to Dublin where she died on 18 December 1943 after a long illness. Her obituary was published in The Times on 23 December 1943.

In 1917 Kennedy was sent as a special correspondent to France to report on women's activities at bases and WAAC camps. During World War I she wrote a number of articles on women's war work utilised by the authorities in neutral countries. She also helped with several women's organisations. As well as contributing to The Times History of the War, Kennedy published the textbooks France (1789-1815) and Histories of England and Ireland for Intermediate Examinations; she edited Selected Poems of André Chénier and Tennyson's Morte d'Arthur. As a Times journalist Kennedy wrote mainly on subjects of interest to women. She originated the Round the Shops columns that ran from 7 November 1921 until 12 January 1942 and wrote the London Fashions articles between 14 February 1923 until at least 1 October 1930.


  1. ^ ---, ‘Obituary. Miss M.O. Kennedy.’ The Times Thu 23 Dec 1943: 7