Built on the belief that a discussion of nonfiction essays and reviews in the modern period would not be complete without the Irish literary and social critic Mary Maguire Colum, The Selected Works of Mary M. Colum seeks to provide an open-access collection of Colum’s periodical work.

From the 1920s to the 1950s, Colum reviewed current publications and offered general commentary on life and literature in well-circulated American periodicals such as Scribner’s Magazine, New York Herald Tribune, and Forum and Century as well as coterie magazines like The Dial and Poetry. Besides her approximately 160 periodical articles, Colum also published a critical inquiry into the foundations of modernist literature, From These Roots: The Ideas that Have Made Modern Literature (1937), and a semi-fictional autobiography, Life and the Dream (1947).

In the past decade or so, scholars have realized how important modern periodicals were to the development of literary modernism. The public forums that debated and developed modernism were established in and between various different periodicals. This growing interest makes this an ideal time to make Colum’s work more readily available. Colum was an integral voice in early-twentieth-century conversations centered around the idea of a literary modernism. In addition, scholarship in the field of modern print culture and periodical studies is marked by its utilization of digital technologies. The Modernist Journals Project, for example, provides online access to high-resolution scans of a range of twentieth-century journals.


Articles are reproduced as both PDFs (when available) that display the articles in their original context and plain-text documents that use lightboxes to gloss unattributed quotes and references and to point out connections between the transcribed articles and other works by Colum. This site also includes a short biography on Colum written by the site’s creator as well as a bibliography of Colum’s published work and work published on Colum.

This site was reviewed in June 2014 by Taura S. Napier in Breac: A Digital Journal of Irish Studies: “Modernist Roots and Populist Branches.”

The Selected Works of Mary M. Colum was launched in Summer 2013 with 5 articles that were deemed pertinent to the interests and concerns of current humanities scholars. In Summer 2014, 25 more articles were posted in plain-text version. It is the hope of the site’s creator, Denise A. Ayo, to add the PDFs for these articles as well as continue expanding the number of articles posted when life, work, etc. allows. (Last Updated March 2017)

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