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About this collection

In 1958, the Religious Sisters of Mercy founded Maria as a Sister Formation and Liberal Arts college with a student body of 52. Today, we serve just over 1,000 students, men and women, who attend our day, evening and weekend classes, and are enrolled in our online course offerings. From its founding, the mission of the College has been to educate for service—service to the greater Capital Region and to the communities in which its graduates live and work. Although Maria was established to educate the Sisters of Mercy, the vision soon broadened with the College’s first degree program with enrollment open to the community : Early Childhood Education. All degree programs were opened to coeducational enrollment in 1971, and today male enrollment accounts for more than 20% of Maria’s student body.


The library has a special collection of historical titles aimed at supporting research, learning and teaching by collecting, cataloging and preserving unique titles of interest to Maria College, The Sisters of Mercy and the broader academic community. These fiction and non-fiction titles are classified as “Special Collection” because of their research potential, uniqueness, rarity, early printing, limited availability, autographed editions and/or physical fragility. Items vary considerably, with a concentration on, but not limited to, early American history, children’s literature and Catholicism, with the oldest title dating back to 1686. Also included are black and white photographs, documents, correspondence, publications and newspaper articles pertaining to the history of the College.


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Maria College Sub-collections:


Maria College Digital Collection

This digital collection contains a selection of archival materials depicting Maria’s early days, including the groundbreaking ceremony and blessing of the College, as well as historical photographs of faculty, students, board members, presidents, and local religious community leaders and politicians.

Maureen O'Sullivan Cushing Collection of Maria College Albany NY

Maureen Paula O'Sullivan (17 May 1911 – 23 June 1998) was an Irish-American actress.  She was married to the director John Farrow and had seven children with him (one of whom was actress Mia Farrow).  After being widowed for twenty years, O’Sullivan was married to her second husband, James Cushing, a Niskayuna, NY businessman, from August 22, 1983 until her death in 1998.  Mr. Cushing was a member of the board of trustees for Maria College, Albany, NY.  This collection represents personal correspondence written by O’Sullivan to Sister Laureen Fitzgerald, former President of Maria College, as well as the wedding announcement and photographs of O’Sullivan and Cushing related to Maria College events.

Maria College Glee Club Collection

The Maria College Glee Club of the 1960s and 1970s was led by Director/Conductor, J. Robert Sheehan, and included the Religious Sisters of Mercy and students of the College.  The glee club presented programs during the Christmas season and for the Spring Festivals.  The Glee Club Collection contains songs from two glee club record albums digitized to mp3s, a photograph of the glee club and a Spring Festival program.   In addition, there is a Christmas album sung by the Priests’ Choir of the Diocese of Albany, Religious Sisters of Mercy of the Albany Diocese and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

Maria College The Mariale Literary Magazine

The Mariale, the spring literary magazine of Maria College, prevailed from 1961-1976 (missing year 1965).  There are 446 creative works (titles) within the literary magazines.  Illustrations and photographs by students are also included.  Some issues of “The Mariale” have themes.  The 1966 issue is based upon peace as a theme due to the Vietnam War.  In the 1975 issue, the Bicentennial of the United States of America is celebrated, and the students of Maria College commemorate the following:  the spirit of being a citizen of the United States, colonialism, honoring George Washington, Henry Hudson, Quilting, and American Couture.  


Patrons will be able to read the spirited works of the Religious Sisters of Mercy and the students of the College, understand the historical and literary value of the College and the time period.   

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