Guide to the Papers of Marie Louise Uhr


MS 9835

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Marie Louise Uhr
Papers of Marie Louise Uhr
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 9835
0.45 metres (3 ms boxes)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

The papers of Marie Louise Uhr relate mostly to her involvement with the movement for the Ordination of Catholic Women (OCW), and the academic aspects of her religious campaigns. The collection includes correspondence with people such as Elaine Lindsay, Elaine Wainwright and Elfriede Harth. Also included are OCW papers, scripts for speeches, book manuscripts, personal documents, university assignments, lecture notes and readings, liturgies, music and obituaries. Some of these papers are stored in digital form.

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Marie Louise Uhr, National Library of Australia, MS 9835, [box number and series and/or file number]'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Marie Louise Uhr were donated to the library by her family on 22 January, 2002.

The Library holds biographical cuttings on Marie Louise Uhr, and some works edited by her, such as What we talk about when we talk about God: 6 papers presented at the 5th National Conference of Ordination of Catholic Women Incorporate (NL 291.31082 O65) and Changing women, changing church: festschrift to Patricia Brennan M.D., B.S., Foundation President of the Movement for the Ordinationof Women (NL 261.8344 C456). The Library also holds some items published by OCW, and the OCW News (Nq 262.14294 NEW)


Uhr filed her papers by subject, and this original order has largely been preserved in the form of each series. Her files containing book or chapter drafts have been joined together to form one series. The computer discs contain many duplicates of papers within the collection. Digital files have been created by the Library to complement the paper files created by Uhr, and have been stored on the Library’s network.

Biographical Note

Marie Louise Uhr was born in Brisbane on 26 July 1935, the second child of Marie and Clive Uhr, and was brought up in a traditional Catholic environment.

After completing her final two years of high school at Stuartholme School, Uhr completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (medical science), at the University of Queensland. She then moved to Melbourne to work at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories.

With a Fellowship from the American Association of University Women, Uhr undertook her Masters degree at the University of Colorado. Following nine months of travel in Europe, she returned to Australia, on a PhD Scholarship from the Australian National University (ANU). In 1967 she was offered post-doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin, and in 1968, she returned to Canberra to work as a research fellow, again at the ANU. Uhr continued her academic career, lecturing in biochemistry at the Canberra College of Advanced Education, later the University of Canberra, until her retirement in 1994.

After challenging sexism throughout her academic career in the 1960s and 1970s, Uhr became aware of similar injustices in the Church, and began campaigning for the ordination of women. She became a member of the Movement for the Ordination of Women in the Anglican Church (MOW), holding the position of National Vice President from 1989-1991. Once retired, Uhr completed a Graduate Diploma in Theology, at St. Mark’s College of Ministry, Canberra.

In 1993, Uhr, with Zoe Hancock, formed the movement for the Ordination of Catholic Women (OCW). As National Convenor from 1993-2000, she saw OCW hold its first National Conference in 1994, the first International Conference in 1999, and maintain a position in Women’s Ordination World-wide (WOW). She published and spoke widely on the ordination of women in the Catholic Church.

Uhr died in Canberra on 28 July 2001.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Personal correspondence, 1993-2001

This series contains personal correspondence, including letters and thank you notes, printed emails, Christmas cards and cards received at retirement. They cover a wide range of topics, such as religious discussions, ideas for research and personal news. Correspondents include Elaine Lindsay, Elaine Wainwright and Elfriede Harth Some letters by Uhr are held in digital form.

Correspondence (File 1) - Box 1

Correspondence (Digital files), 1998-2000 (File 2) - Box Digital

Series 2. Talks and speeches, 1988-2001

Items in this series include edited scripts for speeches, transcripts of talks and church group discussions, palm cards, newspaper articles about speeches given by Uhr, and flyers advertising public talks. Topics include women and the church, OCW, book launches and opening addresses for conferences. More scripts of Uhr’s talks and speeches, some of which are duplicates, are available in the digital files.

Talks and speeches, 1988-1996 (File 1) - Box 1

Talks and speeches, 1997-2001 (File 2) - Box 1

Series 3. Drafts

This series contains drafts for books, chapters of group publications, drafts of papers, and associated material, such as letters from editors. Drafts for Uhr’s unpublished book nd various papers are also available in the Digital files.

Draft paper: ‘Magisterial authority and the questionable virtue of obedience’, and editorial correspondence. (File 1) - Box 1

Draft paper: ‘The struggle for women’s ordination: searching for wholeness in the priestly ministry’, correspondence. (File 2) - Box 1

Manuscript for unpublished book: ‘A Saturday journey: a struggle for women’s ordination’, chapter drafts. (File 3) - Box 1

Various draft papers and associated documents, publishing contract with Millenium Books. (File 4) - Box 1

Series 4. Ordination of Catholic Women (OCW), 1994-2001

Items in this series include brochures for OCW, AGM papers, OCW conference papers, copies of OCW News, OCW correspondence and press clippings about OCW. More OCW papers are available in the digital files.

OCW papers (File 1) - Box 1

OCW papers (Digital files) (File 2) - Box Digital

Series 5. University of Canberra, 1987-1995

This series contains lecture scripts, handwritten notes, overhead transparencies and associated research material from Uhr’s lectures in science and feminism at the University of Canberra.

Feminism and science lecture, 1992 (File 1) - Box 2

Feminism and science lecture, 1993-1995 (File 2) - Box 2

Sex and gender lecture scripts, 1987-c.1993 (File 3) - Box 2

Also papers and notes on women and the biochemistry curriculum.

Series 6. St. Mark’s College of Ministry: assignments, 1993-1996

This series consists of Uhr’s assignments from her Graduate Diploma in Theology at St. Mark’s College of Ministry, Canberra. Some of her assignments are also available in the digital files.

Assignments, 1993-1995 (File 1) - Box 2

Assignments, 1996 and undated (File 2) - Box 2

Assignment: A portfolio of work (File 3) - Box 2

Series 7. St. Mark’s College of Ministry: lecture notes and readings, 1993-1995

Items in this series include handwritten lecture notes and printed readings from Uhr’s Graduate Diploma in Theology at St. Mark’s College of Ministry.

Lecture notes, c.1994 (File 1) - Box 2

Printed readings and handwritten notes, c.1995 (File 2) - Box 3

Lecture notes and readings, various dates. (File 3) - Box 3

Series 8. Music

This series includes sheet music, song lyrics, and booklets of music. The music is religious in nature, with an emphasis on the feminine, and appears to be for use in religious ceremonies.

Sheet music, lyrics and booklets. (File 1) - Box 3

Series 9. Miscellaneous, 1977-2001

Items in this series include Uhr’s curriculum vitae, papers relating to Uhr’s volunteer work with Lifeline, liturgies, book reviews and book lists. Personal documents are also available in the digital files.

Curriculum vitae (File 1) - Box 3

Lifeline papers, c.1977-1981 (File 2) - Box 3

Liturgies, book reviews. (File 3) - Box 3

Book lists (File 4) - Box 3

Personal documents: codicil to will, funeral plans and list of paintings owned by Uhr (only available in figital form). (File 5) - Box Digital

Series 10. Obituaries, 2001

This series contains obituaries on Marie Louise Uhr, included in the collection by her family after her death on 28 July 2001. Items include the booklet from her funeral service, obituaries published in church and women’s journals, the text the family sent to the Sydney Morning Herald and press clippings.

Obituaries (File 1) - Box 3