O’Hara Darlington (1849-1916), was the oldest child of William M. Darlington and Mary Carson O’Hara Darlington. O’Hara was an accomplished scholar in history, botany, and literature. He attended the Western University of Pennsylvania, and enrolled at Yale University with the class of 1870, where he joined the Delta Kappa Fraternity. Due to ill health, O’Hara left Yale at the end of his first year, but returned in 1871 and obtained his degree with honors. O’Hara shared his family’s devotion to expanding their private library. Following his graduation from Yale, he traveled throughout Europe collecting historical artifacts and literature. O’Hara fell ill in Europe, but regained his strength. After his travels, he resided at Guyasuta. O’Hara bought and sold land in the Pittsburgh area, and ventured into the steam boat industry, investing in the transport of freight and passengers along the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers. On August 22, 1916, O’Hara died suddenly at Guyasuta from heat prostration at the age of sixty-seven following a serious illness.
O’Hara shared a passion for photography with his sister, Edith, both of whom belonged to the Pittsburgh Amateur Photographers’ Society. O’Hara collected late nineteenth century British and American literature, principally fiction. Amid his collection of approximately 1,000 books are first editions of novels by Dickens and Thackeray, an early edition of Defoe’s
Robinson Crusoe, as well as a bibliography of George and Robert Cruickshank’s sketches.
O’Hara’s papers relate to his book collecting and historical research, including receipts from two book companies and his membership in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. His personal record-keeping is highlighted by twelve diaries, with entries concerning the weather, and the time when various flowers and trees blossom. O’Hara periodically describes the affect of droughts and heavy snowfall on his land, as well as the height of Pittsburgh’s three rivers. He also includes brief notes about business meetings, court cases and property issues that concern him. The diaries also describe travel including trips to Atlantic City, New Jersey; Florida; and Chicago during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition.
Many of the diaries contain notes of interest accrued on investments, rent and mortgage money paid or earned for the year. Additional materials relate to O’Hara’s finances, include property tax receipts, notes on a legal case involving property he wished to procure, and documentation of various stocks and bonds he held. The series also contains his diploma from Yale and his obituary and funeral bill. For more information, please refer to Box 25, which contains oversized materials.