Maria Daly Shea (April 12, 1829 – March 25, 1911) was born in County Tyrone, Ireland. She was brought to America at the age of three and, in Philadelphia, became a member of the household of Thomas Lloyd. Lloyd had been a prominent figure in Philadelphia Catholic life,  as well as being a soldier in the American Revolution, a reporter, and the "Father of American Shorthand."
Shea completed her schooling at Eden Hall on the location now known as Fluehr Park in Northeast Philadelphia. Eden Hall was a convent and school established in 1847, and operated until 1969, by the Society of the Sacred Heart sisters.
As heir to Lloyd's three daughters, Shea inherited the family papers and records kept by the Lloyd family. In this capacity, she was of great assistance to the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia. Some of her correspondence with a founder of this society, Thomas Cooke Middleton, O.S.A. (1842-1923), who later became the tenth president of Villanova College from 1876-1878, are preserved in the Lloyd Collection in the Special Collections at the Villanova University Library.
Shea is interred at St. Denis Cemetery in Havertown, PA.