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Experience Ireland’s struggle for independence up-close

By Jutta Seibert

Falvey Library recently expanded its Irish newspaper holdings with assistance from the Irish Studies program and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The newly acquired Radical Newspapers collection from Irish Newspaper Archives includes more than 100 Irish newspapers, bulletins, and pamphlets, mostly from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection consists of digital copies of a broad range of nationalist, republican, and socialist publications. It offers rich contemporary commentary on Ireland’s War of Independence (1919-1921) and many other topics.

The United Irishman, Sinn Fein Daily, The Irish Worker, and The Workers’ Republic are some of the better-known newspapers in the collection. The United Irishman was an Irish nationalist weekly published from 1899 to 1906. Irish leaders such as Pádraig Pearse, Maud Gonne, and Roger Casement regularly contributed to the paper. The paper ceased publication after only seven years following a libel suit. The same year it was re-started under the new name Sinn Féin, under which it was published until 1914 when it was suppressed by the British government. The Irish Worker was founded in 1911 by James Larkin, an Irish trade union leader. It was also suppressed by the British government in 1914. The Workers’ Republic was the official organ of the Socialist Party of Ireland. Its first issue was printed in 1898 under the aegis of James Connolly, another Irish trade union leader and the founder of the Irish Socialist Republican Party. Connolly emigrated to the U.S. in 1903, where he worked for a few years as the editor of the Free Press, a newspaper out of New Castle, Pa. He returned to Ireland in 1910 as organizer of the Socialist Party of Ireland. Many of his contributions to The Workers’ Republic and other papers have been transcribed for the Marxist Internet Archive.

Many of the publications in the collection were ephemeral in nature and, in some cases, only a handful of issues have been preserved. For example, the Radical Newspaper archive only includes a single issue of The Woman Worker (An Bhean Oibre), a short-lived newspaper published by the Irish Women Workers’ Union from 1926 to 1928. Helpful publication histories for individual titles in the collection are available elsewhere on the publisher’s website.

Irish Newspapers Archive has created a short tutorial that introduces available search features. Search facets include date range, publication title, and document type. The search bar features Boolean operators to combine search terms. Search results can be refined in various ways but beware the byline facet as many articles do not carry a byline and results are unreliable. The digital archive is easy to navigate from search results to article and/or page display. Individual articles can be clipped and downloaded or saved to a personal collection. Access the Radical Newspapers archive via the Library’s Databases A-Z list under “R”.

Austin Molloy.
The Nation’s Armour.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Related resources in the Falvey collections:

  • Irish studies research guide
  • The Irish Times (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
    Presents a complete archive of the Irish Times back to 1859 (except for the most recent two years) and the Weekly Irish Times (1876-1958).
  • Irish newspapers in Falvey’s Digital Library
    Available titles include The Free State, The Irish Felon, The Irish People, The Irish Tribune, The Irish Worker and People’s Advocate, The Irishman, The United Irishman, and The Waterford Chronicle.
  • Irish newspapers on microfilm in the Falvey collection
    Titles available include: An-Phoblacht/The Republic, Belfast News-letter, Dublin News, Evening Freeman, Evening Telegraph, Freeman’s Journal, Irish Freedom, Irish Times, Irish Tribune, Irishman, Pilot, The Peasant, United Irishman, and The Weekly Nation.
  • The Irish Press
    A weekly newspaper dedicated to Irish nationalism for an Irish American audience. It was founded by Joseph McGarrity and published in Philadelphia from 1918 to 1922.

Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Welcome to Falvey: Emily Poteat Joins Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement

“I’m very happy to be working with Distinctive Collections and Irish Studies. With this graduate assistantship, I feel like I’m getting the best of both worlds.”

Emily Poteat recently joined the Falvey Memorial Library staff as graduate assistant for Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement and Villanova’s Irish Studies Program. Working primarily with the Irish American Collection in Distinctive Collections, Poteat has discovered many voices of Irish-Americans living in the early 20th century and has begun transcribing their stories. She is currently examining a travel diary by Joseph McGarrity.

“He [McGarrity] brings so much nuance to his diary. I’ve read works by him for an audience and this diary is clearly just for him because he’s not taking care with his handwriting, its very scrawly. In some instances, he may have been writing while traveling the Irish countryside because there’d be a mark across the entire page where the pen just dragged. Delving into the history of Ireland, its really interesting to hear that perspective from an Irish-American who was so involved in Irish Republican activities.”

Another project Poteat has been working on is Mary Linehan’s Irish-American Poetry Commonplace Book. “We couldn’t tell which poems were written by Mary and which poems were commonplace. The only two we were able to identify as not penned by Mary was a poem about Mary Queen of Scots and a newspaper clipping that Mary had cut out and pasted onto a page of her book. It has been very interesting hearing the voices of different people and getting a small glimpse into their lives.”

Graduating from Elon University with a BA in history and minors in political science and German studies, Poteat has conducted a variety of archival research throughout her undergraduate career. Working as a intern with The MacArthur Memorial, she researched the Korean War and worked alongside their archival and curatorial department doing exhibition research where she had the opportunity to transcribe General Douglas MacArthur’s communique’. “The end result of that project was a research paper focusing on journalism during the Interwar period and how MacArthur’s communique’ was discussed throughout WWI and WWII.”

Her senior thesis focused on British identity at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Indian Rebellion of 1857: She examined cartoons of both events published in Punch Magazine, analyzing aspects of British identity that were put on display for the public. For another project, she traced the history of the Red Army Faction (the Baader–Meinhof Group) and documented its transition from student-led operation to German militant organization.

A graduate student in the Department of History at Villanova University, Poteat plans to continue her study in modern German. Fluent in the language, she will focus her research on Nazi propaganda. “I want to focus on Volksgemeinschaft (people’s community) and examine the ways propaganda emerged and how it was distributed and communicated to the German public. I’m hoping to continue exploring geo-politics between Russia and the United States with the atomic bomb during the Cold War.”

In her free time, Poteat enjoys watercolor painting, copperplate calligraphy, and modern script calligraphy. She is looking forward to transcribing meeting minutes of the Irish Republican committees and societies in the United States. “I have a passion for special collections and archives. [This job] is a joy…This is always what I dreamed of doing.”

Follow Poteat’s work on the Falvey Library blog:


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Cat in the Stax: St. Patrick’s Day

By Jenna Newman

I hope you’re rocking your green today because it’s St. Patrick’s Day! This week I wanted to dive deeper into the history of St. Patrick’s Day and answer some FAQs about St. Patrick’s Day and typical ways of celebrating.

Who was St. Patrick? Saint Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. He was brought to Ireland as a slave when he was 16, but later escaped. Later, he returned to Ireland and is thought to have brought Christianity to Ireland.

When did people start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Since the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been celebrating the feast day of St. Patrick on March 17; however, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade actually took place in the United States! Records show that in 1601 there was a parade in the Spanish colony that is now St. Augustine, Florida. In 1772, homesick Irish soldiers in the English militia marched in New York City to honor the saint – celebrations have only grown from there!

What’s the significance of shamrocks? One of the most told legends regarding St. Patrick is that he used a three-leaf Irish clover (a shamrock!) to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish people when he brought Christianity to the country. 

What do leprechauns have to do with St. Patrick’s Day? Legends of leprechauns and their pots of gold at the end of rainbows go back centuries, although it was more recently that they became tied to St. Patrick’s Day. One theory has to do with a movie Walt Disney released in 1959 called Darby O’Gill and the Little People, which was about an old Irish man and his experiences with magical leprechauns. This movie became increasingly popular in the United States right around the time that celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day also were becoming more popular. Since St. Patrick’s Day is about celebrating Irish culture and leprechauns are a large part of Irish folklore, the connection is fitting. 

Why do you wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? It all has to do with the leprechauns! Leprechauns are known for their trickery and supposedly pinch everyone they come across. But, leprechauns also cannot see the color green, so we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day to avoid being pinched! Green is also one of the prominent colors in the Irish flag.

As part of your celebrations, I encourage you to take a deeper look into one of Falvey’s digital exhibits, Rambles, Sketches, Tours: Travellers & Tourism in Ireland. This exhibit highlights Irish travel narratives and related materials, primarily from the Joseph McGarrity Collection, in Falvey Memorial Library’s Special Collections.


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.


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Join us at the “Irish Pipeline: Irish Athletics at Villanova” event on March 4th!

Irish Pipeline Event poster

The Villanova University Community is cordially invited to join us on Thursday, March 4, from 4:00-5:00 p.m. for an ACS-approved virtual talk titled, “The Irish Pipeline: Irish Athletics at Villanova.”

Zoom join link:

https://villanova.zoom.us/j/93468089921

Additional Events from the Center for Irish Studies and Falvey Memorial Library:

Falvey Memorial Library’s Irish Studies Resources

Please see the Irish Studies Research Guide that has been carefully curated and maintained by Jutta Seibert, subject specialist for history, art history, and global interdisciplinary studies and the Director of Research Services and Scholarly Engagement, Falvey Memorial Library. The guide that Jutta compiled includes books/book chapters, academic journals, newspapers/magazines, primary resources, encyclopedias, handbooks, companions, and biographical information related to Irish Studies. You can also find handy information on citation tools!

 


headshot picture of regina duffy

 

 

Regina Duffy is a Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


 


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Cat in the Stax: Behind the Lines of Angela’s Ashes

By Jenna Newman

hand holding Angela's Ashes book

Now that we’ve read through Angela’s Ashes (1996) as part of the Read with the Other Jenna book club, it’s time to go deeper into the McCourt family, the writing of Angela’s Ashes, what happened after, and where to find more resources. Frank McCourt shared with the readers his childhood, starting in New York and then moving to Limerick, Ireland. We learned the heartbreaking details of his father’s descent into alcoholism until he was no longer present and the poverty that struck the McCourt family.

Three out of Frank’s six siblings died in early childhood, yet four of the McCourt brothers survived against all odds. At the end of the memoir, Frank gets off the boat from Ireland, back into New York, ready to start a new life.

But now, we are left with the question: what happens next?

Frank struggles to gain a foothold in New York at first, which he writes about in his second memoir ‘Tis (1999). However, eventually he becomes a city school teacher where he taught for 30 years after getting a degree in English Education from New York University and a master’s in English from Brooklyn College. Frank talks about his experiences as a teacher in his third and final memoir Teacher Man (2005). In 1994, Frank married Ellen Frey McCourt, who he was married to until he passed away in 2009 from metastatic melanoma at age 78. Frank is survived by his wife, Ellen, his brothers, Malachy, Alphie, and Mike, his daughter, Maggie McCourt, and three grandchildren.

Although Frank took on the voice of his childhood self while writing Angela’s Ashes, he did not write the memoir until he was in his 60s. He struggled with the writing process until writing a small anecdotal section, where he took on the voice of himself as a child, and ultimately found the voice we see throughout the entire memoir. The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997 and was made into a movie by British director Alan Parker in 1999. 

The eldest son, Frank McCourt, however, was not the only McCourt to take his hand at memoir writing. Malachy McCourt, the second eldest son, wrote two memoirs about his life after traveling to America. The first, A Monk Swimming (1999) about traveling through America and then the second, Singing my Him Song (2001) about his journey from being a drunk to a sober, loving father and grandfather. The four living McCourt brothers also became the topic of two documentaries, shot by Malachy’s son Conor McCourt. The first focused on their time in Ireland, The McCourts of Limerick, while the second focused on New York, The McCourts of New York.

If you’re interested in learning more about Irish culture, history, or the McCourt family, I’ve linked to a variety of different resources. 

  • McCourt Family Memoirs
  • Irish Studies Librarian, Jutta Seibert, can be reached by email here or schedule an appointment with her here. More information about the Irish studies collection can be located here.
  • Falvey’s special collections also hold two distinctive collections focused on Irish history and culture.
    • The McGarrity Collection consists of around 3,000 monographs focusing on Irish history, literature, folklore, description and travel, music, and Irish-American history. This collection also includes a complete run of the Irish Press.
    • The Limited Editions collection holds almost an entire collection of limited edition books and broadsides printed by the Cuala Press, an Irish press in Dublin operating in the first half of the twentieth century. 


Make sure to tune in tomorrow on Instagram and Facebook Live as I continue to dig deeper into the questions and themes posed in Angela’s Ashes.


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Adding all the other McCourt memoirs into my Amazon cart.

 

 

 


 


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eBook available: Fun o’ the Forge

Our latest Project Gutenberg release, produced with the help of Distributed Proofreaders, comes from our Joseph McGarrity Collection of materials dealing with Ireland: Fun o’ the Forge, by Brian O’Higgins. Most of the stories in the collection are the author’s own, but three describe themselves as adaptations from An Seabhac‘s 1913 collection, An Baile Seo ‘Gainn-ne.

The book is a collection of short, humorous stories about Irish country life, most revolving around misunderstandings and clever tricks. The forge of the book’s title belongs to Ned M’Grane, a blacksmith who loves to tell stories and longs for better times. The stories are connected together by common characters, and most are told by Ned to the narrator and his friends. While on the surface this is a calm narrative about a simpler time, there is an undercurrent of anger, and it is easy to see how the text relates to its author’s politics.

The entire book may now be read online (or downloaded in a variety of convenient eBook formats) through Project Gutenberg.


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Oíche Cois Tine – Two Nights Beside The Fire: A Window Into The Rich Literary World of Dr. Douglas Hyde, and A Musical Voyage to Irish Newfoundland

PORTAL_CEILIDuring the 1980s the Philadelphia Ceili Group hosted a cultural evenings series under the title “Oíche Cois Tine”, Gaelic for “Night Beside the Fire”. These events celebrated a wide range of Irish culture: music and dance performances by prominent Irish and Irish-American artists, demonstrations of uniquely Irish musical instruments such as the uilleann pipes, and lectures on topics such as Irish literature, history, travel, and the Irish-American experience. This week we added two new recordings of academic lectures from this series to the Philadelphia Ceili Group collection of Villanova University’s Digital Library. These items, freely available for streaming and download, highlight the amazing breadth of materials on Irish history and culture present in the Ceili Group collection and augment in sound the huge array of Irish textual and visual materials in other areas of the Digital Library.

“Irish Songs and Singers of Newfoundland”, 1982.

This lecture from the Spring of 1982 features the renowned folklorist and scholar Dr. Kenneth Goldstein, presenting on his adventures visiting with musicians and archiving Irish folk music in Newfoundland, Canada. Kenny Goldstein was a hugely influential figure in Irish folk music, having collected and published thousands of folksongs across several continents. He was also instrumental to the success of the Philadelphia Ceili Group’s activities in past decades, as attested to in this tribute to him from the 1996 Festival Program.

If you want to hear some incredible stories and some unique takes on some well-known Irish tunes, have a listen to Dr. Goldstein’s fascinating exploration of the music of a lesser-known corner of the Irish diaspora.

“The Importance of Douglas Hyde to the Irish Literary Renaissance”, March 12, 1982.

This lecture from 1982 features an extended discussion by the late Dr. Lester I. Conner, a Professor of English at Chestnut Hill
College from 1962-1990, on the unique contributions of Douglas Hyde to the Gaelic revival of the late-nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. His contributions, according to Dr. Conner, to the reestablishment of the Irish language as a living tongue,
the formation of a de-anglicized Irish identity, Irish nationalism, and especially the Irish literary renaissance, cannot be overestimated. Dr. Conner illuminates the literary world of Douglas Hyde with spark and enthusiasm, and brings to life the voices of famous contemporaries such as Lady Gregory and W. B. Yeats in an engaging presentation packed with quotes and anecdotes.

This new addition to the Philadelphia Ceili Group collection is also a perfect entry point to the study of Dr. Hyde’s influence in the scores of primary documents available throughout the Digital Library. If you’re interested in exploring further, try this list of documents concerning Douglas Hyde.

 

Stay tuned for more links to recordings from the Oíche Cois Tine series!


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eBook available: Some Poems of Roger Casement

Some Poems of Roger CasementAccording to the introduction to Some Poems of Roger Casement, Irish nationalist Roger Casement “would have been the last to lay claim” to the title of poet. However, he did occasionally compose or translate poetry, and this slim volume collects some of his work. Gertrude Parry’s introduction, written just two years after Casement’s death, goes on to provide some brief and affectionate biographical notes on the author, whose path eventually led him to be executed by the British government on treason charges. While the text is brief, the anecdotes and private compositions it contains should interest those studying Casement.

The entire volume may be read online or downloaded through Project Gutenberg.


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Available for proofreading: Some Poems of Roger Casement

Some Poems of Roger CasementIrish nationalist Roger Casement is occasionally mentioned in this blog, as when one of our images was used to illustrate a novel inspired by his life. Our latest Distributed Proofreaders project is a posthumously-published volume which highlights a lesser-known aspect of the man’s life: his poetry.

To help create a new electronic edition of this rarely-seen book, you can read this earlier blog post to learn about the process, then join in the work at the project page.


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Investigating the Investigators: The U.S. Bureau of Investigation Case Files Archives

case files

Founded in 1908 as the investigative branch of the Justice Department against the opposition of Congress by executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Bureau of Investigation was charged with the investigation of violations of federal statutes. As its powers and influence increased in the face of internal and external threads, the Bureau was repeatedly accused of acting outside the law. Eight years later the Bureau employed three hundred agents, a steep increase from the modest thirty-eight investigators hired in 1908. In 1916 the Bureau was charged with counterintelligence and the investigation of radical activities in the U.S. J. Edgar Hoover, who was appointed as the director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1924, cleansed the Bureau of its corrupt elements. He remained in his position when the Bureau was renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935.

The Bureau of Investigation case files are hosted on the EBSCO Fold3 platform. The files are labeled as FBI case files while the collection itself is called Bureau of Investigation case files. It consists of four series, Bureau Section Files, Mexican Files, Miscellaneous Files and Old German Files. Although browsing is an option, it is not a productive approach as file names consist mostly of numbers and personal names. The basic keyword search is a good starting point. Results can be filtered and searches can easily be modified. Scanning documents is at times challenging as the pages of some files are lined up from right to left.

pamphletThe case files cover the years 1909 through 1921 and contain reports and documents related to World War I and the surveillance of groups suspected of un-American activities. The Bureau’s agents regularly reported about labor organizations, the radical press and “Negro subversion.” The case files include pamphlets and magazines published by the “radical press,” such as complete issues of The Masses. Interesting examples from the collection include Babe Ruth, who was investigated as an “alleged slacker,” a.k.a. draft dodger, Joseph McGarrity, whose surveillance files are part of the Old German Files as he was considered a friend of the Germans, and Emma Goldman, the well known anarchist.  Margaret Sanger’s activities were closely watched as well. Her files include pamphlets about her speaking engagements and some of her publications. The short but politically turbulent time period covered by the case files will guarantee many interesting discoveries.

Links to the collection can be found in the online catalog, on the Databases A-Z list and on the history subject guide. Questions or comments? Contact me directly (jutta.seibert@villanova.edu) or post your comments online.


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Last Modified: January 20, 2015