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Villanova Featured on Irish National Website

By Rebecca Oviedo

Front pages of newspapers, The Irish Press, The Gaelic American, and The Clan-na-Gael Journal (Digital Library@Villanova University)


Villanova University’s well-known connections to Ireland, Irish and Irish American history, and the Irish diaspora has recently led to an invitation to share more about those connections and our collections on Century Ireland, a website hosted by RTÉ, Ireland’s national television and radio broadcaster.

The featured article is distinguished as being the first in a new series on “Global Archives,” which will highlight the rich historical collections available to researchers of the Irish Revolution in archives around the world.

Read the full article here:


Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Librarian/Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.



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TBT: Exploring Ireland

To continue our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, this throwback Thursday we’re featuring a picture of Dublin from 1821. You can almost imagine the leprechauns hiding in the hills of Phoenix Park in Dublin. This photograph is housed in the Joseph McGarrity collection in Falvey’s digital library

This photo is also featured in 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.


Party like it’s 1923!

Two young boys playing in a body of water.

These boys are excited to frolic their way into the public domain! (From the cover of Grit (Story Section), August 26, 1923.)

You may have seen a bunch of articles around the beginning of the year eagerly talking about new things that entered the public domain on January 1st, such as this one from The Public Domain Review or this one from Smithsonian Magazine. The Atlantic was so excited about new stuff entering the public domain that they published an article about it all the way back in April 2018.

We joined in the celebrations by scanning a few items published in 1923 over the past couple of weeks. Here they are:

Celtic wonder tales / re-told by Ella Young ; with decorations by Maud Gonne.

Chicago Ledger, v. LI, no. 6, Saturday, February 10, 1923.

Chicago Ledger, v. LI, no. 24, Saturday, June 16, 1923.

Grit (Story Section), v. 41, no. 39, Story Section no. 1493, August 26, 1923.

These are just a few things that we moved to the top of our scanning queue to celebrate their freedom, but of course we have many more titles published in 1923 that can now be digitized when we have time. And we’re already looking forward to scanning titles from 1924 next year!

The first page of the story "The Earth-Shapers" with a decorative illustration of a black dragon and a white dragon at the top.

The opening page of Ella Young’s Celtic Wonder Tales.


March of the Sixty-Ninth

This recent acquisition titled, “March of the Sixty-Ninth,” references New York’s 69th Infantry Regiment, popularly known as “The Fighting 69th” or “The Fighting Irish.” The regiment’s coat of arms at the top of the page include the names of well-known Irish military heroes including Commodore John Barry, as well as motifs of Irish heritage such as the shamrock and the golden harp. The two Irish wolfhounds on either side inspired the regimental motto, “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.”

The text, possibly a poem or a song, seeks to combat anti-immigrant sentiments by demonstrating the natural bravery of the Irish soldiers and their loyalty to both their home country and the United States. The idea is reinforced by the repeating exclamation by Winfield Scott, Commanding General of the U.S. Army, “Seldom such men I’ve led; There go the boys for a FIGHTING BRIGADE!”

Around 1851 the 69th Regiment began the tradition still followed today of leading the marchers in New York City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. But the text here likely refers to a military inspection parade observed by Scott, known for his nickname “Old Fuss and Feathers” because of his attention to details and military formalities. Traditionally, military parades were not commonly held in the United States outside of war time, though in the early days of U.S. history military parades were sometimes reviewed by the President on the Fourth of July. But given the publication date noted here as “All-Hallow Eve” – October 31st, 1858 – do you think the 69th were marching in a Halloween parade instead?!


Comrades! the cocks in yon hamlet are crowing,
The morning star pales like our own dying lamp,
But fill, and we’ll drink “dough-a-doras” o’erflowing,
To outposts and soldiers asleep in the Camp.
Promptly at duty’s call
Forth they rushed one and all,
Must’ring in order along the Parade;
Gallant old Scott has said,
“Seldom such men I’ve led;
There go the boys for a FIGHTING BRIGADE!”

Honored by good men’s unsought approbation,
Specially thanked by the Chief of our State,
Soldiers by birthright, they’re sons of a nation
Of warriors who used but their swords in debate!
Marked ye the ranks to-day!
Straight as sun-setting ray,
Proudly they passed at INSPECTION PARADE;
Well has the veteran said –
“Seldom such men I’ve led;
There go the boys for a FIGHTING BRIGADE!”

True to the land of their birth and adoption,
Upholding the Free Flag, revering the Green,
More loyally bound to the home of their option
Than Orange or native-bred Arnolds have been. –
Impotent bigot-slaves,
Cravens and traitor-knaves,
War’s wild excitement would make ye afraid;
Scott knew ye well that day,
When he was heard to say –
“There go the boys for a FIGHTING BRIGADE!”

Comrades! away to your posts and your duty,
For Sol gilds the vane on the village church dome;
And ere he goes down, friends, affection, and beauty,
Will throng to the Batt’ry to welcome us home.
Guardians of liberty!
Soldiers we’re proud to see,
Eirinn’s allegiance ‘neath FREE FLAG arrayed!
Braver men never fought;
Truer men never sought
Liberty’s shrine, than the IRISH BRIGADE!


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.


Available for proofreading: Fun o’ the Forge

Need something to do while snowed in today? How about helping to create a new electronic edition of a long out of print book?

Our latest project is Fun o’ the Forge, a collection of humorous stories by Irish author Brian O’Higgins, taken from our Joseph McGarrity Collection.

To help turn our digitized images of the book into a full-text Project Gutenberg eBook, you can read this earlier post about how the process works, then join in at the project page.


Summer Research: Irish Nurses of 1916

Yesterday, we had a visit from an international researcher who was excited to go through our Joseph McGarrity Collection. He was looking for materials related to Irish nurses who participated in the Easter Rising of 1916.

One of the items in the collection is In Times of Peril, which contains excerpts from the diary of nurse Linda Kearns.

Cover of In Times of Peril, featuring a photo of Linda Kearns

Our copy is especially noteworthy as it belonged to Éamon de Valera (to whom the book was dedicated) and bears his signature on the title page. De Valera served as the first president of the Irish Republic (1921-1922) and the third president of the modern Republic of Ireland (1959-1973).

Signature of Eamon de Valera on title page of In Times of Peril.

An excerpt from Kearns’ diary is one of the readings featured in the fifth episode of our Mail Call podcast.

Our researcher had a very productive visit. It is always thrilling to see researchers examining primary sources and bringing new connections to light. You can view a list of published resources that have used materials from our collections in our Zotero library.

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Information Wanted Of …

14 p., The Irish People, v. 1, no. 19, April 2, 1864

14 p., The Irish People, v. 1, no. 19, April 2, 1864

When digitizing newspapers rich stories are often hidden in the classified ads. In the April 2, 1864 issue of the Irish People, John M’Carthy wounded at Gettysburg and recovering at Camp Dennison seeks information on the whereabouts of his brother Denis, last seen in Buffalo, N.Y. The Irish People was published in Dublin so John was looking to connect to Denis by the fragile and tenuous network of hearsay and word-of-mouth communication. Did John ever find Denis, his long lost brother? Historical research may provide one answer.


Waterloo 200

Today, on the 200th anniversary of the epic Battle of Waterloo it is appropriate to show some of the Villanova University Special Collections holdings related to Napoleon. Most materials in Special Collection are from the Joseph McGarrity collection and include rare books and newspapers, and facsimile collections of materials as well a manuscript letter to the Emperor Napoleon himself from Herni Clarke, digitized and available in the Digital Library. McGarrity himself annotated and collected materials on Bonaparte. These and other works on the Napoleonic Wars and Revolutionary France are available for consultation in the Rare Book Room.


Summer Project: Bishops and Lepracauns

Posted for: Lisa Kruczek, Summer 2012 Digital Library Intern.

As the Summer 2012 Digital Library Intern, I have recently completed scanning a portion of the historic papers of Bishop Francis Patrick Kenrick, former Bishop of Philadelphia (1796-1863). Villanova is putting them online through a collaborative project with the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center, who owns the collection. Although the papers are largely in French and Latin, PAHRC has already created a finding aid for this collection, so the descriptions helped clarify the meaning of the documents. Some fascinating subjects are discussed in the correspondence of this collection, such as the Riots of 1844 and the beginning of the Civil War and how it was impacting the Catholic Church.

I was also given the opportunity to scan some books and manuscripts, most recently a book of poetry, handwritten by the author. I was able to enter all the metadata for these projects as well, which enabled me to gain more insight into this material. During my time here in the digital library, I have completed transcriptions of 19th century correspondence and created a Wikipedia article on “the Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly” from the Joseph McGarrity collection. I’ve received an education on topics such as Cataloging, Intellectual Property and Social Media, which has been an excellent supplement to my coursework. I’d like to thank Michael Foight and Laura Bang for taking the time to impart some of their vast knowledge so that I too may move on to become a professional and take part in the Digital Library Revolution!


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Last Modified: August 14, 2012

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