Autograph book containing signatures of those involved in the republican movement, 1916-1918

As part of our series: From the Archives: Public History, Dearbhla Fay (MA in Public History, 2018) examines an autograph book purchased by the National Library of Ireland in 2016 at a Whytes’ auction. The book contains the autographs of over 150 leading republicans during the period after the 1916 Rising and before the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922. Although the original owner of the book is not known, its contents show that it was someone close to leading figures of the Irish Revolution including Thomas Ashe, Michael Collins, Countess Markievicz and Éamon de Valera.

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A Magdalen Asylum’s plea to Francis Sheehy-Skeffington

As part of our series: From the Archives: Public History, Abigail Smith (MA in Public History, 2018) examines a letter received by Francis Sheehy-Skeffington from Sister Mary Joseph Xavier, Superioress of the Magdalen Asylum on Forster Street in Galway. The letter was a request for financial support for the asylum and although we do not know if Sheehy-Skeffington ever replied to Sister Mary, or if he provided any financial support, this letter does provide some insight into the asylum, its operations, and fundraising mechanics.

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National Library of Ireland, MS 21, 753.

Extracts from the Letters of the 3rd Earl of Leitrim

As part of our series: From the Archives: Public History, Brian Thomas (MA in Public History, 2018) examines letters penned between Lord Leitrim and his barrister George B. West Esq. on legal matters pertaining to family tragedy, tenant riots, and his growing fears of a political conspiracy to assassinate him. The selected letters cover a large swathe of Lord Leitrim’s life and personal affairs and give insight into the man whose violent death would eventually be celebrated.

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Vere Foster’s Irish Female Emigration Fund

As part of our series: From the Archives: Public History, Hayley Kilgallon (MA in Public History, 2018) examines a report written by Vere Henry Louis Foster (1819-1900) regarding the assisted emigration fund he founded and managed. The report, published in October 1884, highlights the hardship in Ireland at the time and the desperation among people to emigrate. It also gives an insight into how Foster operated his scheme.

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‘File of newspaper cuttings relating to AIDS’, Irish Queer Archive Ms. 46,004/2 National Library of Ireland

Mother’s advice on condoms (Irish Press 1990)

In this month’s article for the ‘From the Archive’ series, MA in Public History graduate Jen Falgout examines a 1990 letter to The Irish Press newspaper from Mrs. P. O’Reilly, a veteran contraceptive rights campaigner. In her letter O’Reilly makes an impassioned intervention in support of the Irish Family Planning Association and loosening restrictions on condom sales.

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