Posts with the tag: Ireland

The Archivist’s Nook: Speaking of Rainbows…

Clickbait, non sequitur, or cross promotion, you decide, but there’s at least one prominent rainbow in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Washington, D.C. Collection. The rainbow is one of many pieces of Irish imagery featured on the cover of the 1984 Parade Magazine. (St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Washington, D.C. Collection, Box 1, Folder 13.)

Speaking of rainbows, Father Hartke, and Mercedes McCambridge—who, coincidentally, was born on St. Patrick’s Day (McCambridge, 1981, p. 105)—the St. Patrick’s Day Parade [of] Washington, D.C. Collection now has an online finding aid. The collection contains particularly strong documentation of the first twenty-five or so years of the D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade—which has been held annually since 1971, traditionally on the Sunday before the holiday (March 17th). As such, Carole McNally points out that “The St. Patrick’s DAY Parade” is somewhat of a misnomer (1982, p. 19); a few times, however, such as on its twentieth anniversary in 1991, the parade has been celebrated on the actual holiday when March 17th happened to fall on a Sunday.

Although St. Patrick’s Day parades had been held in other large American cities (namely Boston) since the 1850s, D.C. was “a real latecomer” (“Twenty Five Years,” 1996, p. 6). Moreover, the timing of the first march, which roughly coincided with the onset of The Troubles in Northern Ireland (1968–1998), was regarded with suspicion by both the Metropolitan and Park Police. According to the histories that appear in the 1982 and 1987 Parade Magazines, the police feared that the marchers—whose original route went along Embassy Row, from Dupont Circle up Massachusetts Avenue—would end up demonstrating in front of the British Embassy (McNally, 1982, p. 18; McNally-McCarthy, 1987, p. 20). Their fears were not totally unfounded; in 1971, the marchers rallied at Robert Emmet Memorial Park, where there is a statue of the Irish patriot who was hanged in 1803 for leading an armed rebellion against British rule. In 1972, the marchers again strode from Dupont Circle to the Emmet statue; as Washington Post Staff Writer William R. MacKaye reported, the St. Patrick’s Day festivities “Lack[ed]” Their Usual Frivolity”; with the events of Bloody Sunday (January 30, 1972) barely past, the marchers bore placards decrying “British tyranny,” and demanding “Give Ireland back to the Irish” (MacKaye, 1972, D2).

Despite the tensions and political overtones of the early years, the parade has generally been billed as a “family day,” an “Irish community endeavor,” and “a day when people come together to enjoy the sharing of culture” (McNally-McCarthy, 1987, pp. 20–21). In 1974 the St. Patrick’s Day celebrants began parading down Constitution Avenue NW, along the Mall, between 7th and 17th Streets NW—the traditional route to this day. Regrettably, the collection does not include any materials pertaining to the 1974 parade (or the 2010 one for that matter). It was at this point that the parade grew larger and more sophisticated, incorporating floats and a reviewing stand (situated on the Ellipse, between the White House and the Washington Monument).

Father Hartke (right) pictured at the D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 15, 1981, the year before he was appointed Grand Marshal. [The note reads: “Padre—The Dominican is on the left—[signature].”] (Rev. Gilbert Vincent Ferrer Hartke Collection, Box 28, Folder 4.)
Also beginning in 1974, prominent Washingtonians of Irish descent were selected annually to serve as Grand Marshal and Gael of the Year. Some noteworthy Grand Marshals over the years have included: George Meany, President of the AFL-CIO (1977); Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics (1985); House Speaker Tip O’Neill (1986); actress Helen Hayes (1987); NFL Washington [Redskins] running back John Riggins (1990); and John Hume (1995), hailed as one of the architects of the peace process in Northern Ireland.

On two occasions the Grand Marshal has been a figure from The Catholic University of America. In 1982 it was the legendary founder of Catholic University’s Speech and Drama Department, the Reverend Gilbert V. Hartke—perhaps better known today as “the guy with the Dorothy dress.” In 2016 it was University President John Garvey. That year also marked the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. As it happens, this month marks the centennial of the end of the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921); a truce was declared on July 11, 1921.

Although for more than two decades the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee celebrated the fact that it had never rained on their parade, in 1993 the luck of the Irish ran out. Over the weekend on which the parade was originally scheduled, a wintry mix of snow, sleet, rain, and hurricane-force winds pelted the capital region. (St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Washington, D.C. Collection, Box 1, Folder 22.)

Although for more than two decades the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee celebrated the fact that it had never rained on their parade (McNally-McCarthy, 1987, p. 21; Barry, 1991, p. 28), in 1993 the luck of the Irish ran out. On Sunday, March 14th, the front page headline of the Washington Post was “Fierce Snowstorm Overpowers Area.” A wintry mix of snow, sleet, rain, and hurricane-force winds pelted the capital region, causing the parade to be postponed until the next weekend. As Washington Post Staff Writer Serge F. Kovaleski reported, “The postponement took a toll on the annual event,” drawing only a fraction of the number of spectators as in previous years, featuring only 70 of the 110 units initially scheduled to participate, and lasting only an hour and a half instead of the usual two and a half. Worst of all, “the parade’s grand marshal, mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark […] was unable to make the snow date” (Kovaleski, 1993). But, as the saying goes, you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain. The following weekend brought “virtually perfect spring weather” and “savory 57-degree temperature[s]” (Kovaleski, 1993).

References

Barry, Carole McNally. (1991). “The St. Patrick’s Day Parade Story—A History of Sorts.” In Parade Magazine, pp. 28–29.

Kovaleski, Serge F. (1993, March 22). A Fine Day For the Wearin’ O’ the Green. Washington Post.

MacKaye, William F. (1972, March 18). St. Patrick’s Celebrations Lack Their Usual Frivolity. Washington Post, D2.

McCambridge, Mercedes. (1981). The Quality of Mercy. Times Books.

McNally, Carole. (1982). “Parades We Remember…” In Parade Magazine, pp. 18–19.

McNally-McCarthy, Carole. (1987). “1971–1987—The History of Our Parade.” In Parade Magazine, pp. 20–21.

“Twenty Five Years of Saint Patrick’s Day Parades.” (1996). Parade Magazine, pp. 6–8.

 

The Archivist’s Nook: Rare Book Acquisitions, 2019-2020

Stacks in Rare Books, Mullen Library, May 2019, Taken by W. J Shepherd. Special Collections, Catholic University.

Rare Books was formally added to Special Collections in May 2019, joining the University Archives, Museum, and Manuscripts, also known as the American Catholic History Research Collection. New acquisitions have been a challenge while operating in a climate of budget and staff limits even before the onset of the COVID Crisis. However, we are pleased to report on four recent notable arrivals. Purchasing rare books, including pamphlets, is not a matter to be taken lightly. Several factors have to be accounted for, such as the reputation of the seller, price and provenance of the item, as well as whether the item has already been digitized or is available in print copies from other libraries. While the Rare Books collection at Catholic University is strong in many subject areas, we are looking to expand our Anti-Catholic literature, the Catholic Apologetics defending the Faith, and acquire more Spanish and indigenous language items from both North and South America.

A Sermon Preached in the Church of St. Augustine, in Philadelphia, on the 31st of May, 1829, at A Solemn, Religious Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the Emancipation of The Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland.’ By the Rev. John Hughes. Special Collections, Catholic University.

The first of the aforementioned acquisitions is a sermon pamphlet obtained in October 2019 from David Lesser of Fine Antiquarian Books in Woodbridge, Connecticut. Titled ‘A Sermon Preached in the Church of St. Augustine, in Philadelphia, on the 31st of May, 1829, at A Solemn, Religious Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the Emancipation of The Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland.’ By the Rev. John Hughes. Spanning 28 pages, it is in good condition and only lightly foxed. Born in Ireland, John Joseph Hughes became the fourth Bishop and first Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, serving from 1842 to 1864. He was known as ‘Dagger John’, both for his following of the Catholic practice wherein a bishop precedes his signature with a cross, as well as for his aggressive personality. At the time of this sermon, he was the pastor of a church located in Philadelphia. He dedicated his sermon to Daniel O’Connel, who was known as ‘The Liberator,’ due to his tireless lobbying for Catholic Emancipation in both Ireland and Great Britain.  Philadelphia had been a center of anti-immigrant political unrest. Hughes’s address to this largely Irish-American congregation reminded them of the oppression that was historically directed towards Roman Catholics, and celebrated the British Parliament’s recent granting of fuller civil rights towards Catholics.

Catecismo y declaracion de la Doctrina Cristiana en lengua Otomi, con un vocabulario del mismo idioma. Megico: impreso en la oficina de ciudadano by Joaquin Lopez Yepes in 1826. Special Collections, Catholic University.

The second new addition was a book purchased in February 2020 from Rulon-Miller Books of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Written by Joaquin Lopez Yepes and published by Alejandro Valdes in 1826 in Mexico, it is a Catechism and Dictionary (Catecismo y declaracion de la Doctrina Cristiana en lengua Otomi, con un vocabulario del mismo idioma. Megico: impreso en la oficina de ciudadano) in both Spanish and the indigenous language of Otomi. This first edition has 254 pages, with a dictionary spanning pages 93-251. It is comprised of red morocco backed marbled boards, and has a smooth gilt spine that is laid out in six compartments. Otomi differs in structure from other languages spoken in Mexico, as it strongly resembles the languages of Eastern Asia. Luis de Neve y Molina was the first to establish a system of characters in 1767, which has been retained. Otomi is a monosyllabic language, which is still spoken today by nearly two million inhabitants of central Mexico. The author was a native Mexican and a religious brother of the Franciscan College at Pachuca. Many consider his vocabulary to be the most complete ever published in this language.

A Relation of the Bloody Massacre in Ireland; Acted by the Instigation of the Jesuits, Priests, and Friars, who were Promoters of those Horrible Murders, Prodigeous Cruelties, Barbarous Villanies, and Inhuman Practices Executed by the Irish Papists upon the English Protestants: With an Account of the Spanish Inquistition. London: Rowland Reynolds, 1689. Special Collections, Catholic University.

The third recent arrival is a pamphlet from Paul Dowling of Liber Antiquus, Early Books & Manuscripts, located in Chevy Chase, Maryland. It was purchased in May 2020 and is titled A Relation of the Bloody Massacre in Ireland; Acted by the Instigation of the Jesuits, Priests, and Friars, who were Promoters of those Horrible Murders, Prodigeous Cruelties, Barbarous Villanies, and Inhuman Practices Executed by the Irish Papists upon the English Protestants: With an Account of the Spanish Inquistition. London: Rowland Reynolds, 1689. This first edition is bound in recent quarter calf and marbled boards and has a spine label. There are four known copies in the United States, residing in the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Newberry Library, and at Yale and Harvard universities. The first leaf is soiled with marginal repairs and is illustrated with five woodcuts, two show images of mayhem and three depict torture scenes as practiced by the Spanish Inquisition. The first part was apparently issued as a news report in 1641 while the second part on the Inquisition is original. In this sensational account, the Irish are alleged to have tortured Protestants by drowning thousands and compelling family members to kill their own kin: “Wives were forced to hang their own husbands, and mothers to cast their own children into the waters.” This book was published in response to the tumult in Ireland that followed the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Catholic Ireland had to accept the military occupation and endure the rule of the Protestant regime of William of Orange. In 1689 several London printing houses recirculated pamphlets that had originally published in 1641 during the Irish Rebellion. Although readers of the republished Relation of the Bloody Massacre in Ireland were not provided with an introduction, they were able to recognize its relevance towards the present situation.

Requeste Presentee au Roy par Messieurs les Cardinaux, Princes, Seigneurs, & des Deputez de la ville de Paris, & autre villes Catholiques associez & unis pour la deffence de la Religion Catholique Apostolique & Romaine. May 23, 1588. Special Collections, Catholic University.

The fourth new acquisition is a Catholic League pamphlet printed in French, dated May 23, 1588, and purchased in July 2020 from Robert Heron of Three Gables in Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom. It’s English title is Presentation to the King by Cardinals, Princes, Lords, and Deputies of the City of Paris and other Catholic cities associated and united for the defense of the Catholic Religion (Requeste Presentee au Roy par Messieurs les Cardinaux, Princes, Seigneurs, & des Deputez de la ville de Paris, & autre villes Catholiques associez & unis pour la deffence de la Religion Catholique Apostolique & Romaine). In 1576, Henry, duc de Guise, formed the Catholic League to eradicate all French Protestants. On May 12, 1588, known as the ‘Day of the Barricades,’ King Henry III was forced to flee Paris to escape a popular uprising called by de Guise. This rare 16-page pamphlet was most likely printed in Lyon from the original which was published in Paris. It was a plea to the King, now in refuge at the royal Chateau de Blois, to embrace the Catholic cause in the Wars of Religion, which developed as the Reformation spread across Europe into France. Although Henry III made a formal reply to this request, he also took direct action by summoning de Guise and his brother, a Cardinal, to de Blois before Christmas of 1588 where he had them both killed. This led to many more League pamphlets and Henry’s assassination on August 1, 1589 by a Dominican friar. This pamphlet is unbound, protected by a brown paper cover, and in good condition even though the first few pages are somewhat dirty from frequent handling over the past 400 years.

In conclusion, these four new acquisitions, published in four countries, in four languages, across four centuries, represent the diversity of our ever growing collection of Rare Books at The Catholic University of America. We are dedicated to providing preservation, maintenance, and above all, access, to these cultural treasures and we invite you to contact us with any questions you might have.

The Archivist’s Nook: Irish Love Letters from English Prisons

Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa (center). From the Fenian Brotherhood Records and O’Donovan Rossa Personal Papers.

“Moll my Love, why don’t you write to me every day? You know it pleases me to get your letters. Did you know the desire I used to have to hear from you before we were married, and did you know how little that desire has weakened you would write to me every day. After these times are passed it is possible they may leave us unable to write to each other.”

So wrote Irish Fenian leader Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa to his wife Mary Jane (“Moll” to him) while confined in an English prison. O’Donovan Rossa and several other Fenian leaders – including James Stephens, John O’Leary, and  Thomas Clarke Luby – were arrested by the British government and charged with treason in 1865. Their poor treatment while imprisoned was immortalized in his book “O’Donovan Rossa’s Prison Life: Six Years in Six English Prisons” in 1874.

Mary Jane and O’Donovan Rossa were married only a year when he was arrested, and their first child together was born 7 months afterwards. O’Donovan Rossa was by no means a model prisoner, and often lost letter and visiting privileges as a result. Mary Jane and their infant son were not permitted to visit until almost a year after the arrest, when little James was three months old. She sent a photograph of herself and the baby, which O’Donovan Rossa never received. After it was returned to her with a note explaining photographs were not permitted, she composed a poem:

Letter excerpt. Richmond Prison, September 25, 1865. From the Fenian Brotherhood Records and O’Donovan Rossa Personal Papers.

Was it much to ask them, Baby,
These rough menials of the Queen,
Was it much to ask to give him
This poor picture, form and mien,
Of the wife he loved, the little soul
He never yet had seen?

Here at the American Catholic Research Center and University Archives, the prison letters of O’Donovan Rossa to Mary Jane are full of longing and love, but also share details of his case and plans for her future. In a letter dated September 25, 1865, O’Donovan Rossa encouraged his wife to pawn his watch and chain to  fund her passage to America. She did, and made something of a sensation on a speaking tour describing the suffering of the Fenian prisoners and reading her nationalist poetry.

August 9, 1870, O’Donovan Rossa wrote a letter laying out his plan to give evidence before the Commission looking into his case. As he worried Mary Jane would not approve of this decision, he explained “I would not leave it in the gentlemen’s power to say that any refusal to give evidence was proof that the statements could not be substantiated.” Both Rossa and his wife had lost much of their hope that he would be released; as he wrote “I am really pleased Moll that you are so strong, that that sickness of expectation + hope deferred is left you, and that you have made up your mind for the worst, for it is only thus that you can act for the best.”

However, in 1870, O’Donovan Rossa and many other Fenians were pardoned with the understanding they could not return to England or Ireland for the remainder of their sentences. In a letter of December 28, 1870, before he knew exactly when he would be released, O’Donovan Rossa wrote one last tender note to his wife:

“I wish that these lines may find you well. Settle down for a few days or it may be a few weeks, but settle so to be ready to start up immediately, since you are willing to remarry one who has nothing to offer you but increased love.”

Jeremiah and Mary Jane “Moll” O’Donovan Rossa would go on to America together and had a total of thirteen children. Their descendants still live in the United States today.

Per the instructions, “The Convict’s writing to be confined to the ruled lines of these two pages,” but O’Donovan Rossa was often in trouble for writing too small and too much on his allocated prison paper. From the Fenian Brotherhood Records and O’Donovan Rossa Personal Papers.
Mary Jane O’Donovan Rossa. From Fáilte Romhat.

 

The Archivist’s Nook: Stirring the Irish Cauldron

“The Cork Landlords Stirring up a Devil’s Cauldron.” United Ireland, October 3, 1885. From the Irish Home Rule Political Cartoon Collection, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.
“The Cork Landlords Stirring up a Devil’s Cauldron.” United Ireland, October 3, 1885. From the Irish Home Rule Political Cartoon Collection, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

This week’s post is guest authored by Marielle Gage, a CUA graduate student in History.

Saint Patrick’s Day is a beloved holiday, but for many Irish-Americans their heritage intersects with their daily lives more than once a year. Whether you grew up amused or irritated by a certain cereal leprechaun, or found that friend who couldn’t tell the difference between a Mc- and a Mac- adorable or infuriating, life as an American of Irish descent is filled with constant awareness. Or, at least, my own has been. I think I knew about the Potato Famine before the American War of Independence, and I still have an instinctive, furious reaction if anyone ever dare suggest that Oliver Cromwell ever did a good thing in his life.

Interest (as well as pride) in Irish heritage and history is nothing unique or special about me; it has a long and rich tradition in the Irish-American community. Here, at the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives, we house several historical collections directly dealing with Irish and Irish-American history. A particularly fun collection is the Ancient Order of the Hibernians (founded 1836), but in deference to the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, a seminal moment in the march towards an autonomous Irish state, I will direct your attention to our various exhibits in honor of Irish Independence.

Prison Pass, April 6, 1869. Thomas C. Luby Papers, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.
Prison Pass, April 6, 1869. From the Thomas C. Luby Papers, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

First, we have our physical exhibit, organized by our wonderful Katherine Santa Ana, “Sworn to Be Free: Irish Nationalism 1860-1921,” currently on display in the May Gallery of Mullen Library (first floor). The exhibit shows a selection of items from our holdings: letters, Gaelic alphabet cards, political cartoons, photographs, medals, and more. “Sworn to Be Free” looks at the cause of Irish Independence from an American Irish viewpoint: some of our records come from Irish immigrants, but most come from first or second-generation descendants who still maintained keen affection and concern for their motherland. When the struggles for independence became fraught, Irish republicans often looked to their American brethren for material, intellectual, and spiritual support, and the exhibit highlights several Americans offering that support. For those unable to visit “Sworn to Be Free” in person (and if you can, you really should), there is an online version of the exhibit available.

United Irish League of America 5th Biennial National Convention Delegate Ribbon, September 7-28, 1910. From the Terence V. Powderly Papers, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.
United Irish League of America 5th Biennial National Convention Delegate Ribbon, September 7-28, 1910. From the Terence V. Powderly Papers, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

To complement the online exhibit,  we are offering a document-based online exhibit, “Exploring Irish Nationalism with ACUA: An Academic Resource”, for use of teachers, students, and the interested public who might wish to explore Irish independence (and CUA’s connection to it) deeper. Offering certain, select examples from the James Aloysius Geary Papers and the Thomas J. Shahan Papers, both housed at ACUA, this second online exhibit is intended to provide background for the Easter Rising and later War of Independence. Included in Geary’s papers, for example, are minutes and publications of The Friends of Irish Freedom, an American group that watched the Rising and subsequent events with great interest. Shahan preserved several issues of the Irish Bulletin, a publication of the Irish State during the war with Great Britain which often dedicated its pages to illustrating the crimes the English had committed against the Irish people. Impartial news it may not be, but they do serve as a reflection of very real opinions and attitudes present both in Ireland and in sympathetic Irish-Americans.

Neither exhibit is — or claims to be — the whole picture of Irish nationalism and Irish-American sympathy with it. But we have tried to highlight interesting individuals, events, and organizations. We hope our exhibits will not be the end of your curiosity, but the beginning.