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Boston Public Library collection on Irish independence efforts

Call Number: MS 1881

Scope and Contents

This collection spans the years 1919-1960 and covers such subjects as the formation of the Irish Republic, the struggle for independence from Great Britain, the Irish Republican Army, and the anti-partisan movement. It includes correspondence relating to Éamon de Valera and Arthur Griffith. Also included are photographs, copies of the Irish Bulletin, and newspaper clippings.


  • 1919-1960


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

The Easter Rising took place in Dublin on April 24-29, 1916 and was the result of anti-British sentiment and demands for Irish home rule. Although the rebellion was unsuccessful, a proclamation was read by Patrick Pearse, one of its leaders, announcing the creation of the Irish republic. The First Dáil, Dáil Éireann, convened on January 21, 1919 and adopted several documents, including a provisional constitution and a Declaration of Independence. The Irish War for Independence also began on that day. It was during the war that an act by the British Parliament in 1920 divided Ireland into two separate territories: Northern and Southern Ireland. The partition made each territory self-governing, but both remained part of the United Kingdom. The War for Independence ended on December 6, 1921 with the Anglo-Irish Treaty which established the Irish Free State, now the Republic of Ireland.


2 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged in five series: Series I. Correspondence, Series II. Alphabetical files, Series III. Miscellaneous and newspaper clippings, Series IV. Photographs, and Series V. Alphabetical files -- supplement.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Figgis Rare Book Store, Ltd. Dublin, 1979.

Related Materials

Related collections in this library: American Irish Pioneers Foundation Records, MS 1881A and MacSwiney Club records, MS 1881B.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.


Guide to the Boston Public Library Collection on Irish Independence Efforts
Boston Public Library Staff
2015 January
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2014-12: Updated by Kimberly Reynolds, Archivist.
  • 2023-02-16: To comply with Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) Version 2019.0.3, Margaret Peachy, Archivist, adjusted the following field(s): title, extent number, EAD ID, finding aid filing title, finding aid date, scope and contents note, arrangement note, processing information note, preferred citation, revision description, and related materials, and created the following field(s): finding aid author.

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

700 Boylston Street
Boston MA 02116 United States