Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Albert Casey Irish Collection

Some of our Irish Collection on the shelves in the Special Collection stacks.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Special Collection would like to take a moment to share about Albert E. Casey’s generous gift of his Irish collection to the Samford University Library. This resource is one of the gems of the Special Collection.

According to this 1877 guide to Ireland, this is Wicklow near the Bray River where St. Patrick may have first landed.

Samford’s Irish collection, donated by Casey, is a rare and unique one. The only other Irish collection in the United States on par with Samford’s is located at Yale University. The Casey Collection is so unique that people have even visited Samford from Ireland in order to access the information found there.

The collection contains maps, periodicals, and books. According to Annie Ford Wheeler, the Head of the Library in 1976, “The Casey gift contained many rare volumes and many titles which now would be difficult, if not impossible, to acquire.”

One of the oldest pieces in the collection is this Irish history printed in 1633 and inset with woodblock print maps like this one.

Today, the Irish collection is still helping students. Juliana Kendall, a freshman, was working with some of our Irish materials recently, so we asked her what she thought of the Irish Collection, which she is currently using to work on a paper for her Irish-themed CA class.

“The books I found were incredible!” she told us. “Not only did I find all the information I needed, but I also learned to appreciate the beauty of old books … I’m thankful that the Irish Collection is here to help students like me learn more for Irish topics in class.”

Not all of the collection is in English. This is a bilingual book about Ireland in Gaelic and English.

We hope other students will be similarly inspired to come down to the Lower Level and check out our rich holdings of Irish materials in the Special Collection.

While all the books are listed in the Library Catalog, a bibliography was published of materials in 1976. Here it is on the Special Collection website.

Some of the books in the collection are directories like this postal directory from 1845. Before telephones, these were published every year.
Thanks to Rachel Cohen and the Special Collection and University Archives for text and images.  

Erin go bragh!- JD

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