W & R Jacobs Archives now at Dublin City Library and Archive
At 2 pm on Monday 22nd February 2016, a special tea party will be hosted by an tArdmhéara Críona Ní Dhálaigh at the Mansion House to mark the transfer by Valeo Foods of the archives of W & R Jacobs and the transfer of the Appleyard Collection by Douglas Appleyard to Dublin City Council.
The archives of W & R Jacob and Company, consisting of over 330 boxes, were acquired by Dublin City Library and Archive in 2012. Following a major cataloguing project they will now be opened for public access in the Reading Room of Dublin City Library and Archive at 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2.
The Lord Mayor said “I want to congratulate Dublin City Library and Archives for acquiring Jacob’s archive and for the work which has gone into making this very important material available to the general public. The history of Jacob’s factory is closely linked with the history of Dublin. Generations of Dubliners have grown up with a connection to Jacobs. Whether through a family member working there or through enjoying the wonderful selection of biscuits that became household names like Kimberly, Mikado and Coconut Creams. This material is a welcome addition to the city archives. Tá áthas orm go mbeidh daoine ábalta na scéalta a léamh sa Seomra Léitheoireachta i Sráid an Phiarsaigh.”
Kieran Glennon, Valeo Foods said “As the owners of the Jacob’s brand, Valeo Foods was delighted to facilitate the transfer of the Jacob’s archives to Dublin City Council. Jacob’s holds a special place in Ireland’s history and we are delighted that these archives will now be available to the people of Dublin and Ireland at a time when we commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Rising.”
The company’s Dublin connections date from 1851, when it rented premises on the corner of Bishop Street at 5 & 6 Peters Row, Dublin 8. This building occupies a unique position in Irish history as it was seized and occupied by Irish Volunteers during Easter week 1916, as part of the armed insurrection against British rule in Ireland. The collection provides an insight into how the firm inadvertently became part of very significant events in Irish history such as the 1913 Lock Out, the 1916 Rising and Ireland’s struggle for independence, and also how the business was affected by world events, including both world wars.
However, it is the rich tapestry of social history which emerges from the collection which will most resonate with researchers and the general public. Thousands of Dubliners were employed by W & R Jacob between 1851 and 2009, and the collection provides insight into the working lives and living conditions of these employees. The collection also includes corporate records and recipes from the 1880s and details of the various advertising campaigns run by the company. Generations of Irish people will recognise the Jacob’s brand and some of its iconic products such as the cream cracker, Kimberly and Fig Rolls.
In 1975, W & R Jacob’s manufacturing operations moved to a new purpose built factory in the Dublin suburb of Tallaght, where it remained until the factory closed in 2009.
An audiovisual display of well known Jacobs TV advertisements will be shown at the Mansion House for the tea-party event, along with an original recipe book for Biscuits & Cakes (1888-1894). Jacob’s favourites Kimberley, Mikado and Coconut Creams, kindly provided by Valeo Foods, will be served on the day.
Historical Jacob images have been sent to your picture desks today.
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For information on the Jacob’s archive:
Notes to the Editor
Members of the public who apply for a researcher’s card at Dublin City Library and Archive will be able to view our extensive database listing all items in collection and request access to original items in the Reading Room. Access to Human Resource records will be in accordance with Data Protection Legislation.
The richness and diversity of the collection is likely to generate significant public interest. It includes a wide range of corporate records, relating to over 150 years of biscuit making, including recipes dating from the 1880s. It contains a wealth of colourful marketing and advertisement material from mock-ups of packaging, sample tins, brochures, posters, and television and radio commercials. Links with the world of sport and celebrity have been uncovered with records relating to W & R Jacob’s long-term sponsorship of soccer and the Irish Radio and Television Awards. However, it is the rich tapestry of social history which emerges from the collection which will most resonate with researchers and the general public. Thousands of Dubliners were employed by W & R Jacob between 1851 and 2009, and the collection provides insight into the working lives and living conditions of those that were employed by the firm.
Future Events associated with the Jacob’s archive
In April 2016, as part of the Dublin City Council 2016 Program, an exhibition on “W & R Jacobs’s and the Easter Rising” will be launched in the Business Library at the Ilac Shopping Centre, drawing on newly uncovered items in the collection. It will include the eye-witness statement of Henry Fitzgerald, a watchman in the factory who was taken prisoner during Easter Week. Dr. Séamus Ó Maitiú will deliver a lecture on the same topic on April 19th 2016 as part of the popular lunch-time Dublin City Hall Lecture Series organised by Dublin City Archives.
We are also keen to animate this important collection and bring it to a wide audience over the next year. A major exhibition about all aspects of W &R Jacobs will be launched in November 2016 at Dublin City Library and Archive and plans are underway to digitise and publish online the 3,000 photographs within the collection.