Dublin City Libraries open for 'Browse and Borrow'
4 May 2021
From Monday, May 10, sixteen Dublin City libraries are open for browsing and borrowing from Monday to Saturday. At this point of a phased re-opening there will be no seating for reading or studying, and users are encouraged to keep their visit as short as possible, and to use the self-service kiosks or library app to issue and return items.
Dateline – 10 April 1952, Washington DC. Critically acclaimed film director, co-founder of ‘The Actor’s Studio’ and the darling of Broadway, Elia Kazan, appears before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Kazan testifies that he was a member of a clandestine Communist cell in 1934 and names eight fellow actors as his comrades in this revolutionary cadre. Informing on colleagues meant Kazan was free to continue his stellar.Hollywood career; the fate of colleagues who were snitched on were bleak – personal and professional ruin. The Joseph McCarthy engineered ‘Red Scare’ in post-war America was buttressed by film studio chiefs who blacklisted any artist suspected of being a ‘Commie’. Richard Schickel’s Elia Kazan: A Biography shows how Kazan’s decision to appear as a friendly witness in front of the Committee influenced his work, the history of American cinema and how it has tainted his artistic legacy.Opprobrium generated from Kazan’s decision was instant, pervasive and brutal (Elia ‘snitch-fink-grass-rat-tout-stoolie-squealar-turncoat-Judas Iscariot-scab-quisling’ Kazan). Two days after his appearance in front of the Committee, Kazan felt compelled to take out a full page advertisement in the New York Times justifying his decision to appear in front of HUAC. Kazan’s reasoning was that it was the correct course of action for an American patriot to root out Soviet Communism from American soil. Kazan’s defence and justification of his actions became the dominant theme of his future work.Dateline – 8 October 1954. On the Waterfront (1954) directed by Kazan, premieres in the USA. The hero of piece, Terry Molloy (Marlon Brando), is a Jesus Christ character who informs on local Union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb – appeared as a friendly witness in front of the HUAC in 1951) to save his community and the American way of life. Written by Budd Schulberg (appeared as a friendly witness in front of the HUAC in 1951), On the Waterfront has been described as a self-serving justification for Kazan’s betrayal of his friends. It is also considered to be on the pantheon of great 20th century American films. The director utilises the ‘Method’ acting technique inspired by Konstanin Stanislavski and developed by Kazan and his blacklisted contemporaries in the Group Theatre in the 1930’s, resulting in a work of cinematic greatness. Over the next seven years Kazan reached a creative zenith. From East of Eden (1955) to Splendor in the Grass (1961) Kazan laid claim to the cinematic auteur without parallel. Schickel explores whether Kazan’s HUAC testimony inspired the director to great artistic heights – the schism and antagonism caused by his behaviour are used by the director to imbue his films with dissonance and conflict. Post 1961 - a long and steady decline – a creative and artistic aridness becalmed his output.Dateline – 21 March 1999, Los Angeles. A physically frail Elia Kazan is awarded an honorary Oscar (usually awarded to artists who have never won an Oscar – Kazan had won Oscars for both his screenwriting and directing) – a number of attendees including Nick Nolte and Ed Harris refuse to applaud and the ceremony is blighted by demonstrations outside the Dorothy Chandlier Pavilion. Whilst his erstwhile friend and collaborator, Arthur Miller acknowledged the greatness of Kazan’s canon in the context of the honorary Oscar, he commented: ‘ The public exposure of a bunch of actors who had not been politically connected for years would never push one Red Chinaman out of the Forbidden City or a single Russian out of Warsaw or Budapest.’ Victim of the Hollywood Blacklist, the award winning director Abraham Polonsky commented before the ceremony ‘I’ll be hoping someone shoots him.’Dateline – 28 September 2003, Elia Kazan – R.I.P. Obituaries: Philanderer. Visionary. Ambitious. Patriot. Leader. Revolutionary. Titan. Traitor. The HUAC testimony hung around Kazan like a thick fog enveloping the docks in Hoboken, New Jersey.CODADateline – 14 January 2020. Actor Zoe Kazan (granddaughter of Elia) appears on a panel discussion to promote a TV adaptation of Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America – the novel is set in the counter factual milieu of rabid anti-Semite and crypto-Nazi Charles Lindberg becoming US President in 1940. A journalist asks Ms. Kazan about ‘her family history during this period’. Note – a number of the people that Mr. Kazan named in front of the HUAC were Jewish. Note – no journalist asked about the genius of her grandfather. Ms. Kazan’s reply was accomplished and measured, however one could imagine Elia quoting Terry Molloy from On the Waterfront to the journalist:‘You’re a cheap, lousy, dirty, stinkin’ mug. And I’m glad what I done to you, ya hear that? I’m glad what I done!’.Elia Kazan: A Biography by Richard Schickel is available to download on Borrowbox. Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN. Watch our how to video on Borrowbox. Members of other library authorities will need to log in using a different link.Submitted by Tom in Drumcondra Library.
William Patrick Stuart-Houston (né Hitler; 12 March 1911 – 14 July 1987) was the half-nephew of Adolf Hitler. William Patrick was the son of Alois Hitler - Adolf Hitler's half brother, and his Irish wife Bridget Dowling and was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England.His mother Bridget Dowling, met Alois when he was a waiter in the Shelbourne Hotel in 1909; in 1910 they eloped to London, where they married. William Patrick was born the following year.The story goes that the young Bridget Dowling spotted a dashing foreigner at the Dublin Horse Show. The handsome stranger in the Homburg hat at the RDS was none other than Alois Hitler, brother of the future leader of the Third Reich. Bridget, an innocent 17-year-old was just out of convent school, and said later: "I cannot deny that this stranger with his fine foreign manners made a great impression.'Romance blossomed and the pair went on dates to Dublin's National Gallery. Alois, the older half-brother of Adolf Hitler, made out he was a grand hotelier who was on a European tour studying the business in various countries. Bridget's family disapproved of the match. Their opposition to the relationship was proved right when they found out that Mr Hitler was not in fact a wealthy hotelier but a waiter in the Shelbourne Hotel.In the 1930s William Patrick Hitler lived in Germany. Paddy Hitler showed himself to be an opportunist. He travelled over to Germany to exploit his connections after Hitler became Chancellor. The pair had a stormy relationship, but uncle Adolf found Paddy work in a bank. He later became a car salesman for Opel. He began to copy his uncle's mannerisms, including the Fuhrer's pose with crossed arms. He even grew a similar moustache.Paddy Hitler was in demand at society dinner parties in Germany. Adolf described him as his "loathsome nephew''. Patrick was reported to have made veiled threats to expose Adolf's Jewish ancestry, and demanded a more senior job. Hitler demanded that he become a German citizen if he wanted a top job. Fearing a trap, Patrick then fled Germany in a hurry. Back in England he wrote an article for Look magazine, "Why I hate my Uncle''. The Hitler name may have opened doors for Paddy in Berlin, but it wasn't flavour of the month in England as war broke out.However, by 1939 he and his mother had moved to the United States where he became a critic of his uncle. Paddy turned his colourful background into a sort of travelling freak show. He gave lectures, warning America that his uncle was a madman surrounded by "sexual perverts''.Adolf Hitler's nephew served in the US Navy in World War Two. William P. Hitler was sworn in on March 6, 1944 and went on to serve for three years as a pharmacist's mate receiving a Purple Heart medal for a wound he suffered. He received a shrapnel wound in the leg.Having cashed in on the Hitler name before and during World War Two, Bridget and Paddy then decided to drop out of public view completely. They vanished and assumed new identities as the Stuart-Houston family. They lived on Long Island, where Patrick ran a blood-analysis laboratory. Patrick married a German woman Phyllis and they had four sons. Although Patrick kept his identity secret until shortly before his death. He was still alive in 1977; but nothing further is known of him after that date.Bridget Dowling Hitler died in 1969 at the age of 78. Her son Patrick is buried beside her, having died suddenly in 1987. Their grave on Long Island offers no clues to their background. His sons Louis and Brian run a local landscaping business, while the oldest brother Alex is a former social worker. Hitler's last surviving relatives quietly decline interviews about their notorious grand-uncle.William Patrick’s story so fascinated British journalist David Gardner that he spent years attempting to find the last relative to bear the Hitler name. Gardner found that William Patrick died before the search started, but that his four sons had established a pact that, in order for Adolf Hitler’s genes to die with them, none of them would have children. He discovered too that the eldest son, Alex, also has a middle name.... Adolf! And that the family insist Adolf Hitler did visit Liverpool (and Ireland) before the First World War – a trip previously discounted by historians. The book, The Last of the Hitlers, contains previously unpublished FBI files and interviews with the surviving blood relatives, and is not just a history of the family, it is also the story of Gardner’s dedicated search.This book is on the shelf in Ballymun Library and you can email the branch at [email protected] if you would like to read it and we will send it on to a collection branch. Please include your email address and library card number and highlight your pick up branch for collection. Find out more about our new call and collect service.
Charles Dickens, one of the most popular and accessible novelists died 150 years ago in June 1870. His novels are still popular and they have been adapted for television and cinema. They have been turned into popular musicals on stage and screen. Many novelists have acknowledged his influence and expressed admiration for his novels.At the age of twelve he was sent to work in a blacking factory by his affectionate but feckless parents. From these unpromising beginnings, he rose to scale all the social and literary heights, entirely through his own efforts. When he died, the world mourned, and he was buried - against his wishes - in Westminster Abbey. Yet the brilliance concealed a divided character: a republican, he disliked America; sentimental about the family in his writings, he took up passionately with a young actress; usually generous, he cut off his impecunious children.Dickens created an array of memorable characters - Miss Havisham dressed in her wedding finery every day since she was jilted at the altar in Great Expectations. The contrasting characters Mr. Micawber and Uriah Heep in David Copperfield. In David Copperfield, the novel he described as his favorite child, Dickens drew revealingly on his own experiences to create one of his most exuberant and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure. One of the most swiftly moving and unified of Charles Dickens’s great novels, Oliver Twist is also famous for its re-creation through the splendidly realized figures of Fagin, Nancy, the Artful Dodger, and the evil Bill Sikes of the vast London underworld of pickpockets, thieves, prostitutes, and abandoned children. Victorian critics took Dickens to task for rendering this world in such a compelling, believable way, but readers over the last 150 years have delivered an alternative judgment by making this story of the orphaned Oliver Twist one of its author’s most loved works.His novels were originally published in instalments in weekly or monthly magazines. This is the reason there are some dramatic “cliffhanger” scenes which made the reader want to know what happened in the next instalment. This helps to make them “pageturners” for modern readers. (It also allowed Dickens to get feedback from his readers about what they thought of his stories and characters before he had finished his novel!)There are 24 ebook and eaudiobook copies of Dickens’ novels available on Borrowbox and you will also find there an excellent biography of the author by Claire Tomalin.Claire Tomalin is the award-winning author of eight highly acclaimed biographies, including: The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft; Shelley and His World; Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life; The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens; Mrs Jordan's Profession; Jane Austen: A Life; Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self; Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man and, most recently, Charles Dickens: A Life. A former literary editor of the New Statesman and the Sunday Times, she is married to the playwright and novelist Michael Frayn.Submitted by Philip in Finglas Library.Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN. Watch our how to video on Borrowbox. Members of other library authorities will need to log in using a different link.
Portraits of Women Writers, Activists and Artists in Early 20th Century
In this episode of the DCLA podcast, Jessica Fahy examines the choices made in the portrayal of significant Irish women by leading artists of the day. How a woman is presented in portraiture says a lot about how society views women at that time, and may even still inform our opinions today, while their self-portraits often reveal their identities as the women saw themselves. Learn more about Countess Markievicz, Eva Gore Booth, Maud Gonne, Lady Gregory and Grace Plunkett and Sarah Cecilia Harrison. The latter was the first woman elected to Dublin City Council following a law change which allowed women to run for local elections, winning more votes than all her opponents combined in 1912.Recorded at DLR LexIcon on 23 April 2018, with thanks to Marian Keyes, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Libraries for making this recording available to us.List of artworks mentioned:Countess Markievicz by her husband Casimir Markievicz (1889)Photograph of Countess Markievicz and Casimir MarkieviczThe Arrest by Kathleen Fox. Niland Collection, Sligo County MuseumPainted by Constance Markievicz while in solitary confinement in Holloway Jail. credit Sligoheritage.comEva Gore Both by Countess Markievicz (sketch of Eva) Lissadell House Collection Photograph of Constance and Eva Gore Booth staged to protest the licencing actPortrait of Constance and Eva Gore Booth by Sarah Purser Lissadell House CollectionSarah Purser by Countess MarkieviczMaud Gonne by Sarah Purser (1890) Hugh Lane GalleryMaud Gonne by Sarah Purser (1898) Hugh Lane GalleryMaud Gonne as Eire by Beatrice Elvery Lady Gregory by John Butler YeatsPortrait of Beatrice Elvery by William Orpen (1909)Self portrait by Margaret ClarkeMary and Bridit by Margaret Clarke Portrait of Harry Clarke by Margaret ClarkePortrait of Harry Clarke by Grace PlunkettYoung Ireland, Grace Gifford by William Orpen (1907)John McCormack by Grace GiffordW.B. Yeats by Grace GiffordCountess Markievicz by Grace GiffordShould Men have the Vote by Grace GiffordSelf-portrait by Sarah Cecilia Harrison (1889) The Hugh LaneMr and Mrs Haslam by Sarah Cecilia Harrison The Hugh LaneEvie Hone by Norah McGuinness (1951) Jessica Fahy is a freelance art historian based in Dublin, Ireland. Jessica has been teaching and researching various areas of European art for over 10 years and is passionate about sharing her love for the subject in an engaging and interactive way.She teaches at UCD Adult education and the National Gallery of Ireland. You can subscribe to the Dublin City Libraries and Archives podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. This season is based on recordings from the 2018 Dublin: One City, One Book events. Dublin: One City, One Book is an award-winning Dublin City Council initiative, led by Dublin City Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, that encourages everyone to read a particular book during the month of April every year. 2018's choice was 'The Long Gaze Back' which you can read on Borrowbox and of course you can order it from library or your favourite bookshop.The Dublin: One City, One Book for 2020 is Tatty by Christine Dwyer Hickey, available electronically on our BorrowBox app and from your favourite bookseller.Finally if you’re interested in podcasts why not check out the Dublin Festival of History podcast which features recordings from the free annual event and the new City of Books podcast with Martina Devlin, the podcast for people who believe stories matter. And that you can never have too many books.
Survival tips gleaned from Nelson Mandela to get through Covid-19
Do you feel like a prisoner? Are you cocooning, in isolation or finding the 2km rule difficult? On returning from a 2 km walk through Dublin’s Irishtown Nature Park, known for the many species of birds and its richness in fauna and flora, a place for those who like walking trails and thickets with panoramic views across the bay, my thoughts came to those who are cocooning or self isolating.I wondered how I’d cope if I had to go into lockdown and couldn’t get out for a walk. Thinking of the many people who had been imprisoned for long spells and those doing ‘porridge’ currently, my mind came to the great statesman Nelson Mandela. I decided to do some research and read up on his prison time checking for survival tips. Despite spending twenty seven years in three different prisons for conspiring to overthrow the state of South Africa he managed to emerge not unscathed but maintaining fully his integrity and his strong sense of solidarity.Prison Terms:Robben Island: 1964-1982: hard labour, lime quarry, death of family members, verbal and physical abuse.Poolsmoor Prison: 1982-1988: improved conditions, isolation, ill health.Victor Verster Prison: 1988-1990: comfortable house, pool and gardens.Recognising that a prisoner’s first duty is to escape Mandela regarded the study of the enemy and its culture as an essential part in his preparations for a protracted war against Apartheid. His time in Robben Island was the most difficult of his prison terms and one of the hardest things he had to endure was the death of his mother and son and the refusal of authorities to allow him to attend the funerals. In Poolsmoor he was isolated and missed the camaraderie of fellow prisoners on the island terribly. Always social as well as political he sought to keep in touch with friends and comrades.When permitted he wrote to politicians all over the world recognising communication and shared knowledge through letters, newspapers, prison visits etc. as the key to freedom. In the second half of his prison sentence he was allowed to work as a gardener which he enjoyed and he created a roof garden in Poolsmoor Prison and later he worked in the Victor Verster gardens. He studied whenever the prison system allowed. Self discipline became a watchword for him and he followed a strict regime of daily exercise.This discipline included a commitment to do basic tasks like making a bed or washing delph and he maintained these practices throughout his life in an effort to remain grounded. He claimed he was born an optimist but as always in wishing to share his optimism with people he went on to describe it as “keeping one’s head toward the sun and ones feet moving foreward.” Mandela like many before him used Isolation as a time for self-revelation and discovery.During such a period which he called ‘splendid isolation’ in Poolsmoor Prison at the peak of ANC resistance to Apartheid when atrocities were occurring on both sides rendering his beloved South Africa ungovernable, he realised it was time to talk. After much effort talks began resulting in the release of many of his compatriots. It was a marvellous achievement but left Mandela alone to deal with his continued isolation and imprisonment always in the hope that it wouldn’t be forever.There are parallels in Mandela’s prison survival techniques that we can and do apply today. We can learn much from the ‘Father of The Nation’s’ time in prison. But the plight of the bereaved in Covid times remains as inhumane today as it was for him in his cell on Robben Island. The inability to say goodbye properly and restrictions around the burial however necessary make for a lonely journey to be taken by the broken hearted. We as covid fighters can use Mandela’s coping skills and learn from his tactics in the struggle against Apartheid as we engage in what is beginning to look more and more like a protracted war against the Coronavirus. Our sympathies to those who have been bereaved in these very difficult times.Submitted by Liz B. in Pearse Street Library.Access eBooks/eAudiobooks on your phone, tablet or reader. Once you have installed the app, search for Dublin in the ‘Library’ field provided and then sign in using your library membership card number and PIN. Watch our how to video on Borrowbox. Members of other library authorities will need to log in using a different link.
The world as we knew it has changed rapidly over the past number of weeks as Ireland recorded its first cases of Covid-19. Staying home and self isolation made me think about various addresses I have lived at before, from digs to bedsits and flats. However, Joyce's addresses number far more. Seven St. Peter’s Terrace is the house where Joyce’s mother, May, died. Her death would haunt him for the rest of his life and justifably has the most historic significance.The picture above was taken from Dublin City Libraries and Archive Digital Repository. Here you will find a variety of digital records relating to Dublin from different time periods, including photographs, postcards, letters, maps and ephemeral material. Highlights of the collection include the Fáilte Ireland Photographic Collection, Wide Street Commission Map Collection (1757-1851), the Irish Theatre Archive and the Birth of the Republic Collection, which comprises material from the period of the foundation of the Irish state. Richard Ellman explored this in his biography of Joyce. John Joyce’s terrible finances kept his family moving.Where They Lived in Dublin by John Cowell covers the addresses of famous Dubliners.41 Brighton Square. The Joyce listing is incredible because of the length:1884-87 23 Castlewood Avenue, Rathmines1887-91 1 Martello Terrace, Bray1892-93 Leoville, 23 Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock1893-94 14 Fitzgibbon Street and 29 Hardwicke Street1894 2 Millbourne Avenue, Drumcondra1895 17 North Richmond Street1896-99 29 Windsor Avenue, Fairview1899 7 Convent Avenue, Fairview1899-1900 15 Richmond Avenue, Fairview1900-01 8 Royal Terrace (now Inverness Terrace), Fairview1902 32 Glengariff Parade, North Circular Road1902-03 7 St. Peter’s Terrace (now St. Peter’s Road), Phibsboro1904 60 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge1904 35 Strand Road, Sandymount1904 103 Strand Road, Sandymount1904 Martello Tower, Sandycove1909 44 Fontenoy Street1912 17-21 Richmond Place, North Circular RoadHorse Cab Tour of Joyce's House
John McGahern’s Dublin: the 23rd Annual Sir John T. Gilbert Commemorative Lecture will take place on Thursday 23rd January 2020 at 6pm.The lecture will be presented by Professor Frank Shovlin, University of Liverpool, at Dublin City Library & Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2,John McGahern is often thought of as Ireland's quintessential chronicler of rural life, a writer who, through his Leitrim and Roscommon roots, helped to represent the delicate facets of the countryside more accurately than any writer since Patrick Kavanagh.From Howth of The Leavetaking, to Drumcondra and Contarf of The Pornographer or the city centre pubs of High Ground, he lovingly recreated the city he knew, first as a student teacher and in later years as a mature writer. The lecture will examine moments from the published fiction as well as considering an extensive unpublished correspondence that allows us access to McGahern's social networks and his motivations and preoccupations as he develops into one of the greatest writers of fiction in the post-war era.Reception to follow. No Booking Required. Come early to ensure a place. Further information: 01 674 4999 or [email protected] or [email protected]
On December 6, 1922, the Irish Free State came formally into existence after the Free State Act gave effect to the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It was exactly one year after the signing of the Treaty. Under the Free State Act, the Governor General would be the King’s representative in Ireland. The first holder of the post was former Irish Parliamentary Party MP Timothy Healy, who was sworn in at his home in Chapelizod.Opposite an undated portrait of Tim Healy (Dixon Slides Collection, DCLA)Healy was born in Bantry, Co. Cork in 1855. He worked in England as a railway clerk and then from 1878 in London as parliamentary correspondent of the Nation. He followed the family participation in Irish politics (his elder brother Thomas was a solicitor and Member of Parliament for North Wexford and his younger brother Maurice was a solicitor and MP for Cork City. After being arrested for intimidation in connection with the Land League, Tim was elected as MP for Wexford in 1880.In Parliament Healy became an authority on the Irish land question, and created the ‘Healy Clause’ of the Land Act of 1881, which protected tenant farmers’ agrarian improvements from rent increases imposed by landlords. This not only made him popular throughout nationalist Ireland but also won seats for the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) in Protestant Ulster. He was called to the Bar in 1884 and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1899In the IPP, Healy’s relations with Parnell were always strained and he finally broke with ‘the Chief’ in 1886 when the Kitty O’Shea divorce scandal became common knowledge. Although he was a strong supporter of Home Rule, he was not an admirer of Parnell’s successors in the IPP and he supported Sinn Féin after 1917.During the War of Independence, Healy recognised the futility of the insistence by the Ireland Secretary, Sir Hamar Greenwood that the IRA should surrender their arms before engaging in talks about a truce. He said:The point I gather, taken by the blessed Cabinet donkeys, was that the Shins should surrender arms before a truce. This is worthy of Gallipoli, Antwerp, Deniken, Wrangel and the cohort of cods. I am for doing business and making peace.Because he was regarded as an elder statesman by the British and Irish governments, both sides proposed him in 1922 as governor-general of the new Irish Free State. The Office of Governor-General was largely ceremonial but many Nationalists regarded the existence of the office as offensive to republican principles and a symbol of continued Irish involvement in the United Kingdom.The office's role was diminished over time by the Irish Government and it was officially abolished on 11 December 1936. The Irish government set the term of office for the Governor General at five years. Tim Healy died at his home in Chapelizod in March 1931, aged 75 years.Dublin Irish and Local Studies The Dublin and Irish Local Studies Collection includes new and second-hand material on Dublin City and County covering a range of books, newspapers, periodicals, photographs, maps, prints, drawings, theatre programmes, playbills, posters, ballad sheets, audiovisual materials and ephemera. Library and archive material cannot be borrowed or removed from the Reading Room. Collections can be accessed by filling out request forms and can be viewed in the Reading Room only.Blop post by: Dr Mary Muldowney, Dublin City Council Historian in Residence, Dublin Central.
Welcome to the third entry in our blog series 'Lost in the Stacks' - recommendations by Dublin City Libraries staff exploring overlooked gems and helping you find your next read!Our entry today comes from one of our wonderful librarians, Jessica, and looks at some of the best essay collections in our libraries!Essay CollectionsIs there a greater joy than settling comfortably with a beverage of your choice and reading a well-crafted essay?There is a particular form of literary alchemy that takes place in the best essays - the fusion of the personal with social commentary combined with a stylistic elegance. Often offering a unique perspective on a cultural moment or a brief window into another world, a good essay has a habit of staying with you long after the pages have turned and the book is closed.Here is a selection of the very best essay collections for you to enjoy. If you'd like to borrow any of the books discussed below, simply click on the book cover or title to be taken to the reserves page, where you'll need your library card and PIN to request the book.1. Pulphead: dispatches from the other side of America by John Jeremiah SullivanPulphead is a fascinating collection of essays exploring pop culture and subcultures of American life fused with memoir and aspects from the writer’s own life. Written with a gentle wit and probing intelligence, it is hard to resist reading the entire collection in one go.2. Changing my mind: occasional essays by Zadie SmithThis is a fabulous collection of Zadie Smith’s book reviews, film reviews and non-fiction prose. Witty, honest and refreshing, it is a pleasure to dip in and out of.3. Naked by David SedarisDavid Sedaris has cornered the market in humorous memoir based essays. The stories here are sardonic, wry and darkly hilarious with a touch of pathos and just the right amount of hindsight and self-knowledge to balance the comic absurdity.4. Men explain things to me by Rebecca SolnitThe title essay of this book has gained iconic status since it was published but each of the essays in this book are powerful reminders of why we need feminism. Essential reading.5. This is the story of a happy marriage by Ann PatchettAnn Patchett is best known as a novelist but this book collects her earlier non-fiction articles. This is a fabulous collection of personal essays and memoir pieces that explore key moments in her life. Her writing is warm, engaging, and shining through with humour and kindness.
Strolling around the centre of St. Stephens Green, amongst the flowers, swans, tourists and lunchtime-time sandwich eaters, stands an unassuming seat which you might easily pass-by without noticing. Going in for a closer look, the curious onlooker will note that this bench is dedicated to one Anna and Thomas Haslam for their tireless work campaigning for equal rights for women. The seat, made from Kilkenny Limestone, was erected in 1923, five years after women over 30 received the vote in Britain and Ireland and a year after all men and women in the Irish Free State constitution over 21 could vote. Collection: Dublin City Gallery The Hugh LaneThe Haslams' work in the later part of the nineteenth century is a great example of the overlapping campaign for social reform that many of those involved in the suffrage movement were also a part of.Both Anna and Thomas were Quakers (members of The Society of Friends), a Christian sect first introduced into Ireland in 1654. Their fundamental belief was in equality between men and women and they were predominantly known for their help with the poor and their support for the anti-slavery campaign, prison reform and temperance.Ann Maria Fischer was born in April 1829 to a middle-class Quaker family in Youghal, County Cork. She was educated in Quaker boarding schools in Newtown (Waterford) and Newgate (York, England). In 1845 she returned from York to work with her parents in the soup kitchens organised by the Society of Friends Anna for the relief of the Great Famine. From her family kitchen in Youghal, Anna and her sister Deborah started up a workshop teaching young girls to knit and crotchet. Anna organised the sale of their work and the business began to flourish, ultimately employed over 100 young women in the area. After a number of successful years trading, the nuns of the Presentation Convent eventually took over and introduced lace-making which later established Youghal’s renowned lace industry.In 1853, when working at a teaching position in Ackworth School in Yorkshire, Anna met fellow teacher and Irish Quaker Thomas Haslam, who was originally from Mountmellick in County Laois. Thomas shared Anna’s belief in equality for women, and after returning to Ireland they married in 1854 in Cork. The Haslam’s left teaching and moved to Dublin when Thomas obtained a position as an accountant at Jameson, Pim & Co. Brewery, in Aughrim Street. They were extremely close and devoted to each other, which friends often referring to their marriage as idyllic. They moved to Rathmines in 1862, and in 1866 Thomas suffered ill health which was to afflict him the rest of his life. He was unable to work, so Anna became the breadwinner, running a small stationary business from their home at 125 Leinster Rd., Rathmines for the next forty years.Credit: National Archives of IrelandThe first campaign the Haslams were involved in was around better education for women; Anna had been among the reformers let by Anne Jellicoe, in the founding of the Irish Society for Training and Employment of Educated Women in 1861 and in 1866 the establishment of Alexandra College for the Higher Education of Women. Alexandra College was the first college in Ireland to provide university-type education for women and then in 1873 Alexandra High School for Girls. Anna also contributed to the Intermediate Education Act of 1879, which enabled girls to sit public school examinations, and the Royal University Act of 1879, which permitted women to study for degrees in the Royal University. Credit: Dublin City Library and ArchivesDespite his illness, Thomas continued to contribute to the campaign for women’s rights. In 1874 he published The Women’s Advocate, the first of three Irish suffrage pamphlets and the first to be published in Ireland supporting women’s suffrage. They contained invaluable information and practical advice on the organisation of suffrage activism and as well as debating in favour of the vote for women.In 1876, the first Irish suffrage society was founded by Anna and Thomas, called the Dublin Women’s Suffrage Association. Anna became secretary, a position she held for thirty-seven years. The DWSA sought reform for any discrimination against women, either on a legal or social level, and regularly sent petitions to the House of Commons and lobbied Irish MPs.In 1864, 1866 and 1869 parliament passed the Contagious Diseases Acts, where women suspected of prostitution living in garrison towns in Britain and Ireland were subject to compulsory checks for venereal disease. If they were found to be infected they could be forcibly detainment in a lock hospital for up to one year. Many felt the Acts were discriminative against women and maintained a sexual double standard. Anna and Isabella Tod, a prominent feminist from Belfast, were involved in the campaign to repeal the Acts from the beginning. Anna campaigned tirelessly, speaking at public meetings in Dublin and Belfast and lobbying Irish MPs. The long campaigned ended in 1886 when the acts were at last repealed, but Anna later wrote it set the suffrage campaign back by ten years as they were all so absorbed in it.Another success came in 1896 as the Women Poor Law Guardians Act was passed in Ireland. Poor Law Guardians were elected by magistrates and ratepayers, in Ireland women could vote but not be elected as Guardians unlike the rest of Britain. In 1897 there were thirteen women Poor Law Guardians, which increased to twenty-two the following year, opening the doors for women in local government. Anna and the DWSA continued to lobby Irish MPs and in 1898 the Local Government (Ireland) Act extended the local government vote to all women over thirty who satisfied the residential qualifications, and entitled them to be elected as local councillors. Thomas continued to work alongside Anna, publishing, Women’s Suffrage from a Masculine Standpoint, in 1904.The DWSA grew and extended beyond Dublin, becoming the Irishwomen’s Suffrage and Local Government Association (IWSLGA) in 1901. The turn of the twentieth century saw a more militant approach of which Anna disapproved. In 1908 two members of the IWSLGA, Margaret Cousins and Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, frustrated by the limitations of the group established the Irish Women’s Franchise League (IWFL), an organisation prepared to break the law if necessary.The exclusion of women’s suffrage from the Home Rule Bill of 1912 brought further feelings of frustration and betrayal for many in the women’s movement. Some resorted to more drastic militant action by damaging government buildings such as the GPO and Dublin Castle. Those found guilty were given a prison sentence and some began hunger strike campaigns in prison. Anna disapproved of such methods in an open letter the Irish Citizen, (founded in 1912 by the Sheehy-Skeffingtons).The outbreak of the First World War brought a lapse in the activism of many in the suffrage movement, as many groups concentrating on contributing to the war effort. In 1916, at the age of ninety, Thomas Haslam published his last pamphlet, Some Last Words on Women’s Suffrage, he died a year later and didn’t live to see the Representation of the People Act brought into legislation in February 1918. This act finally gave women over the age of thirty, who met a property qualification, the right to vote in general elections.At the age of ninety, Anna voted at the Irish general election in December 1918. Despite their political differences, women from all organisations cheered her on the way to the polling booth, and presented her with a bouquet of flowers in suffrage colours.Anna died in 1922, just after the Irish Free State granted full suffrage to all adults over twenty-one. Her work, along with that of her husband’s, to campaigns for social reform and equality for women spanned decades of change in Irish and global society and she whose legacy is carried on my the successor of the IWSLGA, the National Women’s Council of Ireland. Maeve Casserly, Historian-in-Residence, Dublin City Council Additional Photo Credit:Bench: Flickr Commons William Murphy Further Reading (available from your local library!)Smashing Times, Rosemary Cullen OwenIrish Women and the Vote: Becoming Citizens, Louise Ryan and Margaret Ward (eds.)Rise up, Women! Diane Atkinson