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David O'Donoghue Collection

  • IE DCUA C4
  • Collection
  • 1995-2021

This collection includes an audio documentary Hitler's Irish Voices about the Irland-Redaktion radio service, 1939-1945, and an audio interview with creator Dr. David O'Donoghue about the documentary and his PhD thesis 'Hitler's Irish voices: the story of German radio's propaganda service, 1939-1945', (1995), Dublin City University.

O'Donoghue, David

Henry Morris Collection

  • IE DCUA C3
  • Collection
  • 1782-1950

Album of correspondence, press-cuttings, autographs, warrants, postcards, invitations, and receipts, collected by Henry Morris.

Morris, Henry

Kenny Family Collection

  • IE DCUA C2
  • Collection
  • 1905-2011

The fonds relates to the lives and careers of three men from the Kenny Family: Kevin J Kenny (1881-1954), his son Michael B Kenny (1919-1992), and Michael’s son Colum Kenny (b. 1951). The collection is arranged in three sub-fonds relating to the three men respectively.

The majority of the collection relates to Kevin J Kenny and his work at Kenny’s Advertising Agency. The sub-fonds relating to Kevin includes correspondence with many of his clients, some of whom included eminent nationalists of the day, such as Patrick Pearse, Arthur Griffith, Francis Sheehy-Skeffington and James Creed Meredith. Kenny solicited advertising for the publications of many of these figures, which often proved essential in keeping the publications afloat and in circulation, as evidenced in particular by the letters from Patrick Pearse regarding advertisements for An Macaomh, the official magazine of St Enda’s. This sub-fonds also includes several sub-series relating to significant episodes in Kevin’s career and life, such as the controversy over Kenny’s Advertising Agency and a contract to run British Army recruitment advertisements during the First World War, and personal memorabilia and publications relating to significant historical events, such as the 1916 Easter Rising, the War of Independence and Civil War.

This sub-fonds also includes a collection of British Army transcribed signals from the first day of the Battle of Gallipoli (25 April 1915), which give a vivid insight into the harrowing experience of some British soldiers fighting on the front line that day. These signals may have come into Kevin J Kenny’s possession from his wife Annette’s brother John Murphy, whose signature may be the ‘J Murphy’ included on some of the signals.

This sub-fonds relating to Michael B Kenny consists of a few items concerning his career in advertising. These include a brief history of the Kenny’s Advertising Agency written by Michael, and two photographs: one of meeting of the Advertising/Press Club in 1956 or 1957, and the other of the Kenny’s Advertising Agency premises at Lower Baggot Street, Dublin.

The final sub-fonds in the collection mainly relates to Colum Kenny’s work on three documentaries for RTÉ, and some of his personal correspondence with various figures relating to topics such as the media, law and Irish history. One of the sub-series relates to Colum’s research for a documentary about ‘The Tailor and Ansty'. The Tailor and Ansty (husband and wife Timothy [‘the Tailor’] and Anastasia ['Ansty'] Buckley) were the subjects of a book by Eric Cross about their storytelling and home in Gougane Barra, County Cork, which became a hub for notable figures of the Cork arts scene in the 1930s and 1940s. The sub-series includes letters from Eric Cross and friends of the Tailor and Ansty, including Seán Ó Faoláin and Nancy McCarthy-Allitt. Two of the other sub-series relating to Colum’s work on RTÉ current affairs television programmes are currently closed and access will be reviewed in 2025.

Another series relates to connections between Colum Kenny’s house, 1 Herbert Terrace, Bray, County Wicklow, and two of its former residents: Cyril Cusack and Grace Watt (née Muggeridge). The series mainly consists of correspondence between Kenny, Cusack and Watt during the early 1990s in which they reminisce about living in the house, and discuss Cusack and Watt’s personal lives.

Kenny, Kevin John

Seán Lester Collection

  • IE DCUA C1
  • Collection
  • 1935-2003

The collection mainly consists of eleven diaries written by Seán Lester from 1935- 1942 when he was High Commissioner of the League of Nations in Danzig [Gdansk, Poland], then Deputy and subsequently General Secretary of the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Lester's diary entries and the numerous letters, telegrams and other documents included in the diaries give an invaluable insight into his work in the League of Nations, the momentous historical events that were taking place, and his personal thoughts and struggles during this period. The first diary opens with the following entry by Lester written in October 1935: 'So I've opened a diary at last, the odds are against a dozen entries.' In fact, Lester would go on to write hundreds of entries over the next few years, recording the background workings of the League 5 of Nations with accounts of meetings, public events, conversations with political leaders and diplomats, transcripts of telephone calls, copies of letters he sent, and many of the letters he received and pasted into the pages of the diaries. They provide an invaluable insight into some of the most significant historical events during this period, including the rise of the Nazis in Danzig, the increasing persecution of Jews, the failed attempts to appease Hitler in the run-up to war, and the eventual outbreak of the Second World War.

They also chart Lester's career in the League of Nations as it developed in tandem with these events: the increasing pressure and intimidation he faced as High Commissioner in Danzig from the Nazis as they undermined the authority of the League, his promotion in late 1936 to Deputy Secretary General in Geneva (essentially as a form of appeasement to the Nazis), and his assuming the role of Acting Secretary General of the League after Joseph Avenol left Geneva for Vichy France in 1940. The diaries also show his courage and determination to keep the League (albeit, only its basic functions) running throughout the course of the Second World War.

Details of Lester's personal life and struggles during this period are also recorded, particularly the torment and loneliness he felt being separated from his wife Elsie and three daughters Dorothy Mary, Ann and Patricia following their evacuation from Geneva to Ireland in 1940. Ireland is never far from his thoughts during the period, and the diaries feature numerous correspondence with Irish friends, accounts of brief trips home for Christmas and family holidays to Connemara in the years up to 1940, and reflections on Irish current affairs and political figures. One of the most notable entries in the diaries is Lester's extensive account of his meeting with James Joyce and his family in Geneva in December 1940. The Joyce family had fled their home in Paris the previous May and sought Lester's help in obtaining a visa for their daughter Lucia; the Nazis had refused to issue her with a visa and she remained in a mental health clinic in German-occupied France. A related letter from Joyce to Lester prior to this meeting is also included in the diaries, as is correspondence between Lester and members of the Joyce family and friends following the death of James Joyce in Zurich less than a month later.

The collection also includes a metal case in which Lester – fearing that the Nazis could invade Switzerland at any moment – placed his diaries before burying them next to a bench in the Palais des Nations, the headquarters of the League of Nations in Geneva. This may account for why the diary entries stop in 1942. Also included in the collection is an address book kept by Lester during the period of the diaries, and a television documentary about Lester written and presented by John Bowman which includes a segment on the diaries.

Lester, Seán