Irish Collections at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library: Home

This guide will help you navigate the wealth of print and manuscript materials related to Irish history, culture, and literature held at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Using this Guide

This guide is intended to assist you in identifying and requesting print and manuscript materials from the Irish Collections at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. Please use the tabs above to navigate the different pages of this guide.


The library's holdings in the history, literature, culture, and politics of Ireland from the seventeenth century to the middle of the twentieth century are concentrated in three named collections:

However, there also exist extensive Irish holdings in the general Rare Book Collection, making the combined Irish holdings among the most significant and sizable outside of Ireland.


To identify printed materials (books, periodicals, broadsides, etc.) pertaining to Ireland or by Irish writers, please search KU's online library catalog at: You may find it helpful to try the following:

  • Conduct an "author" (last name, first name) search or a "title" search; items held at Spencer Research Library will say "Spencer Library" in the location field.  Searching for collective (or "corporate") authors such as Sinn Fein, Dáil Éireann, and Ireland, will help identify printed items by these political and governmental organizations.
  • Use the “Set Other Search Limits” function in the online catalog to restrict your search to items held at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library (NOTE:  when you do this, you will only be able to conduct Keyword and Keyword Boolean [AND, OR, NOT] searches).
  • See the individual James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, and P.S. O'Hegarty collection tabs for more detailed information about searching and using those collections.


To identify manuscript materials (personal papers, literary manuscripts and drafts, diaries, correspondence, etc.), you may find it helpful to try the following:

  • Consult the lists of Irish manuscripts provided in this guide (see the tabs for Irish Manuscripts--Literature and Culture and Irish Manuscripts--History, Politics, and Daily Life)
  • Search the Spencer Research Library’s Online Finding Aids at 
  • Search in KU’s online catalog (as described above)
  • Search the Special Collections manuscript card catalog in the Reading Room (look under the subject heading "Ireland").
  • Search the paper lists and inventories in the yellow “Catalog IV” binders in the Reading Room
  • Ask a librarian for help!  (There is always a reference librarian available on the reference desk in the Reading Room.)


The "Reference Resources for Irish Materials" tab provides a selection of print and electronic reference resources that may be helpful when using the Kenneth Spencer Research Library's Irish Collections.


Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Elspeth Healey, Special Collections Librarian, (

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Elspeth Healey

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