Irish Collections at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library: P. S. O'Hegarty Collection

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.

P. S. O'Hegarty Collection

In 1959 the University of Kansas acquired the library of P.S. O'Hegarty, former Secretary of the Irish Post Office and an avid book collector, from whom the Yeats Collection had previously been acquired. The 25,000 items of this purchase, the greater part of which is now housed as a group in the Department of Special Collections, immeasurably strengthened our resources in Anglo-Irish literature and history, giving rise to new interests and new courses.

Abbey Theatre Program

Irish literary renaissance figures other than Yeats are here in profusion; materials include:

  • the Abbey Theatre plays
  • an extensive group of Abbey Theatre programs, more than 160 of them ranging from 1904 to 1922
  • the plays of Lady Gregory and of Synge
  • the complete output of the Dun Emer and Cuala presses, including the broadsides and other ephemera
  • books and periodicals reflecting this national literary movement


Irish history, from the seventeenth century to the revolutionary movements of the twentieth century, is extraordinarily well-represented, with newspapers, propaganda pamphlets, broadsheets, local history publications, songs, and scholarly works. Indeed the Irish holdings of the O'Hegarty library, taken together with the Joyce collection, the Sean O'Casey publications given to the Library by Franklin D. Murphy, former Chancellor of the University, and the earlier Irish writers already in the collections, give Kansas outstandingly strong Hibernian resources.

In addition to its Irish riches, the O'Hegarty Library contains excellent holdings in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century English literature, and children's literature, especially nineteenth-century boys' books and magazines.

Image: Abbey Theatre Programme, 1910. Call Number: D134, vol. 9.


  • Browsing in the Online Catalog: To browse the catalog records for the volumes in the P. S. O'Hegarty collection, select the option "left-anchored call number" from the search settings in the KU's online catalog and enter "O'Hegarty."  You may then sort the results by date, title, or author.  NOTE: Due to the very large size of the collection, this call number search will only retrieve the first 10, 000 call numbers in the collection  (O'Hegarty A1-O'Hegarty C3967).  To continue to browse the rest of the collection, conduct additional "left-anchored call number searches for "O'Hegarty C," "O'Hegarty D," "O'Hegarty E," "O'Hegarty G," "O'Hegarty H," "O'Hegarty P," "O'Hegarty Q," and "O'Hegarty R."
  •  Browsing by Topic: You may find it helpful to consult A catalogue of books in the library of P.S. O’Hegarty. [4 vols] .  This paper catalog lists items in the P. S. O'Hegarty collection, including books, manuscripts, and broadsides, and organizes them by subject groupings such as Agriculture, Fiction, Folklore, Genealogy, Legal, Pamphlets, Scrapbooks, Sociology and Social Matter, and Societies and Clubs (to name a few). The catalog was created by individuals working for the O’Hegarty family, so it does not include Spencer Library call numbers, but you can use the information in this catalog to identify volumes of interest and then search these by title or author in KU’s online catalog.  Click here for a list of the topics covered in the print O'Hegarty catalogue.
  • Author / Title Searches: Conduct an "author" (last name, first name) search or a "title" search and then sort the results by date (earliest to most recent) to identify items held at the Spencer Research Library. 
  • Try searching for collective (or "corporate") authors such as Sinn Fein, Dáil Éireann, and Ireland to identify printed items by these political and governmental organizations.
  • Broadsides and Posters: Many of the broadsides and fliers in the collection are housed at "O'Hegarty P" call numbers.  Many of the larger format posters are housed at "O'Hegarty R" or "O'Hegarty Q" call numbers. Accordingly, you may want to conduct a "left-anchored call number" search to browse these call numbers. A finding aid for a sub-collection of 93 Irish broadsides, pamphlets, and clippings (O'Hegarty Q42) collected by P. S. O'Hegarty is available here.

Subject Guide

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Elspeth Healey