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Boston College collection of Thomas Moore

Collection MS-1986-156: Boston College collection of Thomas Moore


  • Creation: 1813 - 1833
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1813 - 1817

Scope and Contents

The collection contains letters by Thomas Moore, portrait engravings of Moore, a manuscript extract from Moore's poem Lalla Rookh, and a published poem with Moore's annotations. The letters discuss his publications and an account of a conversation with Sir Francis Rawdon (Earl of Moira and Lord Hastings) about India. Three have been transcribed by a library staff member. A single poem, "Dog-Day Reflections," was published in a newspaper and has handwritten corrections made by Moore.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical Note

Thomas Moore was born in Dublin, Ireland on May 28, 1779. In 1795, he was admitted to Trinity College, one of their earliest Catholic students. There he began a lengthy translation project of poetry attributed to Anacreon. Odes to Anacreon was published in 1800. In 1801, the first collection of his own poetry appeared under the title of The Poetical Works of Thomas Little, Esq.

Moore was appointed as the registrar of the Admiralty Prize Court in Bermuda in 1803. In 1804, he spent several months traveling in Bermuda, the United States, and Canada before returning home to England. Many poems in Epistles, Odes, and Other Poems (1806) reflect Moore's experiences in North America.

Moore spent the next couple of decades working on Irish Melodies (ten volumes, 1808-1834), which supplied lyrics to the tunes recorded in Edward Bunting's General Collection of Ancient Irish Music (1796). Moore sang these songs in London sitting rooms and at public recitals. These volumes were popular and were followed by two more series: National Airs (six volumes, 1818-1828), based on non-Irish folk melodies, and Sacred Songs (1816-1824), set to the music of Beethoven, Mozart and contemporary Irish and English composers.

Moore participated in the Kilkenny theater festival where he met his future wife, Elizabeth Dyke. They were married in 1811. Though making occasional trips to Ireland, Moore's permanent home was England. The Moore family included five children: Barbara (1812-1817), Anastasia (1813-1829), Olivia (1814-1815), Thomas (1818-1846) and Russell (1823-1842). His wife was a Protestant and the Moores raised their children as Protestants.

In 1817, Moore published Lalla Rookh, a series of verse narratives sung by an Indian prince. Moore appealed to England's growing fascination with the Far East. Beneath the exoticism of the work, he expressed a strong satirical voice and revealed his love of Ireland and Irish culture. Moore continued in a satirical vein in his later poetical works, including Intercepted Letters, or the Two-Penny Post Bag (1813) and The Fudge Family in Paris (1818). In the former, he appealed to liberal reformers by mocking the Tory Party's vanity and anti-Catholic prejudice. Moore held strong convictions and was not afraid to express them in his writing. In Travels of an Irish Gentleman in Search of Religion (1834), he defended Catholicism in a society hostile to the religion. In his biographical work on Edward Fitzgerald, Life of Lord Edward (1831), Moore suggested that oppressed people should fight back and presented a strong Catholic nationalist position.

Toward the end of his life, Moore spent a great amount of time and effort on The History of Ireland (four volumes, 1835-1846). In 1841, Moore published The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore in ten volumes.

In 1846, soon after the deaths of his son Thomas and his sister Ellen, Moore's own health began to fail. He lapsed into senile dementia in 1849 and died on February 25, 1852.


"Thomas Moore" in The Dictionary of Irish Literature edited by Robert Hogan (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996): 867-869.

"Thomas Moore" in The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature edited by Robert Welch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996): 375-377.

"The Contemplator's Short Biography of Thomas Moore," May 14, 2000, (May 11, 2001).


.5 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



Collection relating to the Irish nineteenth-century poet Thomas Moore from 1813-1833 including his letters, an annotated clipping, a manuscript fragment of Lalla Rookh, and portrait engravings of Moore. The letters concern a variety of subjects including his publications and an account of a discussion with Sir Francis Rawdon (Earl of Moira and Lord Hastings) about India.

Arrangement Note

Organized into four series: I. Letters; II. Published work; III. Engravings; and IV. Manuscript.


Gifts and purchase in 1959 with subsequent additions; however, because the current accessioning system was not used until January 1986, it is not possible to know exactly the dates of acquisition of materials received before that time. The Lalla Rookh manuscript was purchased from Emerald Isle Books in 2001.

Boston College Collection of Thomas Moore
1813-1833 (bulk 1813-1817)
Edward Copenhagen (2001), updated
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States