Skip to main content

Loretta Clarke Murray collection of women in revolutionary Ireland

Collection MS-2016-016: Loretta Clarke Murray collection of women in revolutionary Ireland


  • Creation: 1893 - 2008
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1916 - 1950

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials collected by Loretta Clarke Murray relating to the fight for Irish Independence, particularly materials belonging to women who fought for the cause. Included are materials by and about Cumann na mBan, Máire Gill, Maud Gonne, Countess Constance Markievicz, Helena Molony, Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, and Margaret Skinnider in the form of correspondence, photographs, meeting minutes, autograph books of female prisoners, and handbills. Of note are an embroidered banner made by Gonne and a journal chronicling Skinnider’s participation in the 1916 Easter Rising.

Other materials are related to the women’s personal and artistic pursuits. Materials from Cuala Industries, from both the printing and embroidery departments, are included. Gill’s papers include photographs, correspondence, and other materials relevant to her involvement with camogie, as well as her work as a printer for Cuala Press. The collection also contains photographs and articles about Elizabeth Corbet Yeats’ management of Cuala Industries and watercolor landscapes by Yeats. Irish arts are further documented through jewelry, including Tara-inspired brooches worn by Inghinidhe na hÉireann members, etchings by Estella Frances Solomons, and a watercolor by Michael MacLiammoir inspired by a W.B. Yeats poem.

Irish Organizations

Bean na hÉireann: Monthly magazine published by the organization Inghinidhe na hÉireann.

Cumann na mBan: League of Women; An Irish republican women's organization.

Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael: The name of the Camogie Association from 1939 until 2010.

Cumann na Saoirse: The League for Freedom; The women’s organization created after Cumann na mBan split.

Dáil Éireann: Assembly of Ireland; The parliament of the Irish Republic from 1919 to 1922.

Inghinidhe na hÉireann: An Irish republican women’s organization founded by Maud Gonne and later merged with Cumann na mBan.

Sinn Féin: Irish republican political party.


Language of Materials

This collection includes materials in English, French, and Irish.

Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research; a portion is available digitally.

Conditions Governing 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: Loretta Clarke Murray

Loretta Clarke Murray was born in Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland. She went to boarding school in Dublin at the age of eight. Many of her teachers had participated in the Irish War of Independence, some of them as members of Cumann na mBan. This inspired Murray’s lifelong interest in Irish history.

Murray went on to become a noted collector of Irish history, art, books, and jewelry. Her brother, Jackie Clarke, was also a collector of Irish history.

Murray died April 10, 2017.


"Death of Loretta Clarke Murray, Staunch Republican and Avid Historical Collector." Connaught Telegraph. April 11, 2017. Accessed June 28, 2018.

McCoole, Sinéad., and Boston College. John J. Burns Library. A Tribute to Loretta Clarke Murray : On the Occasion of the Opening of the Exhibit Sixty Years of the Cuala Press: A Collaboration of the Yeats Family and Mollie Gill. Bethesda, Md.: Wild Apple Press, 2008.

"MURRAY CLARKE, Loretta : Death Notice." MURRAY CLARKE, Loretta : Death Notice - Irish Times Family Notices - Irish Times. April 11, 2017. Accessed June 28, 2018.


30.5 Linear Feet (31 containers)


This collection includes papers and artifacts of women and organizations involved in the fight for Irish independence. A majority belonged to Máire Gill and relate to her work with Cumann na mBan, a women’s Irish republican organization, as well as her work with Cuala Press and the women’s sport of camogie. Additionally, there are materials relating to women’s suffrage. Of note are a banner made by Maud Gonne and a journal of Margaret Skinnider’s involvement in the 1916 Easter Rising.


This collection is arranged in thirteen series by collecting theme: I. Adelaide Blake papers; II. Cuala Industries; III. Cumann na mBan; IV. Máire Gill; V. Maud Gonne; VI. Constance de Markievicz; VII. Helena Moloney; VIII. Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington; IX. Margaret Skinnider; X. Elizabeth Corbet Yeats; XI. Irish Arts and Culture XII. Irish independence; and XIII. Women’s suffrage.

Series III. Máire Gill contains nine subseries: A. Artifacts; B. Autographs books; C. Camogie; D. Correspondence; E. Ephemera; F. Photographs; G. Political materials; H. Vital records; and I. Manuscripts.

Series VI. Helena Moloney contains two subseries: A. Correspondence; and B. Exercise books.


Purchases and gifts from Loretta Clarke Murray through De Burca Books in 2005 and 2016-2021.

Existence of digital copies

A portion of this collection is available digitally. Links are included in the inventory.

Related Materials

Boston College collection of Yeats family papers, MS.1986.054, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Kathleen Daly Clarke papers and collection of Thomas Clarke and Irish political materials, MS.2001.007, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Letter from Grace Gifford to Joseph Mary Plunkett, MS.2017.015, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Separated Materials

Published works associated with this collection have been transferred within the Burns Library and can be found in the Boston College Library catalog.

Processing Information

Cuala Industries materials, previously available as Cuala Press Artwork, MS.2005.035, have been incorporated into the Loretta Clarke Murray collection because of shared provenance.

Loretta Clarke Murray Collection of Women in Revolutionary Ireland
1893-2008 (bulk 1916-1950)
Stephanie Hall
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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