Michael J. Twomey broadcast log books
- 1924-1942, 1952
Scope and Contents
Two hardcover notebooks documenting broadcasts and live performances of Michael J. Twomey's Boston-based band. Pasted into the books are broadcast confirmation cards, newspaper clippings of radio station broadcast schedules, and invitations, complemented with hand-written set lists for many events. Also included are a photograph of the orchestra, a program for The Irish Pipers' Band of Boston Second Annual Grand Costume Ball, and two newspaper clippings of articles concerning the band. One item not related to the band, a 1952 letter from the Fenway Garden Society indicating that Twomey was its founder, was found in the back cover of the second broadcast log book.
- Twomey, Michael J. (Person)
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.
Michael Joseph Twomey (1881-1952) was an Irish musician and entertainer who promoted Irish culture in Boston for most of his life. Born August 15, 1881 in Coachford, County Cork, Ireland, Twomey immigrated to Boston in 1900, arriving October 4 aboard the steamship RMS Ivernia. Though the ship’s passenger list documents his profession as “carpenter,” he subsequently found work as a chauffeur and later as an auto mechanic.
In 1908 Twomey married Ella Nyren, a Swedish woman working as a maid in Boston, and started a family. In the wake of the 1921 partitioning of Ireland and the beginning of the Irish Civil War in 1922, Twomey founded the Irish Pipers’ Band of Boston on August 21, 1922, to promote Irish music and culture in his new home. The bagpipe band boasted dozens of members and crowds as large as a thousand spectators by 1925, as well as a six-week tour of Ireland in the same year. In 1927 the band travelled to New York City to record a number of tracks with the Victor recording company.
By 1929 the band was known by various names, and Twomey’s own name was becoming synonymous with Irish music in the city. The band played on the radio as Twomey’s Irish Pipers, the Irish Pipers’ Orchestra, and Twomey’s Irish Pipers’ Orchestra, and continued to do so through at least 1932. From about 1934 to 1942, he headed Twomey’s Irish Minstrels, which seems to have expanded the band’s repertoire from bagpipes and drums to a more varied sound, featuring vocalists singing in both English and Gaelic.
Twomey himself played a number of instruments, most notably the bagpipes and accordion, but apparently also the harp: in 1938 an event at the Brockton Fairgrounds featured a replica of an Irish farmhouse with Twomey performing “Irish airs” on a pair of purportedly 200-year-old Brian-Boirumhe harps.
By the 1940s Twomey had started his own business, the M J Twomey Tourist Agency. Being too old to enlist, during WWII he served in the USO. After the war he was active in Boston charities, belonging to the Irish Charitable Society, the Gaelic Club, the Terence McSweeney Society, and the Fenway Garden Society. Twomey died on November 12, 1952 at the age of 72.
“Deaths and Funerals: Michael J. Twomey Well Known Here as Irish Entertainer.” Boston Globe. 14 November 1952. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. p. 21
"Irish Pipers' Band of Boston (Musical group)." Discography of American Historical Recordings, Accessed 14 September 2017. http://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/talent/detail/10295/Irish_Pipers_Band_of_Boston_Musical_group.
“Irish Village at Brockton Fair Grounds Is Transplanted ‘Bit of the Ould Sod.’” Boston Globe. 8 September 1938. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. p. 28
Massachusetts. “U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.” Massachusetts; Registration County: Suffolk; Roll: 1684883; Draft Board: 07. Database with images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com: 2017. "Michael J. Twomey (instrumentalist : accordion)," Discography of American Historical Recordings. Accessed 14 September 2017. http://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/talent/detail/23036/Twomey_Michael_J._instrumentalist_accordion.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). "Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1891-1943," 038 v. 79 1900 January 1-December 31, image 495 of 813. Database with images. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org (Washington, D.C.:, n.d.)
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). “Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950.” “Petitions For Naturalization, No62251 - 62626, Feb 4 - 24, 1922.” NAI Number: M1368. Database with images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com: 2017.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). “U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925.” “Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925.” Roll: 1981. Certificates: 174226-174599. 1922 May 19-20. Database with images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com: 2017.
“Outlook Bright for Ireland: M. J. Twomey Back After Six Weeks' Visit.” Boston Globe. 28 July 1926. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. p. A3
The National Archives at St. Louis. “U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942.” “World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Massachusetts; Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975.” Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M2090. Database with images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com: 2017.
"Victor matrix BVE-38827. Maggie in the wood / Irish Pipers' Band of Boston." Discography of American Historical Recordings. Accessed 14 September 2017. http://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/matrix/detail/800013087/BVE-38827-Maggie_in_the_wood.
"Victor matrix BVE-38833. Richett's hornpipe / Michael J. Twomey," Discography of American Historical Recordings. Accessed 14 September 2017. http://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/matrix/detail/800013093/BVE-38833-Richetts_hornpipe.
.75 Linear Feet (1 container)
Language of Materials
Two hardcover notebooks documenting broadcasts and live performances of Michael J. Twomey's Boston-based band, originally called Twomey's Irish Pipers' Orchestra, later renamed Twomey's Irish Minstrels. Also included are a photograph of the orchestra, a program for The Irish Pipers' Band of Boston Second Annual Grand Costume Ball, and two newspaper clippings of articles concerning the band.
Purchased from Carmen D. Valentino Rare Books and Manuscripts in 2017.
- Michael J. Twomey Broadcast Log Books
- 1924-1942, 1952
- Lynn Moulton and Richard Ford Burley
- 2017 September
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