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William F. Cunningham, Jr. collection of Jonathan Swift materials

Collection MS-2005-049: William F. Cunningham, Jr. collection of Jonathan Swift materials


  • Creation: 1880s-2005
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1953 - 2000

Scope and Contents

The William F. Cunningham, Jr. collection contains a wide variety of Swift-related materials, especially related to Gulliver’s Travels. It includes printed materials: book jackets; brochures; a coloring book; movie advertisements; photographs; playing cards; prints; programs; and reviews. It also contains artifacts: a blouse; commemorative coins and stamps; a miniature book; a puzzle, a shot glass; and a stautette of Swift.


Language of Materials

English, with small amounts of French, German and Russian.

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: William F. Cunningham, Jr.

William F. Cunningham, Jr. is a retired Professor of English, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Academic Vice President, from Creighton University in Omaha.

Biographical note: Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift was born on November 30, 1667 in Dublin to Jonathan Swift (1640-1667), who worked at the King's Inns in Dublin, and Abigail Ericke (1640-1710), who was the daughter of James Ericke, vicar of Thompson. Swift was born seven months after the death of his father, and he was raised primarily by a nursemaid and an uncle due to financial strains on the family. He was educated at Kilkenney College and later at Trinity College, Dublin, where he barely received his B.A. due to poor academic performance. In 1689, Swift and his cousin Thomas left Dublin for Protestant England, in order to avoid political and religious unrest in Ireland. In Leicestershire, Swift was briefly reunited with his mother. While in England Swift received his M.A. from Oxford in 1692. After returning to Ireland, he was ordained deacon in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin in 1694. In 1699, Swift obtained a position at St. Patrick's Cathedral, where he was made Dean in 1713.

Swift began publishing poems anonymously in Ireland in 1691. His A Tale of the Tub was published in London, again issued anonymously, while he was living in England. Between 1714 and 1724, Swift wrote a number of Irish tracts, poetry, and most of the book that would come to be known to modern readers as Gulliver’s Travels. Transcribed in full in 1725, the “Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World” text was published in 1726. Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels enjoyed tremendous literary success in his lifetime. Swift died in 1745.


McMinn, Joseph. "Swift, Jonathan." Cambridge Dictionary of Irish Biography, 2009. (Accessed April 6, 2020).

Probyn, Clive. "Swift, Jonathan (1667-1745)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004.(Accessed April 6, 2020).


9.75 Linear Feet (8 containers) : 7 boxes plus 2 oversized folders


These materials, collected by professor of English William F. Cunningham, Jr., consist primarily of artifacts and ephemera associated with twentieth-century adaptations of the book Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. There are also smaller amounts of commemorative items associated with Swift himself.


Alphabetical by material type.


Gift of William F. Cunningham, Jr. (2005).

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.

William F. Cunningham, Jr. Collection of Jonathan Swift Materials
1880s-2005 (bulk 1953-2000)
David M. Tennant, 2005; revised by Lynn Moulton
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