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William F. Stout collection on Northern Ireland politics

Collection MS-2007-020: William F. Stout collection on Northern Ireland politics


  • Creation: 1921 - 2004
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970-1972, 2001-2004

Scope and Contents

These materials, created and collected by William F. Stout, a minister in the Northern Ireland government, document politics from the Irish Civil War in the 1920s, through the internment campaigns in the 1960s and 1970s, and into inquiry into Bloody Sunday in the early 2000s. Materials include correspondence, clippings, handbooks, organizational charts, legal documents, pamphlets, photographs, and reports.

Materials on Northern Ireland generally include Stout's correspondence; newspaper and magazine clippings on Irish issues, predominantly the 1970s Arms Trial; speeches; organizational charts for his department; a manuscript on Eamon De Valera's role in World War II politics written by American diplomat David Gray; and photographs of Republican and Loyalist murals in Belfast and of the Maze prison.

Government documents comprise handbooks from the British Home Office; minutes from Joint Security Committee meetings about Irish affairs during the early 1970s; reports and planning for the internment drives in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s; and notes on legal issues including the delegation of powers from the Governor of Northern Ireland to the Ministry for Home Affairs and the prerogatives of the Governor in relation to court-martial cases held in Ireland.

Pamphlets include the treaty between Great Britain and Ireland in 1921; the draft constitution of the Irish Free State in 1922; a paper on Irish treaty ports from 1938; and Queen Elizabeth II's speech to Parliament from 1971.

Finally, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry materials contain a draft of the Saville Report, and correspondence to the Solicitor for the Inquiry from various Irish legal firms answering or posing questions in response to the activities of the Inquiry.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research. Some materials with confidentiality concerns have been closed for 75 years.

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. Stout was born in 1907 and entered the civil service in 1925. He began as a clerk after being one of the first to sit the entrance exam for the new Northern Ireland civil service. In 1943, he was appointed as a principal in the Northern Ireland Ministry of Home Affairs. He rose steadily through the ranks of the service until, by 1964, he was Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs. From that position, he became Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and his last post was in the Ministry of Development, again as Permanent Secretary. He held this position until he left the service in 1971.

His years as head of the Ministry of Home Affairs, which coincided with the reinvigorated Irish Republican Army campaign of the late 1950s and 1960s, allowed him to work closely with some of the key political figures of the time, including Minister Brian Faulkner. Stout was the first civil servant in the Northern Irish service to enter the service as a clerk and end as a Permanent Secretary.

Stout died in 2005 at the age of 98.


"Distinguished civil servant survived a turbulent period." The Irish Times. April 2, 2005. Obituaries.


.75 Linear Feet (2 containers)

Language of Materials



The collection documents the career of William F. Stout, a civil servant in twentieth-century Northern Ireland. It includes materials on the Irish Civil War, the internment campaigns of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the Bloody Sunday Inquiry (Saville Report). Materials include correspondence, clippings, handbooks, organizational charts, legal documents, pamphlets, photographs, and reports.


Organized into four series: I. General, II. Government documents, III. Pamphlets, and IV. Bloody Sunday Inquiry (Saville Inquiry).


Gift of William F. Stout's son Robert Stout in 2007.

William F. Stout Collection on Northern Ireland Politics
1921-2004 (bulk 1970-1972, 2001-2004)
Hanna Clutterbuck, October 2007; Rachael Young
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