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M.J. MacManus papers

Collection MS-1986-036: M.J. MacManus papers


  • Creation: 1889 - 1951
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1916 - 1951

Scope and Contents

The M.J. MacManus Papers consists mostly of letters from various correspondents written to M.J. MacManus. Many concern MacManus's duties as editor of the Irish Press. The dates range from 1849 to 1951, with the bulk of the letters between 1934 and 1942. There is also a draft of a poem by Francis Ledwidge.


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

Michael Joseph ("M.J.") MacManus was born in the town of Carrick on Shannon, in County Leitrim on February 10, 1888. His father, Patrick, was a schoolmaster and his mother, Maria, was the matron. M.J. was the eldest among his siblings, which included two brothers and three sisters. His early education was acquired at Marist Convent and the Presentation Brothers College, Carrick on Shannon. He then studied at Farnham College, Surrey and London University where he received his degree in teaching. He taught for a brief period in Wigan, Lancashire, but felt unsatisfied and so decided to return to London where he practiced freelance journalism in Fleet Street. In 1912 he married Bridget Glynn of Galway. They had one daughter, Molly, who married Robert MacNabb and lived in Carrick on Shannon until her early death in 1965. In 1916 MacManus returned to Ireland, where he contributed regularly to several newspapers and periodicals. His wife died in 1917, and he mourned her for many years.

M.J. MacManus was also an ardent nationalist. He befriended many National leaders, particularly Eamon De Valera and Michael Collins. He was arrested after the burning of the Customs House in Dublin.

In 1931 the Irish Press newspaper was begun, and MacManus was appointed Literary Editor, a position which he claimed until his death. He was particularly well known for his daily column entitled, "This Happened Today", in which he would highlight notable persons or events who had played an important part in Irish history.

In addition to his work as a journalist, MacManus published several books of parody includingA Green Jackdaw, A Jackdaw in DublinandDublin Diversions. His serious poetry includes two collections entitled Connaught Songs and Rackrent Hall. He also wrote a biography of Eamon De Valera, and made many radio broadcasts.

MacManus's main hobby was book collecting. At the time of his death he had over 6,000 books in his personal library, many of them rare first editions. M.J. MacManus died suddenly in September of 1951 while on holiday in Port na Blagh, Co. Donegal. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 container )

Language of Materials



Collection of letters toIrish Press editor and author M.J. MacManus from 1889-1951.


Organized into two series: (1) Correspondence and (2) Poem.


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.

M.J. MacManus Papers
1889-1951, bulk 1916-1951
Corban Rhodes
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