Scope and Content of Collection
Language of Material:
SJSU Special Collections & Archives
Title: John Byrne Collection
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.1971.01.01
(7.5 linear feet)
Date (inclusive): 1886-1987
Abstract: Friends of Irish Freedom (FOIF), the American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic (AARIR), the Ancient Order
of Hibernians (AOH), the
Irish Press (Dublin, Ireland), the Irish Republican Prisoners and Soldiers Dependents Fund, and the Celtic Cross Association are among
the many Irish American organizations that worked to support and fund Ireland's fight for independence. This collection primarily
consists of materials and documents from the AARIR, but it also contains documents from other Irish American organizations
that relate to the administrative and fund raising activities in which Irish Americans engaged. Additionally, there are numerous
Irish American newspapers, clippings, and pamphlets which document the struggle for an Irish Republic.
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for
permission to publish or quote manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission
for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions
also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files from or derived from these collections
is restricted to research and educational purposes.
John Byrne Collection, MSS-1971-01-01, San José State University Library, Special Collections & Archives.
Collection processed by Diana Kohnke. Finding aid EAD encoded by Diana Kohnke. Additional materials in the collection processed
and EAD encoded by Lynn Sheehy. Reviewed by Danelle Moon and Erin Louthen. Additional rehousing completed, and finding aid
updated, by Stephanie Watson, June 2016.
This finding aid was created as part of the Survey and Cataloging Project, a two-year San José State University Library grant
project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project began in 2008. The Project Director
is Danelle Moon. The Project Archivist is Erin Louthen.
This is an artificial collection and has been added to by multiple individuals. However, the bulk of the materials were donated
by Dr. Mary Condon, professor of Irish History at San José State University in the 1960s. The remainder of the collection
was compiled by San José State University library staff.
The bulk of the materials in this collection were preserved and maintained by the Secretary-Treasurer of the Southern California
chapter of the AARIR, John Byrne. John Byrne entrusted these materials to Dr. Mary Condon.
John Byrne was born circa 1866 on a small farm 25 miles south of Dublin near Asford, Wicklow County, Ireland. In 1906 Byrne
moved to Los Angeles, California and became instrumental in helping to fund the Irish nationalist movement. Friends of Irish
Freedom (FOIF) emerged in California in 1916, becoming the state's primary Irish American organization. Its main purpose was
to gain independence for Ireland. John Byrne was the Secretary-Treasurer of the Southern California chapter of the FOIF and
worked to promote the cause by writing letters and distributing pamphlets. When the FOIF of California merged with Eamon De
Valera's newly founded American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic (AARIR), Byrne became the Secretary-Treasurer
of the Los Angeles chapter. Although returning only once to Ireland, John Byrne devoted his life to the Irish nationalist
Sarbaugh, Timothy J.
John Byrne: The Life and Times of the Forgotten Irish Republican of Los Angeles. Southern California Quarterly. 63, no.4 (Winter 1981).
Scope and Content of Collection
This artifical collection consists of materials relating to the activities of Irish American organizations as they worked
to support and promote Irish independence. The bulk of the documents represented are mainly from the early twentieth century
and are primarily from the Los Angeles chapter of the American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic (AARIR).
Items from the merging of the Friends of Irish Freedom (FOIF) with the AARIR are also represented. Additionally, there are
a significant number of documents from other Irish American organizations which are represented, such as the Ancient Order
of Hibernians (AOH), the Celtic Cross Association, the
Irish Press, the American Trade Defense Commission, the Irish White Cross, the Irish Republican Prisoners and Soldiers Dependents Fund,
and the American League for the Irish Freedom Fund. The collection contains financial records, organizational correspondence
and personal correspondence, publicity and event documents, newspapers, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, oral history tapes
and transcripts, and other printed matter.
This collection is arranged into four series: Series I: Personal Correspondence; Series II: Organizations; Series III: Printed
Matter; and Series IV: Miscellaneous Related Material.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Republicanism -- Ireland -- History -- 20th century
Irish Americans -- Newspapers
Irish Americans -- Societies, etc.
Irish Americans -- California
Irish American Catholics -- California -- History
Ancient Order of Hibernians
Celtic Cross (Organization)
Friends of Irish Freedom
Irish Press (Dublin, Ireland)
Irish Republican Army