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Byrne (John) Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Project Information
  • Acquisition Information
  • Custodial History
  • Biographical History
  • Bibliography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
    Title: John Byrne Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS.1971.01.01
    Physical Description: 6 boxes (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.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    John Byrne Collection, MSS-1971-01-01, San José State University Library, Special Collections & Archives.

    Processing Information

    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.

    Project Information

    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.

    Acquisition Information

    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.

    Custodial History

    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.

    Biographical History

    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 cause.


    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
    Sinn Fein
    Ancient Order of Hibernians
    Celtic Cross (Organization)
    Friends of Irish Freedom
    Irish Press (Dublin, Ireland)
    Irish Republican Army