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Guide to the John Powell Irish Papers, 1882-1923
Special Collections M033  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John Powell Irish Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1882-1923
    Collection number: Special Collections M033
    Creator: Irish, John Powell
    Extent: 2 linear ft.
    Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions:


    Publication Rights:

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.


    Gift of Mrs. Frances I. Hus, Daughter of J.P. Irish, 1928

    Processing Information:

    The collection was originally process by Robert W. Stevenson in 1961; it was reprocessed in 1994 by Christy Smith.

    Preferred Citation:

    [Identification of item] John Powell Irish Papers, M033, Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.


    John Powell Irish (Colonel), editor, attorney, farmer, law-maker, humanitarian and official was born in Iowa City, Iowa, January 1, 1843. He was educated in the primitive public schools of the frontier. As a young man, Irish was a school teacher and then was admitted to the bar in Iowa before he entered journalism as a profession. For twenty years he was editor of the Iowa State Press. In Iowa he was three times elected a representative to the state legislature, 1869-1872. He married Annie Fletcher in 1872. In 1880 he moved to California where he later was editor of the Times (Oakland) and the Alta California.
    Politically, Irish was a "Gold" Democrat and he spoke on economic and financial questions, centering on the sound money and the gold standard viewpoints. In California, Irish became concerned with the treatment of people of Japanese descent living in the United States and he wrote, spoke and acted on the behalf of these people for many years. He founded and organized the American Committee on Justice to further this cause.
    John P. Irish was appointed naval customs officer of the Port of San Francisco, 1894, and he was thereafter known as "Colonel" Irish. For twenty-five years Irish was a director of the California Blind Directory Home. He died on October 6, 1923, from an accidental fall when attempting to board a moving streetcar in Oakland, California.


    The major portion of the Irish Papers is the correspondence of John Powell Irish, 1882-(1916-1921)-1923. Included in the collection are: the correspondence received by Irish; (not complete) eight items of a biographical nature written by Irish about members of his family and close friends; several legal papers; a scrapbook of editorials, and a book of Irish's speeches, addresses and briefs. In addition, there are articles written by Irish on subjects with which he was closely associated at one time or another during his life.
    Of primary interest in the collection are the articles and correspondence written on political subjects such as the Japanese in California, free coinage, woman suffrage and prohibition.