Guide to the John Powell Irish Papers, 1882-1923

Processed by Robert W. Stevenson and Christy Smith; machine-readable finding aid created by Patricia White
Department of Special Collections
Green Library
Stanford University Libraries
Stanford, CA 94305-6004
© 1997
The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Guide to the John Powell Irish Papers, 1882-1923

Collection number: M033

Department of Special Collections and University Archives

Stanford University Libraries

Stanford, California

Contact Information

  • Department of Special Collections
  • Green Library
  • Stanford University Libraries
  • Stanford, CA 94305-6004
  • Phone: (650) 725-1022
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Robert W. Stevenson and Christy Smith
Date Completed:
Encoded by:
Patricia White
© 1997 The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

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.



Correspondence outgoing

Scope and Content Note


Letters of John P. Irish arranged chronologically: Feb. 6., 1889 through 1922; also undated letters of John P. Irish arranged alphabetically.

Correspondence Incoming

Scope and Content Note


Letters to John P. Irish arranged alphabetically by author or signer and ordered chronologically under each signer or author; also letters relating to J. P. Irish arranged alphabetically by author or signer. Includes related correspondence.

Biographical Data

Scope and Content Note

Biographical data about family members and close friends of Irish.


Arranged alphabetically by the subject of the biographies.


Scope and Content Note


Articles written by J. P. Irish arranged alphabetically by the subject of the articles and under each subject the articles are arranged alphabetically by the titles of the articles.

Legal Documents

Scope and Content Note


Arranged alphabetically by title or subject and then chronologically under each signer or author.

Newspaper Clippings

Scope and Content Note


Newspaper clippings, dated, are arranged chronologically, followed by newspaper clippings, undated. A scrapbook of newspaper editorials, presumably written by Irish, 1900-1923, is after these.

Printed Material

Scope and Content Note

A bound volume titled Speeches, Addresses, Arguments and Briefs contains speeches, etc., by Irish. Then follows other printed matter, including a few pamphlets and printed circulars.


Scope and Content Note

A folder of miscellaneous items.



Correspondence: Outgoing

Box 1, Folder 1

Feb. 6, 1889--May 6, 1902

Box 1, Folder 2

Feb. 6, 1903--Jan. 31, 1904

Box 1, Folder 3

Feb. 24, 1910--1910

Box 1, Folder 4

Jan. 30, 1911--Dec. 31, 1912

Box 1, Folder 5

Jan. 6, 1913--1913

Box 1, Folder 6

July, 1914--1915

Box 1, Folder 7

Jan. 28, 1916--Aug. 2, 1919, and 1919 n.d.

Box 1, Folder 8

Jan. 29, 1920--Sept., 1920

Box 1, Folder 9

Oct., 1920--Nov., 1920

Box 1, Folder 10


Box 1, Folder 11


Box 2, Folder 12

Jan., 1921--June, 1921

Box 2, Folder 13

July 1, 1921--Nov. 24, 1921

Box 2, Folder 14

Nov., 1921--1921

Box 2, Folder 15

Feb. 28, 1922--June 22, 1922

Box 2, Folder 16

July 10, 1922-1922

Box 2, Folder 17

Undated: California -- The Register

Box 2, Folder 18

Undated: Saturday Evening Post -- The Yale Review


Correspondence: Incoming

Box 2, Folder 19

Adams, E.D.--Marble, M.

Box 2, Folder 20

Parker, G.F.--Wyman, J.B.

Box 2, Folder 21

Related Correspondence: Foote, W.W.--Morton, S.


Biographical Data

Box 3, Folder 22

Dodge, A.C.--Wagner, A.I.



Box 3, Folder 23

American Legion:


"A Word to the American Legion"


"A Word with the American Legion"

Box 3, Folder 24



Five articles concerning the farmer and his position in relation to the government.


"Farming in the Delta"

Box 3, Folder 25

Foreign Countries:


"Central American Union"


"Guatemala's Public Schools"

Box 3, Folder 26

Government Employees: "The Federal Clerks"

Box 3, Folder 27



"Early Journalists of Iowa"


"Founding of the University of Iowa"


"A History of the University of Iowa"

Box 3, Folder 28

Japanese Question in California:


"The Arts of the Agitators"


"California and the Japanese"


"When They Come"


"Anti-Japanese Agitation in California"

Box 3, Folder 29

The Japanese Question:


"Fore Word"


"The Japanese as an Economic Necessity"


"For the Japanese New World"


"On Nullification"


"Race Prejudice"


"The Races in the Delta"


"Review of the Court's Decision in the Anti-Japanese Land Lease of Washington"


"A Review of Dr. Wheeler's Anti-Japanese Speech"


"The Stolen Letters of Senator Phelan"


"Wilson's Alien and Sedition Law"

Box 3, Folder 30

The Japanese Question:


"Hearings of the Investigating Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives"




"Japanese Question"


"Japanese Question"


"Japanese Question"


"Japanese Question"


"Japanese Question"


"Phelan and Kawahawi Letters"


"Purpose of the Anti-Japanese Investigation"


"Treaty, U.S. and Japan"

Box 3, Folder 31



"Notes on Irish and the Third Party Movement"


"The Campaign and State Senator Case"

Box 3, Folder 32



"Prohibition and Religion"


"Prohibition and Property Rights"

Box 3, Folder 33

Religion: "Religious Liberty"

Box 3, Folder 34

The Silver Standard: "On the Silver Standard"

Box 3, Folder 35





"Suggestions for an Ordinance Providing for Sanitary Disposal of City Waste"

Box 3, Folder 36



"Again, the Single Tax"


"Taxation in California"

Box 3, Folder 37

Woman Suffrage:


"Woman Suffrage in California"


"Women in Politics"

Box 3, Folder 38

The Water Problem:


"Mt. Hamilton Water Shed"


"In Re: Water Companies"

Box 4, Folder 39

Legal Documents


Delta Association vs. The Diverters of the Kings River into the San Joaquin Case, Summary of


Platform and principles of the Democratic Party


"On the Eight Hour Law"


On the Pond Case


Pond Case, Power of Attorney


To the Reclamation Board; Matter of Rejoinder


Smith Case, Brief of


Union Fish Case


Witnesses' Sworn Affidavit to the Whereabouts and Sobriety of John P. Irish on Sept. 25, 1880


Newspaper Clippings

Box 4, Folder 40

Jan. 12, 1882--Oct. 4, 1896

Box 4, Folder 41

Jan. 1, 1897--Feb. 1, 1902

Box 4, Folder 42

Feb. 1, 1904--1910

Box 4, Folder 43

Aug. 31, 1911--Oct. 15, 1923

Box 4, Folder 44

Undated,random order

Box 4, Folder 45

Scrapbook of editorials in newspapers, presumably written by J.P. Irish: 1900-1923


Printed Material

Box 4, Folder 46

Bound volume titled "Speeches, Addresses, Arguments and Briefs" by John P. Irish. Dedicated "To my daughter Frances. Jno P. Irish. Dec. 25th 1912." Contents:


Poem: "The Story of a Dinner Plate"


Frontispiece: Photo of J.P. Irish


Brief Biography of J.P. Irish


"Memorial Address on Governor Bartlett", Feb. 6, 1889


"Gold and Silver: The Case Stated", April 28, 1893


"Single Standard and Sound Money", August 15, 1895


"A Speech by J.P. Irish to the National Democratic Convention", 1896


"International Arbitration: United States and Salvador...Opening Statement", April 1, 1902


"Arbitration between the United States and The Republic of El Salvador...Closing Argument and Summary", April 19, 1902


"In the Matter of the Arbitration between the Republics of the United States and Salvador: Protocol, Opinion and Award", May 8, 1902


"Land Leasing", March 5, 1902

Physical Description: (unbound, but kept loose in the volume)
Box 4, Folder 47

Other Printed Matter:


The Palimpsest, April, 1921.Contains "A Reminiscence", by John P. Irish


"The Old Time Edition," by John P. Irish, 1914


"Committee Opposing the Anti-Japanese Initiative" pamphlet


"Roosevelt Memorial Exercises", Feb. 9, 1919,

Physical Description: 2 copies

"National Woman Suffrage Association", 1880,circular.

Physical Description: Irish (?) notes on back in pencil.
Box 4, Folder 48



Unidentified letter


Unidentified fragment of a letter


Calling card of Col. John A. Joyce


Copy of the minutes of an unidentified meeting


List of the members of the American Committee of Justice