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John O'Donovan/William Reeves correspondence

Abstract Correspondence between John O'Donovan (1809-1861), and, principally, William Reeves (1815-1892): eighty letters (1832-1860) and twenty-six undated note fragments.

In collection

Date
1832/1860
Extent
106 items
Location of original
Original items located in UCD Library Special Collections.
Repository
UCD Library Special Collections
Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive
Language
English ; Irish
Biographical History
John O'Donovan (1806-1861) was an outstanding scholar of Irish studies. Besides his extensive and pioneering topographical work for the Ordnance Survey of Ireland between 1830 and 1842, he is best known for his translation of and comments on the Annals of the Four Masters, published in six volumes in 1848 to 1851. Though he lived in financial insecurity all his life, his scholarly achievements were widely recognised. He was awarded the Cunningham Gold Medal of the Royal Irish Academy in 1848, an honorary LL.D. degree from Trinity College, Dublin in 1850, and honorary membership of the Royal Prussian Academy in 1856.
There is confusion over the date of O'Donovan's birth. The inscription on his gravestone reads 1809, yet parish records registered his baptism in 1806. O'Donovan himself gave conflicting accounts in his writings. According to his biographer Patricia Boyne, the baptismal record is the most trustworthy source.
William Reeves (1815-1892) had a successful career in the Church of Ireland, culminating in his election as Lord Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore. He shared O'Donovan's passion for Irish antiquarian studies, publishing for example a heavily annotated edition of St. Adamnan's The life of St. Columba in 1857. He was elected president of the Royal Irish Academy in 1891.
Scope and Content
The eighty letters are all either to or from John O'Donovan. His principal correspondent is William Reeves. One letter is to George Petrie (1789-1866); three are to James Henthorn Todd (1805-1869); one letter is to Edmund Getty. There is one letter to O'Donovan from Arthur Blennerhassett Rowan (1800-1861), and one from W. Oldham.
The correspondence with William Reeves often takes an interesting form. Reeves writes to O'Donovan with enquiries about Irish words and place names. O'Donovan annotates the letter with his answers, and sends it back to Reeves.
In addition to the letters, there are twenty-six fragments, mostly of questions and answers; some of these may belong with letters, as there is sometimes reference in a letter to queries enclosed.
Arrangement
The letters and fragments make up the two groups of this collection. The letters are arranged chronologically, from the earliest (8 March 1832) to the latest (17 June 1860), with two undated letters at the end. They are numbered JOD L 1 through to JOD L 80.
The fragments are not dated and not arranged in any particular order. They are numbered JOD A 1 to JOD A 26.
Processing Information
Listed by Angela Hastings.
Edited and extended by the Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVRLA), 2008.
Subjects
O'Donovan, John, 1809-1861--Correspondence
Reeves, William, 1815-1892--Correspondence
Learning and scholarship--Ireland--19th century
Manuscripts, Irish
History--Sources--Publishing--Ireland--19th century
Irish language--Etymology
Names, Geographical--Ireland
Names, Personal--Ireland
Genealogy

Related Material
Selections of John O'Donovan's Ordnance Survey letters have been published during the 20th century on a county by county basis. The originals are in 127 bound volumes in the Royal Irish Academy. Further unpublished material by O'Donovan can be found in the RIA, UCD Library and Archives, and in other institutions.
Bibliography
John O'Donovan (1806-1861): a biography.
The Encyclopaedia of Ireland.
Life of the Right Rev. William Reeves, D.D., Lord Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore.
Other Descriptive Information
The subject index terms give O'Donovan's date of birth as 1809, and not as the more probable date of 1806 (see Biographical History), adhering to the Library of Congress authorities database.
The following abbreviations are used in the item descriptions:
  • RIA: Royal Irish Academy
  • TCD: Trinity College, Dublin
  • Annals: Annals of the Four Masters

Record source
Finding aid encoded in EAD by the Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVRLA) - CS, 18 April 2008 .

Finding aid author
Angela Hastings

L. Letters

A. Fragments


L.   Letters

1 [Letter from John O'Donovan (47 Essex Street, Dublin) to George Petrie (21 Great Charles Street, Dublin), discussing the meaning of some Irish words, as well as Cormac Mac Cullenan's will.] (1832-03-08)   [View...]
2 [Letter from Sean O'Dondubhain [John O'Donovan] to an unidentified recipient, discussing a passage in the Annals of the Four Masters and various translations of it.] (1832-05-23)   [View...]
3 [Letter from John O'Donovan (49 Bayview Avenue, Dublin) to James Henthorn Todd (Trinity College, Dublin), in which he transcribes an insulting letter from Owen Connellan and gives a synopsis of his education.] (1843-10-08)   [View...]
4 [Letter from John O'Donovan (19 St. John's Road, Oxford) to James Henthorn Todd, discussing Laud 615 and some poems of Columkille in the Bodleian Library.] (1844-05-17)   [View...]
5 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (11 Panton Square, Haymarket, London), discussing the state of Irish manuscripts in a number of British archives and their interpretation to date.] (1845-07-26)   [View...]
6 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (Parsonage, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), returning answers to Reeves's queries and reporting on his own work on the Annals of the Four Masters.] (1845-08-25)   [View...]
7 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (Parsonage, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), enclosing some answers to queries, and discussing John O'Neill's genealogy.] (1845-09-06)   [View...]
8 [Letter from William Reeves (Parsonage, Ballymena, Co. Antrim) to John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin), incorporating O'Donovan's response to queries.] (1845-09-27)   [View...]
9 [Letter from William Reeves ([Parsonage], Ballymena, Co. Antrim) to John O'Donovan, incorporating O'Donovan's response to queries.] (1845-10-27)   [View...]
10 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing the locality of Castle Drumtarsy.] (1845-11-22)   [View...]
11 [Letter from William Reeves to John O'Donovan, mainly concerning Irish place names, incorporating O'Donovan's response.] (1846-01-09)   [View...]
12 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (Parsonage, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), transcribing a manuscript passage about the burning of Rathmore by Edward Bruce.] (1846-02-05)   [View...]
13 [Letter from William Reeves ([Parsonage], Ballymena, Co. Antrim) to John O'Donovan, incorporating O'Donovan's response to queries.] (1846-02-28)   [View...]
14 [Letter from John O'Donovan to William Reeves (Parsonage, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), describing his work on the Annals and commenting in passing on the Coercion Bill.] (1846-03-15)   [View...]
15 [Letter from William Reeves ([Parsonage], Ballymena, Co. Antrim) to John O'Donovan, asking for some translations; includes O'Donovan's response.] (1846-05-05)   [View...]
16 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, returning answers to some queries and discussing work on the Annals.] (1846-08-26)   [View...]
17 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing in particular the inscription of a bell in Belfast.] (1846-08-31)   [View...]
18 [Letter from William Reeves ([Parsonage], Ballymena, Co. Antrim) to John O'Donovan, providing a new transcription of the Belfast bell inscription; includes O'Donovan's response.] (1846-09-09)   [View...]
19 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (Parsonage House, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), discussing the meaning of some Irish words, particularly from the Belfast bell inscription.] (1846-09-16)   [View...]
20 [Letter from William Reeves ([Parsonage], Ballymena, Co. Antrim) to John O'Donovan, concerning mainly Irish place names; includes O'Donovan's response.] (1846-10-09)   [View...]
21 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing territories of ancient Irish clans.] (1846-12-01)   [View...]
22 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (Parsonage House, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), discussing Irish clans and the genealogies of O'Neill and MacDonnell.] (1846-12-24)   [View...]
23 [Letter from William Reeves (Parsonage House, Ballymena, Co. Antrim) to John O'Donovan, concerning Irish place and family names; includes O'Donovan's response.] (1847-03-08)   [View...]
24 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing the provenance of the Belfast bell, and referring to an internal dispute in the Royal Irish Academy.] (1847-03-17)   [View...]
25 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing the O'Neill genealogy and the Royal Irish Academy dispute.] (1847-03-21)   [View...]
26 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, commenting on grammar of an Irish motto and discussing Mr. Geraghty's bankruptcy.] (1847-06-02)   [View...]
27 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing the reviews of Reeves's new book.] (1847-08-09)   [View...]
28 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing the O'Neill genealogy.] (1847-09-17)   [View...]
29 [Letter and note from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (Ballymena, Co. Antrim), discussing the O'Neill and O'Donnell genealogies.] (1847-09-26)   [View...]
30 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (Parsonage House, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), concerning his work, health and his desire to emigrate to America.] (1848-01-17)   [View...]
31 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (Parsonage House, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), discussing the O'Neill genealogy in the light of claims made by one Henry Alexander.] (1848-04-07)   [View...]
32 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (Parsonage House, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), discussing Reeves's work, and deploring the decline of interest in Gaelic literature.] (1848-05-13)   [View...]
33 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, commenting on the lack of Irish political leadership and the disappearance of the Irish cultural inheritance under English rule.] (1848-07-14)   [View...]
34 [Letter from William Reeves (Parsonage House, Ballymena, Co. Antrim) to John O'Donovan, asking for assistance at translating an Irish text; O'Donovan's response, in which he comments on the current poverty, famine and unrest in Ireland.] (1848-08-15)   [View...]
35 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, seeking advice on producing a subject index for his book.] (1848-12-01)   [View...]
36 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (Parsonage House, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), discussing place names in Armagh and the state of antiquarian studies in Ireland.] (1849-02-28)   [View...]
37 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing extracts from Irish manuscripts.] (1849-04-09)   [View...]
38 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (Parsonage House, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), discussing his work and his impending move to Belfast.] (1849-08-09)   [View...]
39 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing building projects of the Gaelic aristocracy in Ulster.] (1850-01-21)   [View...]
40 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing recent criticisms of their work on Irish place names.] (1850-07-05)   [View...]
41 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves (Ballymena, Co. Antrim), discussing difficulties of his work.] (1851-02-10)   [View...]
42 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, requesting a third opinion on deciphering MacDonnell's deed, and discussing the current census and the state of the Irish language.] (1851-03-21)   [View...]
43 [Letter from John O'Donovan (Belfast) to William Reeves, regarding O'Donovan's time in Belfast.] (1851-05-06)   [View...]
44 [Letter from John O'Donovan (8 Newcomen Place, North Strand, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing the devaluation of property and the misfortunes of a common friend.] (1851-06-07)   [View...]
45 [Letter from John O'Donovan to William Reeves, discussing the problematic printing of the Annals.] (1853-03-17)   [View...]
46 [Letter from Johannes Donovannides [John O'Donovan] (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves (Ballymena, Co. Antrim), regarding his plan to contact the Pope, and discussing O'Curry and the Royal Irish Academy.] (1853-06-10)   [View...]
47 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing unsolved topographical questions.] (1854-02-10)   [View...]
48 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing different Irish manuscripts.] (1854-06-11)   [View...]
49 [Letters from John O'Donovan, Dublin to William Reeves (Diocesan School, Ballymena, Co. Antrim), discussing his and O'Curry's transcription of the Brehon Laws.] (1854-09-14/1855-07-19)   [View...]
50 [Letter from John O'Donovan (Oxford) to James Henthorn Todd, discussing the Life of St. Columkille manuscript in the Bodleian Library.] (1855-07-30)   [View...]
51 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to Edmund Getty, sending some Belfast maps and translating some Irish names.] (1855-08-31)   [View...]
52 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing the meaning of the Irish word Drui or Drai.] (1855-09-08)   [View...]
53 [Letter from John O'Donovan (Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing the meaning of the word Dobhar.] (1855-09-29)   [View...]
54 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing the forthcoming elections in Trinity College, Dublin.] (1856-03-10)   [View...]
55 [Letter from John O'Donovan (Trinity College, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing some Irish manuscripts recently acquired from Brussels.] (1856-06-02)   [View...]
56 [Letter from William Reeves (London) to John O'Donovan; includes O'Donovan's response, discussing an old manuscript of Adamnan.] (1856-10-25)   [View...]
57 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing their work.] (1857-07-22)   [View...]
58 [Letter from J. Donnavanides [John O'Donovan] (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, concerning the young linguist Whitley Stokes.] (1857-10-20)   [View...]
59 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing Scottish place names and women's names.] (1857-11-17)   [View...]
60 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing some copy-editing matters, and pointing out the forgeries of Shane O'Dugan's time.] (1857-11-25)   [View...]
61 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing a number of Irish clans and their territories.] (1858-02-09)   [View...]
62 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing the meanings and uses of a number of Irish words, including Domhnach and Carn.] (1858-02-11)   [View...]
63 [Letter from William Reeves (The Vicarage, Lusk, Co. Dublin) to John O'Donovan, asking for English translation of an Irish passage quoted in a work by Zeuss; includes O'Donovan's response.] (1858-05-22)   [View...]
64 [Two letters and two notes from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing the identity of Berichter according to the Irish annals, and generally highlighting the importance of antiquarian studies.] (1858-08-04)   [View...]
65 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, concerning a number of genealogical and topographical questions.] (1858-10-02)   [View...]
66 [Letter from John O'Donovan (Trinity College, Dublin) to William Reeves, detailing the Ryeves genealogy.] (1859-04-12)   [View...]
67 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing translation work of Irish manuscripts.] (1859-11-27)   [View...]
68 [Letter from Arthur Blennerhassett Rowan, Archdeacon of Ardfert, to William Reeves, concerning a theory on St. Brendan's Voyage.] (1860-02-03)   [View...]
69 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, asking for financial advice.] (1860-02-05)   [View...]
70 [Letter from John O'Donovan to William Reeves, concerning the translation of the Culdei-celide De tract.] (1860-03-03)   [View...]
71 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, concerning a request from Robert MacAdam, and discussing Reeves's work on Life of Patrick.] (1860-03-10)   [View...]
72 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, concerning the seal of a Colonel William Donovan.] (1860-04-20)   [View...]
73 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, concerning Count Charles MacDonnell's letter.] (1860-05-04)   [View...]
74 [Letter from Joannen Donovaniden [John O'Donovan] (Ulster Railway Hotel, Belfast, Co. Antrim), to William Reeves (The Vicarage, Lusk, Co. Dublin), discussing the Dinnsenchus of Armagh.] (1860-05-09)   [View...]
75 [Letter from John O'Donovan (Ulster Railway Hotel, Belfast, Co. Antrim), to William Reeves, concerning a Life of Patrick in one of MacAdam's vellum manuscripts.] (1860-05-11)   [View...]
76 [Letter from John O'Donovan (Trinity College, Dublin) to William Reeves (Lusk, Co. Dublin), discussing the Irish names for the names of the week.] (1860-06-09)   [View...]
77 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, discussing the meaning of the Irish word buidechuir.] (1860-06-13)   [View...]
78 [Letter from John O'Donovan (36 Buckingham Street, Dublin) to William Reeves, concerning the Life of Patrick.] (1860-06-17)   [View...]
79 [Letter from William Reeves (Ballymena, Co. Antrim) to John O'Donovan, concerning the translation of some extracts from the Annals of Ulster; includes O'Donovan's response.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
80 [Letter from W. Oldham to John O'Donovan, concerning the inscription on a brooch; includes O'Donovan's response.] (1832/1860)   [View...]

A.   Fragments

81 [List of queries, probably in William Reeves's hand, answered by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
82 [List of queries, probably in William Reeves's hand, mainly concerning places and names of clans, answered by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
83 [List of queries, probably in William Reeves's hand, answered by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
84 [A number of translated extracts, taken from unidentified annals, in John O'Donovan's hand.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
85 [List of queries in an unidentified hand, mainly concerning place names, answered by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
86 [List of queries in an unidentified hand, answered by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
87 [List of queries in an unidentified hand, mainly concerning place names, answered by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
88 [List of queries in an unidentified hand, answered by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
89 [List of queries in an unidentified hand, mainly concerning the location of places, answered by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
90 [List of queries in an unidentified hand, answered by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
91 [List of queries in an unidentified hand, mainly concerning place and family names, answered by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
92 [Irish extract in John O'Donovan's hand, referring to Columkille.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
93 [Latin extract, probably in William Reeves's hand.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
94 [Irish extract and a Latin phrase, probably in John O'Donovan's hand.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
95 [Various extracts in Latin and Irish, with an English translation at the end, by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
96 [Irish extract with its English translation, in John O'Donovan's hand.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
97 [Irish verses and words, probably in William Reeves's hand, and English translations supplied by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
98 [Irish extract, with English translation, from the Annals of Tighernach, together with a Latin extract from Giraldus Cambrensis' Topographia Hibernica, both in John O'Donovan's hand.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
99 [List of queries from William Reeves to John O'Donovan, incorporating O'Donovan's answers.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
100 [List of queries in William Reeves's hand, answered by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
101 [Extracts from Adamnan Book II, translated into English by John O'Donovan.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
102 [Letter, probably from William Reeves, to an unidentified recipient, concerning extracts from Adamnan Book II.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
103 [List of page numbers and references headed "Convocation" in John O'Donovan's hand.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
104 [List references headed "Convocation" in John O'Donovan's hand.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
105 [Newspaper cutting of an article written by W. F. W. concerning John O'Donovan and the O'Donovan family mark.] (1832/1860)   [View...]
106 [Manuscript [essay draft?] by John O'Donovan, discussing the origin of the word Termon.] (1832/1860)   [View...]

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