M. Michael Corcoran's Photograph Albums - UCD Digital Library
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M. Michael Corcoran's Photograph Albums

Abstract The M. Michael Corcoran's Photograph Albums contain photographs taken by Mother Michael Corcoran IBVM (1846-1927), Superior General of the Loreto Sisters. M. Michael was a self-taught photographer who used her camera to capture religious sisters, ministries, pupils, employees and friends of Loreto communities in Ireland and across the world. In 1902, M. Michael became the first Superior General to undertake a visitation of the IBVM communities in India and Australia and her photographic collection consists mainly of images captured during this international visitation. The albums also include images of Loreto Abbey, Rathfarnham taken in 1905 and images of Loreto Convent, Balbriggan taken between 1906 and 1907. Her albums should be of interest to anyone interested in M. Michael Corcoran IBVM as an educator or as IBVM Superior General, researchers interested in early 20th century photography, local history, early 20th century convent or school life in Ireland, and in foreign provinces.

Date
1902/1908
Genre
Photographs Photograph albums Lantern slides
Extent
6 albums (568 photographs) + 6 slides : lantern
Type of resource
still image
Location of original
IBVM (Loreto), Institute & Irish Province Archives.
Repository
IBVM (Loreto) Institute & Irish Province Archives
Repository reference
MC/PHO
Language
English
Biographical/historical information
Frances Corcoran was born on 5 July 1846, one of four children born to Michael Corcoran, barrister and Anna Maria Magan. Frances and her sister were boarding pupils at Loreto 43 North Great George’s Street, and in 1863 she spent a year in Belgium, completing her education. In 1865, Frances entered Loreto Abbey Rathfarnham and became known in religion as M. Michael, making her final profession in 1867. Her sister, Mary entered Loreto Abbey Rathfarnham in 1866 and was known in religion as M. Antoininus. M. Michael was appointed Mistress of Schools for a time, and Assistant to M. Scholastica Somers, Superior General in 1875. Three years later in 1878 she was appointed Mistress of Novices, and was elected to the General Council two years later in 1880. On 25 August 1888, M. Michael was elected Superior General at a General Chapter. She was re-elected again on 16 August 1894, 03 August 1900, 31 July 1907 and 24 July 1913, serving five terms in total. Her five terms in office were dominated by education, including the formal training of all teaching Sisters and the provision of third level education to women, and union of the global Institute. M. Michael was the first Superior General to visit the IBVM (Loreto) foundations in India and Australia. M. Michael Corcoran continued in office until 05 August 1919, when she was succeeded by M. Raphael Deasy. Her health had steadily declined since her final election in 1913. It became apparent in her last year in office that M. Michael was too ill to continue, and on 1 September 1918, M. Aquinas Cullinan was appointed Vicar General. M. Michael Corcoran died in Loreto Abbey Rathfarnham on 27 May 1927.
Scope and content
M. Michael Corcoran IBVM was a self-taught, enthusiastic and prolific photographer, who used her camera to capture Sisters, ministries, pupils, employees and friends of Loreto communities in Ireland and across the world. In 1902, M. Michael was the first Superior General to undertake a visitation of the IBVM communities in India and Australia. Her efforts to secure recognition of the provinces and their right to adequate representation at General Chapters, and the efforts towards union of the wider Institute, provide the context for this visitation. During a 15 month period M. Michael visited IBVM communities and missions in Gibraltar, Spain, India and Australia. She left Ireland in October 1902, and was joined in Gibraltar by M. Attracta Coffey IBVM, as travelling companion. Whilst travelling from India to Australia, the two companions were forced to seek shelter in Colombo. M. Michael concluded her visitation in late 1903, and spent some time in Rome before her return to Loreto Abbey Rathfarnham in January 1904.
It is unclear how or when M. Michael began her interest in photography, but her photographic collection is largely limited to images captured during this international visitation, (including sojourns in Colombo and Rome), images of Rathfarnham taken in 1905, and images of Balbriggan taken between July 1906 – August 1907 when she was no longer in office as Superior General, and resided as a community member in Balbriggan, north County Dublin. References to her love of photography, images captured are referenced in her correspondence and biographies. Her albums should be of interest to anyone interested in M. Michael Corcoran IBVM as educator or IBVM Superior General; researchers interested in early 20th century photography, local history, early 20th century convent or school life in Ireland and in foreign provinces. The images captured by her, offer unique insights in convent and boarding school life in the late 20th century, and also into the daily lives and living conditions of those who worked beside the Sisters in tending their farms and animals, and pupils who attended Loreto schools as boarding or day pupils. The photographs reveal her appreciation and knowledge of the work of the Sisters in foreign missions, love of nature and animals, interest in foreign cultures and people, and her love of Rathfarnham and Balbriggan.
In the context of her efforts to secure revised Constitutions to meet the needs of the provinces and foreign missions, it is likely that these albums were used and shared by M. Michael to illustrate the realities of ministries and life in the 'foreign missions' to Sisters and communities in Ireland. The vow of poverty precluded the holding of personal possessions, and Superiors were not exempt; M. Michael would not have considered these her 'personal possessions' but rather that of the office of Superior General.
The collection includes six slides taken by M. Michael Corcoran during her visitation of the missions in India and Australia in 1903/1904. Also present are a slide from Rome, Italy and a beach scene, most likely, Balbriggan, Ireland. M. Michael Corcoran was a keen and talented amateur photographer, and her letters written during her visitation refer to the taking of photographs and Loreto Missions from the period make reference to the showing of glass plate negatives, a magic lantern display to pupils of Loreto schools in Ireland.
Organisation/arrangement note
The photograph albums and lantern slides are a sub-series of the Papers of M. Michael Corcoran IBVM, 4th Superior General I.B.V.M. (Irish Branch). The portrait of M. Michael Corcoran is part of the photographic collection of the IBVM (Loreto) Institute & Irish Province Archives. Portions of M. Michael Corcoran's photographic collection are held in the IBVM Spanish Provincial Archives. The reference numbers assigned to each photograph album by previous archivists have been noted. However it has not been possible to identify the old/original list entries to which these numbers correlate. Photographic albums referred to in the lists as Press 4, Box 1, B1, include one titled 'Rathfarnham 1905'.
Other finding aid
A finding aid for the Papers of M. Michael Corcoran can be consulted in IBVM (Loreto) Institute & Irish Province Archives, Reading Room.
An additional finding aid for M. Michael Corcoran's Photograph Albums,created by David Gunning, with detailed information on each photograph or page of each album is available - see the Cited/referenced by section.
Funding
This collection was digitised as part of the Convent Collections research project. The principal investigator for the project was Professor Deirdre Raftery, School of Education, University College Dublin.
Funder: UCD Decade of Centenaries Award.
Subjects
Convents–Ireland–Dublin
Schools–Ireland–Dublin
Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary–Photographs
Nuns–Photographs
Catholic Church–Missions–Photographs
Women in missionary work–Photographs
Suggested credit
"M. Michael Corcoran's Photograph Albums," held by IBVM (Loreto) Institute & Irish Province Archives. © Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, IBVM (Loreto). Digital content by University College Dublin, published by UCD Library, University College Dublin <https://digital.ucd.ie/view/ucdlib:262000>

Is part of
Loreto Central and Irish Province Archives. Papers of M. Michael Corcoran IBVM, 4th Superior General I.B.V.M. (Irish Branch).
Cited/referenced by
Gunning, David. Photograph Albums of Mother Michael Corcoran IBVM Additional Finding Aid. Dublin, Ireland TBC

Record source
Descriptions created by staff of UCD Library, University College Dublin based on information provided by IBVM (Loreto) Institute & Irish Province Archives. EAD derived from MODS record.5 September 2019

Finding aid author
McHugh, Áine. Gunning, David (Archivist)

MC/PHO. Photograph Albums

MC/GP. Glass Plates

3. Portrait


MC/PHO.   Photograph Albums

MC/PHO/1

Rathfarnham 1904 (1904) [View]

    MC/PHO/2

    Ireland, India, Australia, etc. early 1900’s (1900/1904) [View]

      MC/PHO/3

      Ireland, India, Australia (1902/1904) [View]

        MC/PHO/4

        India, Rathfarnham, Balbriggan (1904/1908) [View]

          MC/PHO/5

          Untitled (1904/1907) [View]

            MC/PHO/6

            Rathfarnham 1905 (1905) [View]


              MC/GP.   Glass Plates

              MC/GP/1

              Lucknow, India (1903/1904) [View]

                MC/GP/2

                Lucknow, India (1903/1904) [View]

                  MC/GP/3

                  Lucknow, India (1903/1904) [View]

                    MC/GP/4

                    Hornsby, Australia (1903/1904) [View]

                      MC/GP/5

                      M. Michael Corcoran in Rome (1903/1904) [View]

                        MC/GP/6

                        Beach scene (1906/1907) [View]


                          3.   Portrait

                          3.1

                          Portrait of Mother Michael Corcoran (1890/1910) [View]


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