LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Libraries is taking part of its world-class Irish collections on the road to Boston, hosting a public event that will highlight the exhibit and feature a noted scholar of Irish literature. The event, “Saints and Scholars, Poets and Politicians: An Introduction to the Irish Collections,” is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 16, at the Hotel Commonwealth, 500 Commonwealth Ave., Boston.
A cocktail reception will begin at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., Kathryn Conrad, a KU English professor specializing in 20th century British and Irish literature and culture, will discuss many of the unique items preserved in the special collections at KU’s Kenneth Spencer Research Library, which houses one of the largest collections of Irish literature outside Dublin.
Conrad hopes to show attendees how the collection is essential to understanding the formation of Irish national identity, both cultural and political. Irish history, from the 17th century to the revolutionary movements of the 20th century, is extraordinarily well-represented in the collection through newspapers, propaganda pamphlets, broadsheets, local history publications, songs and scholarly works. Several items from the collection will be on display at the event.
“Not only does Spencer offer a rich political, cultural, historical, artistic and literary archive, but it preserves these materials in their original forms,” Conrad said. “Students and researchers can learn much about a piece of literature when they see it in the newspaper or literary journal in which it originally appeared, surrounded by other literature, political cartoons, even advertisements, all of which provide a whole new layer of context.”
The event is sponsored by the University of Kansas Libraries and the KU Alumni Association. Visit online to learn more or register to attend.
The Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s faculty and staff are dedicated to the preservation of diverse collections ranging from medieval manuscripts and other rare books to Kansas historical records to national political documents. For more information, visit here.