The University of Kansas Libraries will host a public event highlighting its world-class Irish collections this St. Patrick’s Day. The event, titled “Saints & Scholars, Poets & Politicians: An Introduction to the Irish Collections,” is scheduled for Thursday, March 17 at The Oread Hotel in Lawrence. A reception featuring Irish food and drink will begin at 5:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. Dr. 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 the 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,” said Conrad. “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 free to the public. To attend, RSVP by March 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-864-3601.