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Literature for Irish Colonials: The Example of Nineteenth-Century New Zealand

Des livres pour les Irlandais des colonies : l’exemple de la Nouvelle-Zélande au dix-neuvième Siècle
Kevin Molloy
p. 70-84

Résumé

Entre la fin des années 1860 et 1920, la communauté irlandaise de Nouvelle-Zélande importa et distribua des livres et des périodiques  écrits par des Irlandais d’Irlande ou de la diaspora, grâce à des librairies installées dans les plus importants centres de peuplement du pays. Utilisant les catalogues et la presse catholique irlandaise comme principal support publicitaire, les libraires se constituèrent une clientèle réduite mais non négligeable,  passant commande à des maisons d’édition bien établies en Amérique du Nord, Irlande, Angleterre et Australie, se spécialisant dans les publications irlandaises de l’époque – incluant des œuvres de fiction, de la poésie, des ouvrages historiques, politiques, d’actualité, des journaux et des ouvrages religieux. En  recoupant les données fournies par les listes de livres publiées dans les journaux, et des informations contextuelles sur l’histoire du commerce des livres au XIXème siècle, cet article présente quelques découvertes préliminaires concernant les pratiques du commerce des livres irlandais au XIXème siècle, les réseaux diasporiques, le type de livres importés, l’éventail des sujets concernés, et analyse leur importance dans la vie des Irlandais dans la Nouvelle-Zélande coloniale.

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Texte intégral

1The history of the Irish book in the nineteenth century is closely linked with those other nineteenth-century phenomena: the mass movement of large sections of the Irish population from the island of Ireland to multiple colonial destinations; the rise of Irish cultural nationalism and a growing political and social imperative; the explosion of all forms of print culture from mid-century onwards; a developing devotional revolution that propelled an international Irish-Catholicism and that was facilitated by both local Irish and international print culture networks; and the demand, by those Irish in the diaspora, for the artefacts of Ireland and Irish culture, for use in ethnic formation, memory, and as mediating forms in the process of cultural assimilation (acculturation), in new geographical, political, social and cultural environments.

2One of the earliest print culture initiatives by the Irish in New Zealand was to establish the country’s first Irish newspaper in 1868, thirty years after planned colonisation of New Zealand had begun. Although quickly proscribed for sedition, from this time a media presence, as a vital tool in communication and ethnic homogeneity, becomes a key feature of the Irish cultural presence in New Zealand. From the newspaper other forms of print media either evolved or were mediated, including the trade in a significant variety of literatures.

  • 1  Terry Hearn, “Irish Migration to New Zealand to 1915,” A Distant Shore. Irish Migration and New Ze (...)
  • 2  Donald Harmon Akenson, Half the World from Home. Perspectives on the Irish in New Zealand. 1860-19 (...)
  • 3  Akenson 79-80. These figures are usually based upon surveys of those signing marriage registers by (...)
  • 4  “Wellington. From our own Correspondent,” New Zealand Tablet 9 September 1892, 7. Hereafter referr (...)

3The Irish arrived in New Zealand in several waves; the first in the period 1860-70, encouraged by the discovery of gold in the South Island’s Central Otago and Westland provinces. This initial migration contained a large number of single men, some of whom had travelled from the goldfields of California to Victoria in Australia, and who then moved on to New Zealand, where many settled permanently.1 The second wave arrived in the period 1871-1888, via government sponsored immigration schemes designed to set in motion a large public works programme that included road building, railway construction, bush clearance and farming. Immigration here is marked by nomination schemes, kinship ties and extended village emigration. The third phase of Irish emigration to New Zealand dates from the 1890s and is characterised by a noticeable falling-off in numbers to a much smaller though steady stream of immigrants. In round figures Irish-Catholics constituted approximately 18.5% of the New Zealand population in the mid-1880s, the peak period for Irish born immigrants, with between 90-100,000, evenly split between Irish born and their offspring.2 As with many Irish over this period, literacy rates, as compared to other denominational groups of mostly Scottish and English immigrants, appear to be low.3In addition, contemporary anecdotal evidence, from those within the Irish community, portrays the “higher branches of knowledge” as a “luxury”, beyond the reach of the majority of Irish Catholics, who belong in the main to the “industrial classes”.4

  • 5  Akenson, Half the World from Home, Preface.

4However, although the Irish who immigrated to New Zealand assumed prominence in some areas like domestic service, and the developing industrial occupations centred round railway building and mining, they are not so easily categorised in terms of class, occupation, and, generally, geographical location within the country. As Don Akenson has remarked, “Irish immigrants and their descendants dispersed throughout New Zealand society and were found at every occupational level and in virtually every community.5It is within this complex demographic profile that the artefacts of Irish print culture in New Zealand, such as newspapers and books, loom large. Books and newspapers, whether local, Irish, Irish-Australian or Irish-American - and all readily available in the country - can be considered a print source that played a key role in mediating the lives of this immigrant community in the diaspora, both internally in their new country, and externally, by keeping this group in touch with other Irish-diasporic communities, and their home land.  

Argument

5The initial aim in studying Irish and Irish diaspora print culture in New Zealand has been to determine, firstly, just what was being imported, and in what years; and secondly, to ascertain the role of that print culture and its use as a mediating form in ethnic formation, memory and the process of cultural assimilation. The following paper presents some preliminary observations, based on an analysis of secular literatures.

  • 6  “Our objects and principles,” NZT 3 May 1873, 8; “Pastoral,” NZT 26 February 1892, 18.

6The New Zealand Tablet, in its first issue in May 1873, engaged with the problem of literature in New Zealand for an Irish and Catholic audience: “Good books are at once a great blessing, and of urgent necessity. It is difficult, however, for all in this remote corner of the world to procure such books”. From this time the issue of literature, and the availability of literature, is one of constant debate.6

  • 7 NZT 3 May 1873, 8.

7Newspapers like the New Zealand Tablet initially assumed an Irish-Catholic press would meet some of the demands of the immigrant population, presented with the obvious difficulty of obtaining suitable Irish and Catholic literatures.7 For example, in addition to including information on social and political issues within New Zealand, the New Zealand Tablet also followed precedents set by other newspapers in the diaspora, like the Boston Pilot, the New York Tablet and the Sydney Freeman’s Journal, and included serial fiction and history, book reviews, extensive reports of public lectures, poetry and news from Ireland, many features that were also characteristic of colonial newspapers in general.

  • 8  P.E. Hurley, “Some Reasons Why Catholics Lose the Faith in New Zealand,” from Irish Ecclesiastical (...)

8However, the lack of readily available Irish books appears to have been an on-going concern, noted by other commentators, and reported in the New Zealand Tablet, along with the implications of not having an Irish and Catholic literature easily obtainable for this ethnic group. For example, P. E. Hurley, writing on New Zealand for the Irish Ecclesiastical Record in 1887, expressed his concerns on the availability of Irish literatures in the country: “The rising generation of this Colony is a reading people. There is hardly a district here corresponding in extent to an ordinary parish at home, that has not its two or three public libraries supplied with a variety of the current literature of the day”. Hurley noted the role of public libraries in generally supplying an anti-Catholic free-thinking literature inimical to Irish-Catholic tastes, as well as noting that a loss of interest in the culture and affairs of Ireland generally led to a loss of interest in Catholicism.8

  • 9  Booksellers included J. A. Macedo, operating from Princes Street, Dunedin from approximately 1866- (...)
  • 10  For example, see the list of publishers detailed by the Christchurch bookseller Edward O’Connor, N (...)

9Despite comments like the above, the situation was eased to some extent by the development of Irish and Catholic bookselling in the main centres of New Zealand. Beginning in the late 1860s, and flourishing in the mid-1880s, commercial booksellers, catering largely to an Irish-Catholic audience, developed, and exploited trading patterns and existing diaspora networks in Australia, North America, Dublin, London and France, in order to supply a niche market in the expanding colony, a market that was virtually ignored by existing booksellers and their networks.9 Imported works included those like the Irish National Library series, initiated by Charles Gavan Duffy, and produced in conjunction with the publisher and printer James Duffy & Co. of Dublin; lists from the publishing house of M. H. Gill, also of Dublin, as well as similar series produced by Irish Catholic publishing houses in New York, like D. & J. Sadlier and P. J. Kenedy, and those from the London houses of Burns and Oates and Ward Lock and Co.10

Sources

  • 11  Wallace Kirsop, “Bookselling and Publishing in the Nineteenth Century,” in The Book in Australia. (...)
  • 12  The exception to this is the 1871 catalogue produced by J. J. Moore. See Jeremiah Moore, Moore’s A (...)
  • 13  For example, a handful of catalogues from the publisher James Duffy and Co. survive, while a numbe (...)
  • 14  Kirsop, “Bookselling and Publishing in the Nineteenth-Century,” 26.
  • 15  See “Editorial,” FJ 3 November 1855, 7, and “The Freeman’s Journal,” FJ 17 January 1857, ‘the only (...)
  • 16  The New Zealand Tablet ceased publication in 1996.

10Historian Wallace Kirsop has repeatedly alluded to the problematic nature of assessing and examining nineteenth-century print history in Australia and New Zealand. Business archives and the records of publishers, printers and booksellers are “uneven at best”, with the consequence that very little is known of the early trade, even in places like Sydney.11 When looking for Irish print sources in Australia and New Zealand, business records are virtually non-existent, and, with one exception, the mass-produced booksellers’ catalogues appear not to have survived, while correspondence, between Irish-Australian and Irish-New Zealand booksellers and international publishers, is limited to a small number of letters.12 In North America, Britain and Ireland, the situation is similar, although a number of catalogues from major Irish and Catholic publishers in New York, Dublin and London are still in existence.13 Given the non-survival of business records and archives, analysis on the availability of books and other printed materials has to proceed by way of newspaper advertisements and extant catalogues.14Consequently, research on Irish print culture in nineteenth-century New Zealand has focused largely on newspapers as a primary source, principally the Dunedin based New Zealand Tablet. Like other colonial Irish newspapers, such as the Sydney Freeman’s Journal, the New Zealand Tablet was produced initially for a national audience, and was acutely aware of its function as the voice of the Irish in New Zealand, and its role as disseminator of information on Irish history, culture and Irish opinion in a largely Anglo-Saxon country.15 In addition, this paper was in continuous production over the next one-hundred years.16In the absence of competition, or an alternative information medium, the role of the New Zealand Tablet, as a national Irish-Catholic medium, privileges its position as a primary source for market-place advertising trends in Irish book retailing for the nineteenth and the early decades of the twentieth-century. As a result, data from this source has been assessed according to printed bookseller lists advertised in the newspaper. As always with this type of study, newspaper-based information taken from advertised lists details what was for sale, not what was necessarily bought or read.

  • 17  Bibliographic details concerning surviving library registers can be found in Gillespie-Needham, op (...)

11There are, of course, other print history sources for Irish works in New Zealand, including surviving borrowers registers and catalogues from nineteenth-century libraries in gold-mining towns, a small number of private library collections, and miscellaneous published pamphlets in Irish history and literature, usually based upon numerous public lectures that were a feature of colonial life. In addition local Irish-Catholic newspapers like the New Zealand Tablet re-printed an extensive body of serialised Irish and Irish-diaspora fiction and historical works.17 Many of these works will be drawn upon at a later date.  

  • 18  For data collection purposes these have been recorded by year of first appearance, and subsequent (...)

12What sort of literature was imported into New Zealand? Data realised from the New Zealand Tablet over the 1873-1918 period, and based on the number of first-advertised individual titles, indicates that nearly five hundred Irish, Irish North-American, Irish-Australian and New Zealand-Irish titles were advertised, falling into standard genres, history, fiction, biography, language, music, oratory, poetry, memoir, criticism and a miscellaneous category.18

  • 19  Simon Eliot, “Some Trends in British Book Production, 1800-1919,” in Literature in the Marketplace (...)

13As will be expected (fig.1), fiction and history dominates, a general standard, at least for fiction, in the Anglo-Saxon world for post-mid-century statistics on nineteenth-century book-production, reading habits and sales.19

Literature by Genre, New Zealand Tablet 1873-1918

Fig. 1. Irish titles by genre 1873-1918

Fig. 1. Irish titles by genre 1873-1918

Percentage breakdown over the period under consideration based on the identification of individual titles (N = 495), and grouped by genre.

14Popular fiction writers included John and Michael Banim, William Carleton, Charles Kickham, Rosa Mulholland, Mary Anne Sadlier (Mrs Sadlier) and Patrick Sheehan; and narrative historians Alexander Sullivan, John Mitchell, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, plus works by Charles Gavan Duffy and Justin McCarthy. In addition to these authors there is persistent representation in the figures of works on political oratory, including speeches by Davis, O’Connell, Curran, Grattan and Sheil, works that retained their popularity well into the early decades of the twentieth-century. Irish language primers, music and poetry, are also well represented.

15In terms of comparative genre profile, data taken from the Australian Irish-Catholic paper the Sydney Freeman’s Journal, covering that paper’s initial period of operation 1850-1875, reveals a similar pattern, including the strong representation of history and fiction as possibly the preferred genres for Irish-Catholic readers of secular fiction in colonial New South Wales. As in the New Zealand data similar authors are listed, with works sourced from publishing houses that include James Duffy & Co., D. & J. Sadlier, Burns and Lambert and Charles Dolman.

16Using figures extracted from the newspaper lists it is also possible to indicate trends in the New Zealand-Irish market. Peak title advertising figures over the period indicate the strength of the advertising market, especially over those years where goods were in demand, as in the period leading up to the 1880s and the increased profile of Parnell and the Irish National League. The sudden falling off in advertising is due to several factors, including political disinterest following the demise of Parnell and the failure of Gladstone’s 1893 Home Rule bill, plus the continued economic downturn of the New Zealand economy from the mid-to-late 1880s.

Fig. 2. Peak title advertising, New Zealand Tablet 1873-1918

Fig. 2. Peak title advertising, New Zealand Tablet 1873-1918

17Preliminary results suggest that in the main, the buying habits of the Irish, as revealed through advertising data, were more than likely susceptible to political events in Ireland, with only a small percentage of the market purchasing Irish literatures on a regular, and, over time, persistent basis. In addition, it appears that a multi-generational interest in Irish literatures was not sustained in New Zealand. Anecdotal evidence, documented in newspapers like the New Zealand Tablet, also confirms a general second-generation lack of knowledge, or interest, in Irish writing, and the absence of organisational structures to promote or facilitate what interest there was.     

  • 20  Notice, Freeman’s Journal (Sydney) 29 December 1865, 256.
  • 21  See Malcolm Campbell, “Ireland’s Furthest Shores: Irish Settlement in Nineteenth-Century Californi (...)
  • 22  A selective content analysis of specifically American news or commentary is beyond the scope of th (...)
  • 23  Fanning, The Irish Voice in America, 75-76.
  • 24  Mary Anne Sadlier, “The Old House by the Boyne. Ch.1,” (Sydney) Freeman’s Journal 6 February 1875, (...)
  • 25  Fanning, The Irish Voice in America, op. cit. Other examples include Conyngham’s, Rose Parnell (18 (...)
  • 26  For example the appalling but obviously commonplace eviction described in graphic detail in 1881, (...)
  • 27  The works of Irish-Americans Mary Anne Sadlier and John Boyce were being imported regularly into S (...)

18In December 1865 The Sydney Freeman’s Journal, in one of its periodic general messages, noted, that as its readers possessed “a special interest in all American affairs, copious extracts… [would continue to] be made from the journals of the United States”.20 This colonial interest in American affairs should not appear surprising, given the prevalence of Irish-American newspapers throughout nineteenth-century New Zealand and Australia, the persistence of Irish-American content in the New Zealand Tablet, as in Australian Irish-Catholic newspapers, plus commentary on events and personalities in Irish-American communities, and the not infrequent movement of a section of the Irish between Australia, New Zealand and the United States.21Obviously the position of Irish Catholics in the United States proved to be a powerful and successful model, and the growth of their institutions and culture, whether Church structures, newspapers or political and social thought, was followed with a keen interest. It is therefore not surprising to find, in an analysis of advertised works in the New Zealand Tablet, a high number of Irish-American titles, titles that persisted with enduring popularity, at least until the turn of the twentieth-century.22 Much of post-famine Irish-American writing has been described by Fanning as “didactic and utilitarian”, encompassing the Catholic morality tale, the immigrant guide-book, and historical fiction.23 The Irish-Catholic morality tale is perhaps best represented in the many works of Mary Anne Sadlier, with their concern for survival in a new country, the necessity of maintaining Irish and Catholic religious, ethnic and kinship ties. A prime example of this is Sadlier’s well-known Blakes and Flanagans, a text that emphasises the importance of Catholic schools for preserving religious and ethnic cohesion in an alien world, as opposed to state-run schools. It is a novel as relevant to the colonial world of New Zealand and Australia, as it is to its New York setting, and was a work regularly retailed both in New Zealand and Australia. Over the years 1870-1920 many of Sadlier’s novels were serialised in the Sydney Freeman’s Journal, the New Zealand Freeman’s Journal and the New Zealand Tablet.24 In terms of historical fiction, the type of literature described by Fanning as attempting to create a sense of historical pride in the Irish past, while at the same time politicising the reader, the works of John Boyce, such as The Spaewife; or, the Queen’s Secret (1853), Charles Halpine, The Patriot Brothers, A Tale of ’98, (6th ed. 1884), and David Conyngham, The O’Mahony, Chief of the Comeaghs (1879), perhaps best exemplify the type of Irish-American historical fiction that was as popular in the colonies of New South Wales and New Zealand as it was in America.25 Of course contextual newspaper information certainly added to the sense of historical urgency surrounding Irish history and contemporary events, and from its inception in 1873 the New Zealand Tablet ran frequent current articles concerning evictions, emigration, and the role of the British army in policing by force the Irish countryside, in addition to articles on the Irish in the American Civil War, the growth of the Catholic Church in America, and Irish-American political figures, institutions and thought.26 Evidence suggests diaspora literature from Irish-America was readily available in New Zealand from the early 1870s, and in Australia from the mid-1850s, being imported and retailed by many booksellers operating in the Irish and Catholic book-trade in New Zealand. Irish-American publishing houses like D. & J. Sadlier & Co., were operating through agents in Sydney through the 1870s, and operations like this could be considered as a source for some of the imports into New Zealand.27

  • 28  Publishers D. & J. Sadlier and Co. (New York and Montreal), Benziger Brothers (New York), P. J. Ke (...)

19A feature of all published booklists in New Zealand Irish papers of this period is the prevalence of religious literatures. Additional figures collected, but not included in this paper, indicate a steady rise, for the colonial Irish, in the importation and consumption of devotional, theological and pietistic literature. In the overall field of Irish and Catholic literatures in New Zealand, secular literatures constitute approximately 30% of a market that became increasingly dominated by religious works. Certainly the Irish “devotional revolution”, coupled with mass emigration, witnessed the development of a political attitude within the Church hierarchy that placed more emphasis on the “destiny” of the Irish and their Catholic Church. In addition, it saw the spread of an international English-language devotional, historical and theological literature that assumes a powerful presence in the book lists published in papers like the Sydney Freeman’s Journal, from 1850, and the New Zealand Tablet, from 1873. It seems apparent, therefore, that in addition to a cultural and ethnic definition provided by secular literatures, the Irish also sought definition through a variety of religious literatures in English. Generally these were imported in tandem with secular literatures, and often produced by the same publishing companies.28 The intermixing of religious and secular works, in the same booklists, added to the type of messages present in advertisements towards the end of the nineteenth century, with an evident semantic shift from Irish National Literature, to Catholic Literature, and the blurring of distinctions between Irish and Catholic writers, such as is found in advertisements like the following:

  • 29  Advertisement, “E. O’Connor, Catholic Book Depot, Christchurch,” NZT 7 June 1900, 31.

Encourage the spread of Catholic Literature by patronising Catholic Booksellers, and read such AUTHORS as – Lady Fullerton, Miss Caddle, Frances Noble, Mrs Hope, Mrs Parsons, Mrs Cashel Hoey, Mrs Sadlier, Clara Mulholland, Miss E. M. Stewart, Father Finn, C.J. Kickham, Gerald Griffin, Father Potter, Father O’Reilly, Faber, Manning, Newman, Wiseman, and other Writers of Fiction….29

  • 30  Catalogues are available for English language religious works from selected publishers, for exampl (...)

The role and contribution of nineteenth-century religious literatures to ethnic formation within a Victorian, North American and British colonial world that had a penchant for religious reading, has not been investigated in a New Zealand-Irish context, and deserves further examination.30 Similarly, additional research is needed to ascertain the level of Irish-Presbyterian and Anglo-Irish (Irish-Church of Ireland) literary presence in the country. Irish Presbyterian and Anglo-Irish cultural homogeneity is less obvious, or present, in cultural artefacts like Presbyterian or Church of England (Anglican) newspapers in New Zealand. Micro-studies on key individuals, or communities, may be the best way to proceed here, including such things as Ulster hymnology and sermons, and the personal libraries of Anglo-Irish political, religious and academic figures. Certainly it is clear that at selected points or intersections in nineteenth-century New Zealand-Irish history, the Anglo-Irish and Ulster Presbyterians participated in some shared cultural endeavours, no matter how fleetingly. Points of intersection range from a shared interest in Anglo-Irish writing, to the identification with aspects of Irish Home Rule and the literature produced on that subject.

20What then does the above data tell us of the reading habits of the Irish in New Zealand over the fifty-year period under consideration, and what issues does it present? This paper has briefly touched upon identifiable aspects of the literature that was imported and made available in New Zealand through a number of booksellers specialising in the retailing of Irish works. From European and North American publisher to colonial reader, evidence highlights the rapid evolution of this trade in New Zealand. Beginning nearly thirty years after similar developments in Australian cities like Sydney and Melbourne, the growth of business concerns in the main population centres specialising in the importation of Irish and Catholic works indicates the ease with which New Zealand businesses utilised existing trade sources and networks in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as establishing their own business contacts with North American, Dublin and London publishers.  As part of an international retail trade both the Australian and New Zealand Irish drew their literature from Irish and Irish diaspora sources and marketed that literature through newspaper and catalogue advertising.

21Newspapers obviously played a pivotal role in the spread of nineteenth-century Irish literatures throughout the dispora. In New Zealand a strong newspaper advertising presence for Irish and Catholic titles, aided by the role of newspapers like the New Zealand Tablet in continually printing serial fiction and history by Irish and Irish-American authors, such as William Carleton and Mary Anne Sadlier, added to this. Irish national literature, like religious literature, was just one type, from a broad range, that was available in New Zealand. Nevertheless, the successful establishment of businesses that flourished for thirty and forty years or more, trading on Irish and Catholic works, plus devotional paraphernalia, suggests conscious choices were made by some Irish to purchase Irish works.

  • 31  See “Macmillan’s Colonial Library of Copyright Books, 1886-1913,” in Graeme Johanson, A Study of C (...)
  • 32  As regards the Irish-American influence in New Zealand imports, the sudden demise in popularity of (...)

22The Irish literature imported over the 1870-1920 period was of a specific type, and corresponded to the particular needs of the Irish community in New Zealand, needs that were not being met, for example, by the mainstream importers of English and Colonial Edition fiction. Irish preferences in literature were either overlooked or were sidelined by mainstream Anglo-Saxon culture. It is instructive to note that in the Colonial Editions Library, covering the period 1886-1913, only five Irish writers are included, among them Emily Lawless with Hurrish: A Study (1886), and Gerald O’Donovan with Father Ralph (1913), works that, possibly because of the nature of their content, appear not to have been advertised in such newspapers as the New Zealand Tablet.31 As we have seen from the preceding data the New Zealand-Irish market conformed to largely international English-speaking trends for nineteenth-century literature, with, however, an Irish preference for history and historical fiction. This is reflected not only in the popular sales of historical fiction by Carleton, Mulholland, Sadlier and Sheehan, but also the narrative histories produced by Sullivan, Mitchell and McGee, and the works by high-profile political leaders like Daniel O’Connell and the Irish Parliamentary orators.32

  • 33  As has been noted, locally produced catalogues and other business records appear not to have survi (...)
  • 34  This also needs to be placed within the context of nineteenth and early twentieth century French C (...)

23This paper has mapped out some of the complexities of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Irish print history in New Zealand. In the absence of extant locally printed catalogues works gleaned from newspaper advertisements go some way towards a possible reconstruction of a catalogue of books available to Irish and Catholic readers of secular literatures in nineteenth and early twentieth-century New Zealand, and towards identifying the literary preferences of this ethnic group.33 The religious-ethnic interface in New Zealand requires some further analysis, in both a nineteenth-century Victorian context, where the reading of religious literature by vast sections of the population was the norm, and as a phenomenon of the Irish-diaspora.34 Just who were buying the books has yet to be determined. However, the retail prices generally given in newspaper advertisements do provide scope for identifying occupational groups with purchase power.

  • 35  Charles Fanning, The Irish Voice in America, 75-76, and ch. 3 passim.

24Book-title data adds substance to the extensive cultural discourse found in the New Zealand Irish-Catholic press, a discourse that promoted the consumption of Irish and Catholic cultural works, and encouraged an intellectual and emotional engagement with Irish national and Catholic writings. In addition, it is clear, from the literature thus far identified, that most of the Irish works tended towards productions that facilitated what Charles Fanning described as group identity building, popular nationalistic, and later, religious works, used for ethnic and national self-definition, such as those from James Duffy’s Irish National Library series, or similar series of popular Irish and Catholic works from the publishing houses of D. & J. Sadlier and P. J. Kenedy in New York.35 Given the range of Irish writing generally available over this period, and its quality, these findings are not altogether unexpected.

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Notes

1  Terry Hearn, “Irish Migration to New Zealand to 1915,” A Distant Shore. Irish Migration and New Zealand Settlement, ed. Lyndon Fraser (Otago: University Press, 2000) 58. See also Hearn, “The Irish on the Otago Goldfields, 1861-1871”, A Distant Shore , 75-85.

2  Donald Harmon Akenson, Half the World from Home. Perspectives on the Irish in New Zealand. 1860-1950 (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1990) 39, 63-64.

3  Akenson 79-80. These figures are usually based upon surveys of those signing marriage registers by name or mark.

4  “Wellington. From our own Correspondent,” New Zealand Tablet 9 September 1892, 7. Hereafter referred to as NZT.

5  Akenson, Half the World from Home, Preface.

6  “Our objects and principles,” NZT 3 May 1873, 8; “Pastoral,” NZT 26 February 1892, 18.

7 NZT 3 May 1873, 8.

8  P.E. Hurley, “Some Reasons Why Catholics Lose the Faith in New Zealand,” from Irish Ecclesiastical Record, reprinted NZT 15 July 1887, 5-6. The first instalment was published in NZT on 8 July 1887, 5-7. The original article was published in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record 3rd Series, 8 (1887): 205-14.

9  Booksellers included J. A. Macedo, operating from Princes Street, Dunedin from approximately 1866-1897; Edward O’Connor, Catholic Book Depot, Barbadoes Street, Christchurch, 1880-1950s; Bernard and George Whitaker, operating as Whitaker Brothers, Lambton Quay, Wellington, 1877-1917, with a branch initially in Boundary Street Greymouth, operated by George Whitaker from 1887. In Auckland James Flynn, Flynn and O’Reilly, and O’Reilly, advertised regularly in the New Zealand Freeman’s Journal between 1882-1885, all operating from the same premises. J. W. Dickson’s ‘Catholic Repository’, began in Auckland in the late 1880s and advertised as a direct importer of Irish and Catholic Literature plus Irish and Catholic newspapers from America, Dublin and England. (NZT 11 January 1888, 10). P.F. Hiscock, Catholic Book Depot, was operating early in the next century. Preliminary work done on literary networks and supplies in New Zealand has been documented by Dulcie Gillespie-Needham, “The Colonial and His Books: A Study of Reading in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand,” unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, 1971. See also Charles Gavan Duffy, “The Publication of Irish Books: An address by Sir Charles Gavan Duffy,” reproduced from the Dublin Freeman, NZT 28 September 1892, 5-7.

10  For example, see the list of publishers detailed by the Christchurch bookseller Edward O’Connor, NZT 24 September 1897, 16. Ward Lock and Co., who also produced Irish works, had a well-established branch operating from Melbourne, Australia, from 1884, see Edward Liveing, Adventure in Publishing, The House of Ward Lock 1854-1954 (London, Melbourne: Ward Lock, 1954) 68, 82.

11  Wallace Kirsop, “Bookselling and Publishing in the Nineteenth Century,” in The Book in Australia. Essays Towards a Cultural and Social History, eds. D. H. Borchardt and W. Kirsop (Melbourne: Centre for Bibliographic and Textual Studies, Monash University, 1988) 17, 31. The lack of business records is of course an international problem, see Robert Darnton, “What is the History of Books”, in Books and Society in History, ed. Kenneth E. Carpenter (New York and London: Bowker, 1983) 16; Wallace Kirsop, Books for Colonial Readers - The Nineteenth-Century Australian Experience (Melbourne: Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand in Association with the Centre for Bibliographical and Textual Studies, Monash University, 1995) 4.

12  The exception to this is the 1871 catalogue produced by J. J. Moore. See Jeremiah Moore, Moore’s Australian Almanac and Hand-Book for the Year 1871 (Sydney: J.J. Moore, Australian Book Mart, 1871). For correspondence see M.H. Gill & Sons Ltd., Letterbooks, Department of Early Printed Books, Trinity College Dublin.

13  For example, a handful of catalogues from the publisher James Duffy and Co. survive, while a number of copies of the American Publishers Trade List Annual, a compendium of publishers’ catalogues, dating from 1873, are also still extant. In addition some hand written printers lists of books published by M.H Gill and Son for the period 1878-87, are still in existence.

14  Kirsop, “Bookselling and Publishing in the Nineteenth-Century,” 26.

15  See “Editorial,” FJ 3 November 1855, 7, and “The Freeman’s Journal,” FJ 17 January 1857, ‘the only periodical in all Australasia which gives copious Irish news and genuine Irish National Opinions’. The paper notes its extensive circulation in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand, with a readership of 20,000. The NZT laid its claim as a national journal, with national opinions, from its first editorial in 1873, and for the next forty-five years held a virtual monopoly on the Irish-Catholic press, only briefly threatened by the Wellington produced Catholic Times over the 1888-1894 period; NTZ 3 May 1873, 8.

16  The New Zealand Tablet ceased publication in 1996.

17  Bibliographic details concerning surviving library registers can be found in Gillespie-Needham, op. cit. For nineteenth-century New Zealand pamphlets on Irish history, literature and politics see A. G. Bagnall, ed., New Zealand National Bibliography to the Year 1960, 5 Vols. (Wellington, NZ: Government Printer, 1969).

18  For data collection purposes these have been recorded by year of first appearance, and subsequent yearly appearances. For statistical convenience this data has then been grouped within a five-year range so figures can be statistically graphed over the 1870-1918 period. Where possible all titles have been checked in a variety of literary, bibliographic and database sources including, Library of Congress Online Catalogue, <http://catalog.loc.gov> [Accessed Jan-April 2003]; Trinity College Dublin Main Library and Early Printed Books Catalogues, <http://opac.lib.tcd.ie> [Accessed Dec. 2002-April 2003]; the online British Library Public Catalogue, <http://blpc.bl.uk> [Accessed Nov-Dec. 2003]; State Library of Victoria Catalogue, <http://catalogue.slv.vic.gov.au> [Accessed Jan-April 2003]; National Library of Australia Catalogue, <http://ilms.nla.gov.au> [Accessed Jan-April 2003]; Princess Grace Irish Library Datasets, Monaco, <http://www.pgil-eirdata.org> [Accessed Dec 2002-April 2003]; National Library of New Zealand Catalogues, <http://nlnzcat.natlib.govt.nz> [Accessed Dec 2002-April 2003]; Stephen J. Brown, Ireland in Fiction (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1969); Robert Hogan, ed., Dictionary of Irish Literature A-L, M-Z (London, Connecticut Westport: Greenwood Press, 1996).

19  Simon Eliot, “Some Trends in British Book Production, 1800-1919,” in Literature in the Marketplace. Nineteenth-Century British Publishing and Reading Practices, eds., John O. Jordan and Robert L. Patten (Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995) 36-38. In the above figures, the category for “other” literature covers a broad spectrum and includes autobiography, almanacs, directories, hagiography, geography, reference, pictorial, photographic works, and travel.

20  Notice, Freeman’s Journal (Sydney) 29 December 1865, 256.

21  See Malcolm Campbell, “Ireland’s Furthest Shores: Irish Settlement in Nineteenth-Century California and Eastern Australia,” Pacific Historical Review Vol. 71, no. 1 (2002): 59-90. Campbell states that ‘California and eastern Australia, together with New Zealand, were, for much of the later nineteenth century, part of a Pacific Irish emigrant world - locations separated by the vast distances of the Pacific Ocean but unified by complex exchanges of peoples, information, and goods’, 62.

22  A selective content analysis of specifically American news or commentary is beyond the scope of the present exercise, but could provide some interesting data.

23  Fanning, The Irish Voice in America, 75-76.

24  Mary Anne Sadlier, “The Old House by the Boyne. Ch.1,” (Sydney) Freeman’s Journal 6 February 1875, “Bessy Conway; or The Irish Girl in America. Ch.1”, 16 October 1875. Sadlier was still being reprinted in the NZT during the 1920s; see NZT 18 May 1922, 26, when Alice Riordan (1851), was introduced by the editor. For the New Zealand Freeman’s Journal see N. E. Reid, The Bishop’s Paper. A History of the Catholic Press in the Diocese of Auckland (Auckland, NZ: CPC, 2000) 9, 21.

25  Fanning, The Irish Voice in America, op. cit. Other examples include Conyngham’s, Rose Parnell (1883), and Mary Anne Sadlier, The Confederate Chieftains (1859) and Fate of Father Sheehy (1845).

26  For example the appalling but obviously commonplace eviction described in graphic detail in 1881, “An Extraordinary Eviction in County Louth,” NZT 12 August 1881, 11. For American items see for example “John Boyle O’Reilly,” NZT 26 September 1890, 23; On Thomas Francis Meagher, his life and the Civil War, NZT 24 July 1896, 27; on the necessity and growth of the American Catholic press, NZT 13 February 1875, 5.

27  The works of Irish-Americans Mary Anne Sadlier and John Boyce were being imported regularly into Sydney from a very early period, for example Sadlier’s New Lights, or Life in Galway, Freeman’s Journal (Sydney) 6 October 1855, 11, and Boyce’s The Spae Wife, A Tale of the Reign of Elizabeth, Freeman’s Journal (Sydney) 14 July 1855, 1. For information on D. & J. Sadlier & Co. in Sydney see Freeman’s Journal (Sydney) 31 January 1874, 8, and 10 April 1875, 9. The Sydney auctioneers O’Doud & Co. are noted as being agents for D. & J. Sadlier, New York.

28  Publishers D. & J. Sadlier and Co. (New York and Montreal), Benziger Brothers (New York), P. J. Kenedy (New York), Ward, Lock and Co. (London, and Melbourne from 1884), and James Duffy and Co (Dublin), all produced Irish and English secular fiction plus Catholic religious works. In addition Australian booksellers like Louis Gille & Co. and W. P. Linehan advertised imported religious and Irish works extensively in the New Zealand Tablet from the late 1890s.

29  Advertisement, “E. O’Connor, Catholic Book Depot, Christchurch,” NZT 7 June 1900, 31.

30  Catalogues are available for English language religious works from selected publishers, for example Benziger Brothers, Catalogue of all Catholic Books in English. Wholesale Catalogue for the Reverend Clergy and Religious Libraries, and the Trade (New York, Cincinnati: Benziger Brothers, c.1912).

31  See “Macmillan’s Colonial Library of Copyright Books, 1886-1913,” in Graeme Johanson, A Study of Colonial Editions in Australia, 1843-1972 (Wellington, NZ: Elibank Press, 2000) 290-306. Others included Katherine Tynan with She Walks in Beauty, James Stephens, Here are Ladies, The Crock of Gold and The Charwoman’s Daughter, and Bram Stoker with The Shoulder of Shasta.

32  As regards the Irish-American influence in New Zealand imports, the sudden demise in popularity of Irish-American fiction in New Zealand at the turn of the century needs further analysis, as more robust and accomplished Irish-American writers continued the Irish-American genre throughout the twentieth century. It is unclear whether this was due to a change in ethnicity, consumer preference, a result of international markets and pricing, or a change in business practices. The war years obviously had a major impact on the book trade and Irish emigration to New Zealand.

33  As has been noted, locally produced catalogues and other business records appear not to have survived. As regards other sources, business records from Sadlier and Co. for the nineteenth-century were not with records transferred by Sadliers in New York to the Notra Dame Archives, and they had no record of what had become of the earlier business records, pers.com University of Notra Dame Archives 23 January 2003. However, an 1861 catalogue was included in the first twenty pages of Mary Ann Sadlier’s novel The Blakes and the Flanagans (New York: D & J. Sadlier & Co., 1861), 6-20. Catalogues have been identified from James Duffy & Co, James Duffy & Co.’s Catalogue of Standard Works of History Amusement and Instruction (Dublin: James Duffy & Co., 1880, 1885, 1890, currently held by the Early Printed Books Library, Trinity College Dublin.
Other lists have been identified as existing in The Publishers’ Trade List Annual (New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1874-). For example, Benziger Bros., NY, Catholic Publication Society, Lawrence Kehoe, D.J. Sadlier & Co. are all listed for the years 1873-1880, see “Lucile Project. Summary Index of PTLA Contributors 1873-1880”, <http://staffweb.lib.uiowa.edu.shuttner/ptla/1873-180.htm> [Accessed 25 March 2003]. For Australian publishers see George Robertson & Company, Catalogue of New & Popular Books Published by George Robertson, 33 and 35 Little Collins Street West (Melbourne: G Robertson, 1874).

34  This also needs to be placed within the context of nineteenth and early twentieth century French Catholicism, the exponential growth in French Catholic publishing, and its impact on the Irish devotional revolution. Ralph Gibson’s work A Social History of French Catholicism 1789-1914 (London; New York: Routledge, 1989), is important in this respect.

35  Charles Fanning, The Irish Voice in America, 75-76, and ch. 3 passim.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. Irish titles by genre 1873-1918
Légende Percentage breakdown over the period under consideration based on the identification of individual titles (N = 495), and grouped by genre.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/docannexe/image/2532/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 16k
Titre Fig. 2. Peak title advertising, New Zealand Tablet 1873-1918
URL http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/docannexe/image/2532/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 7,3k
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Kevin Molloy, « Literature for Irish Colonials: The Example of Nineteenth-Century New Zealand »Revue LISA/LISA e-journal, Vol. III - n°1 | 2005, 70-84.

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Kevin Molloy, « Literature for Irish Colonials: The Example of Nineteenth-Century New Zealand »Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], Vol. III - n°1 | 2005, mis en ligne le 27 octobre 2009, consulté le 18 octobre 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/2532 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/lisa.2532

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Auteur

Kevin Molloy

Dr. (Wellington, New Zealand)
Kevin Molloy is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in New Zealand Print Culture at the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies and Wai-te-ata Press, Victoria University, Wellington. He is working on an extended study of Irish-diaspora print culture in nineteenth century New Zealand and New South Wales, Australia. His research interests include nineteenth-century Irish historiography, Irish-American fiction, and Irish newspapers in the diaspora.

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