Thursday 17 March 2016

Record of the Week: St. Patrick's Day Ephemera

This St. Patrick's Day we offer a most unique example of ephemera from the archives.

It is an event programme for the St. Patrick's Day Fifteenth Annual Musical Soiree, 1871. 
Though the location of the venue is not explicitly mentioned, addresses given by Alderman Hearn, M.P.P for Quebec, and Revd. J. S. Lonergan of Montreal suggest somewhere in la belle province, specifically Quebec City (see Comments below for that deduction).

The gold metallic text is printed on a piece of kelly green raw-edged silk.  That pairing, combined with the minuscule font, which has bled through the fabric, results in one of the most unusual and illegible pieces of textual material we have.

The item is part of Archbishop John Lynch's fonds.

Archbishop Lynch fonds, L AE 20.01

Saint Patrick's Day, 1871,
Fifteenth Annual Musical Soiree
Under the auspices of the
St. Patrick's C. and L. Institute,
Music Hall,
Friday Evening, March 17th.

The programme's title features the triangular Celtic harp, a national symbol that appears on the Republic of Ireland's coins and coat of arms. Under the harp is the banner Erin Go Bragh (an anglicization of  Éirinn go Brách), used to express allegiance to Ireland. It is most often translated as "Ireland Forever."
A scan of the programme does not improve decipherability. Nor do the multiple stains - do you reckon they're Guiness or whiskey?

"Part First": songs include Ode to Pope Pius IX (Rossini); Exile of Erin (Campbell); Les dragons de Villars (Maillart); O'Donnell A boo
"Part Second": songs include Dear Old Ireland (Sullivan); The Green Little Shamrock (Cherry); I saw form the beach (Moore)


  1. This has got to be one of the coolest non-liturgical items I've seen from your collection! Text on green silk? That looks so exquisite! And the colour so emerald green!

  2. There are a few clues on here that we can go a bit deeper with:

    1: Alderman Hearn was likely John Hearn, who was a Quebec City council member from 1856 to 1867 when he was elected to the provincial legislature.
    2: St. Patrick's C & L Institute is likely St. Patrick's Catholic and Literary Institute, which incorporated in 1875 as St. Patrick's Literary Institute but which existed for 22 years previously in Quebec City.
    3: Quebec City had a venue called "Quebec Music Hall" from the 1850s.

    Given these three things, I think it's safe to say that this party was held in Quebec City!