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Kevin B. Nowlan Papers

The Kevin B. Nowlan collection was donated to the Royal Irish Academy in 2013 and reflects the wide and varied interests which Nowlan held.

Professor Kevin B. Nowlan, MRIA, (1921-2013) is perhaps best known and remembered as an enthusiastic and active member of many cultural associations, particularly those focused on architectural preservation. He had a particular interest in Dublin’s architectural heritage and was Chairman of the Dublin Civic Group, which kept a watchful eye on the developers of Dublin City from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Much of the material relates to his work with various cultural and heritage associations; the remainder pertains to his historical research, UCD and other work such as that with RTÉ as historical advisor for the 1966 commemorative celebrations. The collection is organised into nine sub-series:

  • Correspondence. The broad range of correspondents show how wide Nowlan’s social circle was – clergy, historians, minor nobility, former students, friends from Cambridge and family all feature in this series. The series also features small files of correspondence with various organisations, as well as invitations and business cards.
  • Education. Contains material relating to Nowlan’s education at University College Dublin, the University of Cambridge and Marburg University. His time at Cambridge is particularly well documented and many prominent British and Irish historians feature in the correspondence including George Kitson-Clark, Herbert Butterfield, Rev. Aubrey Gwynn, Desmond Williams and Robin Dudley-Edwards, amongst others.
  • Academic Career. Relates to Nowlan’s appointments at University College Dublin in the Department of History. Applications for the positions of Associate Professorship and Professorship at UCD feature in this series.
  • UCD. Relates to Nowlan’s career in the Department of History. Nowlan’s involvement in the wider university community is detailed in smaller files relating to academic exchanges, his work as an external examiner, the early years of the UCD Archives and Overseas Archives and the acquisition by UCD of the papers of Ernie O’Malley and Richard Mulcahy.
  • Research. Relates to Nowlan’s own historical research and contains drafts of essays, lectures and talks written by Nowlan as well as correspondence with publishers and index cards, a collection of his research.
  • Work with Architectural and Cultural Organisations. Contains 26 sub-sub-series on Nowlan’s work with a variety of organisations including Alfred Beit Foundation, Castletown Foundation, Dublin Civic Group, Dublin Civic Trust, Irish Georgian Society, An Taisce, the Dublin Architectural Study Group and Mountjoy Square Estates amongst many others. Some of this material has been closed due to its sensitive nature.
  • Work with Historical Organisations. Contains material relating to historical organisations with which Nowlan was involved, including the Irish Historical Society, the International Committee of Historical Sciences, the Irish Manuscripts Commission and the European Science Foundation. Of particular interest are the documents and correspondence from Nowlan’s work as Historical Advisor to both Raidió Éireann and Teilifís Éireann in respect of the commemorative programming for the 1916 Easter Rising Golden Jubilee in 1966.
  • Work with Other Organisations. Relates to work undertaken by Nowlan with the Malton Group and The Children’s Hospital, Temple Street.
  • Personal. Contains personal diaries and notebooks written by Nowlan. This series has been closed in its entirety due to its sensitive nature.

For a catalogue of this collection see Special List A046

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