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Haliday Pamphlet and Tract Collections

The pamphlet collections of Charles Haliday (1789-1866) are among the best known and most heavily used materials in the Royal Irish Academy Library. Haliday was an antiquary who spent much of his career as a merchant in Dublin, having taken over the business of his father-in-law. Charles Haliday was an avid collector of books, pamphlets and manuscripts, particularly those of Irish interest. He was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy in January 1847. After his death on 14 Sept 1866 his widow presented his collection of pamphlets, books and manuscripts to the Academy Library early in 1867. The books and manuscripts have been integrated into general Academy Library holdings while the huge collection of pamphlets has been retained intact as a separate collection.

The pamphlets are invaluable for the study of the history (social, economic, political, cultural), literature and antiquities of Ireland. They include, for example, an extensive range of contemporary political publications on the rebellion of 1798, and of the debates for and against the Act of Union of Great Britain and Ireland which came into effect in 1801.

Haliday Pamphlet Collection (HP)

During his lifetime, Charles Haliday had organised almost 23,000 of his pamphlets of Irish interest in chronological order, with thematic compilations within the chronological sequence. Once arranged in this way the pamphlets were bound in 2,209 octavo volumes, each volume containing a selection of pamphlets. Some volumes have since required conservation and rebinding, but many of the original bindings remain. The pamphlets in the collection range in date from 1682 to 1859. Call numbers are in the sequence HP 1 to HP 2209.

Haliday Tract Collection (HT)

The unbound pamphlets acquired as part of the Haliday Collection form a separate sequence known as the Haliday Tracts, and the material ranges in date from 1578 to 1854, though only a few items pre-date 1600. There are in excess of 12,500 items in the HT sequence of pamphlets, and these are also arranged in chronological order. Whereas the HP collection is almost entirely comprised of Irish interest material, the HT collection is more diverse, and includes many London imprints, notably a significant number of pamphlets relating to the 1640s. Many of the earlier tracts are on religious subjects, while others relate to English history, literature, economics and cultural life.
Call numbers are in the range HT Box 1 to HT Box 528. Haliday Tracts that pre-date 1695 (HT Box 1 to HT Box 124) were subsequently bound. The remainder are unbound.
A small number of large format items from the Haliday Tract collection are shelved separately at SR/40.

Academy Pamphlet Collection (AP)

The Haliday Tract Collection is continued by the Academy Pamphlet (AP) collection, which is also arranged in date order, commencing in the year 1855 and continuing to the present. In essence, the Academy library has continued to arrange its pamphlets in chronological sequence, in the manner initiated by Charles Haliday for his own collection. Call numbers for the Academy Pamphlet collection are in the sequence AP 1855 –. From 1855 to 1866 this AP collection includes some additional Haliday Collection items.

Catalogues of the Haliday Pamphlet and Tract Collection

The Haliday Pamphlet and Haliday Tract collections are fully catalogued on the main catalogue of the holdings of the Academy Library. The re-cataloguing project was undertaken as part of the International Access to Academy Library Holdings (IAALH) project funded by Atlantic Philanthropies, and was completed in 2011.

The earliest Academy catalogue of the Haliday Pamphlets comprised 8 bound folio volumes in manuscript that listed the pamphlets in the same chronological/thematic order in which they were bound. The original Academy catalogue of the Haliday Tract collection comprised 21 folio volumes in which the unbound tracts were listed in chronological order.
These catalogues, prepared in the RIA in the late nineteenth century, are still available for consultation in the Reading Room, but have now been superseded by comprehensive online catalogue records in the main catalogue of the Academy Library.

Select Bibliography

G.F. Cumming, ‘Charles Haliday: merchant and scholar’, Catholic Bulletin, 12 (1922), 588-92.
S. Evans, From Cromwell to cholera: a history of Ireland from the pamphlet collection of Charles Haliday (Dublin, 2011)
M-L. Legg, ‘Charles Haliday’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004), vol. 24, 575-6.
W.J. McCormack, The Dublin paper war of 1786-1788 (Dublin, 1993).
W.J. McCormack, The pamphlet debate on the Union between Great Britain and Ireland, 1797-1800 (Dublin, 1996).

C.J. Woods, ‘Charles Haliday (1789?-1866)’ in Dictionary of Irish Biography (Cambridge, 2009), v.4, 361-2.

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