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Guide to the Sean Prendiville Papers AIA.005

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Alice Naughton and Rebecca Altermatt

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 03, 2018
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Updated by Megan O'Shea to incorporate materials from 2018 accretion  , July 2018

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Prendiville, Sean
Title: Sean Prendiville Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1818-1997
Dates [bulk]: 1920-1997
Abstract: Sean Prendiville is a first-generation Irish American, born and raised in San Francisco, California. Members of the Prendiville family living in Ireland were active Republicans during the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921) and the Irish Civil War (1922-1923). Prendiville joined Irish support groups established in San Francisco during confict in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s. This collection contains material concerning the Irish American experience with specific focus on Northern California. Materials include personal correspondence and other documentation regarding numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests made by Prendiville to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concerning several Irish American individuals and organizations suspected of Irish Republican activity from approximately 1920 to 1979. Also included are original letters written by a Fenian prisoner in Western Australia in 1870, as well as newspaper accounts from the same time period. The collection also includes ephemera and physical objects, including flyers, newspapers, broadsides, bumper stickers, and a singificant button collection supprting Irish prisoners and the Republican movement.
Quantity: 4.75 Linear Feet in 2 manuscript boxes, 3 record cartons, and 1 oversized flat box.
Location: Materials stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu at least two business days prior to research visit.
Language: Materials are in English.
Call Phrase: AIA.005

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Biographical Note

Sean Prendiville is a first generation Irish American, born and raised in San Francisco, California. His father emigrated from County Kerry, his mother from County Roscommon. In Ireland, members of the Prendiville family were active Republicans during the country's fight for independence from Great Britain (1919-1921) and subsequent civil war (1922-1923). Two of Sean Prendiville's grand-uncles were in the Irish Republican Army (IRA): one was killed in a raid on a Royal Irish Constabulary (police) station in Castleisland, County Kerry; the other continued to fight with the IRA until he was wounded and captured during the civil war. Their nephew in San Francisco regularly took young Sean Prendiville to buy the Sinn Fein newspaper The United Irishman at the Golden Gate News Agency on Third Street.

When conflict broke out in Northern Ireland in 1968, following attacks on Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association marches, Sean Prendiville joined some of the Irish support groups that were established in San Francisco. Later, after the Republican movement split, he joined the Irish Republican Clubs, supporters of the Official Irish Republican movement, because their politics seemed more in line with the anti-Vietnam war movement that he was also participating in at the time. While a member of the Irish Republican Clubs, Prendiville met some older activists who had participated in the Irish Republican Congress Clubs of the 1930s, especially Vernon Healey in San Francisco and Gerald O'Reilly in New York. He became aware of a current in Irish-American and Irish Republican history that had been passed over - the links between left-wing Irish organizations and American progressives – sparking a research interest that eventually led to the assembly of this collection between 1986 and 1994

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Scope and Content Note

This collection documents Sean Prendiville's involvement in and research on the activities of Irish and Irish American organizations in the 20th century, with a specific focus on Irish Republicanism. Materials include flyers, pamphlets, broadsides, buttons, bumper stickers, correspondence, newspapers, government forms, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and Federal Bureau of Investigation documents. The majority of the collection consists of Prendiville's FOIA requests and the documents he received in response. These materials focused on Irish organizations in Ireland and the United States under surveillance for alleged Irish Republican activities.

Arrangement

Collection is arranged into five series. Series are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically.

Missing Title

  1. Series I. Correspondence, 1902-1997
  2. Series II. Subject Files, 1864-1988
  3. Series III. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests and Correspondence, 1920-1979
  4. Series IV. Printed Ephemera, 1818-1924
  5. Series V. Nonprint, 1980-1995

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • McAliskey, Bernadette Devlin, 1947-
  • O'Reilly, Gerald, 1903-1990
  • Gralton, Jimmy, 1886-1945

Document Type

  • Correspondence.
  • Reports.
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Bumper stickers.
  • Buttons (information artifacts).
  • Articles.

Subject Organizations

  • United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • United Irish Republicans
  • National Association for Irish Justice
  • Irish Republican Clubs
  • Irish Republican Brotherhood Veterans Association
  • James Connolly Clubs
  • National Association for Irish Freedom (U.S.)
  • Clan-na-Gael
  • Irish American Labor League
  • Irish Republican Army
  • Women's Irish Educational League

Subject Topics

  • Irish Americans -- Societies, etc.
  • Irish Americans -- New York (State) -- New York -- Political activity.
  • Irish Americans -- New York (State) -- New York -- Social life and customs.
  • Freedom of information -- Government policy -- United States.
  • Prisoners' writings, Irish.

Subject Places

  • New York (N.Y.)
  • Philadelphia (Pa.).
  • San Francisco (Calif.)

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Materials are open for research without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by Sean Prendiville, the creator of this collection, were transferred to New York University in 1997. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Sean Prendiville Papers; AIA 005; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Related Materials

  1. George Harrison Papers AIA 009
  2. Irish Republicanism Collection AIA 022
  3. Patrick Daugton Collection AIA 055

Separated Materials

The 19th century publication The Phoenix was separated from this collection and integrated into the Archives of Irish America Newspapers and Periodicals Collection (AIA 004) as Box 185.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Sean Prendiville donated the documents to the Archives of Irish America at the Tamiment Library, NYU in June 1997, July 1998, August 1998, August 2004, and 2011. The series of personal correspondence came to the Archives along with the Patrick Daughton Papers (AIA 055) in 2009. The accession numbers associated with this collection are 1997.059 and 2011.005.

An additional accretion was donated in 2018. The accession number associated with this gift is 2018.102.

Processing Information

Material from the 2018 accretion was housed in archival folders and boxes.

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Container List

Series I. Correspondence , 1902-1997

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of personal correspondence between Prendiville and numerous individuals. Of note are two folders of letters between Prendiville and Gerald O'Reily, a prominent member of the New York City Transit Workers Union (TWU) and a contemporary of TWU President Mike Quill. Materials in the correspondence concern Irish Republicans Frank Ryan and Father Michael O' Flanagan.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Cork Workers Club
1978
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Curtis, Liz (author)
1992-1996
Box: 1 Folder : 3 General; mostly Celtic Network I
1989-1990
Box: 1 Folder : 3A General; mostly Celtic Network II
1989-1990
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Irish American Voice (Entertprise, AL)
1985
Box: 1 Folder : 5 O'Reilly, Gerald (Local 100, TWU, NYC) I
1902-1990
Box: 1 Folder : 6 O'Reilly, Gerald (Local 100, TWU, NYC) II
1902-1990
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Research and Correspondence (includes two unidentified photographs)
1985-1997
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Irish American Unity Conference: Membership papers
1984

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Series II. Subject Files, 1864-1988

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of original letters, newspaper clippings, periodicals, and form letters collected by Prendiville on Irish republican politics and the escape and rescue of Fenian prisoners held in Western Australia by the American whaling ship the Catalpa in the late 19th century. The series includes publications produced by The Workers Party (Ireland), including a manifesto, newsletters, pamphlets, and issues of the  Student Workers Party Bulletin. Periodical titles include  The Irish Felon,  The Felon,  The Harp,  Voice of Freedom, and  Irish Republican Newsletter. The form letters were sent by the National Association for Irish Justice and the National Association for Irish Freedom.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Catalpa: article in The Western Austrlian Times
Apr 21, 1876
Box: 4 Folder : 8 Catalpa: correspondence, newspaper accounts (very rare) Note: Most of the Catalpa-related material appears to be correspondence written to or from John B. Walsh, a Fenian who was transported to Australia after the Fenian Rising was broken up. Walsh was released after one of the round of amnesties, either 1869 or 1871, and settled in San Francisco. Transcriptions are included for some of the letters.
1864-1895
Box: Shared Tamiment 030 Folder : 1-5 Irish republican periodicals and documents
1909-1984
Box: Shared Tamiment 031 Folder : 1
Box: 4 Folder : 9 Irish Republican Prisoners and Dependents Fund: Biographies of speakers and others
circa 1920
Box: 4 Folder : 10 The Workers Party (Belfast): Manifesto, Newsletters, Pamphlets, Students Workers Party Bulletin
1987-1988

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Series III: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests and Correspondence, 1920-1992

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of administrative papers, government forms, and other documents related to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and appeals made by Prendiville from 1986 to 1994. The files contains photocopies of memoranda, letters, and reports generated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the course of their surveillance of Irish Republican activities in the United States between 1930 and 1979. Also included are newspaper and magazine articles, brochures, and other literature distributed by Irish American organizations under investigation. Many files contain collections of clippings from Irish publications, especially newspapers produced by support groups, that no longer exist and for which there may be no surviving copies. Organizations present in this series include the Irish Republican Clubs, Clan na Gael, James Connolly Clubs, the Irish American Labor League, the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Irish Republican Clubs (IRC), National Association for Irish Freedom (NAIF), the National Association for Irish Justice (NAIJ), and The Citizens for Irish Justice (CIJ). Specific individuals such as James Gralton and James Larkin also appear. Much of the material is heavily redacted.

Arrangement

Files in this series are arranged according to the FBI's original identification and sequence numbers. The FBI assigned each organization a sequence number. For example, the Irish Republican Clubs are identified by the number 97-5329. Each specific document relating to that organization was then numbered sequentially; for example, 97-5329-25 identifies the twenty-fifth document in approximately chronological order. The FBI files also contain records that were filed under more than one organization; when cross-referenced like this, the documents do not have a sequence number. The order in which documents were supplied by the FBI has been maintained except when unknown; then they are filed chronologically.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Correspondence re: FOIA requests
1986-1994
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Government Materials - non-FBI
1972
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Clan na Gael c. 97-4883-1-97-4883-17
Mar 1964-Oct 1964
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Clan na Gael c. 97-4883-18-97-4883-40
Oct 1964-Sep 1965
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Gralton, James 65-35485-1;65-35485-5
Jun 1943-Oct 1944
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Irish American Labor League c. 61-179-1-61-179-32
Oct 1921-Feb 1922
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Irish American Labor League : Case 75, 75A, Doc. C. 127-152pages c. 14160-14213 (reports of agents, summary memos)
Apr 1921-May 1921
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Irish American Labor League: Case 75, 75A, Doc. C. 153-201pages c. 14215 - 14295
May 1921-Jun 1921
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Irish American Labor League: Reports, memos related to Case 75pages c. 14298-14333 (illegible)
Mar 1921 , 1922
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Irish Radio Shows
1970
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-1-61-7606-50
Sep 1939-Jul 1940
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-51-61-7606-83
Jul 1940-Feb 1942 (bulk 1920-1997)
Box: 1 Folder : 21 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-84-61-7606-144
Jan 1942-Jan 1943
Box: 1 Folder : 22 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-145-61-7606-209
Feb 1943-May 1943
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-210-61-7606-260 I
May 1943-Oct 1943
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-145-61-7606-260 II
May 1943-Oct 1943
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-261-61-7606-342 I
Sep 1943-Dec 1944
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-261-61-7606-342 II
Sep 1943-Dec 1943
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-343-61-7606-393
Feb 1945-May 1950
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-394-61-7606-451
Sep 1951-Oct 1957
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-452-61-7606-501
Oct 1957-Nov 1963
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-502-61-7606- c. 520s(some documents not numbered, cross-referenced)
Nov 1963-Nov 1969
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-?-61-7606-575(Some documents not completely numbered)
Dec 1969-Oct 1972
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-576-61-7606-653
Oct 1972-Feb 1974
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-654-61-7606-721
Feb 1974-Feb 1975
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-722-61-7606-831 I
Feb 1975-May 1977
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-722-61-7606-831 II
Feb 1975-May 1979
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Irish Republican Army c. 61-7606-A: news clippings, wire services - U.S , Ireland, U.K. events
1939-1975
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Irish Republican Brotherhood Veterans Association (FOIA #270, 640)
1992
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Irish Republican Clubs c. 97-5329-1-97-5329-16
Mar 1971-Sep 1971
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Irish Republican Clubs c. 97-5329-17-97-5329-31
Sep 1971-Jun 1972
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Irish Republican Clubs c. 97-5329-32-97-5329-52
Feb 1972-Nov 1972
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Irish Republican Clubs c. 97-5329-53-97-5329-81 I
Nov 1972-Jun 1975
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Irish Republican Clubs c. 97-5329-53-97-5329-81 II
Nov 1972-Jun 1975
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Irish Republican Clubs c. 97-5329-82-97-5329-112
Jul 1975-Aug 1979
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Irish Workers Clubs
1940-1955
Box: 3 Folder : 10 James Connolly Clubs 62-17493-0
1920-1924 , 1943
Box: 3 Folder : 11 James Gralton Defense Committee 9 FOIA #270, 234)
1986
Box: 3 Folder : 12 James Larkin Defense Committee ( FOIA #270, 233)
1986
Box: 3 Folder : 13 National Association for Irish Freedom (NAIF) c. 105-212344-1 (Numbers not visible)
Apr 1971
Box: 3 Folder : 14 National Association for Irish Freedom (NAIF) c. 105-212344-2-1053212344-19 I
Jun 1971-Nov 1971
Box: 3 Folder : 15 National Association for Irish Freedom (NAIF) c. 105-212344-2-1053212344-19 II
Jun 1971-Nov 1971
Box: 3 Folder : 16 National Association for Irish Freedom (NAIF) c. 105-212344-21-105-212344-46 ( 20, 28 missing) I
Nov 1971-Jan 1973
Box: 3 Folder : 17 National Association for Irish Freedom (NAIF) c. 105-212344-21-105-212344-46 ( 20, 28 missing) II
Nov 1971-Jan 1973
Box: 3 Folder : 18 National Association for Irish Freedom (NAIF) c. 105-212344-47-105-212344-64 ( missing # 52 encl.)
Jan 1973-Apr 1979
Box: 3 Folder : 19 National Association for Irish Justice (NAIJ) c. 97-5275 -xl- 97-5275-9
Aug 1969-Dec 1969
Box: 3 Folder : 20 National Association for Irish Justice (NAIJ) c. 97-5275-10-97-5275-25
Dec 1969-Mar 1970
Box: 3 Folder : 21 National Association for Irish Justice (NAIJ) c. 97-5275-28-97-5275-35
Mar 1970-Jun 1970
Box: 4 Folder : 1 National Association for Irish Justice (NAIJ) c. 97-5275-36-97-5275-59 I
Jul 1970-Nov 1970
Box: 4 Folder : 2 National Association for Irish Justice (NAIJ) c. 97-5275-36-97-5275-59 II
Jul 197-Nov 1970
Box: 4 Folder : 3 National Association for Irish Justice (NAIJ) c. 97-5275-60-97-5275-88
Nov 1970-Apr 1972
Box: 4 Folder : 4 United Irish Republicans (FOIA #297, 643)
1992
Box: 4 Folder : 5 Women's Irish Educational League (FOAI #297, 646; Appeal #89-1-11)
1989
Box: 4 Folder : 6 Reference: Index to organization of material (SP)
1986-1994

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Series IV. Printed Ephemera, 1818-1924

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of flyers, pamphlets, broadsides, and other materials demonstrating support for various 20th century Irish Republican and Irish American support groups.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Bond Certificates - Republic of Ireland - flier and postcard
1918-1919
Box: 5 Folder : 2 Fliers and Broadsides: includes: "The truth about the Clan na Gael;" "The Irish World's Indictment of James G. Blaine;" "Brother Jonathan to the A.P.A."
1818-1920, undated
Box: 4 Folder : 11 Publication: Brennan's: A weekly journal of advocating justice, equality and the preservation of American indenpenndence. Vol. 1, no. 1. (Chicago)
Aug 16, 1924

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Series V. Nonprint, 1980-1995

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of flags, sashes, bumper stickers, and other objects demonstrating support for various 19th and 20th century Irish Republican and Irish American support groups. Also included is Prendiville's button collection, an assortment of political buttons from Irish organizations in Ireland and the United States, including Irish Republican Clubs, Irish Northern Aid, Citizens for Irish Justice, and the National Association for Irish Freedom. Complementing the buttons are detailed notes on the objects, created and supplied by Prendville.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 6 Button Collection
1980s-1990s
Box: 5 Folder : 3 Bumper stickers and penants
circa 1980s, undated
Box: 5 Folder : 5 Paperweight: James Connolly (sold by Anne Devlin IRC; from Gardiner Place, Dublin (Sinn Fein)
undated
Box: 5 Folder : 4 Silk handerchief/scarf "Remember '98" with images of: Robert Emmet, Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy McCracken, Lord Ed. Fitzgerald
undated

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