This section considers the ways Deevy’s work is shared through public and private archival holdings. There are two papers in this section: the first is from Róisín Berry and the second is a joint presentation from Dr Úna Kealy and Dr Kate McCarthy.
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Title: In her own words: Rediscovering a forgotten Irish playwright through the Teresa Deevy archive
Róisín Berry, Archivist, Maynooth University Library
In this paper, archivist Róisín Berry will examine the life and work of forgotten Irish playwright Teresa Deevy as captured in her own words, though her literary archive. The Teresa Deevy Archive was acquired by Maynooth University Library in 2011, ensuring its long-term preservation and use for academic research. The Archive contains letters, scripts, short stories, essays, articles, programmes and newspaper cuttings relating to Deevy’s life and work. This important material forms part of the Library’s ‘Outsider’ series, a number of collections relating to figures operating on the margins of Irish society in the twentieth century. This paper will put the archive into context by looking at Deevy’s background in more detail, including her early life in County Waterford and the development of her career as a professional playwright. There will be a special focus on the Teresa Deevy Archive, how it came to Maynooth, the fascinating documents it holds, the steps that have been taken to preserve it, and the importance of these unique documents to literary scholars both nationally and internationally. Examples will be given of some the rich and varied documents held in this fascinating collection, with extracts read aloud by the speaker to capture the very essence of one of Ireland’s most enigmatic playwrights. Attention will also be given to some of the challenges faced by the archivist when cataloguing the collection, relating particularly to privacy and access. The paper will explore how outreach activities including lectures, exhibitions, and blog posts have helped to promote the significance of the Teresa Deevy Archive to a wider audience. It will conclude by looking at the role of digital humanities in promoting the collection in the future.
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Róisín Berry has an academic background in archaeology, art history and archival studies and began her career in the heritage sector working in the areas of archaeology and building conservation. Following on from this, she began working as a professional archivist in 2002. Róisín’s work in this field has involved preserving and promoting the archives and records of banks, local authorities, universities and other academic bodies. Highlights from her archival career to date include conducting a nationwide survey of bank archives for Ulster Bank, cataloguing the Kate O’Brien Papers for the University of Limerick, her exhibition on the Roger Casement Papers while working as Clare County Archivist, working on the Dublin Unitarian Church Collection for the Royal Irish Academy, and cataloguing the Teresa Deevy Archive at Maynooth University Library. Róisín has expertise in literary archives and has worked with collections including the private papers of Teresa Deevy, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Sean O’Faolain, and Kate O’Brien. Róisín has been part of the Special Collections and Archives staff at Maynooth University Library since 2008. She is a registered member of the Association of Records and Archives Ireland, and a member of the Irish Society for Archives.
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