Eason and Son Archive

Repository: Eason and Son

Identity Statement

TitleEason and Son Archive
Archive ReferenceIE EAS/A1
Web Link to this Entryhttps://iar.ie/archive/eason-son-archive
Creation Dates1856-2005
Extent Medium128 boxes + 6 map folders


Creator(s): Eason and Son, Limited

  • Administrative History ↴

    Eason and Son has been in business since 1886. Key areas of the business have included news, books and stationery wholesaling, retail, the running of railway bookstalls and advertising, stationery manufacturing, printing and publishing, and the running of circulating libraries. The firm dates back to 1856 when Charles Eason Senior was appointed manager of the Dublin branch of W.H. Smith and Son on Eden Quay. Retail was the chief area of business, intertwined with wholesaling and the running of railway bookstalls and advertising. The firm expanded in the 1860s with changes in the news market resulting in wholesaling becoming an increasingly dominant feature. Book distribution was also becoming important with the establishment of the wholesale book department and library scheme. With the growth in the newspaper market and the expansion of the Irish business William Henry Smith became less involved in the running of the firm. Throughout the 1870s the growth of wholesale began to exceed retail. In 1875 Charles Eason Junior entered the business, working in the fancy goods department before moving to wholesale. By 1886 Irish business was bought by Charles Eason Senior and his son Charles Eason Junior. The following year saw the retail, news advertising, library and railway advertising departments opened at 40 Lower O'Connell Street. It became a private company under the title of “Eason & Son, Limited” in 1888, with all shares held by members of the Eason family. In 1889 the factory opened on Lower Gloucester Street. Printing and stationery manufacturing were undertaken there, including manufacturing of plain goods, fancy goods and postcards. The railway advertising department was transferred to Great Brunswick Street (now Pearse Street) in 1898. In November 1899, Charles Eason Senior died with Charles Eason Junior taking over as managing director, from 1926-1941. Charles Eason Junior's son J.C.M. Eason joined the firm in 1901. He was managing director from 1926-1950. By the early twentieth century Eason became the largest wholesaler in Dublin. During the time of the 1913 workers' strikes Eason and Son were drawn into the dispute between James Larkin and William Martin Murphy with Larkin calling on Eason to cease distribution of Murphy's newspapers (the Daily Independent and the Herald) at its railway bookstalls. In 1916 the Abbey Street and Sackville Street premises were destroyed during the Easter Rising and from 1916-1920 temporary premises were taken. By 1920 the current Dublin premises was built, including an extension to 41 Lower O'Connell Street. The Abbey Street and O'Connell Street premises were rebuilt as a single group of buildings. The War of Independence (1919-1921) and the Civil War (1922-1923) saw disruptions to business, including pressure being placed on the company to cease supplying English and Belfast papers. By the 1920s the firm became the major wholesaler of books and stationery in Ireland. William Calwell was appointed as managing director in 1950, with James Walmsley as assistant managing director. The became joint managing directors in 1952. In 1958 News Brothers Limited in Cork was acquired with the Cork shop at 111 Patrick Street. A number of subsidiary companies were established during the 1960s. 1970 saw Edward Kelliher succeed James Walmsley as managing director. In 1978 Sidney Carpenter, the managing director of Eason and Son (N.I.) Limited, becoming managing director of Eason and Son Limited to replace Edward Kelliher. The Curragh shop closed in 1981, the same year that the Ilac shop in Henry Street opened. 1981 also saw the closure of the bookstalls at Central Railway Station, Belfast and Oxford Street, Belfast bus station. The Belfast part of the business began in 1868 with the opening of the Belfast Depot on Arthur Street. Two years later, in 1870, the Depot moved to 12 Waring Street and was opened as a branch. In 1891 the Belfast business moved to 17 Donegall Street. It was established as a separate private company under the title “Eason and Son (Belfast), Limited” in 1923 with George Best appointed as manager in 1925. The company was later reestablished under the name “Eason and Son (N.I.), Limited” in 1965. In 1977 offices and a warehouse were established at Boucher Road, with the offices and premises at Donegall Street closed and the premises sold in 1981.
  • Archival History ↴

    Official Transfer
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴

    Official Transfer

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Eason and Son, Limited ↴

    The collection consists of fifteen sub-fonds, with the majority of records dating from the period before 1980. The sub-fonds are divided into Historical records, containing correspondence, press cuttings and notices relating to key events in the history of the firm from 1856 to 1937; Corporate records, including the memorandum and articles of association and statements of accounts for Eason and Son and subsidiary companies; Share records; Legal and property records, including records related to the transfer of business from W.H. Smith and Son to Charles Eason and son in 1886 and the establishment of Eason and Son Limited in 1888; Financial records; Departmental and operational records; Railway and business contracts; Employment records; Subsidiary companies records; Eason and Son (Belfast) Limited records; The Booksellers’ Association of Great Britain and Ireland records; Photographic materials; Property maps and plans; Eason publications; and Samples of newspapers, periodicals and pamphlets.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴


    1. Historical records (1856-1937)

    2. Corporate records (1888-2002)
    2.1 Memorandum and articles of association
    2.2 Minutes of meetings
    2.3 Subsidiary company registers
    2.4 Annual statements of accounts
    2.5 Directors’ salaries and bonuses
    2.6 Expenditure authorised by the board
    2.7 Director’s correspondence and notices

    3. Share records (1870-1977)
    3.1 Annual summaries of shares
    3.2 Share certificates and receipts
    3.3 Debenture records
    3.4 Share capital and distribution
    3.5 Valuations of shares
    3.6 E. Keith Eason records
    3.7 The estate of Anna Maria Selina Eason
    3.8 The estate of Isabella Gavin Thomson

    4. Property and legal records (1865-1964)
    4.1 Early Abbey Street leases
    4.2 Transfer of business from W.H. Smith and Son
    4.3 The establishment of Eason and Son Limited
    4.4 Sackville Street and Abbey Street property records, 1916-1920
    4.5 O’Connell Street and Abbey Street agreements with adjoining premises
    4.6 Mortgage records
    4.7 O’Connell Street and Abbey Street rents and leases, 1929-1960
    4.8 Sean MacDermott and Railway Street leases and valuations, 1932-1956
    4.9 Dublin premises document lists and notes

    5. Financial records (1858-1980)
    5.1 General and private ledgers
    5.2 Personal accounts and notebooks
    5.3 Stock ledgers and summaries
    5.4 Cash receipts
    5.5 Cash summaries
    5.6 Cash books
    5.7 Expense analysis
    5.8 Balance sheet summaries
    5.9 Travelling expenses
    5.10 Motor records
    5.11 Plant records
    5.12 Income tax records

    6. Departmental and operational records (1862-1983)
    6.1 News department
    6.1.1 Supplies of dailies and weeklies
    6.1.2 Dublin dailies accounts
    6.1.3 News sales figures
    6.1.4 News circulation figures
    6.1.5 News trading records
    6.2 Railway bookstalls and advertising
    6.2.1 Railway receipts
    6.2.2 Railway receipts and disbursements
    6.2.3 Railway percentages of disbursements
    6.2.4 Railway weekly disbursements
    6.2.5 Railway profit and loss accounts
    6.2.6 Railway accounts
    6.2.7 Bookstalls sales and averages
    6.2.8 Railway ledgers
    6.2.9 Railway operational records
    6.3 Stationery, fancy goods, cards and toilet sundries departments
    6.3.1 Sales and purchases
    6.3.2 Expense analysis records
    6.3.3 Trading records
    6.4 Book department
    6.4.1 Books sales figures
    6.4.2 Trading records
    6.5 Prayer book department
    6.6 Eason’s library
    6.7 Retail branches
    6.8 Printing and publishing
    6.8.1 Publishing ledgers
    6.8.2 ‘Our Boys’ records
    6.9 Visits to publishers and suppliers
    6.10 Statistical records
    6.11 Operational records books

    7. Railway and business contracts (1857-1984)
    7.1 Railway bookstalls and advertising contracts
    7.2 Freight charges and contracts
    7.3 Publishing contracts
    7.4 Sale and distribution contracts
    7.5 News advertising publishers’ agreements
    7.6 Copyright and patent agreements
    7.7 Installation and maintenance contracts
    7.8 Licenses
    7.9 Insurance records
    7.10 Business and financial agreements

    8. Employment records (1857-1986)
    8.1 Wages and salaries
    8.1.1 Wage payment books
    8.1.2 Private wages books
    8.1.3 Wage rate records
    8.1.4 Wage summaries
    8.1.5 Bonus records
    8.2 Insurance records
    8.3 Pension records
    8.4 Staff records
    8.5 Clubs and societies
    8.6 Social events and dinners
    8.7 Staff handbooks and pamphlets
    8.8 Charles Eason fifty years service book

    9. Subsidiary companies’ records (1909-1995)
    9.1 Paper and Printing Products Limited
    9.1.1 Corporate and legal records
    9.1.2 Financial records
    9.1.3 Employment records
    9.2 News Brothers Limited
    9.2.1 Corporate and legal records
    9.2.2 Financial records
    9.3 Eason’s Advertising Services Limited
    9.3.1 Financial records 9.3.2 Employment records
    9.4 Hairdressing Supplies Limited
    9.5 Eason’s Cash and Carry Wholesale Limited
    9.6 Irish Representation Limited

    10. Eason and Son (Belfast) Limited (1893-1982)
    10.1 Corporate and share records
    10.2 Legal and property records
    10.3 Financial records
    10.4 Employment records
    10.4.1 Wages and salaries
    10.4.2 Income tax records
    10.4.3 Pension records

    11. Booksellers Association of Great Britain and Ireland (1896-1967)
    11.1 Policies and procedures
    11.2 Reports and accounts
    11.3 Programmes and pamphlets
    11.4 Correspondence

    12. Photographic materials ([c1880]-2005)
    12.1 Photograph positives and prints
    12.1.1 Eason family
    12.1.2 Board of directors
    12.1.3 Directors and staff at social events
    12.1.4 Front of the Lower O’Connell Street premises
    12.1.5 Front of the Middle Abbey Street premises
    12.1.6 Interior of the Middle Abbey Street premises
    12.1.7 Unveiling of the clock on O’Connell Street, 1987
    12.1.8 Cork shop
    12.1.9 Sean MacDermott and Railway Street premises
    12.1.10 Railway bookstalls
    12.1.11 Eason’s stall at the RDS spring show, 1953
    12.1.12 Views of Dun Laoghaire
    12.1.13 Postcards and prints
    12.2 Photograph negatives
    12.2.1 Board of directors
    12.2.2 Abbey Street and O’Connell Street premises
    12.2.3 Sean MacDermott and Railway Street premises
    12.3 Glass plate negatives
    12.4 Printing blocks
    12.5 Photograph notes and correspondence

    13. Property plans and maps (1905-1966)
    13.1 Plans of the O’Connell and Abbey Street premises
    13.2 Sketches and photographs of the O’Connell and Abbey Street premises
    13.3 Plans of Sean MacDermott and Railway Street premises
    13.4 Plans of Dun Laoghaire and Cork premises
    13.5 Plans of railway bookstalls
    13.6 Correspondence and sketches related to bookstalls
    13.7 Plans of Donegall Street, Belfast premises
    13.8 Photographs and correspondence related to the Donegall Street, Belfast premises

    14. Eason publications (1874-1970)
    14.1 Eason’s almanac
    14.2 Eason’s trade bulletin
    14.3 Eason’s bulletin – new series
    14.4 Prayer books manuscripts and proofs
    14.5 Pictorial books
    14.6 Brochures
    14.7 Maps and guides
    14.8 Copybooks
    14.9 Notebooks and diaries
    14.10 Registers
    14.11 Table books and calculators
    14.12 Booklets and pamphlets

    15. Newspapers, periodicals and pamphlets (1859-1975)
    15.1 Newspapers
    15.1.1 Samples of Irish newspapers
    15.1.2 The Freeman’s Journal
    15.1.3 Irish Independent
    15.1.4 The Irish Press
    15.1.5 The Irish Times
    15.1.6 An Phoblacht
    15.1.7 Samples of British newspapers
    15.2 Specimen periodicals
    15.2.1 Irish periodicals
    15.2.2 Non-Irish periodicals
    15.3 Pamphlets
    15.3.1 Political pamphlets
    15.3.2 Government pamphlets
    15.3.3 Pamphlets on copyright, censorship and libel

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Access to the archive is available by appointment. Users must contact Cormac Kennedy (ckennedy@easons.com), Group Head of Property, to request access.
Conditions Governing ReproductionReproduction is available by application.
Creation Dates1856-2005
Extent Medium128 boxes + 6 map folders
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteJohn Rooney
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000. IGAD: Irish Guidelines for Archival Description. Dublin: Society of Archivists, Ireland, 2009.
Date of Descriptions40848