Eleanor Knott Collection

Repository: Royal Irish Academy

Identity Statement

TitleEleanor Knott Collection
Archive ReferenceIE RIA 12 O 21 - 24
Web Link to this Entryhttps://iar.ie/archive/eleanor-knott-collection
Creation Dates[1910] -1967
Extent Medium7 boxes


Creator(s): Knott, Eleanor, 1886-1975

  • Administrative History ↴

    Eleanor Marie Knott was born in 1886 at Sallymount Terrace, Ranelagh. She was the daughter of John Freeman Knott, a physician and Philippa Annie (née Balcombe). She received her schooling at Abercorn College, Harcourt Street and following encouragement from her Cornish mother taught herself to read modern Irish. She subsequently studied older Irish at the School of Irish Learning in Dublin where her mentor was R.I. Best and she was later involved in the administration of that school. She was awarded a scholarship to continue her studies in 1907. Under the pseudonyms EK, PMEK and Finnéigeas, she contributed articles to Sinn Féin and The Irish Peasant. From 1911 onwards she worked on the Dictionary of the Irish language for the Royal Irish Academy, a task which was to occupy her for over forty years. She also pursued an academic career at Trinity College Dublin and in 1939 was appointed Professor of early Irish at that university. She was one of the first women elected to the Royal Irish Academy in 1949 following the removal of a prohibition on women members. She took an active role in publishing and documents arising from her joint editorship of Ériu are plentiful in this collection. Her correspondence and notes also throw light on her own research into early Irish poetry and her publications such as 'The bardic poems of Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn' and 'An introduction to the Irish syllabic poetry and Irish classical poetry'. She was also engaged in work to simplify the spelling of Irish and the collection contains accounts from the Society for the Simplification of the Spelling of Irish for the years 1910-1912 as well as correspondence on the same subject. She retired from the Royal Irish Academy in 1955 aged 69. In her latter years she suffered from blindness and died at the Molyneux Home for the Blind in 1975.
  • Archival History ↴

    The collection is an amalgamation of two lots of Knott material in the possession of the Royal Irish Academy. The first consists of incoming correspondence which was presented to the Academy by Knott through Dr E. Fitzpatrick and Miss C. Bonfield in August 1972. This material was alphabetically arranged, ordered and packed into envelopes by Bonfield, Librarian of the Academy, in 1973. These letters make up the bulk of the collection. They were originally coded 12 O 21 – 24. The second lot, mainly draft documents; notebooks, handwritten drafts, galley proofs and unbound printed material for articles, were in an unordered and unprocessed state and had not been assigned a catalogue number. The amalgamated collection has now been rehoused and has been renumbered using the same codes that were assigned to the first lot of papers. The original order imposed by Bonfield has been retained and the remainder of the collection has been rearranged in four series.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Knott, Eleanor, 1886-1975 ↴

    The collection comprises four different elements:

    Incoming correspondence of Knott from over 100 correspondents entirely relating to the Irish language. Letters date from between 1905 and 1967. Main correspondents include Osborn Joseph Bergin, Richard Irvine Best, Mariella Norma Borthwick, the Dublin College of Modern Irish, Eleanor Henrietta Hull (Eibhlín Ní Choill), Carl Marstrander , Lambert McKenna (Láimhbheartach Mac Cionnaith), William J. Moloney, James George O’Keeffe, Peter O’Leary (Peadar Ó Laoghaire; An tAthair Peadar), Thomas Francis O’Rahilly, Margaret O’Reilly and Edmund Crosby Quiggin. Letters frequently concern Knott’s editing of Irish texts for Ériu and her own publications; also her work with the School of Irish Learning and the simplification of Irish spelling.

    Notebooks and loose notes including material from Knott’s work on the Irish Dictionary and also a roll-book of the Dublin College of Irish [School of Irish Language] for 1916-1917.

    Proofs and drafts including printed and handwritten material arising from Knott’s editorial work for Ériu and her translations of old Irish poetry and dictionary work.

    Printed material which is mainly unbound, including offprints of articles for Ériu and printed poems by Osborn Bergin which were extracted from editions of The Irish Review and Studies.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection has been rearranged in four series-
    12 O 21/1-102 – Correspondence arranged alphabetically by correspondent (1905-1967)
    12 O 22/1-16 – Notebooks and loose notes (c.1910-1956)
    12 O 23/1-23 – Proofs and drafts [1919 – 1955]
    12 O 24/1-23 – Printed material [1861 – 1955]

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Available by appointment to holders of a RIA Reader’s Ticket
Conditions Governing ReproductionContact RIA Library for reproduction information
Creation Dates[1910] -1967
Extent Medium7 boxes
Material Language ScriptEnglish and Irish
Finding Aids Collection List Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialSchool of Irish Learning Collection (RIA) Osborn Bergin Papers (RIA)

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteMartin Fagan
Rules/ConventionsISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, 2nd ed., Ottowa, International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions40848