Campbell was born on 15 July 1879 in Belfast, the son of William Henry Campbell (d. 1900), a Catholic nationalist building-contractor and his wife Catherine. He was a brother of the artist John Campbell. He collaborated with Herbert Hughes on Songs of Uladh (1904), written to traditional Irish airs (arranged by Herbert Hughes), and Campbell supplied the words for 'My Lagan Love'. He moved to London in 1906 where he worked as an English teacher for London County Council Schools, and served as Secretary to the Irish Literary Society, London. He assisted Eleanor Hull in the Irish Texts Society. Campbell married Nancy Maude, daughter of Col. Aubrey Maude of the Cameronian Highlanders in 1910 and returned to Ireland. His play Judgement was performed in the Abbey Theatre in 1912. He acted as publicist and recruiter for the Irish Volunteers and engaged in rescue-work during 1916 Easter Rising; he was interned during 1922-23. His marriage failed and he left Ireland to settle in New York, 1925-1939 where he founded the School of Irish Studies in 1925; the Irish Foundation, 1931; and re-established and edited The Irish Review, 1934. Campbell returned to Wicklow in 1939 where he died in June 1944. He was caricatured by James Joyce as 'Mountainy Mutton' in 'Gas from a Burner'.
Archival History ↴
Subsequent to Joseph Campbell's death his papers were dispersed. They were acquired at intervals between February 1986 and April 1987 from Mrs Eilís Dillon (through Ms Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin) and separately from the poet's sons Flann Campbell and Simon Campbell. They were then amalgamated and catalogued as one collection.
The collection includes correspondence c 1906-1944 with some copies of outgoing letters ; material relating to Campbell’s imprisonment July 1922-December 1923, poetry and diary; later drafts of his diary and transcription of it by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin; his poems, plays, short stories, radio broadcasts and his unfinished novel; his diaries; his wife Nancy Campbell (née Maude)’s poetry and diaries; articles and a short story by Flann Campbell; material relating to the Irish Foundation and to the School of Irish Studies in Fordham University New York including lecture notes, student essays, examination papers and publicity material; material relating to ‘The Irish Review’ (founded by Campbell); photographs, printed matter and press cuttings.
Appraisal Destruction ↴
The papers were dispersed at the time of Joseph Campbell’s death but have been reassembled.
The collection is now arranged as follows:
10172 Loose poetry
10177-88 Collected poems and other literary work
10191-5 Works by others
10196-10200 School of Irish Studies, Fordham, NY
10201-44 Photographs, diaries, letterbooks, School of Irish Studies, Student work, Miscellanea
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20 archive boxes
Material Language Script
A collection level description is available online and a full descriptive list complete with index can be consulted in the Manuscripts and Archives Research Library, Trinity College Dublin
Archive Web Link →
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, 'As I was among the captives': Joseph Cambpell's prison diary 1922-1923 (Cork: Cork University Press, 2001)
Norah Saunders & A.A. Kelly, Joseph Campbell : poet & nationalist, 1879-1944 : a critical biography ( Dublin : Wolfhound Press, 1988.)
Trinity College Library legacy numbering system applied multiple numbers to single fonds
Descriptive Control Area
Adapted by Natalie Milne, February 2014.
ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottowa: International Council on Archives, 2000. National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997.