Sir Dominic Corrigan Papers

Repository: Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

Identity Statement

TitleSir Dominic Corrigan Papers
Archive ReferenceIE RCPI/DC
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1795-1940s
Extent Medium9 boxes5 rolled items


Creator(s): Corrigan, Sir Dominic, 1802-1880Martin, Lady Mary, d.1907

  • Administrative History ↴

    Dominic Corrigan was born 1 December 1802, the second son of John Corrigan, a dealer in agricultural tools, and his wife Celia O'Connor. Corrigan was educated at the lay college at Maynooth, and having shown an aptitude for medicine he was apprenticed to the local doctor, Edward Talbot O'Kelly. Corrigan took medical courses at various private schools and the two universities in Dublin between 1820 and 1825. In August 1825 he graduated from Edinburgh University, with amongst other William Stokes. Corrigan returned to Dublin and began his private practice at 11 Ormond Quay. His private practice grew quickly and his success can be seen in the movement of his practice, to 13 Bachelor's Walk in 1832 and in 1837 to 4 Merion Square West, the centre of the elite medical profession in Ireland. As well as his lucrative private practice, during the 1860s he was making over £4000 a year, Corrigan took on a number of public appointments which allowed him to undertake and publish medical research. He was physician to Maynooth College, the Sick Poor Institute, the Charitable Infirmary Jervis Street, Cork Street Fever Hospital and the House of Industry Hospitals. Working with many of the city's poorest inhabitants he specialized in disease of the heart and lungs, and produced several important medical papers on the subject. He also lectured extensively to medical students. Corrigan's prospects were set back in 1846 when he joined the newly created Central Board of Health, which had been set up to try and cope with the consequences of the Irish famine. His support of the Board and especially his recommendations for doctor's pay brought him into conflict with the leaders of the profession, who blocked his bid to become an honorary fellow of the King and Queen's College of Physicians in Ireland. Despite this set back Corrigan was appointed physician-in-ordinary to Queen Victoria in Ireland in 1847, the first catholic to be so honoured, two years later Trinity College Dublin awarded him an honorary MD. In 1855 Corrigan flanked the College of Physicians opposition by taking the licentiateship exam with the newly qualified doctors, he became a fellow the following year, and in 1859 the first catholic president. It was during his tenure as president that the College acquired its present building. In 1866 he was awarded a baronetcy. Corrigan was an active member of the Royal Zoological Society of Dublin, presenting many papers to the society. In recognition of his involvement in the campaign to establish an Irish Pharmaceutical Society he was made its first president. He also served on the General Medical Council for over twenty years and was active in pushing for reform to medical education. Corrigan was a strong campaigner for non-denominational education in Ireland. In 1859 he was appointed a commissioner of national education, he also served as a senator of the Queen's University of Ireland from the 1840s, and was vice-chancellor from 1871. In 1870 Corrigan became liberal MP for Dublin city at a by-election. His advocated the early release of Fenian prisoners, and promoted secular education which brought him into conflict with the catholic hierarchy. He did not stand for re-election in 1874, one reason suggested for this is that his support of temperance and Sunday closing were unpopular with his electorate. Corrigan married Joanna Woodlock, the daughter of a wealth merchant in 1829; they had three sons and three daughters. The eldest John, a soldier, died in 1866 leaving one son who succeeded his grandfather to the baronetcy. William became a lawyer and died unmarried in 1881. The third son Robert died an infant, two daughters Joanna and Cecelia both died unmarried, but the third Mary married Richard Martin, who later became deputy lieutenant of Dublin city. Corrigan suffered a stroke in December 1879 and died on 1 February 1880, he was interred in the crypt of St. Andrew's Church, Westland Row.
  • Archival History ↴

    After Sir Dominic Corrigan's death his papers were preserved by his daughter Lady Mary Martin, who added notes to some items, as well as adding her own collection of papers relating to her father's life. After her death in 1907 the papers passed to her husband's family, and it was they who presented them to College in 1944. As a result the original order of the material as created by Corrigan has been lost.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Corrigan, Sir Dominic, 1802-1880Martin, Lady Mary, d.1907 ↴

    The professional papers of Sir Dominic Corrigan, covering his medical and political careers including his involvement in reforming medical legislation and the education system in Ireland. The collection also contains a small number of the personal papers of Sir Dominic Corrigan as well as members of his family, especially his daughter Lady Mary Martin.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The material has been divided into seven sections, within each section further sub-divisions have been made as necessary and material has been arranged chronologically.

    Section 1 – Personal and Family Papers
    Part I – Diaries
    Part II – Family papers
    Part III – Campbell estate trust
    Part IV – Baronetcy and Grant of Arms
    Part V – Letters of condolence

    Section II – Medical Career
    Part I – Medical training
    Part II – Honorary degrees and diplomas
    Part III – Medical appointments and society membership
    Part IV – Case and fee books
    Part V – Lecturing

    Section 3 – Medical Legislation
    Part I – Pharmaceutical legislation
    Part II – Proposed Medical Charities Ireland Bill (1842)
    Part III – Medical Act (1858) and proposed Amendment Acts

    Section 4 – Reform of education in Ireland
    Part I – Responses to ‘University Education in Ireland’
    Part II – Conflict with the catholic hierarchy over education
    Part III – Queen’s University
    Part IV – University Education (Ireland) Bill
    Part V – Other papers relating to education reforms

    Section 5 – Other correspondence

    Section 6 – Published works
    Part I – Newspaper articles
    Part II – Pamphlets
    Part III – Ten Days in Athens, with notes by the way

    Section 7 – Caricature

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Access subject to the conditions laid out in the Royal College of Physicains of Ireland Heritage Centre Access Guidelines
Conditions Governing ReproductionCopying of archive material is subject to the conditions laid out in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Heritage Centre Copying Guidelines
Creation Dates1795-1940s
Extent Medium9 boxes5 rolled items
Material Language ScriptEnglish; French; German; Latin
Characteristics Tech ReqThe majority of the material is in good condition, however some items have suffered from water damage in the past.
Finding Aids The collection list is available in the reading room or online Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialEoin O'Brien Research PapersPortrait of Sir Dominic Corrigan by Stephen Catterson Smith, Snr, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Heritage CollectionsStatue of Sir Dominic Corrigan by John Henry Foley, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Heritage Collections.
Publication NoteCurtis, L Perry, 'Sir Dominic John Corrigan (1802-1880)' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004)Lyons, J B, 'Sir Dominic John Corrigan' in Dictionary of Irish Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2010)O'Brien, Eoin, Conscience and Conflict. A Biography of Sir Dominic Corrigan 1802-1880 (Glendale Press, 1983)

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteHarriet Wheelock
Rules/ConventionsIGAD: Irish Guidelines for Archival Description. Dublin: Society of Archivists, Ireland, 2009.ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.ISAAR (CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families. 2nd ed. Canberra: International Council on Archives, 2003.National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997.
Date of Descriptions40330