United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough



Unique record of turbulent Ireland from 1912 to 1923 now available to explore online

A further digitization project at the RCB Library – the Church of Ireland’s central library and repository for archives – sees a significant run of the ‘Record’ of the RCB Library’s founding benefactor, Rosamond Stephen (1868–1952) digitised and searchable online for the first time.  This was made possible through funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries Programme. 

Portrait of Rosamond Emily Stephen aged 23 by her sister, Dorothea Stephen, 1892. RCB Library Collection.
Portrait of Rosamond Emily Stephen aged 23 by her sister, Dorothea Stephen, 1892. RCB Library Collection.

The period covered for the digitization project is 1912–23 with some additional smaller excerpts for the period 1902–07 also included to put the source into further historical context. The period covered includes Stephen’s relocation from Belfast to Dublin, as well as her observations on events of national significance.  

Rosamond Stephen was a grand–daughter of a British colonial under–secretary and academic, daughter of a High Court judge and a cousin to Virginia Woolf.  Brought up as a theist, she eventually found an amenable and amiable home within the Church of Ireland, being confirmed in 1896. 

Holidaying in Louth in the late nineteenth century seems to have awakened a love for Ireland and she eventually moved to Belfast in the early twentieth century, describing herself simply as ‘a church worker’.  In 1901 she formed the Guild of Witness, the purpose of which was a prayerful encouragement of ‘patriotism and [to] discover fresh ways by which the Church could fulfil her mission to the nation’. This became the Irish Guild of Witness in 1918 with an emphasis on Irishness, including the language.  Rosamond lived in Belfast until 1919 when she came to Dublin. 

To view and search the ‘Record’ visit:  

An in–depth assessment of its value by the noted academic, Dr Ian d’Alton accompanies the online release, and can be read here at this link – Drawing on a quote from the source, the piece is entitled ‘We have all got to go on living together.’


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