Every Irishman’s Library

The Talbot Press Ltd. (Dublin, Ireland)
Series dates: 1915-1925
Size: 5″ x 7.5″

T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1915-1925

Scottish publisher Blackie & Son Ltd. helped establish the Educational Company of Ireland in 1910 to publish school books for the Irish school curriculum. The Company’s success led to the establishment of The Talbot Press Ltd. in 1915 to publish literary titles. More information on the Press is found in John Dunne’s “The Educational Company of Ireland and the Talbot Press, 1910-1990” (Long Room, 42, 1997).


Every Irishman’s Library, an obvious reference to the then hugely successful Everyman’s Library, was one of the series published by Talbot (other series include the New Era Library and Noted Irish Lives). Every Irishman’s Library was edited by Alfred Perceval Graves, president of the Irish Literary Society, a scholar of Irish folk music, and father of Robert Graves. At least 16 titles were published.

The series was initially issued in 1915 as indicated by the advertisement in Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review:


This copy of The Book of Irish Poetry edited by Alfred P. Graves is undated, but a rough guess would place its date of printing in the mid-1920s. There is at least one additional (but similar) jacket design. Various Irish design elements cover the spine and front cover of the jackets, which are common to the series. This copy has a space for the publisher’s name on the base of the spine, but that space is left blank. The series name is at the top of the front of the jacket. The front jacket flaps are blank.


Twelve titles are listed in the series on the rear of the jacket:

The Book of Irish Poetry, edited by Alfred P. Graves
Wild Sports of the West, by W.H. Maxwell
Legends of Saints and Sinners, edited by Douglas Hyde
Humors of Irish Life, edited by Chas. L. Graves
Irish Orators and Oratory, edited by T.M. Kettle
Thomas Davis: Selections from his Prose and Poetry, edited by T.W. Rolleston
Standish O’Grady: Selected Essays and Passages, edited by Ernest A. Boyd
Poems of Sir Samuel Ferguson, edited by Alfred P. Graves
The Recollections of Johan Barrington, edited by George Birmingham
Carelton’s Stories of English Life
Maria Edgeworth: Selections from her Works
The Collegians, by Gerald Griffin

Four additional titles found on WorldCat:

Kings and Vikings: From the Coming of St. Patrick to the Battle of Clontarf, by W. Lorcan O’Byrne
Stories of Irish Life, edited by William Carleton & Darrell Figgis
A Land of Heroes: Famous Stories from Early Irish History, by W. Lorcan O’Byrne
The Falcon King: Stories of the Anglo-Norman Invasion of Ireland, by W. Lorcan O’Byrne

The rear jacket flap is blank.


Bindings are cloth with extensive debossing matching the pattern and typography on the jacket. The title and author are overprinted in gold on the front of the book. The Talbot Press is noted as the publisher on the spine.


Thomas Roche, an owner of the book in 1930, left a bit of prose as an inscription on the front endpapers.


The half-title page:


The single illustration in the book faces the title page. The series name and editors are indicated on the top of the title page. The series name, title, and editor are printed in dark green. Both Talbot and Unwin are noted as publishers.


The copyright page does not include a date. The book was printed by the Educational Company of Ireland Ltd, the parent company of the Talbot Press.