Monday, August 27, 2012

The Historic University Calendars 1845 - 1934 digitisation project at the Hardiman Library

The historic University Calendars of National University Ireland, Galway, have been made available on-line following a recent digitisation initiative at the James Hardiman Library. Founded in 1845 as Queen's College Galway, the Historic Calendar project provides a truly unique insight into the history, development and achievements of Galway's university, as well as full graduate lists of its alumni. This project provides digital access to the calendars from 1851 to 1934 and tracks the movement of the University from Queen's College to University College Galway to its present identity of National University of Ireland, Galway.

Queen's College, Galway, was founded by Letters Patent under "the Great Seal of Ireland", bearing the date the 30th of December, 1845, and was administered by a Governing Body which consisted of a President, Vice-President, Bursar and included a faculty and academic staff of twenty Professors as well as the University Librarian and a Curator of the University Museum.

The Professors were divided into three faculty: Arts, Medicine, and Law. The Faculty of Arts was further divided into Literary and Science divisions. The literary division of the faculty consisted of languages such as Greek and Latin and also History and English Literature. The Science section included Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Natural History, Logic and Metaphysics, Mineralogy and Geology Civil Engineering and Agriculture.

The Faculty of Medicine featured courses on Anatomy and Physiology, the Practice of Medicine, Practice of Surgery, Materia Medica and Midwifery. The faculty of law included the Professors of English Law, Jurisprudence and Political Economy.

The calendars offer a detailed account of the course structure and content of a given course at Queen's College and the entrance requirements and expected course work of the students. The prescribed reading lists for students across all disciplines also appear.

Other rules and regulations which were outlined to all prospective students was the code of discipline. This stipulated, for instance, "That no student shall appear within the College gates, except in academic costume; and that for every violation of this rule a fine of one shilling be incurred." Students could also expect to face disciplinary measures if they fell afoul of the following offences: "Habitual neglect of attendance, for divine worship, at such church or chapel as shall be approved by his parents or guardians,  Habitual neglect of attendance on the religious instruction provided for students of his Church or denomination in the licensed boarding-house in which he may reside,  Immoral or dishonest practices,  Treasonable or seditious conduct,  Drunkenness,  Grievous offences against College rules or discipline, Wilful and serious injury to the property of the College."

Also of interest to scholars of the history of education in Ireland or of those of the development of particular subjects or disciplines are the exam papers. The Calendars feature annual exam papers for each course and discipline within each faculty and detail the exam process as well as method and type of examination expected by students.

The period 1845 - 1934 covers a challenging and turbulent time in Irish history. Queen's College was founded just as famine was devastating the population in the West of Ireland and also nationally, and continues to trace education and social history in Ireland that ran parallel to the likes of the foundation of the Land League, the Home Rule Movement, The Easter Rising, World War I, the War of Independence and the Civil War and also during unrest in mainland Europe. Some of these political and social changes are reflected in the Calendars with the Irish language and cló Gaelach increasingly being used after 1926. The increased use of the Irish language in the university is just one important initiative that was debated around this time and also was considered in the revised Irish Universities Act of 1929. The calendars are a vital resource in studying and examining third level education in Ireland while also providing a record of those who studied and taught at the College and University. Advertisements and references to local services and businesses offer an important social reflection of those suppliers who were servicing the college and its population at the time. The historic calendars will also play an important role for genealogical researchers as well as research of local history in the West of Ireland.

The calendars of Queen's College Galway/University College Galway are available in full and online at this link:
Further digital projects from the James Hardiman Library can be viewed here:

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