The Salamanca Archive in the Russell Library, St Patrick’s College Maynooth is currently being catalogued. The collection, containing over 50,000 items, holds material pertaining to the Irish colleges in Spain dating from the late sixteenth to the middle of the twentieth centuries. The catalogue will available on-line and some of the collection’s key documents will be hosted on the web.
St Patrick’s College, Maynooth is currently halfway through a two-year project to catalogue the archives of the Irish colleges in Spain. The so-called ‘Salamanca Archive’ contains administrative dating from 1592 to the 1950s. They are the property of the Irish Episcopal Conference and were deposited in Maynooth in 1951. The archive contains about 50,000 items. Colleges represented in the archive include Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Madrid and Alcalá. There is also material from the English College in Valladolid. Items preserved include student oaths, rectors’ private papers, accounts, leases, books of income and expenditure and material concerning mortgages and annuities.
The Irish College in Salamanca, which gives its name to the collection, was the earliest Irish college in Spain. It was founded in 1592 by Thomas White SJ for a group of Irish students then accommodated in the English College in Valladolid. In 1769 the Irish College of Santiago de Compostella (founded in 1605) and the Irish College of Seville, founded some years later, were incorporated into the Salamanca institution. This was on foot of an order of Carlos III of Spain, under instruction from the Irish hierarchy, with the aim of establishing a single Spanish institution for the education of the Irish clergy. In 1785 the Irish College of Alcalá de Henares (founded in 1657) incorporated into Salamanca. At this time the archives of the colleges were brought together. The collection was box-listed and arranged in 1874, during the rectorship of William McDonald (1871-76). His list contains details of the type of material in every folder and their dates. It was arranged in a broadly chronological order. The new catalogue will retain the nineteenth-century arrangement of the collection and expand the description level from fond to item level. CALM software has been employed. The archivist is Ms Susan Leyden.