Henry William Massy

Reference Code: IE 2135 P32
Title: The Henry William Massy Collection
Dates of Creation: 1839-1842
Extent and Medium: 1 bound volume

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Name of Creator(s): Massy, Henry William (1816-1895).

Biographical History: Henry William Massy was born on 12 January 1816 as the youngest son of the Reverend William Massy from his second marriage to Elizabeth Evans.  He served as Magistrate and Justice of the Peace for counties Tipperary and Limerick and gained the rank of Major in the Tipperary Artillery Militia.  He had a long-term clandestine love affair with Maria Cahill, who was socially his inferior and thus unacceptable to his parents.  They eventually married in 1862 and divided their time between England and France with their eight children, seven of whom were born out of wedlock.  He died at Grantstown Grove, county Tipperary on 20 November 1895.

Archival History: Unknown.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: Purchased for the University of Limerick from Dublin Book Browsers on 25 February 2005.


Content and Structure

Scope and Content: Bound hardback volume containing a diary kept sporadically by Henry William Massy between 1839 and 1842, describing his professional and leisure activities and containing introspective reflections of his own shortcomings.  The diary provides a lively and betimes poignant account of the life of a young man eager to advance in life but not quite possessed of the maturity to fulfil his ambitions.  It provides glimpses of urban life of the professional classes in 1830s and 1840s Ireland and challenges the perceived rigid morality of the Victorian era by revealing Massy’s long-standing clandestine affair with Maria Cahill.

Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling Information: All records have been retained.

Accruals: No accruals are expected.


Conditions of Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access: Unrestricted access to item.

Conditions Governing Reproduction: Standard copyright regulations apply.  For photocopying or reproducing material, please consult with the staff.

Language/ Scripts of Material: English.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements: Bound manuscript volume in good condition.

Finding Aids: A hard copy of the descriptive catalogue is available at the Special Collections and Archives Department, Glucksman Library, University of Limerick.


Allied Materials

Publication Note: Henry William Massy’s diary is discussed in some detail in Nathan Durand’s blog post, The Diary of a Country Gentleman.  The diary also features in the University of Limerick’s Opening a Window to the Past project.  A digital scan of the diary is available at https://digitallibrary.ul.ie/diary-henry-william-massy.


Description Control

Archivist’s Note: Papers arranged and described by Anna-Maria Hajba.

Rules or Conventions: This description follows guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd edition, 2000, Irish Guidelines for Archival Description, 2009, National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997, and EAP Guidance on Data Protection for Archive Services, 2018.

Date of Description: February 2023.