Julia Harris

Reference Code: IE 2135 P78
Title: The Julia Harris Collection
Dates of Creation: 1925-2007 (predominant 1925-1927)
Extent and Medium: 2 items

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Name of Creator(s): Harris, Julia Cecilia née Ryan (1855-1933) and Tugendhat, Máire née Littledale (1910-1994).

Biographical History: Julia Cecilia Harris née Ryan was born on 4 August 1855 as the fourth of the nine children of Michael Robert Ryan of Temple Mungret, Limerick and Julia Teresa née Kieran.  Her father was a solicitor and agent to many prominent landowners of the day.  Julia’s family were devout Roman Catholics and she was accordingly educated at St Leonard’s Catholic Boarding School for girls in Mayfield, East Sussex.  She married George William Harris on 22 April 1875 at the Dominican Church, Dominic Street, Dublin and had four children: George Joseph (1876-1922); James Michael (Jim) (1877-1949); Richard Edmond (1880-87); and Mary Josephine (May) (1882-1946).  She died on 21 April 1933 in Kensington, London.

Máire Tugendhat née Littledale was born on 19 April 1910 to Arthur Charles Littledale (1879-1915) and Mary Josephine née Harris.  A noted printmaker and illustrator, she trained at the Slade School of Fine Art in London between 1933 and 1935 and became particularly noted for her wood engravings.  In September 1934, she married Georg Tugendhat (1898-1973), an Austrian-born economist and industrialist who had settled in England in 1921.  Her children include among others the British Conservative Party politician Christopher Tugendhat, Baron Tugendhat (b. 1937) and retired High Court judge Sir Michael Tugendhat (b. 1944).  Máire Tugendhat died on 8 August 1994 in Yorkshire.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: Donated to the University of Limerick by Julia Harris’s great-grandchildren on 30 November 2007.


Content and Structure

Scope and Content: Bound hardback volume containing a typescript entitled My Memories, written by Julia Cecilia Harris née Ryan and dedicated to her children and grandchildren, together with a card identifying the names of the memoir’s donors and date of donation.  The title page of the volume is dated 17 March 1926 while the last page is dated 19 March 1926.  A footnote on p. 8 suggests that the writing of the original manuscript was under way by 1925.  In addition, some pages were added as an afterthought in 1927 before the document was bound.  Typing is uniform throughout the text, including a much later dedication of January 1945, which reads ‘To Arthur [Arthur James Littledale], from Mummie [Mary Josephine Littledale née Harris] With all my love’.  The uniformity of the typescript suggests that the document was typed and bound post 1945.  There is also a handwritten dedication on a page preceding the title page ‘For my darling Christopher [Tugendhat], from his devoted Mother, Máire [Tugendhat née Littledale], grand-daughter of the author of these memories.  And for his descendants.’  This dedication is dated 29 March 1972 and it is likely that the original manuscript was typed and bound by Máire Tugendhat in that year.  The memoir, which narrates Julia Harris’s life events in considerable detail, provides exceptional insights into the life of the prosperous Roman Catholic middle class in Ireland in the second half of the nineteenth century, Ireland’s status as part of the British Empire and the violent events which led to its emergence as an independent nation in the early twentieth century.

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

Accruals: No accruals are expected.

System of Arrangement: Items have been arranged chronologically by date.


Conditions of Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access: Unrestricted access to all items.

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

Language/ Scripts of Material: English.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements: Bound volume and paper document 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.



Note: Parts of the memoir describing life in colonial Africa and India contain vocabulary which some readers may find offensive.


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.