An inventory of the Thomas Clarke Luby Papers at The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives
Thomas Clarke Luby was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1822, the son of Episcopal minister Reverend James Luby. At age 18, Thomas Clarke graduated from Trinity College, and afterward studied law at the Temple in London, but went on to become a journalist. A fervent advocate of Irish liberation, he joined Daniel O'Connell's Repeal Association to try to repeal the 1801 Act of Union between England and Ireland. When the repeal campaign failed, he joined the Young Ireland movement and consequently took part in the 1848 uprising. In 1858, Luby helped found the Irish Republican Brotherhood, known as the "Fenians," with the avowed purpose of overthrowing English rule in Ireland and establishing an Irish Republic. In 1863, Luby traveled to the United States to formalize the relationship between the Irish Fenians, led by James Stephens and himself, and the American Fenians led by James O'Mahony. As a result, the American Fenians became subordinate to the Irish and remained so for the duration of their existence.
Luby eventually became managing editor of the Irish People, a pro-liberation newspaper founded by James Stephens in Dublin. In 1865, he and several other Fenian leaders were arrested and charged with Treason-Felony for their revolutionary activities. Luby was sentenced to twenty years, first in Pentonville and then in Portland Prison. He served only six of those years, being pardoned in 1871 under the British government's general amnesty, on condition that he leave the United Kingdom and remain abroad for the duration of his sentence. Luby and his family moved to the United States, where he became a freelance journalist, poet and lecturer on Irish freedom. He wrote several books, including the Life of Daniel O'Connell represented here in this collection. He also became active in Clann na Gael and the Irish Confederation, raising funds and promoting the cause of Irish freedom. He died in 1901, in Jersey City, New Jersey. In 1959, an elaborate remembrance ceremony was held at his graveside.
Thomas Clarke Luby was married to Letitia Fraser Luby, whose father, John D. Fraser, was a noted pro-freedom poet. They had four children, three of whom, John, James and Katherine, survived to adulthood. John F. Luby would rise to the rank of commander in the United States Navy, while James Luby would become a journalist and serve as editor of the New York Sun. Katherine's daughter, Florence Maurice, eventually left the collection to the Stouffer family.
The Thomas Clarke Luby Papers consist of five feet of materials contained in five boxes, spanning the history of the Luby family, from 1807 to 1959. They are divided into eight series: 1) Correspondence; 2) Personal Writings/Addresses; 3) Newspaper Clippings; 4) Publications; 5) Photographs; 6) Miscellaneous; 7) Certificates and Legal Documents and 8) Drawings and Sketches, most relating to the private and professional lives of the Luby and Fraser family, and some to Thomas Clarke Luby's political activities and criminal record.
The Correspondence series is divided into seven folders according to addressee, dating between 1807 and 1926, with many undated. The Thomas Clarke Luby folder contains correspondence from fellow Fenians concerning his revolutionary activities.
The Personal Writings and Addresses series consists of ten items, including manuscripts created by the Luby family, public addresses given by James Luby, and two sermons by the Rev. James Luby. The materials date 1825-c.1846, though five items are undated.
The Newspaper Clippings series consists of one folder of article clippings, poems, and obituaries, as well as a description of te 1959 memorial ceremony held at Thomas Clarke Luby's graveside. The dates range from 1901 to 1959, though many are undated.
The Publications series contains ten items, all book published between 1787 and 1929. These publications were presumably owned by the Luby family. The series includes Thomas Clarke Luby's biography of Daniel O'Connell, as well as works by Charles Dickens, Lord Byron, and Sir Walter Scott.
The Photographs series consists of three folders of photographs of the Luby and related families. These include photos of Thomas Clarke Luby and Letitia Luby. Most of the photos are undated, with the exception of a photo of Luby family members dated 1909.
The Miscellaneous series consists of nine items dated 1830 to 1920, with four items undated. Among the items are a ring that belonged to Catherine Luby, mother of Thomas Clarke Luby, and a black wax seal that appears to relate to Queen Victoria.
The Certificates and Legal Documents series is dated 1813 to 1920 and consists of certificates and official documents relating to the Luby and Fraser families. Among the documents of interest are court papers from Thomas Clarke Luby's trial dated 1865 and 1869, his pardon from 1872, and his U.S. citizenship papers from 1876.
The eighth series, Drawings and Sketches, is housed in its original cardboard portfolio and consists mostly of Irish landscapes drawn in pencil and ink. While some are dated 1835-1838, most are undated. None are signed.
The Thomas Clarke Luby Papers consists of 8 series:
Restrictions on Access
Donated to the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives by Mr. Scott E. Stouffer in 2003 and 2015.
Processing completed in September 2011 by Rose Strickman. EAD markup completed in October 2011 by Rose Strickman. Revised in June 2014 by William John Shepherd and in June 2015 by Christopher Burroughs.
Irish Home Rule Political Cartoons Collection
Irish Repeal Campaign Cartoons Collection
John Luddy Notebooks
This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Luby, Thomas C.
D'Arcy, William. The Fenian Movement in the United States: 1858-1886. The Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C., 1947.
Tansill, Charles Callan. America and the Fight for Irish Freedom: 1866-1922. The Devon-Adair Company, New York, 1957.
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