Ref NoG20
TitleRev. Murphy Collection
DescriptionPapers relating to the folklore gathering and Irish language writing of Fr. Murphy, based in Philadelphia. It includes literary material (copybooks, songs and proverbs collected by An tAthair O Morchadha in Philadelphia and among the Irish community in other Pennsylvannia communities.
Date1880s - 1910s
Extent10 boxes
Administrative HistoryDomhnall Ó Morchadha (Daniel Joseph Murphy) was born in Kilmacteige, Co. Sligo, in 1858. In the 1880s in Overbrook, Pennsylvania, he attended St Charles Borromeo Seminary and was ordained in 1889. In nearby Philadelphia throughout the 1890s, he served in the parish of St Teresa of Avila, which had a church named after the saint on the corner of Catharine and Broad Sts. A postmarked envelope addressed to Rev. Murphy indicates that, by 1900 at the latest, he was living nearby at 1337 Catharine St.

Rev. Murphy was undoubtedly involved from an early stage in the Irish language movement in Philadelphia. At Catharine St, he was not too far from the Philopatrian Hall at 211 S 12th St, where Irish language classes were run around the same period. A minute book of the Philo-Celtic Society of Philadelphia, which survives in his collection, indicates that he was their Librarian from 1904 to 1912 at least. The Society estimated that over 10% of the city’s 100,000+ Irish were Irish-speakers and, by 1890, Rev. Murphy was collecting Irish-language songs from some of them. One such contributor was Tomás Ó Clochartaigh (c.1837-1912) of Leitir Calaidh, Conamara, who gave him 18 verses of Seanmóir Uí Chonchubhair by the Aran Island poet Séamus Ó Conchubhair (b.1816). Tomás could well have been one of Murphy’s parishioners. They were certainly neighbours in 1900: Tomás was then living four blocks away at 18 Clymer St.
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