Contents and Arrangement

Personal Notebooks, 2000

1 folder

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists of Thomas McCarthy's writings, personal and literary diaries, correspondence, records from work with various arts and cultural heritage organizations, clippings and printed materials, transcriptions and recordings of interviews and events, and files related to creative writing instruction. Materials span from McCarthy's years as a student in the early 1970s through the close of the 2010s; they document his career as a poet, novelist, nonfiction writer, and editor, and to a lesser extent his work as an arts administrator, teacher, and librarian.

McCarthy's writings include handwritten and typescript drafts, proofs, galleys, and cover designs for his published works organized by book, as well as chronological poetry notebooks in which he composed early drafts and recorded notes from his research. The writings are accompanied by copious source materials, including clippings, documents, photographs, and memorabilia, which reflect his use of Irish history and politics as content and background for his work. In addition to McCarthy's poetry, fiction, and nonfiction books, there are draft materials related to film and play treatments, reviews and short essays, as well as a small number of writings by others for projects he supported. The collection also contains an extensive series of personal and literary diaries spanning five decades, which contain McCarthy's reflections on his life, as well as his commentary on contemporary politics, literature, and other topics. His correspondence also documents both professional and personal matters and includes correspondence with a number of Irish poets and writers, including Seamus Heaney, Molly Keane, Thomas Kinsella, Desmond O'Grady, Dennis O'Driscoll, Theo Dorgan, and dozens of others.

The collection also includes records McCarthy kept from his work with various arts and cultural heritage organizations, including Cork 2005, where he was the assistant director on a project to manage Cork's designation as a European Capital of Culture, and the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork, where he was the director from 1997 to 2003. There are also files on his role as a literary editor for Stet, Poetry Ireland, and Cork Review; projects related to Cork City Libraries; and his membership in Aosdána, an Irish association of artists. Other materials documenting McCarthy's professional career include recordings, transcripts, and publicity materials for interviews and events and a small number of teaching materials from creative writing workshops he taught. There is also a group of clippings, scrapbooks, printed materials, and other items that McCarthy collected documenting his own career, as well as Irish literature, history, and politics more broadly. These materials include additional research for his writings along with some personal photographs and papers.

Collection History

Archival Appraisal Information:

During 2019 processing, two folders containing student records were discarded, and printed books were separated and transferred to the library's general collections. No other materials were removed from the collection beyond routine appraisal practices.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

This collection is open for research, with the exception of several files related to Aosdána which have been temporarily restricted at the request of the collection creator.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Special Requirements for Access:

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media, but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Patrons may request digital copies of original analog media, but will be responsible for the cost of digital conversion, payable in advance. Turn-around time for such requests will depend on the size and scope of the project. Requests should be directed to Special Collections Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form.

Credit this material:

Personal Notebooks; Thomas McCarthy Papers, C1641, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box B-001431