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Diaries of Kathleen Lynn, The

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ISBN: 9781910820018
Author: Mary McAuliffe & Harriet Wheelock (Eds.)
Format: Paperback

The diaries of Dr Kathleen Lynn, 1916-1955, cover her involvement in the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence, the Civil War, and the formative three and a half decades of the Irish Free State. They demonstrate the revolutionary, socialist and feminist fervour of a radical revolutionary woman, what motivated her and the work she did for women, workers, and Ireland. The diaries, held in the archives of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI), reveal the often-difficult road that radical political women forged in the new Irish Free State, which viewed women through the constraining lens of marriage, motherhood, and domesticity.

The diaries are also revealing of the supportive networks of political women, who worked together for social and political change. Central to the diaries is Lynn's vital work in St Ultan's Hospital for Sick Infants which she co-founded in 1919. Her diaries demonstrate vividly the number of women who led advances in medical care in the first decades of the State alongside Lynn.

The diaries also record her family and personal relationships, especially her lifelong relationship with fellow suffragist, revolutionary and social campaigner, Madeline ffrench-Mullen. Few political women of the revolutionary era and Irish Free State have left behind as substantial an archive as Dr Kathleen Lynn. The publication of these selected extracts from her diaries are a move to readdress issues created by past archival practices which have, in many cases, marginalised or silenced the voices of women.

The diaries add not only to our knowledge of the life of Dr Lynn but also to the histories of female activists, female networks, and intimate female lives in the Irish State during its formative decades. Edited by Mary McAuliffe and Harriet Wheelock with a foreword by Emma Donoghue.

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