Mission and Goals
The Irish American Archives Society (IAAS) was founded in 1994 to support the collection and preservation of archival materials that document the history of the Irish American experience in northeast Ohio. The primary goal of the IAAS has been to raise funds to build and maintain an Irish American Archives at the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS), the area's largest repository of materials for ethnic studies. A second goal of IAAS has been to support the development of exhibitions, books and other publications that draw on local collections to tell the stories of Irish immigrants.
The Irish American Archives Society was founded in 1994 by the late Thomas F. Campbell, Professor of History at Cleveland State University from 1966 until his retirement in 1993. A scholar who specialized in Cleveland history and immigration studies, Dr. Campbell co-edited in 1988 an anthology titled The Birth of Modern Cleveland, 1865-1930. Those community members who were designated in the IAAS by-laws as founding trustees are: The Honorable Francis J. Talty (who served as the first board president), Kevin McGinty, Margaret Lynch, Thomas F. Campbell, Eileen Mullally, James Bambrick, Dr. Kenneth Callahan, Mary Helen Kelly, and Dennis Dooley. Other board members who served more than five years included James P. (Jim) Conway, Eamon D'Arcy, Mary Englert, Louis Finucane, Dr. Joseph Foley, Megs Gallagher, Thomas Lynch, Helen Malloy, Gerry Quinn, Thomas Scanlon, and Jerry Sheehan. The current trustees are listed below.
In founding the Irish American Archives Society, Dr. Campbell chose to partner with Western Reserve Historical Society because WRHS is the leading repository in Ohio of materials for ethnic study. Since 1971, WRHS has made a concerted effort to collect material relating to the many nationality groups that settled in the Cleveland area. The success of community support for Jewish-American and African-American archival positions at WRHS provided an inspiration for the launching of IAAS. From 1999 through 2007, IAAS supported a part-time archival position at WRHS. The position was held first by the late Lonnie McCauley (1999-2001) and then by Regina Costello (2001-2007). As a result of their endeavors, more than fifty collections of papers and other documents with Irish American associations have either been acquired or identified and re-catalogued among the existing holdings of WRHS.
- IAAS sponsored a tour to St. John Cemetery this summer. August 1 was a bright, sunny day—perfect for a slice of Cleveland history. For story and photos, click here.
- Assisting the WRHS in promoting the growth of the Irish American Archives collection at WRHS by identifying potential donors of archival materials and facilitating contact with those donors.
- Presenting an annual signature public event, The Walks of Life dinner, which honors individuals of Irish heritage who have made a significant contribution to their community in a chosen "walk of life" or field of endeavor.
- Conducting a communication and outreach effort that includes an informative newsletter (produced 3 times a year), portable displays about historical topics, and talks and tours highlighting the Irish heritage in northeast Ohio.
Margaret Lynch, Executive Director
Officers of the Board of Trustees
Thomas Corrigan, Acting President
Thomas J. Scanlon, Vice President
Thomas Lynch, Treasurer
Raymond Daull, Secretary
Members of the Board of Trustees
James G. Brennan, Sr. Maureen Burke, John Burke, Hon. Ken Callahan Jr., Dan Conway, Thomas Corrigan, John Coyne, Brendan Doyle, Rosemarie Feighan DeJohn, Terence P. Joyce, Thomas Lynch, Margaret (Meg) McGarry, John Myers, Erin O’Toole, Kevin O’Toole, Max Rieker, Thomas J. Scanlon, J. Gerard Sheehan.
Kevin McGinty, Eileen Mullally, Mary Karen O’Neil, Gerald Quinn
IAAS Memorial Funds:
In Memory of Thomas F. Campbell
In Memory of Pierce Mullally
Lonnie McCauley Tribute Fund
IAAS Life Members
The John P. Murphy Foundation
The Arthur B. McBride, Sr., Family Foundation
The Irish American Charitable Foundation
The Murphy Family Foundation
The H. J. McGinness Foundation
The Talty Charitable Foundation
The John & Mary Coyne Charitable Foundation
Johnny Kilbane programming is also supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant to IAAS from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.