About the Crowley Project

Professor Francis J Crowley’s bequest

  • The project was named after the late Professor Francis J Crowley, whose bequest funded the project.
  • Professor Crowley, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, to Irish parents. Having received his education at Yale and Princeton universities, he became professor of French at the University of California, Los Angeles.
  • In his will he bequeathed most of his estate to the Republic of Ireland to be used for the preservation of records of the history of the Irish people.

Aims of project

  • The Crowley Project aims
    • to catalogue the Chief Secretary’s Office Registered Papers (CSORP) from 1818 to 1852 to international archival descriptive standards in order to facilitate public access
    • to preserve the papers in order to maintain their physical condition
  • The papers contain an estimated 230,000 items or ‘files’ in 815 boxes.
  • The papers were formerly in a state of disarray having being loosely filed into bundles in boxes. Once processed the papers are physically re-ordered into acid-free archival folders and housed within archival boxes.
  • Contract archivists, working at the National Archives, Ireland commenced this project in 2008. The project also employed a dedicated conservator.

Original indexes/registers - sparse in detail and difficult to use

  • Heretofore the collection has been relatively inaccessible as the only ‘finding aids’ available to researchers for locating material of interest, were the contemporary, handwritten, annual indexes/registers.
  • Descriptions in these indexes/registers rarely extend beyond recording the name of the sender and a few words summarising the content of the incoming document.
  • Supplementary correspondence or documents are not mentioned in the indexes/registers and so it is impossible to know the extent of each item.
  • Mention of a document in the indexes/registers does not guarantee that the document has survived to the present day.
  • Clerks were not always consistent or uniform in their filing methodologies. Documents were sometimes removed and placed with related items which accounts for the frequent appearance of material from other surrounding years, within the papers for any one particular year.
  • All these factors have hitherto seriously mitigated against the widespread use of the papers and as a result, the papers have largely remained somewhat of an untapped resource.

Years 1818-1833 completed

  • To date, papers for the years 1818 to 1833 have been rehoused, renumbered and catalogued.
  • The catalogue for these years is searchable via the search function on this website and also via the National Archives online catalogue.

The documents are available for public consultation at the reading room of the National Archives of Ireland, subject to the normal rules and regulations of the National Archives.