R.M. Henry Papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 752 RMHP
  • Dates of Creation
      20th century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English, Latin, and Modern Greek (1453-).
  • Physical Description
      Approx. 160 items, including some 73 letters, (1855-1941), 14 pocket diaries (1910-45), 4 volumes, 8 notebooks and various individual documents of notes, 3 monographs, a small selection of maps, plans and drawings (c 1854-c1945) etc.

Scope and Content

Collection of correspondence, working notes and papers of Robert Mitchell Henry (1873-1950), Professor of Latin at Queen's University, Belfast (1907-38) and later Professor of Humanities at the University of St. Andrews, Edinburgh (1939-47) and honorary chair of Classical Literature at Trinity College, Dublin (1947-50). Broad in its scope, the collection consists of a variety of material reflecting Henry's wide range of academic, adminstrative and personal interests. Included are papers and notes on various classical Latin and Greek subjects, the American poet and journalist, Walt Whitman (1819-92), and the study of Irish history. There is also a series of letters, c 1855-1941, addressed to Henry from a variety of correspondents, but principally Sir Samuel Dill (1844-1924), Ramsey Kier and Denis O'Keefe, a set of 14 pocket diaries kept by Henry from 1910-45 and a group of in-letters and miscellaneous papers from the Registrar's Office of Queen's University, 1877-79. The collection also consists of papers relating to Henry's involvement with the Workers Educational Association, the Classical Association of Ireland and the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. Maps and plans of Queen's, 1854-1945 are also to be found in the collection, as are a series of original drawings of maps and diagrams used in Moody and Beckett's official history of the university (Queen's, Belfast 1845-1949: the history of a university, T.W. Moody and J.C. Beckett. London, 1959).

Administrative / Biographical History

Professor R.M. Henry (1873-1950), Born 11 February 1873 in Belfast. Educated Methodist College, Belfast and Queen's College Belfast graduating with a BA in 1893 and MA in 1898. He then went on to join the teaching staff of the Royal Belfast Academical Institution as Senior Classical Master, 1899-1905, before moving to Queen's in 1906 as a reader in classics, eventually rising to Professor of Latin in 1907, a position he held until his retirement from the university in 1938. His career at the University was long and diverse, extending from academia to administration, dominating almost every field of university life for 30 years. As Secretary to the Academic Council from 1908-38, his principal achievement was the Charter of 1909 by which the University was able to secure its independence within the Irish Universities Act of that year. Outside his professional work, Henry's main personal interests lay in adult education, social welfare, Irish history and Irish politics, giving freely of his time to the Workers Educational Association, publishing his own history of Sinn Fein (1920) and co-founding the Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies (1936). Following his retirement from Queen's in 1938, Henry went on to the University of St. Andrew's to hold their Chair of Humanities. After 9 years in Edinburgh, he left to take up an honorary Chair of Classical Literature at Trinity College Dublin in 1947, which he held until his death in 1950.

Publications: Livy, bk xxxi (1905); (with Rev F.W. O'Connell) An Irish corpus astronomiae, being Manus O'Donnell's 17th century version of the Lunario of Geronymo Cortes (1915); The evolution of Sinn Fein (1920); (ed. with T.W. Dougan) M. Tulli Ciceronis Tusculanarum disputationum libri quinque, vol. ii, bk iii-v (1934); Virgil and the Roman Epic (1938).

Conditions Governing Access

Open to consultation. Includes material in English, Latin and Greek


Description compiled by Clare McVeigh (RASCAL Project), entered by Deirdre Wildy, Special Collections

Other Finding Aids

Hard-copy catalogue available for consultation. See 'Calendar of Manuscripts Western and Oriental' for details (MS10). This calendar is available for consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying permitted depending on physical condition of the original and relevant copyright restrictions.

Appraisal Information

The collection is significant for reflecting the interests and work of Professor Henry, in particular providing a commentary on the adminstration of the University during the early 20th century.

Custodial History

The collection was first acquired by the University following the death of Professor Henry in 1950. It was strengthened by further deposits made by Henry's widow, Mrs K.E.R. Henry in 1979 and by the historian, T.W, Moody in 1981.




Queen's, Belfast 1845-1949: the history of a university, T.W. Moody and J.C. Beckett. London, 1959.

Geographical Names