Francis O’Neill’s Visual Illustrations (2), 1913


The earliest visual images of Irish music published by Francis O’Neill in Chicago, in 1903 and from 1907, were frontispiece photographs featuring contributors to his music collections: Irish musicians permanently or temporarily living in Chicago and musicians living in Ireland whom he met on a visit home to Ireland in 1906. In his first study of Irish music, Irish Folk Music:A Fascinating Hobby (Chicago 1910), the same mixture of photographs is seen along with some Irish line drawings and other illustrations from older sources (see preious entry).

In his second study of Irish music, Irish Minstrels and Musicians (Chicago 1913), the textual treatment of the music and musicians is now greatly expanded in range and detail, and likewise the number of visual illustrations reproduced has been increased. They again come from the same kind of sources as the earlier books, and in addition some images are reproduced from Continental and British sources, a reflection of O'Neill's placing of Irish music in a European context. New images used in Irish Minstrels and Musicians (excluding music notations) are reproduced here from the collections of the Irish Traditional Music Archive, along with a few visual illustrations from his Waifs and Strays of Gaelic Melody (Chicago 1922; 2nd ed. 1924).

NC & TH, 1 February 2011

Francis O’Neill’s Visual Illustrations (2), 1913