Library of James Augustine Healy

The Arrow 1939

The Arrow was the journal of the Abbey Theatre, which was founded to showcase native Irish drama. Contributors included significant participants in the Irish Literary Renaissance.

The personal library of James Augustine Healy forms the core of Colby’s extensive Healy Collection. These rare books, periodicals, pamphlets and clippings were gathered by Healy in the early 20th century. Many came from the estate sale of New York lawyer John Quinn. Healy’s careful notations on the front paste down of each volume captured its provenance.

Featured in Healy’s library are books and other published materials documenting the Irish Literary Renaissance of the 1880 through 1920s. Significant literary and artistic individuals are well represented, including: Lady Gregory, W B Yeats and the Yeats family, Douglas Hyde, St John Gogarty, George Bernard Shaw, James Stephens, AE (George Russell) Sean O’Casey, John Millington Synge and James Joyce. In addition, Healy’s library contains first editions of  the works of Irish-American James Brendan Connolly. Healy had a personal relationship with many of these writers, as inscriptions attest.

Works consulted:

Abbott, Cheryl and J Fraser Cocks. James Augustine Healy Collection of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Irish Literature. Waterville, ME: Colby College, 1978. Print.

Annual Report of the Curator of Rare Books. Colbiana Collection. Colby College Special Collections.

Annual Report of the Librarian. Colbiana Collection. Colby College Special Collections.

James Augustine Healy donor file. Colby College Special Collections.


Published items from Healy’s library are listed in the Colby Libraries web catalog and are designated with a HEALY prestamp before the call number. The HEALY prestamp also designates published works purchased after Healy’s gift using his generous endowment funds.


The Healy Collection contains valuable unpublished materials, including letters, manuscripts, notebooks and artwork.