Photographs of Irish Jesuits in Hong Kong
The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) announced on 23 May 2022 that the Irish Jesuit Archives has made their collection ‘Photographs of Irish Jesuits in Hong Kong’ available in the Repository. The collection of twenty photographs, from 1929 and 1937, are concentrated in the areas of Hong Kong and Canton (Guangdong), where Irish Jesuits were involved in general missionary work and teaching. Readers can access the photographs (over two pages) on the link above ».
On publication of the collection in DRI, Damien Burke, Province Archivist at the Irish Jesuit Archives, said:
“The DRI Repository has provided the Irish Jesuit Archives the opportunity to make photographs by Irish Jesuits of Hong Kong accessible.
“This collaboration has democratised archives, that have an Irish and international dimension, sustainably. I hope that this sharing will enable further research into our connected histories.”
DRI Director, Natalie Harrower, added:
“This is a truly unique collection that provides snapshots of very particular moments in the lives of Irish missionaries, while also revealing aspects of the activities they undertook while abroad.
“The Irish Jesuit Archives have done a wonderful job of providing ‘rich metadata’ – something we always promote at DRI – by including significant biographical detail in the descriptions.
“This enriches the collection, adds to the pool of information so widely sought by genealogists, and makes the collection more valuable for researchers and members of the public.”
As well as the rich biographical data contained within the metadata, there are some beautiful details in the photographs themselves which show how different life was in Hong Kong for the missionaries. Images in the collection, such as ‘How the Seminary looked at Xmas ’32’, and ‘Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong for native Chinese Seminaries’ serve to illustrate how the architecture of the two countries was different.
While photography was a more accessible medium in the 1920s and 1930s it was still well outside the reach of many Irish people. This makes these photographs an even more remarkable record. They must have filled those at home who received the photos with wonder, and they now allow people a window into the very interesting work undertaken by the Irish Jesuits internationally.
People can find out more about the collections that are held at the Irish Jesuit archive by searching their catalogue ». Damien Burke, Province Archivist for the Irish Jesuit Archive, also examines the story of these missionaries in a DRI blogpost ». To find out more about DRI’s new collections, people can subscribe to their newsletter » or follow them on Twitter » or Instagram ».
Image: Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, Hong Kong for native Chinese Seminarians [Irish Jesuit Archives].