The archives of The Erasmus Smith Schools extend from about 1650 to the present day. They are reasonably complete, although documentation of the schools is slightly lacking in the late 18th century. The collection material has now been listed on an extensive database and is available for use by researchers interested in the history of Irish education, local history, past pupils, etc. There is also a past pupils database of High School students.
General Outline of Archive Holdings
There is a complete set of minute books for meetings of the Board of Governors (The Governors of the Schools founded by Erasmus Smith Esq.) dating from 1674; accounts from 1673; legal papers 1671-1959 and letter books from 1810-1930. Material relating to scholarships, exhibitions and appointments in Trinity College, Dublin, 1702-1984; minutes of the Standing Committee, 1803-1961; letter books, 1810-1951; and correspondence, 1831-c.1980.
The Estates are well documented in maps 1711-1980 and through property documents such as leases, fee farm grants and conveyances 1658-c.1980; rental books 1658-c.1980 which give the names of tenants and sometimes also detail the quality and use made of the lands, with correspondence, 1857-c.1980; Irish Land Commission documents 1879–1940 and valuations 1818-c.1980. There are also land agent letter books for 1862-1911 and files of correspondence 1859-c.1970 for agents and solicitors who took care of the estates on behalf of the Governors.
Records for the High School, Dublin date from 1870-present; Drogheda Grammar School (open from 1679-1938), records 1680–1956; Galway Grammar School (open from 1678-1958), records 1715–1962; Tipperary Grammar School, The Abbey School (open from c.1676–c.1920), records 1760–1939; Ennis Grammar School (open from 1777-1891), records 1832–1930. These are files of letters relating to the maintenance and staffing, plans for alterations to school premises and records of the events that shaped the schools. Other earlier references to these schools can be found in the Board Registers or minutes. For The High School, Dublin, there are also photographs for class groups, sports teams and school events dating from 1871.
The English Schools [primary schools funded by the Trust and located in all counties except in counties Leitrim and Monaghan] records contain letters from the teachers and superintendents to the Registrar regarding the running of the schools and any problems that may have arisen with correspondence, 1778-c.1980. There are also reports from teachers and inspectors on schools 1852-1935. Plans and estimates for the building of some of the English Schools also exist in the archives, including architectural plans for 64 buildings 1803-1902.
There are also archives of the many court cases, in which the Board of Governors were involved, mostly relating to tenants on the estates. There are letters and accounts relating to Christ’s Hospital, London, England 1651-c.1912; The King’s Hospital, Dublin 1679-1940; exhibitions, scholarships, professors salaries and other matters relating to Trinity College, Dublin 1702-1956; Great Brunswick Street Commercial School, Dublin 1871-1899 and reports on education in Ireland from the turn of the 20th century.