The 150th Anniversary of the founding of Alexandra College, Dublin’s leading independent school for girls, falls this autumn, when this commemorative volume will be published.
The work takes the form of detailed biographical entries taken from the nine-volume Dictionary of National Biography, selected and with an overarching introduction by the historian Ronan Fanning. Where relevant, entries will be accompanied by photographs.
There are seventy-seven biographies—sixty-four of women and thirteen of men (the school was originally co-educational)—most of them Irish-born or with careers within Ireland. These highly achieved individuals—writers, artists, politicians (such as Chiam Herzog, President of Israel from 1982 to 1993), scholars, educationists, republican activists, actors, fashion designers, musicians,doctors, lawyers and philanthropists—cover the full spectrum of life within Ireland and illuminate the progress of the school as well as a newly independent Ireland. They form a fascinating mirror to a society in formation and an ethos built through an institution and its character.
Some of the better-known names include Anne Jellicoe, Margaret Barrington, Winifred Mary Letts, Mary Manning, Martin Ross and Edith Somerville, Enid Starkie, Margaret Stokes, Estella Solomons, Mary Swanzy, Rhoda Coghill, Shelah Richards, John Joly, and Grace Gifford.
This invaluable reference work and history will form an important addition to the works available on the centenary of Ireland’s birth as a nation, and on the sequecentenary of one of its most prominent seats of learning.