Personal papers and their Research Value:
: The papers of Dr Henry Jones in Trinity College Dublin Archives

  • Judith Mary Carroll

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science


This dissertation considers the use and value of personal papers to research. In a review of the literature, the history of attitudes to personal papers by archivists is examined for the development of policies on their management and views on their contribution. A case study, the personal papers of Dr. Henry Jones in Trinity College Dublin Archives, is used to assess the value of personal papers in terms of their research use.

Henry Jones (1603?-1681) was a colourful figure in his day. A refugee during the Irish rebellion of 1641, he became Bishop of Clogher and Cromwell’s Scoutmaster General before he was made Bishop of Meath and elevated to the Privy Council of Ireland under Charles II.

Apart from a very small number of letters associated with Henry Jones, the case study papers, a group of 52 personal documents, are presently mostly uncatalogued in TCD Archives where they are bound into manuscript books containing other documents. Most of these papers were transcribed by Thomas Fitzpatrick (1845- 1912) who identified Henry’s letters and accounts on the basis of his handwriting. The collection of Fitzpatrick’s transcriptions are now in University College Dublin Archives

A content analysis was carried out on the case study papers, as was primary source analysis in conjunction with purposive sampling, while the papers were also evaluated against John Scott’s criteria of authenticity, credibility, representativeness and meaning. The methodologies validated each other and brought to light some unexpected results.

The results are discussed in the context of their contribution to the issues identified in the literature review and how they corroborate or disprove the theories of former and current writers on the subject of personal papers. The dissertation concludes with a synopsis of the research use of personal papers as a result of the study and recommends further research.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University

Cite this