It is one hundred years since the founding of St. Ultan’s Hospital, by Dr. Kathleen Lynn and Madeline Ffrench Mullen. It was supported by many of Dr. Lynn’s and Emily’s mutual friends, Darrell and Millie Figgis, Maude Gonne and the Williams sisters along with many more people of influence. The Hospital was set up in response to medical and social conditions in Dublin, particularly for women and children at the time. Many were living in dire poverty and the infant mortality particularly high. The Hospital was staffed by female doctors including Dr. Alice Barry and Dr Dorothy Stopford-Price.
Emily helped out when she could and no doubt contributed to and/or helped with the fundraising. A nurse by profession she helped in the hospital from time to time too.
When the hospital opened in May 1919, it had only two cots, so fundraising was necessary. One such event took place a few months later.
https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/healthcare-in-the-war-of-independence-st-ultan-s-children-s-hospital-1.3750, Mon, Jan 21, 2019, 00:00 Sinéad McCoole
Paul Henry lived on Achill from 1910 to 1919. He had intended only to stay as long as his return ticket permitted but:
“The currents of life had carried me to this remote spot, and there seemed no current strong enough to carry me away…I made another of my quick decisions, which I never regretted and taking my return ticket to London out of my pocket tore it into small pieces and scattered the fragments into the sea which foamed round the rocks of Gubalennaun.”
The West of Ireland, Achill and Connemara inspired him like no other place and became subject of a great body of his work, perhaps his most most iconic paintings are of both places. Below is curious article from 1921, in which he exhibited with a youngish Picasso.
Emily’s maternal great-grandfather, Daniel Graisberry was chief printer to Trinity College in the early 1800’s. Having been made a Freeman of Dublin, in 1798 in that capacity. Freemen were usually tradesmen and craftsmen, which included weavers and tailors, shoemakers, stationers and printers to mention but a few. They usually served as apprentices, just as Daniel Graisberry. His father was also conferred as a freeman, serving as apprentice to the King’s printer, Hugh Greirson.
A freeman was a recognised citizen, which afforded him the right to vote and a few more similar privileges that the general public did not avail of. Interestingly his great granddaughter, Emily, who campaigned for votes for women did not get the right to vote until it was granted in 1918. She was over fifty at the time.
Saunders’s News-Letter 20 October 1820
A Dictionary of Members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800By Mary Pollard, Guild of St. Luke the Evangelist, Bibliographical Society (Great Britain), Guild of St Luke the Evangelist (Dublin
As did Emily’s fortunes rise and fall during her life, so did her ancestors. In fact is was a way of life for them most of the time. Sometimes they were rich and other times they were plunged into financial ruin.
When Emily’s grandfather Richard M’Arthur died in 1829 leaving a wife and two small children under three, at least they were left as “fund holders”, as documented in a later census. However, as few years later Mary M’Arthur was back at ‘work’ in the old family business of selling books and stationary. Mary may not have had the same business sense as her mother, the resourceful Ruth Graisberry, who ran the family print business, for twenty years after her husband died.
In March 1854, the notice below appeared in Halifax Courier:
It appeared that Mary M’Arthur was bankrupt. Somehow she paid her creditors. She did not live long enough to regain her ‘fortune’. She died exactly one year later.
https://www.findmypast.ie/transcript?id=GBC/1851/0013988887;1851 England, Wales & Scotland Census
Northumberland, Durham & Yorkshire, Slater’s Royal National Commercial Directory, Vol 1, 1854-1855
Halifax Courier 18 March 1854
28 July 1855 – Worcester Journal – Worcester, Worcestershire, England
Emily’s half brother, Dr. William Burke, was a member of the fraternity, the Odd Fellows. When he attended the Loyal Midland Lodge’s anniversary in 1883 he was admitted as an honorary member. He cited the same in the medical directories, perhaps to add prestige to his profile.
The Odd Fellows are, like the Freemasons and Foresters a friendly society that permits only male membership. When Emily’s brother was accepted into the fraternity in 1883, many of the medical profession were members. Reflected in the medical journals at the time, articles with titles such as “Friendly Societies And TheMedical Profession. Statements Of The Friendly Societies, And The Facts As Ascertained”. There was also a air of distrust around such societies due to their secretive nature.
Provoked by the French Revolution, societies such as the Odd Fellows were classed as illegal. Informers sent in by the government were paid to infiltrate Lodges (branches). Secret signs and passwords were introduced to sort the real brothers from the imposters, as a matter of security. This tradition, which origin is not widely known is still used today, more as a tradition than necessity.
“Friendly Societies And The Medical Profession. Statements Of The Friendly Societies, And The Facts As Ascertained.” The British Medical Journal, vol. 1, no. 1956, 1898, pp. 1661–1662. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20255058.