R. M. Fox

Life
1891-1969 [Richard Michael Fox]; b. Leeds, son of a school-teacher mother and an engineering worker, both active in Labour politics; gs. of one Michael Rathmell, who left Ireland for England; family living in Tottenham, London, N17, in 1901; Fox left school at 14 in 1905; worked in a metal and armaments factories; attended meetings of Jim Larkin and James Connolly in London, 1913; won National Co-operative Scholarship for Ruskin College, Oxford, 1914, though not taken up until 1919; denounced parties to World War I and spoke for anti-war movement at Finsbury meeting of Labour Party, 1914; became conscientious objector; travelled to Dublin in 1916 and presented Patricia’s pamphlet report on events (Rebel Ireland) to Irish support meetings in London; arrested as conscientious objector to the war and two-year prison sentence, Nov. 1916; sentence extended by two years, 1919; peremptorily released in April 1919; worked for London-based War Victims charity on release; issued Factory Echoes (1919); joined Oxford Labour Club; ed. New Oxford; visited Russia with Isadora Duncan, and met Lenin's wife, 1921; moved to Dublin, 1922; met Peadar O'Donnell, Sean O'Casey and Liam O'Flaherty and AE [George Russell] in home of Delia Larkin; met Erskine Childers and received an introduction to Alice Stopford Green; returned to Oxford before outbreak of Civil War; m. Patricia Lynch whom he met through her father Henry, a member of IWW, 31 Oct. 1922; worked briefly for Labour Press Service, and travelled with Lynch to Paris, Brussels and Germany; returned to Ireland and wrote for Irish Stateman; published with the Woolf’s Hogarth Press; issued Rebel Irishwomen (1935), Smokey Crusade (1937), memoir; also .Green Banners: The Story of the Irish Struggle (1938), The History of the Irish Citizen Army (1943), James Connolly (1943), The Story of Ireland 1921-48 (1948), Jim Larkin (1957); Louie Bennett (1958), a biography of his close associate; and China Diary (1959), based on an invited trip at that time; d. at home, Glasnevin. DIW

[ top ]

Works
Rebel Irishwomen (London: 1935); Smokey Crusade (London 1938) [var. 1937]; Green Banners: The Story of the Irish Struggle (1938);The History of the Irish Citizen Army (Dublin: J. Duffy & Co. 1943), 241pp.; James Connolly: The Forerunner (Tralee 1946); Years of Freedom: The Story of Ireland 1921-48 (1948); Jim Larkin: The Rise of the Underman (London 1957); Louie Bennett: Her Life and Times (1958).

Further titles, Factory Echoes; The Triumphant Machine; Drifting Men; Labour in the National Struggle; Years of Freedom; [listed with the foregoing on dust-jacket of R. M. Fox. Louie Bennett: her Life and Times (1958)].

Also, ‘Civil War and Peace’, in Sean McCann, ed., The World of Sean O’Casey (London: Dent 1966), pp.43-49.

Bibliographical details
Rebel Irishwomen contains studies of Eva and Constance Gore-Booth [of Lisadell], Mary McSwiney, Grace Plunkett, Nora Connolly O’Brien, Helena Molony, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington and Mother Jones. (See Anne Brady, Women in Ireland, 1988.)

[ top ]

Commentary
Maurice Headlam, Irish Reminiscences (1947): ‘It is noteworthy, by the by, that it is the police, all Irishmen, who are chiefly stigmatised in Mr. Fox’s History of the Citizen Army. Even Mr James Stephens, in his book on the Insurrection in Dublin, says that the Dublin strikes were not due to hatred of England, but of the “local traders, and particularly, hatred of the local police.” He dared not say that the hatred was directed to other Irishmen, though Mr Fox, in spite of describing how in the years between 1913 and 1916 the Citizen Army and the Volunteers more than once nearly came to blows, claims that the two “armies” were fused by a common patriotism, by their hatred for the Irish police!’ (p.129.)

Peter Berresford Ellis, 'An Influential Irish Historian', in Irish Democrat [online], which contains corrections to earlier information on this page and in Dictionary of Irish Biography (Boylan).

[ top ]

References
British Library holds The History of the Irish Citizen Army (Dublin: J. Duffy & Co. 1943), 241pp.;

Library of Herbert Bell, Belfast holds Green Banners (London 1938), James Connolly (Tralee 1946), Jim Larkin (London 1957) [signed copy], Smokey Crusade (London 1938). BELF CEN holds History of the Irish Citizen Army (1943); Jim Larkin (1957); Rebel Irishwomen (1935).

Hyland Books (Cat. 1994; also 1996): Green Banners: The Story of the Irish Struggle (1938).

[ top ]