John Power


Life
?b. Co. Cork; “formerly of Belle-Vue, Youghal’’; resided in London where he qualified as a civil engineer but did not practice; fnd. and compiled Irish Literary Enquirer (1865-66); author of ‘List of Irish Periodical Publications’ printed therein; J. S. Crone, refers to him as the father of Irish bibliography in an article on “Our Forerunner” at the front of the first issue of Irish Book Lover (1909);
 
Power travelled to Panama and established a journal, The Panama Star and Herald, in that country, but was forced to return home when he became paralysed; spent last years in illness at d. Leonard’s-on-Sea, d. 13 May; obit. in Notes & Queries (18 May 1872); ?possibly a kinsman of James and William Power, who published Moore’s Melodies.

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Works
Irish Literary Enquirer, or Notes on Authors, Books, and Printing in Ireland, Biographical and Bibliographical. conducted by John Power, Nos. 1-4 (London 1865-66); List of Irish Periodical Publications, chiefly literary, from 1729 to the present time (London 1866).

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Criticism
J. S. Crone, “Our Forerunner” [lead article on John Power], in The Irish Book Lover, Vol. I, No. 1 (Aug. 1909) [infra].

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Commentary
J. S. Crone (1st editorial to The Irish Book Lover, 1909): ‘Our little venture in the field of Irish Bibliography cannot claim to be a Pioneer. That honour must be accorded to a small publication entitled “The Irish Literary Inquirer”, issued in London by John Power, “formerly of Belle-Vue, Youghal’’, as he states on his title-page. Of this only four numbers saw the light, and as it as now become a  “desideratum” among book-lovers, and as little or nothing is now known of its editor and main contributor, a few notes regarding it, and him, may prove interesting to our readers. Of Power himself, little save the dates of his birth and death (1820-1872), can be ascertained, as all his contemporaries have disappeared from he scene, and none of the usual bibliographical works even mention his name. Admiration for his work induced me many years ago to make some enquiries regarding him, which came to nought, and later when I took up the subject again, the difficulties had by no means lessened. The older officials of the Reading-Room of the British Museum remembered, and described him to me as “a tall, thin, gray man with a bad cough”.’ (IBL, No. 1, 1909; quoted in Nicholas Allen, ‘Intoduction’, The Irish Book Lover: A Source for Irish Studies, 1909-1957, Princess Grace Irish Library 2004), p.3; for full text, see infra.)

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James Coleman ( MRSAI), “From South to West”, in The Irish Book Lover [Vol. I, No. 2] (Sept. 1909): ‘[...] It may be of interest to note that I have the first copy ever printed of John Power’s “List of Irish Periodicals”, as testified by the following inscription in his rather shaky handwriting: “The Rev. Beaver H. Blacker, as a slight acknowledgement of the valuable assistance received from him both in additions and corrections to these pages, by his most gratefully, and very much obliged John Power, August 11th, 1866.” Note - This is the first copy printed.’

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Barbara Hayley, ‘Irish Periodicals’, in Anglo-Irish Studies, ii (1976) [pp.83-108], writes: ‘Over a hundred and fifty periodicals were launched in Ireland between the Act of Union and the Rising of 1848, less than a quarter of them lasted a year, although many were of a high literary standard’ (p.83), citing John Power, List of Irish Periodical Publications (chiefly literary) from 1729 to the present time (London 1866), et al., in ftn. ref.

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References
James Coleman, MRSAI: ‘It may be of interest to note that I have the first copy ever printed of John Power's “List of Irish Periodicals”, as testified by the following inscription in his rather shaky handwriting: “The Rev. Beaver H. Blacker, as a slight acknowledgement of the valuable assistance received from him both in additions and corrections to these pages, by his most gratefully, and very much obliged John Power, August 11th, 1866.” Note—This is the first copy printed.’ (See Coleman, “Reviews”, in The Irish Book Lover , Vol. I, No. 2, Sept. 1909, note, p.19.)

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C. E. Sayle, Catalogue of Henry Bradshaw Collection of Irish Books in the University Library, Cambridge (Cambridge UP 1916) cites Irish Literary Enquirer, … &c., Nos. 1-4 (London 1865-66) as authority.

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Alan Eager, A Guide to Irish Bibliographical Material ([Lon 1964] rev. edn. 1980), cites List of Irish Periodical Publications, chiefly literary, from 1729 to the present time (London 1866), 250 copies printed; appeared first in Notes & Queries (March-April 1866); latter in Irish Literary Enquirer, No. 4 (1866), with additions and corrections.

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Mary Helen Thuente, W. B. Yeats and Irish Folklore (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1980), incls. brief reference to John Power, List of Periodicals [... &c.] (Thuente, p.52.)

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