Belfast Public Libraries holds some 10,000 items in the Crone Collection consisting largely of manuscripts and personal correspondence relating to the interests of John Smyth Crone (1858-1945), founder of the journal "The Irish Book Lover" and author of "A concise dictionary of Irish biography". In the correspondence there are letters from W.B. Yeats, St. John Irvine, George Birmingham and Aodh de Blacam amongst others. The manuscript holdings include the proofs for his own dictionary of biography, a large accumulation of personal notes and jottings, and submissions from other writers.
There is also a sizeable quantity of newspaper cuttings, most of which are held in six large scrapbooks, plus several folders of political cartoons from the late nineteenth century. In addition the Crone Collection contains some two hundred individual newspapers comprising ninety-four different titles. Daily newspapers, such as the Belfast Newsletter and Northern Whig are included, along with northern and southern provincial newspapers such as the Ballymoney Free Press, Newry Commercial Telegraph, Cork Constitution and Mayo Constitution. The newspapers date from the late eighteenth century onwards, the earliest example being an April 1773 edition of the Public Monitor or Freeman’s Journal. In all it is a wide-ranging collection, spanning three centuries and taking in newspapers from every corner of Ireland. The collection includes Christmas cards, maps, autographs and bookplates.
The collection includes 11 boxes of manuscript material written by people other than Crone himself. There are letters by John Vinycomb (who worked for Marcus Ward), D.J. O'Donoghue, Dr. R.R. Madden, Richard Dowling, James McKowen, George Birmingham, H. Montgomery Hyde, W.B. Yeats and Shane Leslie amongst others to be found in the collection.
In total, the J. S. Crone consists of 97 archival boxes. These boxes contain correspondence, personal papers, photographs and illustrations.
Libraries NI have legal owership of this collection. All enquiries regarding access and permissions should be directed to Libraries NI.