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Dolmen Press Collection

Finding Aid & Inventory

Liam Miller was born April 24, 1924, in Mountrath, Ireland. Educated in Ireland at Ballyfin College and University College Dublin, he studied architecture. He married Josephine Browne in 1947, and together they founded the Dolmen Press in 1951. The Press operated in Dublin from 1951 until Liam Miller's death in 1987. This collection consists of 6 large series: Administrative, Design and Printing, Financial, Personal Papers, Oversize Materials, Printing Blocks, and Publications.

Biographical and Historical Note

Liam Miller was born April 24, 1924 in Mountrath, Ireland. Educated in Ireland at Ballyfin College and University College Dublin, he studied architecture. He married Josephine Browne in 1947, and together they founded the Dolmen Press in 1951. The Press operated in Dublin from 1951 until Liam Miller's death in 1987. A printing division was opened in the late 1950s as an additional revenue source, and was eventually shut down in 1979. The division took printing jobs from publishers as well as theaters, art galleries, businesses and individuals.

Founded to provide a publishing outlet for Irish poetry, the Press also heavily featured the work of Irish artists. The scope of the press grew to include prose literature by Irish authors as well as a broad range of critical works about Irish literature and theater. The life and works of W.B. Yeats is a recurring theme in a variety of works, including the Yeats Centenary Series. One highlight in the Press' history was the publication of The Tain in 1969. Thomas Kinsella's translation of the Irish epic poem took 15 years from concept to publication and represented a milestone in Irish publishing. By the 1980s the Press had created the Brogeen Books division for juvenile works, and many of the later publications were under this imprint.

Liam Miller was also a book designer. Liam Miller's major design projects stemmed from the post-Vatican II changes to the Catholic Church missals, mass books, etc. Occasionally, jobs for the printing division were also works that Liam designed. In addition to his role with the Dolmen Press, Miller was very active in the Dublin community. An avid philatelist, he served for many years on the Irish Department of Posts and Telegraphs' Philatelic Advisory Committee. Passionate about live theater, Miller helped revive the Abbey Theatre and the Abbey's Peacock Theatre. He became director of the Lantern Theatre, and frequently used his architectural skills to design and create sets for the Lantern's productions. An authority on Yeats and Irish theater, he wrote and spoke frequently on these topics.

Collection Overview

This collection consists of information relating to the publications and printing jobs of the Dolmen Press, the administrative and financial documents of its operation, and the design work and personal papers of Liam Miller.

The Administrative and Financial Series consist of general business files, correspondence, publication files, awards, events files, office documents, personnel information, exhibition files, samples, bank files, invoices, journals, ledgers, receipts, and reports.

The Publications and Printing and Design Series include author correspondence, general business correspondence, typescripts, proofs, art, galleys, reviews, paste-ups, dust jackets, and printing notes.

The Liam Miller Personal Papers Series features biographical information, correspondence, typescripts of speeches and writings, notes, journals, programs, original and reproduction art, and photographs.

The Printing Blocks Series contains illustrative printing blocks used for Dolmen publications.

Documents range in date from 1890 to 1987, with the bulk of the documents dating from the 1960s to mid-1980s. Major individuals, businesses and subjects found in the collection include Abbey Theatre, Tate Adams, Juanita Casey, Austin Clarke, Padraic Colum, Columba Press, Jack Coughlin, Brian Coyle, Mia Cranwill, Dawson Gallery, T.P. Donnelly, Douglas Hyde Gallery, W.A. Dwiggins, George Fitzmaurice, Thomas Flanagan, Four Masters Press, Eric Gill, S.W. Hayter, Seamus Heaney, Humanities Press, Irish Book Publishers Association, Maurice Kennedy, Anthony Kerrigan, Kingdom Books, Thomas Kinsella, Lantern Theatre, Louis LeBrocquy, James Liddy, Lilliput Press, Liturgical Books, Donagh MacDonagh, Louis MacNeice, Wolf Mankowitz, Hugh Maxton, John Montague, Merrill Moore, Richard Murphy, Flann O'Brien, Sean O'Casey, Brendan O'Reilly, Oxford University Press, Pilgrim Press, Anthony Porter, Kathleen Raine, Elizabeth Rivers, Robin Skelton, John Millington Synge, Talbot Press, Thoor Ballylee, Arland Ussher, Veritas Press, William Morris Society, The Yeats Association, Jack Butler Yeats, and William Butler Yeats.

Collection Inventory

Summary Information

Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Miller, Liam
Dolmen Press
Dolmen Press Collection
Date [inclusive]
145 record cartons, 42 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder
265.5  Linear Feet
Mixed Materials

Administrative Information

Publication Information
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, 2004
Access Restrictions
Collection is open with restrictions. Permission of author required before viewing Dennis O'Driscoll materials. 
Copyright Notice
Copyright for materials resides with the creators of the items in question or their descendants, unless otherwise designated. Users of this collection are responsible for using the materials in conformance with U.S. copyright law. 
Preferred Citation
Dolmen Press Collection (MS 1000), Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. 

Controlled Access Headings


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