Rosamond Jacob (13 October 1888 – 11 October 1960) was an Irish writer and political activist. She was a lifelong activist for suffragist, republican and socialist causes and a writer of fiction.
She was born to lapsed Quaker parents, Lewis Jacob and Henrietta Harvey, in Waterford, where she lived until 1920. Her parents’ support for Irish Nationalism placed them at odds with the majority of the Quaker community in Waterford and resulted in isolation. Rosamond was educated in Quaker schools in Waterford and amongst other things through this became proficient in languages such as French and German.
As a young adult Jacob become involved in organisations such as the Gaelic League, the Irish National League, and Inghinidhe na hÉireann, a dedicated women’s radical nationalist organisation. She, along with her brother Tom, was a member of Sinn Féin from 1905, and it was Rosamond who opened the first branch of Sinn Féin in Waterford in 1906. It was that same year Rosamond became an Irish language speaker and writer, a language she’d go on to become fluent in. Jacob’s time in the Gaelic League over time began to grate, however, as she began to find the Catholic atmosphere there stifling to her developing feminist and agonist beliefs. In 1908 she joined the Irish Women’s Franchise League, created by her friend and fellow feminist Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington.
She lived in the Rathmines area of Dublin from at least 1942, firstly in Belgrave Square. From 1950 she shared a house with her friend Lucy Kingston at 17 Charleville Road. She died in 1960 after a road traffic accident in which she was struck down. Rosamond Jacob kept a diary almost all of her life, and there are 171 of these diaries among her literary and political papers held in the National Library of Ireland.
When I photographed this plaque back in May 2016 I was unaware of Frederick Douglass but for various reasons I encountered his name many times since but mainly because he was in Ireland at the beginning of the 1845 Famine.
In October 2013 Mayor of Waterford John Cummins unveiled the plaque on the facade of Waterford City Hall to commemorate the address by Douglass, a former slave who was one of the leading abolitionists of his day and an influence on the thinking of US president Abraham Lincoln.
Note: The Irish Potato Famine, also known as the Great Hunger, began in 1845 when a mold [mould] known as Phytophthora infestans (or P. infestans) caused a destructive plant disease that spread rapidly throughout Ireland. The infestation ruined up to one-half of the potato crop that year, and about three-quarters of the crop over the next seven years.
Douglass’s friends and mentors feared that publicity at home would draw the attention of his ex-owner, Hugh Auld, who might try to get his “property” back. They encouraged Douglass to tour Ireland, as many former enslaved people had done. Douglass set sail on the Cambria for Liverpool, England, on August 16, 1845. He traveled in Ireland as the Great Famine was beginning.
Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, c. February 1817 or 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, becoming famous for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings. Accordingly, he was described by abolitionists in his time as a living counterexample to enslavers’ arguments that enslaved people lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. Northerners at the time found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been enslaved. It was in response to this disbelief that Douglass wrote his first autobiography.
Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born enslaved on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Talbot County, Maryland. The plantation was between Hillsboro and Cordova; his birthplace was likely his grandmother’s cabin east of Tappers Corner, and west of Tuckahoe Creek. In his first autobiography, Douglass stated: “I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it.” In successive autobiographies, he gave more precise estimates of when he was born, his final estimate being 1817. However, based on the extant records of Douglass’s former owner, Aaron Anthony, historian Dickson J. Preston determined that Douglass was born in February 1818. Though the exact date of his birth is unknown, he chose to celebrate February 14 as his birthday, remembering that his mother called him her “Little Valentine.”