Cuala Press

In this month of March, when we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I would like to share with you another wonderful treasure in the Portland Room of the Portland Public Library, the Cuala Press collection. This special collection of greeting cards, prints, and book covers was given to the public library by James Augustine Healy (1890-1975), a philanthropist and active proponent of Irish literature. He also gave Cuala Press materials to Colby College. (Healy had a summer home on Chebeague Island, to give further connection to our island community). The Maine Irish Heritage Center also owns some Cuala Press books.

The Cuala Press (pronounced coo-la) was an Irish private press set up in 1908 by Elizabeth Yeats and Lily Yeats, the sisters of William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet, dramatist, and writer. Their brother Jack provided illustrations for some of the works of the press, which promoted Irish cultural heritage and decorative arts. It was also the only Arts and Crafts press to be run and staffed by women (which also helps us to celebrate Women’s History Month in March).