Padraic Colum (Padraic Colum)

Padraic Colum

Author.  A major figure in twentieth century literature, Colum’s sphere of work included his involvement in the Irish literay revival, children’s literature, and translations from Gaelic into English.  As the eldest of eight children, he accompanied his father to the United States to participate in the Colorado Gold Rush, and as an adult he frequently travelled between Ireland and the United States.  Colum returned to Ireland with his father in 1892, and he later he attended University College Dublin.  Shortly after the turn of the century, he became colleagues and friends with other major figures of the Irish literary renaissance, including William Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory, George William Russell (known by his pseudonyn, “AE”), and James Joyce.  His literary career began as a playwright and poet.  Served as one of the originals board members of the Abbey Theatre, the National Theatre of Ireland, where several of his plays were performed.  In 1907 his first publication appeared, a collection of poetry titled “Wild Earth.”  In 1911 Colum co-founded a literay journal titled “The Irish Review,” which published works by numerous major Irish authors such as George Moore, W.B. Yeats, and Oliver St. John Gogarty.  In 1914 Colum returned to the United States with his wife, the literary critic and author Mary Gunning (Maguire) Colum, and stayed for eight years.  In the United States, he began writing children’s stories, and in 1916 published “The King of Ireland’s Son,” which consisted of translations from Irish folklore.  His publications for children and young people include “The Children’s Homer” (1918), “Adventures of Odysseus” and the “Tale of Troy” (1918), “The Boy Apprenticed to an Enchanter” (1920), and “Children of Odin: Nordic Gods and Heroes” (1920).  For his contribution to children’s literature, he received the American Library Association’s Newbery Medal three times.  In 1922 Colum was commissioned by the Hawaiian legislature to write the islands’ folklore for children, and this endeavor resulted in three books.  The same year, he served as editor of “An Anthology of Irish Verse.  A book of verse titled “Dramatic Legends” was published in 1922, followed by “Creatures” in 1927, and “Old Pastures” in 1930.  Colum’s literary reputation expanded with his novels “Castle Conquer” in 1923, and “The Flying Swans” in 1957, both set in the nineteenth century.  His “Collected Poems” appeared in 1932.  After living in Paris and Nice from 1930 to 1933, Colum and his wife returned to the United States where they taught comparative literature at Columbia College and the City University of New York.  Padraic and Mary Colum also became United States citizens.  A collection of Irish stories titled “The Frenzied Prince” appeared in 1933.  He continued to write poetry and plays, and an updated edition of his “Collected Poems” was published in 1953.  In 1958 Colum published a book he co-wrote with his late wife titled “Our Friend James Joyce.”  A citizen of both Ireland the the United States, much of Colum’s later years was divided between the two countries.  In 1961, the Catholic Library Association presented him with the Regina Medal for his contribution to children’s literature.  In 1965, Colum recorded “Padraic Colum Reading His Irish Tales and Poems.” (bio by: wildgoose)  Family links:  Spouse:  Mary Maguire Colum (1884 – 1957)* *Calculated relationship


  • December, 08, 1881
  • Ireland


  • January, 01, 1972
  • USA


  • Saint Fintan's Cemetery
  • Ireland

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