All-Ireland Records

All-Ireland Records (U.S.A. ethnic) / c. 1950

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Design: In this strong design, the label name is lettered in the 'half-uncial' style of lettering (half-uncial = half-inch, relating to the size of broad-pen calligraphic script as developed in the scriptoriums of Irish monasteries in the early medieval era), with the lowercase ascenders (l, d) rising above the x-height. In contrast with the western 'roman' alphabet, there was no separate alphabet of capitals used in conjunction with the lowercase, and because we are used to seeing the initials of words being larger, the initial 'a' here seems oddly dwarfed. The distinctive shape of the island forms an attractive background, the delicate stippled outline contrasting well with the chunky calligraphy; the shell is printed in a single colour of green, long associated with the 'emerald isle,' with effective use of screens to achieve visual balance.

History: 'E. O'Byrne De Witt's Sons' at the foot bears reference to Ellen O'Byrne, born c. 1875 in Ireland, who emigrated to America c. 1890 and married a Dutchman, Justus DeWitt; together, they operated a real estate and travel agency business in New York. Around 1916 they began making music recordings, and in 1926, when Ellen O'Byrne died, her son moved the business to Boston, where there was a large ethnically Irish population. The company used several label names, the 'All-Ireland' label being introduced in about 1950, followed soon after by the better-known 'Copley.' Featured artist Joe Derrane (b. 1930) is a highly-respected Irish-American accordionist. Label scan courtesy of collector Lucyna Lachowicz of Poland.

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