Friday, April 11, 2008

"Life of Matt Talbot" (1942 Ed.) by Sir Joseph Glynn

The person most responsible for making Matt Talbot well known in Dublin and all of Ireland shortly after Matt's death in 1925 was Sir Joseph A. Glynn.

A friend of Glynn's, who knew Matt for 25 years, suggested that Glynn write a short sketch of Matt's holy life for his fellow Dublin workers, although Glynn had not previously heard of Matt Talbot. Within months Glynn wrote a twenty page pamphlet titled, "Life of Matt Talbot, a Dublin Labourer," which was published in 1926 by the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland and sold 10,000 copies within four days. Another edition was published in 1927 which sold 120,000 copies within a few months. In 1928 the first edition presumably in hardback with the title, Life of Matt Talbot, was published and subsequent editions have been published, including this 1942 edition that is available online at the link below. (These books have long been out-of-print but do periodically appear for sale at and eBay at a reasonable price.)

Being the first biographer of Matt's life so soon after his death, Glynn had the opportunity to interview many who knew and worked with Matt. Later biographers regularly used Glynn's editions for their own biographies. Mary Purcell's biographies, which were first published in 1954 and benefited from interviews at the two official Enquiries about Matt Talbot's holiness which opened in 1931 and again in 1948, are the most definitive and result in some different conclusions about Matt than does Glynn. Therefore, the serious student of Matt Talbot might begin by reading Glynn's 1942 edition followed by Mary Purcell's Matt Talbot and His Times (1977, American Edition) and her Remembering Matt Talbot (1990).

Glynn's Life of Matt Talbot is provided online courtesy of the University of Chicago and the Open Library website established by The Internet Archive.
Either click the homepage at and then click the flashing text to view the book to the left of your screen or go directly to to begin reading. Click the right page to turn the pages forward or click the left page for previous pages.