News & Events

1962 journal on the Holy Land digitised

The Representative Church Body Library (RCBL) has recently digitised a copy of a journal that was written by a young student, Patricia Ledbetter (now Smyth), as she travelled to Jerusalem and environs, via Holyhead, London, Frankfurt and Beirut, in September 1962.

The full digitized copy of Ledbetter’s Holy Land pilgrimage charts the story of an influential journey of discovery and excitement, with boat, rail, and flight travel, as well as her first encounter with the geo–political realities underpinning everyday life in this region. She had entrusted it to her colleague, Miss Fitzgerald (then librarian of the RCB), shortly after their return for comment and correction and on a recent visit to the Library as Mrs Patricia Smyth, the author was enchanted to discover that the journal had been kept safe and accessioned as a manuscript, in 1963.

This online exhibit will not only be of interest to modern historians but also members of the general public. It includes background about the journey and the inspiring influence of Miss Fitzgerald, Librarian of the RCB Library, 1932–1966, including a detailed list of correspondence, papers, photographs, press–cuttings and printed material assembled by Ledbetter for a biographical study of Miss Fitzgerald, and the relationship between the two. In particular, they document Miss Fitzgerald’s role as a mentor and ‘grinder of students’ including Patricia at Trinity College Dublin, as well as providing a detailed account of her life and in particular her dedicated role and contribution as the library for the Church of Ireland, for which she was awarded an honorary MA degree by Trinity College Dublin in 1962 – the same year as she accompanied Patricia to the Holy Land.

For further information about the journal as well as other interesting projects undertaken by the staff at the RCBL, please visit the library at the following link: