'Irish Roots' archive



Irish Roots


June 1 2015

Alfred Henry Hunter: Bloomier and Bloomier

Alfred Henry Hunter is the Dubliner long known to be the model for the hero of Joyce's Ulysses, Leopold Bloom. In 1904, after rescuing Joyce from a drunken fight, Hunter took him home and showed him a paternal sympathy that resonated deeply with Joyce, who originally planned Ulysses as a short story based on the incident. It expanded enormously between 1914 and 1922, and the figure at its centre changed from the kindly Hunter to the Everyman Bloom.

The James Joyce Centre's website (jamesjoyce.ie) still refers to Hunter as "an elusive figure". Not a bit of it. With all the records now online, his life is an open book.

Here he is in Mount Street in 1901, with his wife Marion Bruére Hunter (née Quin). He gives his occupation as "Gentleman", and then crosses it out, but Marion remains a "Lady". Very Bloom-like.

In 1911 they're in Great Charles Street, less than five minutes from Bloom's Eccles Street address. Hunter is now an advertising agent, as Bloom was. His marriage to Marion took place in London in 1899: see freebmd.org.uk. He was born in Ballymacarret in 1866. His parents, William Hunter and Maria Lockhart, were married in Maghera in 1856. His death in 1926 was from "cardiac asthenia", congestive heart failure. And Marion was listed as a voter in Rutland Street, in Dublin's north city centre, up to 1942.

In 1890, Hunter even registered a patent of an invention "for facilitating the unlacing of boots and shoes and corsets and such like articles of wearing apparel", as reported in The Weekly Irish Times of November 14 1890. Bloomier and Bloomier.

Given Joyce's penchant for using identifiable individuals, an intriguing question is why Hunter had to be re-imagined as Jewish. Perhaps Everyman as a Northern Protestant was a step too far, even for Joyce.

And perhaps, just for this year, Bloomsday should be Alfred Henry Hunter Day.

Full links, and more information:

1901 Census: http://census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai003818919/

1911 Census: http://census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000060036/

Birth: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FR47-358

Sister's birth: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F5PT-M68

Parents' marriage: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FGCL-R8L

Death registration

Father' will calendar entry: http://www.willcalendars.nationalarchives.ie/reels/cwa/005014887/005014887_00417.pdf

Father's will fully transcribed at http://www.proni.gov.uk/index/search_the_archives/will_calendars.htm

Irish Times death notice

Irish Times patent notice
At least one other patent exists, for a cuff fastener.

Alfred's voter registration

Marion's baptism in Kingstown in 1864

Will calendar entry for Francis, Marion's father

Will calendar entry for Menella (née Wilcox), Marion's mother, cousin of Charles Dodgson, AKA Lewis Carroll. See Lewis Carrol and the Victorian Stage.

Dodgson was friendly with Marion and her sister, the actress Elizabeth Menella ("Minna") Quin, and in 1897, shortly before his death, gave Marion a personally-inscribed gift of a facsimile of the original manuscript of Alice's Adventures Under Ground - see Christie's description.

Marion B. Hunter's voter registration 1939-42

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