Edward Thomas Mulhall (1832-1899), George Michael Mulhall (1836-1900) and Francis Healy Mulhall (1845-1898), sons of Thomas Mulhall and Catherine Flood of Dublin, all settled in Argentina in the mid-nineteenth century. Edward arrived in the mid 1850s and settled down to sheepfarming, first at Ranchos, and later near Zárate. In 1860, his brother Michael arrived in Argentina, and he persuaded his older brother to give up sheepfarming in order to go into journalism and publishing.
The resulting partnership led first to the founding the "The Standard" of Buenos Aires in May 1861, which only ceased publication in 1959. This is a most important source of information for the history and chronicles of the English-speaking communities in Argentina. A complete run of the newspaper is in the Special Collections of the Library of the Universidad San Andrés, Victoria, Buenos Aires.
Later, the colaboration of Michael G. Mulhall and Edward T. Mulhall led to the publication of the outstanding series of four English-language editions of the Handbooks of the River Plate. Details of these can be found in the bibliography that follows. Each edition is a mine of information, still relevant to the person interested in the history of Argentina.
Michael G. Mulhall was both journalist, author and statistician. The list of his books is extensive, one of the best known being The English in South America, published in 1878, and reprinted 99 years later in New York. His Dictionary of Statistics was published in at least seven editions between 1884 and 1911, the last three posthumously.
In 1868 he married Marion McMurrough Murphy, an author in her own right. A list of her books is also added as part of the bibliography. She travelled extensively in Argentina and the neighbouring countries, sometimes accompanying her husband. She wrote an eyewitness account of the terrible four months of the 1871 yellow fever epidemic in Buenos Aires (See Graeme Wall's webpages on that subject).
The Preface to the Mulhall's 1863 publication The River Plate Hand-book is important enough to reprint below without alteration. In it we are given useful information that confirms that this was the precursor to the four editions of the Handbooks published by M. G. and E. T. Mulhall in 1869, 1875, 1885 and 1892. It tells us also how the list of 'Foreigners resident in Buenos Ayres' was put together.
As this may be termed the first book published in English, in that part of the New world South of the Equator, the best preface will be a history of its compilement. The idea of uniting a Hand-book, Directory and Almanac in an annual publication is, we believe, legitimate in a rising country which changes its aspect, in a surprising manner, almost every year. The great interest displayed, in England and Ireland, touching the prospects, condition and resources of the River Plate called for some fresher information than can be found in Darwen, Head, Parish and Page. The isolation reciprocally felt by our town and country populations, kept each of these great sections comparatively ignorant of the other. The want in fine, of an English publication similar to those of Solveyra, Morta &c, left open a field of ephemeral literature, hitherto uncultivated.
In August 1862 we sent out invitations to all our agents and correspondents, for the supply of whatever data they possessed, respecting their several districts. Dr Hutchinson (the African traveller), Major Rickard (Inspector of Mines), Mr Perkins (Editor of the Ferro-carril), Dr Scrivener, Sor. Puente, the Prussian Minister, the American Consul, Mr M'Dougall of Gualeguaychú, Mr Myers of Paraná, contributed useful details of the Argentine provinces. In the partidos of Buenos Ayres we found it difficult to collect the various minutiae to be desired in a Hand-book: being obliged to content ourselves with meagre and imperfect reports, we do not claim for this section the merit of labor or general utility.
The description of the city is from our own pen, but somewhat hastily sketched, as our space and time were both very limited. The miscellaneous items are not arranged in strict order, but will be found interesting for reference. The public offices and departments are described by Mr.Kemsley. The list of foreign residents cost immense toil, yet has some defects. The want of a good map cannot be supplied until volume II. (1864).
Notwithstanding a personal visit to Montevideo, we were unable to get much information about. our Anglo-Oriental brethren, the British Minister receiving us rather harshly. Mr M'Coll favored us with a small guide to the Uruguay, published in London, which we have almost re-produced, adding to the same, long especial items, furnished by correspondents. Moreover Mr Kemsley gives a narrative of his native country, and Messrs Cranwell and Towers have lent us some service.
The delay of publication has been unforeseen and unavoidable: we even employed the Porvenir office to aid in printing our 2000 copies. The demand is so great that we flatter ourselves the public will receive the Hand-book with favor. We claim for it no niche in the temple of Literature, nor a place in fashionable libraries. It is simply a vade-mecurn, and if it ministers any useful information to those settled on the shores of La Plata, or induce a dozen of our trans-atlantic brethren to come hither, we shall feel that we have been duly mindful of the Italian adage which says "A man has lived to no purpose unless he has got a son, built a house, or writ a book."
St. Patrick's Eve-1863.
Books by the Mulhall Family
MULHALL, Edward Thomas (1832-1899)
VILLANUEVA, Carlos E. and MULHALL Edward T.
MULHALL, Michael George (1836-1900)
STRONG, Josiah "The United States and the future of the Anglo-Saxon race"
and MULHALL, Michael G. "The growth of American industries and wealth",
London, 1889 pp.70
WEBB, Augustus Duncan and MULHALL Michael G.,
MULHALL, Michael George, (1836-1900) and MULHALL, Edward Thomas (1832-1899)
"The River Plate Hand-book, Guide, Directory and Almanac for 1863, comprising the City and Province of Buenos Ayres, the other Argentina provinces, Montevideo, etc.", The Editors of the Standard, Buenos Ayres, 1863. 8º.
"Handbook of the River Plate; comprising Buenos Ayres, the Upper Provinces, Banda Oriental, and Paraguay", Vol. I, Buenos Ayres: Standard Printing Office, 14 Calle Belgrano. pp. xvi, 552. 1869. 8º. (no volume II was ever known to have been published)
"Handbook of the River Plate Republics. Comprising Buenos Ayres and the provinces of the Argentine Republic and the Republics of Uruguay and Paraguay.", London: Edward Stanford, 6, 7 & 8, Charing Cross. Buenos Ayres: M. G. & E. T. Mulhall, 118 San Martin. pp. viii. 432. 1875. 8º.
"Manual de las Repúblicas del Plata, etc." Buenos Aires, 1876. 8º. (Edition in Spanish commissioned by President Sarmiento)
"Handbook of the River Plate, comprising the Argentine Republic, Uruguay, and Paraguay with six maps", Fifth edition, etc., pp. x. 732. M. G. & E. T. Mulhall, Proprietors and Editors of the Buenos Ayres "Standard". Buenos Ayres: M. G. and E. T. Mulhall, 88 Calle Maypu. London: Trubner & Co., 1885. 8º.
"Handbook of the River Plate, comprising the Argentine Republic, Uruguay, and Paraguay with railway map", Sixth edition. pp. 686. M. G. and E. T. Mulhall, Proprietors and Editors of the Buenos Ayres "Standard", Buenos Ayres: M. G. and E. T. Mulhall, Standard Court. London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1892. 8º.
"Handbook of Brazil", publ. Buenos Ayres, 1877. 8º.
MULHALL Marion McMurrough (died 1922)
Notes and presentation © Jeremy Howat, January 2002