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NLI: Richard Hayes, Library Director (1940-1967)

In 1934 the NLI changed the title of the head Librarian to Director. Richard James Hayes (1902-1976) became Director of the NLI in 1940. Hayes' contribution to Irish bibliography is unequalled; it includes Sources for the history of Irish civilisation: Articles in Irish periodicals; Manuscript sources for the history of Irish civilization, and (compiled along with his colleague Brighid Ní Dhonnchadha) Clár Litridheacht na Nua-Ghaedhilge 1850-1936.

Hayes was also a code breaker and agent for the British Government during the Second World War. Greatly admired by MI5, he was involved in the interrogation of German agents after their capture and used chemicals to reveal a secret message sent by the German spy Hermann Görtz from his cell in Athlone. In another case Hayes was able to show that an apparently authentic identity document found on a spy was partly forged.