Little, George Aloysius (1899–1965), doctor and writer, was born 21 January 1899 at his family's home, 3 Bushy Park Road, Rathgar, Dublin, one of three sons of Francis Joseph Little, solicitor, and Elizabeth Little (née McCarton). His father was related to Philip Francis Little, and an ancestor was Christopher Little of Dunshaughlin, who led men from Co. Meath to take part in the 1803 uprising of Robert Emmet (qv). George was educated at Belvedere College and Clongowes (1911–15) before attending the RCSI. During the war of independence he was appointed medical officer of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Dublin Brigade, IRA, and so befriended Michael Collins (qv), Éamon de Valera (qv), and Richard Mulcahy (qv). He became a general practitioner in Dublin, where he lived at 28 Rathgar Road, but his main interests were historical and antiquarian, particularly in relation to his home city.
A member of the RSAI, he was one of the founders of the Old Dublin Society and its second president, serving 1942–55. In this capacity he wrote numerous articles on subjects such as pre-Norse Dublin, the Jesuits, and minor Irish artists, and also tried to check the destruction of Dublin's historic houses. In 1952 he established the civic museum in William St. His interest in folklore and oral history led him to record the reminiscences of Malachi Horan, a nonagenarian farmer of Killenarden, Co. Dublin. The resultant book, Malachi Horan remembers, appeared in 1943. Reviews praised Little for his choice of subject – Horan was a vivid character with colourful memories of a long life in which he saw wakes, evictions, cockfights, famines, and Fenian activity. However, Little's rendering of the material was less well received. His introductory and explanatory passages were judged over-long and romanticised; the footnotes simplistic and over-informative; the Gaelic spelling incorrect; and the references to the Old Dublin Society excessive. Instead of letting Horan tell his tale, Little intruded and forced the narrative into an idealistic, unreal setting. The Irish Book Lover concluded that he ‘confuses authorship with editing and falls halfway between both’ but that ‘Malachi Horan survives, a tough diamond set in pink icing sugar’ (IBL, xxix (1945), 96).
Little's next book, Brendan the Navigator (1945), traced the life of St Brendan (qv) and touched on how pagan Ireland gave way to early Christianity. With the aid of numerous footnotes and multiple authorities, it concluded that Irish priests had first discovered America. As with Malachi Horan, Little intruded in the narrative; he made much use of imaginative reconstruction of events, prefaced with such phrases as ‘Be sure that ...’. His final book, Dublin before the vikings (1957), set out to prove that Dublin had been a flourishing city before the viking settlement. He traced a reference to it by Ptolemy c.150 AD; Studies termed the book ‘civic hagiography’ and concluded that though it raised interesting points it failed to prove its central thesis.
A noted collector, Little spent his retirement years surrounded by the pictures, china, glass, silver, and medals that he had acquired over the years. He died 7 January 1965 at St Vincent's hospital, Dublin, and was survived by his wife, Lallah, two sons, and two daughters.