Hudson, Henry (1798–1889), collector of traditional music, was born 23 March 1798, probably in Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin, third son of Edward Hudson and Frances Hudson (née Barton). Family tradition states that he was given the middle name ‘Philerin’ (‘love of Ireland’), which suggests that the family may have sympathised with the United Irishmen movement, at least before the failed rebellion of June 1798. Educated by Mr Cotton, he graduated BA from TCD (1818). He became a dentist, practised successfully in St Stephen's Green, and became state dentist in succession to his cousin Robert Blake. He learned Irish as a boy, and made copies of songs that his Irish teacher had collected from the oral tradition. Hudson's manuscripts survive in five notebooks in several collections, and the 870 items form one of the most important sources for Irish traditional music; the material from which he copied is lost. Hudson also collected songs himself, notably in Connacht (1840–42), and from 1841 to 1843 published over 100 tunes in a magazine called The Citizen, of which he was musical editor; his brother William E. Hudson (qv) was editor. Some musicologists regard him as having endangered his scholarly reputation, because (in order to disprove a statement by Edward Bunting (qv)) Hudson himself composed tunes in the traditional style, and published them as folk tunes, giving them Gaelic titles. Some of them deceived the musicologists of the day, and others were adopted by traditional singers and subsequently collected as genuine. Hudson married (11 January 1823), in St Ann's church, Dublin, Ellen Cotton, daughter of the Rev. G. W. Cotton, curate of St Ann's, who had been Hudson's tutor. Hudson inherited the extensive family estate of Glenville, Co. Cork, where he died in 1889.
Séamus Ó Casaide, IBL, xvi (1926), 33; Donal O'Sullivan, Irish folk music and song (1952), 14–16; Fintan Vallely (ed.), The companion to Irish traditional music (1999); information from Wendy Smith (family historian, New South Wales, Australia)