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MARCH2005
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Get Your Irish Up!

Some say that on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, everyone is Irish. Whether you are Irish or not, you can learn a great deal about the experience of the Irish in America (and that of many other ethnic groups) at the Learning Page Web site activity devoted to "Immigration."

"Mother Jones" [with President Calvin Coolidge], [1924]. [President John F. Kennedy, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front], 1961.

In Colonial times, the Irish population in America was second in number only to the English. Many early Irish immigrants were of Scotch-Irish stock. Pushed out of Ireland by religious conflicts, lack of political autonomy and dire economic conditions, these immigrants were drawn to America by the promise of land ownership and greater religious freedom. Presidents Andrew Jackson and Ronald Reagan traced their roots to these early Americans.

In addition to sections on Irish immigration, this activity offers presentations on African, German, Italian, Scandinavian, Japanese and Mexican immigration, among others.

In the American Memory Web site are other immigration-related materials that are easy to find if you go to the home page http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ and type "immigration" in the search box at the upper right of the page. Of particular interest may be the 1906 American Mutoscope & Biograph Co film "Arrival of emigrants [i.e. immigrants], Ellis Island." The film depicts scenes at the Immigration Depot and a nearby dock on Ellis Island. It appears first to show a group of immigrants lined up to board a vessel leaving the island, then another group arriving at the island and being directed off of the dock and into the depot by a uniformed official.

 

A. "Mother Jones" [with President Calvin Coolidge], [1924]. Mother Jones (1830?-1930), born Mary Harris, was an Irish immigrant and well-known labor activist and organizer of coal miners, who visited President Coolidge in the White House to endorse his bid for reelection. Today there is a magazine named for her. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-111391 DLC (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: Item in LOT 12283, vol. 2 <P&P>

B. [President John F. Kennedy, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front], 1961. President Kennedy, of Irish descent, was the only Roman Catholic U.S. president. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-117124 DLC (b&w film copy neg.) LC-USZ61-1173 DLC (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: Item in PRES FILE - Kennedy, John F.--Photo <P&P>


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