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Audio Recording Father Sarsfield O'Sullivan, Irish American priest, Butte, Montana, second interview, part 4

Father Sarsfield O'Sullivan, Irish priest at St. Lawrence in Butte, Montana

About this Item


  • Father Sarsfield O'Sullivan, Irish American priest, Butte, Montana, second interview, part 4


  • Stanton, Gary Ward, 1946- (Collector)
  • Johnson, Paula J., 1954- (Collector)
  • Toelken, Barre, 1935- (Collector)
  • O' Sullivan, Sarsfield (Interviewee)

Created / Published

  • Butte, Montana, September 1, 1979


  • -  Irish Americans
  • -  Sepulchral monuments
  • -  Irish American Catholics
  • -  Folk songs, Irish
  • -  Irish American wit and humor
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  Field recordings
  • -  Interviews
  • -  Sound recordings
  • -  United States -- Montana -- Butte


  • Ethnography
  • Field recordings
  • Interviews
  • Sound recordings


  • -  Index data: Part 4 of a 5-part recording session with Father Sarsfield O'Sullivan at the St. Lawrence O'Toole Roman Catholic Church rectory in Butte MT: about the sizes of the parishes Father O'Sullivan serves; there are two extremes on the hill [part of Butte]; the old people and the young couples who can't afford a new home on the flat; why houses were built close to the mines; how so many Irish died of lung diseases, was it because they moved to a high, dry atmosphere?; Father O'Sullivan talks about different priest's graves in the Montana Street cemetery; fieldworker Barre Toelken comments how different the graveyards are, some of O'Sullivan's favorite inscriptions, "the Second Valentino," or "He heard his last whistle on the Hill"; Holy Cross Cemetery has a a larger population than Butte, it's where most of O'Sullivan's parishioners went instead of Palm Beach; Toelken comments on the double image Butte has of itself; Father O'Sullivan talking about Cuchullain [Cuchilain] Moriarty's church in San Jose California, a perfect microcosm of the church, Cu requests they don't call him Anglo, now they call him Paddy; story of Cu's blasphemy during his training, when he compared Patrick Pierce and Jesus Christ; O'Sullivan's mental picture of his father, compared with his grandmother's story of anchoring his father with a rock, while she did the wash; story illustrating the his grandmother's shrewdness; fieldworker Miiko Toelken tells of seeing a boy pull a chair from beneath his mother; O'Sullivan's parents' threat was "If you don't behave, the next time I go out I'll leave you home"; use of contradictions in speech, "Mike says, I feel like a new man, I'm me old self again"; O'Sullivan's father's headstone verse, "Not a Turk, nor of Luther was Michael, nor a man to be scoffed at by priest or by brothers, But a true branch of Donal O'Sullivan, The fat man whose right arm lay gaps in the Sustanic [Satanic?] forces"; one of the fiddle tunes O'Sullivan's father knew, "Young Red-Haired Sally"; O'Sullivan finds a lot of parallel with Jewish humor, Douglas [Ross] Hyde's distinction between wit and humor; phrase (in Irish Gaelic) "It's like telling a story to a horse, and the horse asleep"; fieldworker Barre Toelken tells about the Eastern Orthodox wedding [attended by the field team in Butte], the tunes are distinctly Yugoslavian [Serbian?] and the Irishness of the Catholic masses has been obliterated, the home liturgy has been a great service to the Serbian Orthodox Church, they are extremely patriarchial, Serbian boys never change their religion; Ukrainian [Orthodox? singers] use lots of Italian polyphonies.


  • 7-inch reel

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Call number: AFC 1981/005: AFS 20453
  • MBRS shelflist: RXA 0939
  • Field project identifier: MT9-GS-R68

Source Collection

  • Montana Folklife Survey collection (AFC 1981/005)


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • audio

Rights & Access

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Credit line: Montana Folklife Survey collection (AFC 1981/005), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Stanton, Gary Ward, Paula J Johnson, Barre Toelken, and Sarsfield O' Sullivan. Father Sarsfield O'Sullivan, Irish American priest, Butte, Montana, second interview, part 4. Butte, Montana, September 1, 1979. Audio.

APA citation style:

Stanton, G. W., Johnson, P. J., Toelken, B. & O' Sullivan, S. (1979) Father Sarsfield O'Sullivan, Irish American priest, Butte, Montana, second interview, part 4. Butte, Montana, September 1. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Stanton, Gary Ward, et al. Father Sarsfield O'Sullivan, Irish American priest, Butte, Montana, second interview, part 4. Butte, Montana, September 1, 1979. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.