Fleeing the Famine: North America and Irish Refugees, 1845-1851

Fleeing the Famine: North America and Irish Refugees, 1845-1851

Fleeing the Famine: North America and Irish Refugees, 1845-1851

Fleeing the Famine: North America and Irish Refugees, 1845-1851

Synopsis

The Irish Potato Famine caused the migration of more than two million individuals who sought refuge in the United States and Canada. In contrast to previous studies, which have tended to focus on only one destination, this collection allows readers to evaluate the experience of transatlantic Famine refugees in a comparative context. Featuring new and innovative scholarship by both established and emerging scholars of Irish America and Irish Canada, it carefully dissects the connection that arose between Ireland and North America during the famine years (1845-1851).

Excerpt

In the early spring of 1994 I received a phone call from Tim Sarbaugh, an associate professor at Gonzaga University. Did I want to contribute a chapter to a volume on America and the Irish Famine? Did I ever! A graduate student struggling to complete the first draft of my dissertation, I leaped at the opportunity. The time certainly seemed auspicious for the book that Sarbaugh proposed to publish. The sesquicentennial of the Great Famine loomed on the horizon; important events to mark the solemn occasion were being planned in Ireland, the United States, Canada, and elsewhere. Most notable would be the opening in Cork of a new museum dedicated to telling the story of the famous potato blight and its impact not only on Irish but on world history. Sarbaugh's book, which he intended as a comparative study by American and Canadian scholars, seemed to suit the moment very well.

As fate would have it, however, tragedy soon struck. In the spring of 1996, as the manuscript neared completion, Tim developed an inoperable stomach cancer and passed away, leaving a young wife and three small children. All those who knew him felt keenly the loss. My own memory is fixed: a young man with dark hair, laughing and relaxing over a pint in a Dublin pub, where several acquaintances had met up after an American Conference for Irish Studies meeting. Word of his death spread slowly. Meanwhile, his colleagues at Gonzaga packed up his books, downloaded his computer files, and brought stacks of boxes to his former home. There languished the fruits of his labors: article drafts and lecture notes, student papers and blue book exams, all tossed together higgledy-piggledy with research materials and bits of his own manuscript, a study of Catholicism's role in John F, Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign. The Famine book seemed buried forever.

In 2000, it rose again. With the support of Greenwood Publishing Group, I volunteered to resurrect the project. Previous calls to the other contributors confirmed

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.