A May 6, 1922, editorial page notice in The Irish Press informed “friends and subscribers” the Philadelphia weekly was suspending publication “after having withstood heavy financial loss for the past four years.””Notice To Our Friends And Subscribers“, The Irish Press, May 6, 1922.
Tyrone-born Joseph McGarrity, who became wealthy in liquor wholesaling and real estate, launched the paper in March 1918 as the U.S. Post Office, “yielding to British diplomatic pressure,” banned the New York-based Irish World and Gaelic American from the mail due to war-related suspicions of espionage.Dennis Clark, The Irish in Philadelphia: Ten Generations of Urban Experience, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1973, pgs. 151-52.
“The Irish Press will be an Irish Ireland journal, and its support will be given to all movements having for their object the national regeneration of Ireland,” the paper’s first editorial stated. “It will support everything that deserves support and will criticize everything that deserves criticism.””The Irish Press, An Irish National Newspaper and Review” The Irish Press, March 23, 1918.
Circulating his paper in New York was more than a business opportunity for McGarrity. His move signaled forthcoming division inside the U.S.-based Clan na Gael and Friends of Irish Freedom. In particular, the Irish Press competed with John Devoy’s Gaelic American “as the voice of the militant exiles.”Terry Golway, Irish Rebel: John Devoy and America’s Fight for Ireland’s Freedom, St. Martin Press, New York, 1998. p. 261.
Patrick McCartan edited the Irish Press from its launch through the Sept. 11, 1920, issue. He and McGarrity were staunch supporters of Éamon de Valera. The newspaper published de Valera’s bylined pieces about Ireland during his June 1919 through December 1920 U.S. tour.
Unsurprisingly, Devoy celebrated his competitor’s fate. “Joe McGarrity’s Irish Press has gone to Davey Jones’s locker,” began the Gaelic American’s editorial. After five paragraphs of re-hashing old grievances with the rival publisher and arch enemy de Valera, Devoy concluded:
The Irish Press has been a wasp in the Irish beehive, and its death is a distinct gain. It is only one more evidence of the disintegration of De Valera’s Split, which will soon be only an evil memory.”Exit The ‘Irish Press’ “, The Gaelic American, May 13, 1922.
This later proved incorrect. Three years after Devoy’s 1928 death, De Valera launched The Irish Press daily in Dublin. A year later, he regained power as taoiseach, or prime minister, of Ireland. He dominated Irish politics for most of the 20th century. His newspaper folded in 1995.
In its last issue, as it began doing in December 1921, the Irish Press reminded readers to watch for a new quarterly magazine, The Celtic Outlook, “devoted to Irish art, science, and literature.” Earlier notices promised “the first number will be issued at St. Patrick’s Day 1922.” The last issue said the magazine was “now in the hands of the printer.””The Celtic Outlook” advertisement, separate from the editorial page notice, The Irish Press, May 6, 1922. The first issue finally published later that summer.
The Catholic Standard and Times, Philadelphia’s diocesan weekly, in August 1922 reported the magazine’s first issue included these contributions:
- “Story of the Irish Music Revival” by Carl G. Hardebeck
- “Pages of Irish History” by George Sigerson
- “Ballad of Twenty-one” and “Irreconcilables” by Garrett O’Driscoll
- “Dramatic Ideas In Ireland” by Peter McBrian
- “Animal World In Ireland” by Douglas Hyde
- “Egan O’Rahilly” by Daniel Corkery
- “Ulster and America” by Francis Joseph Bigger
- “Labor and the Republic” by Aodh de Blacam (Harold Saunders Blackham)
The Standard and Times reviewer wished the new journal “a long and inspiring career.””Busybody’s Corner” column, The Catholic Standard and Times, Aug. 19, 1922. How long The Celtic Outlook survived is unclear. Such publications are notorious for short runs. Digital newspaper databases of Philadelphia’s secular dailies do not return mentions of the magazine.
I welcome any information from readers who know more about this publication.
Villanova University’s Falvey Memorial Library digital archives makes available the full four-year run of the Irish Press, March 23, 1918 to May 6, 1922; the Gaelic American from 1903 to 1924 (some issues are missing); and select issues of the Catholic Standard and Times, 1913 to 1922, with ongoing digitization.
The Joseph McGarrity Collection contains personal papers, books, photos, and ephemera. The university’s Digital Library contains many other resources.
The Villanova digital collections have been (and will remain) a valuable resource to my American Reporting of Irish Independence series, now more than 100 posts about the revolutionary period from the December 1918 elections forward. Digital archives such as this are regularly adding new content and have become an increasingly important research tool. This would have been true without COVID-19; it has come into even sharper focus because of the pandemic.
I am especially grateful for the newspaper collections. Rare is the time I review an issue looking for a specific item that I do not see something else of interest. I am grateful to the writers, editors, and others who originally produced these papers, and for institutions such as Villanova University for making the content so easily accessible today. Thank you.
|↑1||”Notice To Our Friends And Subscribers“, The Irish Press, May 6, 1922.|
|↑2||Dennis Clark, The Irish in Philadelphia: Ten Generations of Urban Experience, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1973, pgs. 151-52.|
|↑3||”The Irish Press, An Irish National Newspaper and Review” The Irish Press, March 23, 1918.|
|↑4||Terry Golway, Irish Rebel: John Devoy and America’s Fight for Ireland’s Freedom, St. Martin Press, New York, 1998. p. 261.|
|↑5||”Exit The ‘Irish Press’ “, The Gaelic American, May 13, 1922.|
|↑6||”The Celtic Outlook” advertisement, separate from the editorial page notice, The Irish Press, May 6, 1922.|
|↑7||”Busybody’s Corner” column, The Catholic Standard and Times, Aug. 19, 1922.|