Category Archives: Journalism

Ten books for year-end gift giving, or your ‘shelf’

Most of the 10 books described below the photo focus on 19th and early 20th century Irish history. A few were published before this year. One is a first-ever English translation of a German work from 1913; another is an on-demand reissue of a 1922 title. Two books on Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania history are only tangentially about the Irish. Four of the authors are personal acquaintances, marked by *. I hope my readers will support their work. Titles are listed alphabetically and linked to where the books can be ordered online. That convenience notwithstanding, please support small history presses and independent booksellers whenever possible. Enjoy. MH

There’s a mistake in the order of this stack to make you look closer at the list below.

A Journey in Ireland, 1921, Wilfrid Ewart. The author, journalist, and retired British military officer traveled around Ireland for several weeks in spring 1921, shortly before the truce. Unfortunately, his book of experiences wasn’t published until spring 1922, after the treaty and the country’s lurch into civil war. That doesn’t matter as much today. This is a good travel read about Ireland at war, with plenty of passages beyond Dublin and Belfast. I wrote a 10-part blog serial revisiting the people and events Ewart encountered 100 years earlier.

America and The Making of an Independent Ireland, Francis M. Carroll. The book consolidates Carroll’s long career of scholarship on this topic. It “argues that the existence of the state of Ireland is owed to considerable effort and intervention by Irish Americans and the American public at large.” Beginning with the 1916 Rising, the final chapter pushes the story into the early phases of U.S.-Irish relations after partition and the civil war. It compliments Bernadette Whelan’s United States Foreign Policy and Ireland: From Empire to Independence, 1913-29, and Michael Doorley’s Irish-American Diaspora Nationalism: The Friends of Irish Freedom, 1916-1935.

Ireland [1913], Richard Arnold Bermann. Translated from German and edited by Leesa Wheatley and Florian Krobb. The book is a snapshot of Ireland at the start of its revolutionary period and a year before the Great War. In their Introduction, Wheatley and Krobb also note Bermann’s “umbrage … at traces of mass tourism prone to erode the serenity of the autochthonous culture where it might still survive, and the blatant exploitation of visitors by entrepreneurial yet intrusive individuals who offer their services as guides or coach drivers.” See my post, Welcoming American tourists to Ireland, 1913-2021.

Living With History: Occasional Writings, Felix M. Larkin*. A former Irish civil servant, Larkin is one of the 2008 founders of the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland. He has devoted special attention to the late Freeman’s Journal and is a regular contributor to the book review pages of The Irish Catholic and letters to the editor section of The Irish Times, plus more than two dozen academic works. His collection of nearly 100 pieces, ranging from 500 to 5,000 words; sectioned under nine themes, including one on American people and events; are all written for general audiences, Larkin says; and can be read sequentially, or dipped into, set aside, and returned to later with ease. I am honored that Larkin included my 2018 Q & A interview with him.

On the Edge: Ireland’s Offshore Islands, Diarmaid Ferriter. My wife and I have hiked and biked two of the three Aran Islands and look forward to a future visit to Inis Meáin. Until then, Ferriter’s “comprehensive study of Ireland’s offshore islands purposely eschews” the “reverent, patronizing and romantic tone” of earlier “cultural archivists and spiritual dreamers … seeking to understand – or even momentarily become part of – a mystical ancient Celtic society,” The Irish Independent wrote in its 2018 review. “Ferriter avoids single definitions, broad brushstrokes and hyperbole. Primarily because he is a historian who always favors fact, sources and evidence, over subjective opinion; and the great array of archival material he brings to the surface here is a good testament to his dedicated approach to research.”

Politics, Culture, and The Irish American Press 1784-1963, Edited by Debra Reddin van Tuyll, Mark O’Brien, and Marcel Broersma. This collection of 15 pieces “tell a number of important stories and provides invaluable insights about journalism, about Ireland, about America, and about the ethnicity of the Irish in America,” Irish Ambassador to the United States Dan Mulhall writes in the Forward. It is divided into three sections: the 1700s, the 1800s, and the 1900s. The book covers subjects you’d expect to find: Gillian O’Brien on Margaret Sullivan and Michael Doorley on the Gaelic American; and more obscure stories, such as Colum Kenny on Michael Davitt’s work for William Randolph Hearst, and Mark O’Brien on American influences at the Irish Press–Dev’s Dublin daily, 1931-1955, not his supporters’ earlier Philadelphia weekly, 1918-1922. A welcome addition to any journalism collection.

The Catholic Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania: Its Origins, Establishment, Decline, and Resurrection, John C. Bates*. Cork-born Michael O’Connor in 1843 became the first bishop of the new see at Pittsburgh. He built churches, schools, hospitals, and other institutions (He founded the Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper.) as waves of Irish Famine immigrants and poor Catholics from Eastern Europe populated the workforce of America’s most industrialized city. The Catholic Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania was created 100 years later to share the church’s history in the region and preserve its records and artifacts. Bates’ detailed reference book documents both efforts, a “history within a history.” I’ve found this book useful in my own research, including this post: Don’t drink: Father Mathew’s temperance tour in Pittsburgh.

The Fall of the Fitzmaurices, Kay Caball*. A professional genealogist and author of the definitive Finding Your Ancestors in Kerry. (She has helped me find relations and other Kerry characters.), Fall tells of the demise of the Fitzmaurice family, who had been powerful Lords of Kerry since 1235. “What could have happened to this Kerry dynasty after almost 500 years of acquisition and expansion, which was then so reduced in such a short space of time?” Caball asked in a late 2020 guest post that previews her book. “We would have to say improvidence, extravagance, careless management, and improvidence.”

The Irish Assassins, Julie Kavanaugh. This new treatment of the 1882 Phoenix Park murders and their aftermath is the most commercially popular title on this list. The Irish Times said, “Kavanagh’s is a sweeping and compelling narrative of a story that more than bears retelling. What she has sought to do, which has not been done before, is to try to connect in time the political and social lives of what is an extended and diverse cast of characters in Britain and Ireland.” Author John Banville’s New York Times review described the book as “an adroit unpicking of the intricacies of the history, and her book is at once admirable for its scholarship and immensely enjoyable in its raciness.”

The Mount Washington Transit Tunnel Disaster, Mary Jane Kuffner Hirt*. On Christmas Eve, 1917, my Kerry-born grandfather was working as a motorman for a Pittsburgh streetcar company. That day, a car in the fleet lost power as it entered the decline of a tunnel. The crash at the other end resulted in a dozen deaths and scores of injuries, still the city’s worst transit disaster. My grandfather was not involved in the episode, but he would have felt the aftershocks of the streetcar company’s bankruptcy in this dark period of the city’s history, eight months after the United States entered World War I and weeks before the outbreak of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Kuffner Hirt’s research is meticulous. My full review in Western Pennsylvania History Magazine.

America’s 1921 relief to Ireland, revisited

Most of my work this year for the American Reporting of Irish Independence section of this blog has focused on the American Committee for Relief in Ireland. The 1921 fund drive provided $5 million to Ireland through summer 1922. Three of the 10 stories below were published outside the blog. Three key relief committee documents are also linked below the photo.

American investigators visit Ireland, February 1921

St. Patrick’s Day, 1921: ‘A Summons to Service’

Cardinal Gibbons, who died 100 years ago, was committed to Ireland, Catholic Review (Baltimore)

American visitors describe ‘Distress in Ireland,’ April 1921

The Pittsburgh fight over 1921 relief to Ireland 

War relief to Listowel and North Kerry, 1921Listowel Connection

‘A duty to their own flesh & blood’

Forgotten Charity Between Ireland and America, 1889 & 1921, The Irish Story

The lawyer, the banker & money to Ireland, fall 1921

Irish visitor thanks America for 1921 financial relief

The American Committee for Relief in Ireland inspecting factory ruins at Balbriggan. Hogan, W. D. (1921).

KEY DOCUMENTS

Ruth Russell in revolutionary Ireland, revisited

Ruth Russell, 1919.

American journalist Ruth Russell reported from Ireland during the early months of the Irish War of Independence. Upon her return to America, she joined a women’s protest against Britain, testified before a special committee exploring conditions in Ireland, and published a book based on her dispatches for the Chicago Daily News.

The five-part monograph below, published in 2019, also explorers earlier and later periods of Russell’s life. I presented my research about her at the American Journalism Historians Association annual conference in Dallas, October 2019; the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland annual conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, November 2019; and at the Irish Railroad Workers Museum in Baltimore, March 2020. Here’s the series:

This sixth post details my effort to add Ruth’s name to the grave in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she was buried with her sister.

Finally, this ‘Toward America‘ video from the Mná100 website, released in 2021 as part of the Irish government’s Decade of Centenaries program, also included my work on Russell.

Delivering my research at the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland conference at Queens University Belfast in November 2019.

Irish visitor thanks America for 1921 financial relief

James G. Douglas, honorary treasurer of the Irish White Cross, visited U.S. cities in November 1921 to acknowledge the $5 million in relief Americans donated since the start of the year. The American Committee for Relief in Ireland, which collected the money, described him as “a prominent (drapery) merchant in Dublin, a member of the religious Society of Friends (Quakers) … held in the highest esteem by all classes of people of whatever religious or political affiliation.”[1]Report of American Committee for Relief in Ireland, New York, 1922 , p. 51. Douglas “almost singlehandedly” operated the Irish White Cross, which distributed the aid in Ireland through summer 1922.[2]See Dictionary of Irish Biography

Douglas made his first stop in Pittsburgh, where he was honored by members of the local American Committee at a Knights of Columbus hall.

Douglas

“I addressed the gathering, conveyed the thanks of the White Cross and the Irish people for what they had done and explaining the manner in which the White Cross had administered the relief made possible by the American Committee’s funds,” Douglas wrote in a seven-page account of the tour held by the National Library of Ireland. He never mentioned fundraising totals, which are in some dispute.[3]See my earlier posts: The Pittsburgh fight over 1921 relief to Ireland and ‘A duty to their own flesh & blood‘.

From Pittsburgh, Douglas traveled to Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston. His report is filled with the names of long-ago discontinued passenger railroad lines and prominent early 20th century political and church leaders:

  • Bishop Hugh C. Boyle of Pittsburgh, whose Irish immigrant father was killed in the 1889 Johnstown flood.
  • Archbishop George W. Mundelein of Chicago, son of an Irish immigrant mother.
  • Former Wisconsin Gov. Francis E. McGovern.
  • Archbishop John J. Glennon of St. Louis, a County Westmeath native.
  • Dr. Vernon Kellogg, director of the National Research Council.
  • U.S. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, who was elected U.S. president in 1928.
  • Limerick Mayor Stephen M. O’Mara, also visiting America.
  • William A. Brady, president of the National Association of Motion Picture Producers.
  • Cardinal William O’Connell of Boston, son of Irish parents.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Channing H. Cox.

Douglas made several reference to his encounters with newspaper reporters and photographers, but most press coverage was brief and placed on inside pages. His month-long visit was hardly generated as much attention as Éamon de Valera’s U.S. tour from June 1919 through December 1920.

By early December 1921, the treaty between Irish separatists and the British government dominated the news as Douglas returned to Ireland. He served in the Irish Senate from 1922 until his death in 1954.

From the front page of The Evening Times, Sayre, Pa., Nov. 21, 1921. This image and a wire service story about Douglas’ American visit appeared in U.S. papers through December 1921.

References

References
1 Report of American Committee for Relief in Ireland, New York, 1922 , p. 51.
2 See Dictionary of Irish Biography
3 See my earlier posts: The Pittsburgh fight over 1921 relief to Ireland and ‘A duty to their own flesh & blood‘.

Don’t drink: Father Mathew’s temperance tour in Pittsburgh

Father Theobald Mathew, Ireland’s 19th century temperance priest, visited Pittsburgh in July 1851 during a two-year American tour. Cork-born Michael J. O’Connor, who eight years earlier became the first bishop of the new Catholic dioceses in Western Pennsylvania, hosted the itinerant from July 13 to July 30 at the ecclesiastical residence.

O’Connor “set the example to his flock by solemnly receiving the pledge from the hand of the venerable ‘Apostle of Temperance’ and adding his name to the list of those who were already enrolled in the good cause,” The Pittsburgh Catholic reported.[1]”Father Mathew”, The Pittsburgh Catholic, July 26, 1851. O’Connor established the newspaper in 1844. The secular Pittsburgh Daily Post described the bishop kneeling to receive the pledge as “a glorious spectacle.”[2]”Father Mathew: Most Interesting and Edifying Proceedings”, Pittsburgh Daily Post, July 22, 1851.

It also was an extraordinary turn for O’Connor, who like other U.S. Catholic prelates had been skeptical of Mathew’s methods and reputation years before his American tour. Part of the reason was Mathew’s “easy fraternization with Protestants,” according to Catholic author and lecturer Michael J. Aquilina.[3]”Pittsburgh Takes the Pledge”, The Pittsburgh Catholic, Aug. 5, 2005, quoted, and Aug. 12, 2005. Written by and adapted from Aquilina’s April 17, 2005, Lambing Lecture, Holy Spirit … Continue reading O’Connor characterized his own temperance efforts as being “on a more religious basis than it is in Ireland. The pledge is administered before the altar.”[4]Quinn, John F., Father Mathew’s Crusade: Temperance in Nineteenth-Century Ireland and Irish America, University of Massachusetts Press, Boston, 2002. p. 158 and Note 13, p. 228. Quote from … Continue reading

His was not the first or only effort to dry the city. “The temperance movement was probably as characteristic of Pittsburgh morality as any reform and possessed more interest and dramatic vigor than most. A number of local temperance societies had been organized before 1830, but in that year the various societies formed a union and undertook a real campaign.”[5]Baldwin, Leland D., Pittsburgh: The Story of a City, 1750-1865. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 1937. p. 249.

Soon after becoming bishop in 1843, O’Connor traveled to Europe to recruit religious personnel to build the new see. In Ireland, he accepted an invitation to speak at one of Mathew’s rallies. “It was probably that personal encounter with Father Mathew and the eyewitness experience of his work that changed Bishop O’Connor’s attitude,” Aquilina wrote. The Kerry Evening Post reported in August 1845 that O’Conner offered grace before the meal of “a great fete” for Mathew hosted by the Teetotalers of Killarney.[6]”The Rev. Theobald Mathew In Killarney, Festivities On The Lake”, Kerry Evening Post, Aug. 23, 1845.

Father Mathew visited Pittsburgh in July 1851.                            Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

An estimated 8,000 people took the temperance pledge during Mathew’s two-week Pittsburgh crusade. The Catholic and secular press coverage did not detail the demographics of those vowing to reject alcohol, though presumably most were men. The reporting also did not reference the famine-fleeing Irish who began arriving in the years immediately before Mathew’s visit. By 1851, about 12,000 Irish immigrants lived in Pittsburgh and neighboring Allegheny City, just over 20 percent of the area population. Victor Walsh has asserted:

Many of Father Mathew’s pledge signers were the Irish-Catholic laboring poor who believed that he possessed supernatural powers that would protect them from evil and misfortune. Passive and capricious, they flocked to the crusade more out of deference to Father Mathew than out of a commitment to organized personal reform. As a consequence, the cause quickly faded in its appeal after Father Mathew’s departure.[7]Walsh, Victor A., “Across ‘The Big Wather,’ The Irish Catholic Community of Mid-Nineteenth Century Pittsburgh”, The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, Vol. 66, No. 1, … Continue reading

Mathew spoke on topics other than temperance, such as charity. “Never did we hear the claims of the poor, or the affluence of the rich, more ably or eloquently enforced; in some cases the effect was thrillingly impressive,” the Daily Post reported.[8]”Father Mathew”, Pittsburgh Daily Post, July 29, 1851.

After Mathew departed, the Catholic offered this editorial assessment:

He has been successful in Pittsburgh beyond the most sanguine expectations of the friends of total abstinence. During the time of his stay, the number of those who have visited the Bishop’s residence for the purpose of taking the pledge from him has been steadily increasing, and he was compelled to prolong his visit beyond his original intention … We sincerely believe that the benefits produced by the visit will be permanent. … If [Mathew’s estimate that only 4 percent of those who take the pledge later “violate the promise”] is correct, his exertions in the cause of temperance have been an inestimable blessing to those amongst whom he has labored. It is not difficult to get men to take the pledge when it has become the rage to take it in a particular locality; but to get men to adhere to the pledge when the temporary excitement is passed, is a difficulty which our most zealous temperance reformers in this country have found it impossible to overcome.[9]Father Mathew“, The Pittsburgh Catholic, Aug. 2, 1851.

The editorial lamented “how few” of the 6,000 Pittsburghers adhered to the temperance pledges they made in 1841, when frequent anti-drink parades marched to “whip up enthusiasm” for the campaign begun in 1830.[10]Baldwin, Story of a City, p. 250.

Four decades after Mathew’s departure, another Irish-born priest, Rev. Morgan Sheedy, operated “a large temperance society” from St. Mary of Mercy Catholic Church in the city’s “Point” district, then an Irish ghetto. He regularly protested against liquor licenses and claimed “the number of saloons was greatly lessened and the liquor traffic brought under restraint.”[11]Sheedy, Rev. Morgan M., “Ten Years on Historic Ground: Early and Later Days at the Pittsburgh Point.” Western Pennsylvania History Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 2, April 1922, p. 141.

Aquilina noted that Alcoholics Anonymous, created in the 1930s, “would have been unthinkable without Father Mathew’s advance guard,” while in Pittsburgh his “good effects cascade down the generations and down the centuries.”[12]”Pittsburgh Takes the Pledge”, The Pittsburgh Catholic, Aug. 12, 2005,

See more of my work on the Pittsburgh Irish.

Pittsburgh, circa 1850s.                                                                    Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

References

References
1 ”Father Mathew”, The Pittsburgh Catholic, July 26, 1851. O’Connor established the newspaper in 1844.
2 ”Father Mathew: Most Interesting and Edifying Proceedings”, Pittsburgh Daily Post, July 22, 1851.
3 ”Pittsburgh Takes the Pledge”, The Pittsburgh Catholic, Aug. 5, 2005, quoted, and Aug. 12, 2005. Written by and adapted from Aquilina’s April 17, 2005, Lambing Lecture, Holy Spirit Byzantine Church Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa. Bates, John C., The Catholic Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania: Its Origins, Establishment, and Resurrection. The Catholic Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, 2020, p. 352.
4 Quinn, John F., Father Mathew’s Crusade: Temperance in Nineteenth-Century Ireland and Irish America, University of Massachusetts Press, Boston, 2002. p. 158 and Note 13, p. 228. Quote from O’Connor letter to Paul Cullen, Jan. 10, 1842.
5 Baldwin, Leland D., Pittsburgh: The Story of a City, 1750-1865. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 1937. p. 249.
6 ”The Rev. Theobald Mathew In Killarney, Festivities On The Lake”, Kerry Evening Post, Aug. 23, 1845.
7 Walsh, Victor A., “Across ‘The Big Wather,’ The Irish Catholic Community of Mid-Nineteenth Century Pittsburgh”, The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, Vol. 66, No. 1, January 1983.
8 ”Father Mathew”, Pittsburgh Daily Post, July 29, 1851.
9 Father Mathew“, The Pittsburgh Catholic, Aug. 2, 1851.
10 Baldwin, Story of a City, p. 250.
11 Sheedy, Rev. Morgan M., “Ten Years on Historic Ground: Early and Later Days at the Pittsburgh Point.” Western Pennsylvania History Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 2, April 1922, p. 141.
12 ”Pittsburgh Takes the Pledge”, The Pittsburgh Catholic, Aug. 12, 2005,

An Irish-American’s profile of five Irish treaty delegates

Retired federal judge Richard Campbell, secretary of the American Commission for Relief in Ireland, in late October 1921 met the five Irish plenipotentiaries negotiating a peace treaty with the British government. Campbell, a County Antrim emigrant, and banker John J. Pulleyn, treasurer of the American Committee, had spent most of the month in Ireland overseeing the relief effort, subject of an earlier post.

In London, Campbell lunched with the Irish delegation at the Grosvenor Hotel and breakfasted with them at the Hotel Savoy, according to his account published in U.S. newspapers days before the Dec. 6 announcement of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Campbell

Campbell began his career as a journalist before becoming a lawyer. His physical descriptions of the five Irish delegates are noteworthy because photos were only starting to become regular features in newspapers. Images of the Irish delegates were not included with Campbell’s descriptions in the two papers I reviewed.[1]”Gives Impressions of Sinn Fein Leaders”, The Evening News, Wilkes Barre, Pa., Nov. 29, 1921, and “Meets Sinn Fein Delegates”, Sioux City (Iowa) Journal, Dec. 4, 1921. The images on this page (except Campbell) were published in a Christmas Day photo spread in the Chicago Tribune three weeks after the treaty announcement.

I’ve edited Campbell’s commentary and added a few (italicized notes within parentheses), where appropriate.

Arthur Griffith

Griffith

… has the look of a Yale professor. His forehead is high and his head well shaped, and the cranial development impressive. He has a grayish-black mustache, blue eyes and carries the mark of introspection the bespeaks middle age in the student and thinker. (Griffith was 50 and would die in less than a year of cerebral hemorrhage, 10 days before Collins assassination.) … … By profession he is a journalist. … His mind runs in terms of commerce and industry. … He wishes to restore Irish shipping to the sea and is full of schemes for the development of Irish ports. His dream is to have Galway the great distribution point for goods from the United States to Europe.

Michael Collins

Collins

… from his appearances is still under 30 years of age. (Collins was 31 on Oct. 16, 1921.) He reminds one of the whirlwind virility of the late Theodore Roosevelt, (Campbell worked in Roosevelt’s administration.) and gives one the impression of a perfect athlete fresh from the football field. … He is above medium height, broad shouldered (and) walks with a quick, long stride. … He is always in a rollicking humor, as if life were a great joke. But when you draw him into conversation you find a man who is keenly alive to the problems of the hour, both in domestic and world politics. … Collins is a singularly modest man … There is no doubt Collins has been one of the great driving forces of the republican movement and his career in Ireland will be a notable one, I am sure. (Collins was assassinated nine months later.)

George Gavan Duffy

Duffy

… is of medium height and wears a reddish Van Dyke beard, he is still on the sunny side of middle age. (He was 39.) Duffy is a quiet man, slow and deliberate of speech, but always convincing. He is by profession a lawyer … If we had him here in America he would suggest a solid lawyer of the type who represents the average run of clients. … Since 1914 he was represented the Irish Republic in various countries of Europe, notably Italy and France. … He is the son of a former premier of New South Wales, Sir Charles Gavin Duffy.

Robert C. Barton

Barton

… has a shy, self-effacing approach and the look of an Episcopal clergyman. He is gray haired, middle aged (He was 40.) and has a florid complexion. His dress is immaculate and his outward appearance conveys anything but the impression of an uncompromising revolutionist that he is.  … (As a British Army officer) in 1916 he commanded a company in the troops assigned to the task of suppressing the Easter rebellion in Dublin. At that time he says he began to think along republican lines. … (He later) became a candidate for the Irish Parliament on the Sinn Fein ticket and soon thereafter found himself in a jail in England under a three-year sentence for ‘seditious utterances’ (and released under a general amnesty in July 1921).

Éamonn Duggan

Duggan

… gives the impression of the sort of man who if he were over here might be taken for a congressman or a United States senator. He wears a gray mustache, has a dapper appearance, is slightly bald and is just about medium height. (He was 43.) He is easy to approach … and has a distinct gift as a raconteur. Duggan is a Dublin lawyer, but he hails from the county of Armagh … he speaks with a strong North of Ireland burr. … He claims that outside the city of Belfast, Ulster is as Irish as any other part of Ireland. … He certainly impresses me as being a man of brains.

Campbell concluded:

Altogether I may say that I was deeply impressed by the ability and scholarly attainments of the men who are representing Ireland. One may here this and that, but real impressions have to be made my personal contacts.

See my full series on American Reporting of Irish Independence.

References

References
1 ”Gives Impressions of Sinn Fein Leaders”, The Evening News, Wilkes Barre, Pa., Nov. 29, 1921, and “Meets Sinn Fein Delegates”, Sioux City (Iowa) Journal, Dec. 4, 1921.

Reciprocal relief between Ireland and Johnstown, Pa.

This year I’ve been exploring aspects of the American Committee for Relief in Ireland, which began collecting funds at the start of 1921 and distributed $5 million in relief through mid-1922.

In September I wrote a piece for The Irish Story about how the people of Johnstown and surrounding Cambria County in Pennsylvania contributed to the effort “as a token of gratitude” for aid the community received 32 years earlier from Ireland, when the raging waters of a broken dam killed 2,209 people, including Irish immigrants, in an infamous flood.

The Tribune-Democrat of Johnston wrote a short feature about my research into this forgotten story: Amateur historian discovers connection between Johnstown, Ireland.

Bird’s-eye view of Johnstown, Pa., after the 1889 flood.      Image from Library of Congress.

The lawyer, the banker & money to Ireland, fall 1921

A photographer hailed New York banker John J. Pulleyn and lawyer Richard Campbell as they approached the ocean liner that would soon carry them to Ireland. Would they stop for a picture? The pair agreed, Pulleyn removing his hat, Campbell draping his coat over his left forearm.

New York Daily News, Sept. 28, 1921.

In addition to their usual professional roles, Pulleyn and Campbell were treasurer and secretary, respectively, of the American Committee for Relief in Ireland. The day before their Sept. 27, 1921, voyage, they approved a $242,364 disbursement to the Irish White Cross to help relieve suffering in the war-torn country, where an uneasy truce had held since July. The remittance raised to $726,000 the American Committee’s distribution to Ireland in September, more than double the monthly average since the relief campaign began in January 1921.[1]Reports, American Committee for Relief In Ireland and Irish White Cross, 1922. Schedule B, pp. 44-45.

Pulleyn, the son of Irish immigrants, was a 61-year-old widow and president of the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank in New York City. His 24-year-old daughter, Clara, joined him on the Atlantic voyage. Two adult sons remained at the banker’s Upper West Side house, staffed by a pair of Irish maids.[2]1920 U.S. Census, Manhattan Assembly District 11, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1205; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 819, and Nov. 11, 1921 New York Passenger Arrivals, Microfilm Serial: T715, … Continue reading

Campbell, 48, was single. He emigrated from Deerpark East, Glenarm in County Antrim, in 1889, and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1894. Campbell worked as a journalist, graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in 1899, and soon joined the U.S. Department of Justice in the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt. Campbell later served as U.S. federal judge in the Philippines, then retired from the judiciary in 1916 and opened a private practice in New York.[3]1920 U.S. Census: Manhattan Assembly District 7, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1197; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 551, Nov. 11, 1921 New York Passenger Arrivals, and “From Altmore Street to … Continue reading

By coincidence, the ship that Pulleyn and Campbell boarded was the Lapland, the same liner that Irish leader Éamon de Valera had stowed aboard to America two years earlier.[4]See The other aboard the ‘Lapland’ with de Valera and The ‘striking contrast’ of Dev’s second ‘Lapland’ boarding. The New York City newspapers that morning reported the latest correspondence between de Valera and Prime Minister Lloyd George regarding peace negotiations between Irish separatists and the British empire.

Ireland arrival

In Dublin, Pulleyn and Campbell were honored at a Gresham Hotel luncheon hosted by Lord Mayor Laurence O’Neill and attended by de Valera. Other guests included James G. Douglas, treasurer of the Irish White Cross. He postponed his trip to America so he could meet the two visitors, who assured him of a “hearty welcome” in the United States.[5]”Relief In Ireland Work Of White Cross”, The Irish Press, Nov. 5, 1921. (Subject of a future post.)

Two members of the American Committee also were at the Gresham: Clemens J. France, a Seattle lawyer and brother of U.S. Sen. Joseph I. France, and New York journalist Samuel Duff McCoy. France led an eight-man delegation that assessed conditions in Ireland for the American Committee in February and March. He remained in Ireland as McCoy returned to America, issued the group’s report in April, and lobbied the U.S. State Department on behalf of the relief effort. He later returned to Ireland. 

Pulleyn and Campbell visited Ballbriggan. They observed ruined factories and heard first-hand accounts of the destruction and loss of life during the year-earlier rampage by Black and Tans. They stopped at Wexford on their way to Cork city, where the British military had set devastating fires in December 1920.[6]”Relief”, Irish Press, Nov. 5, 1921.

“It was with regret and pain that we viewed the ruins of a large part of the business section of your city, and it agitated us to think that such unhappy conditions could exist in this age and in this stage of our civilization,” Campbell said at an event honoring the two visitors. “But that pain, that destruction and that regret was mitigated to some small extent by our admiration for the courage and enterprise which you have displayed in resuming again the activities of your businesses.”[7]”Irish White Cross, Speeches at Cork Dinner” The Cork Examiner, Oct. 17, 1921, and “Spectacle Of Cork Ruins Pains U.S. Delegates”, The Irish Press, Nov. 12, 1921.

Campbell also made a visit to his family home at Deerpark. A challenge hurling match was arranged in his honor.[8]”From Altmore Street …” Pulleyn and his daughter also visited some of Ireland’s beauty sights away from the misery of the two-year-old war.

Special letter

The lawyer and the banker remained in Ireland through the end of October. As they prepared to return, a special letter addressed to them thanked the American Committee …

and all those in the United States who have contributed to its funds for the generous assistance sent to Ireland for the relief of the suffering, loss and misery incurred by the Irish people in their struggle for national independence.  … It is not only the material aid that you have organized has been of incalculable benefit, you and your friends have helped to sustain the spirit of our people, and to make them realize that your great nation stood beside them with encouragement, sympathy and hope in the terrible ordeal undergone in the efforts to save their national institutions and the very fabric of their national life from destruction.

The letter was signed by Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, George Gavan Duffy, Robert C. Barton, and Éamonn Duggan, the Irish plenipotentiaries to the London treaty negotiations with the British government.[9]Oct. 29, 1921 letter in Reports, Appendix C, pp. 84-85. Before Pulleyn and Campbell returned to New York in mid-November, the American Committee cabled another $607,000 in relief to Ireland. The payments continued until June 1922, a total of $5 million.

References

References
1 Reports, American Committee for Relief In Ireland and Irish White Cross, 1922. Schedule B, pp. 44-45.
2 1920 U.S. Census, Manhattan Assembly District 11, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1205; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 819, and Nov. 11, 1921 New York Passenger Arrivals, Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 31.
3 1920 U.S. Census: Manhattan Assembly District 7, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1197; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 551, Nov. 11, 1921 New York Passenger Arrivals, and “From Altmore Street to the Headless Cross” , Glens of Antrim Historical Society, Oct. 17, 2005.
4 See The other aboard the ‘Lapland’ with de Valera and The ‘striking contrast’ of Dev’s second ‘Lapland’ boarding.
5 ”Relief In Ireland Work Of White Cross”, The Irish Press, Nov. 5, 1921.
6 ”Relief”, Irish Press, Nov. 5, 1921.
7 ”Irish White Cross, Speeches at Cork Dinner” The Cork Examiner, Oct. 17, 1921, and “Spectacle Of Cork Ruins Pains U.S. Delegates”, The Irish Press, Nov. 12, 1921.
8 ”From Altmore Street …”
9 Oct. 29, 1921 letter in Reports, Appendix C, pp. 84-85.

Welcoming American tourists to Ireland, 1913-2021

Americans remain welcome in Ireland, even as other European nations tighten or prohibit non-essential travelers from the United States due to surging COVID-19 infections.

“They’re a very important part of our tourism sector, if we were to block Americans we would definitely be shooting ourselves in the foot,” John Galligan of the Irish Travel Agents Association told TheJournal.ie. “There are not a lot of American tourists at the moment but there are some. Business travel is a part of this too.”

In 2019 the Irish travel industry reported record visitors, paid room nights (with a related decline in visitors “couch surfing” with relatives), and other tourist spending. Only tiny fractions of those figures have been realized since the pandemic erupted shortly before St. Patrick’s Day 2020. Visitors are now required to show proof of vaccine or negative test results.

Americans began driving the Irish tourism industry before the 1918 flu pandemic. It’s a recurring topic in Ireland [1913], the 118-year-old travelogue by German journalist Richard Arnold Bermann, now translated into English for the first time by Leesa Wheatley and Florian Krobb.[1]Published by Cork University Press, 2021. 200 pages, including Introduction and Note on Translation, Endnotes, and Index. No interior photos. The book has drawn particular attention as a snapshot of Ireland at the start of its revolutionary period and a year before the Great War. In their Introduction, Wheatley and Krobb also note Bermann’s “umbrage … at traces of mass tourism prone to erode the serenity of the autochthonous culture where it might still survive,  and the blatant exploitation of visitors by entrepreneurial yet intrusive individuals who offer their services as guides or coach drivers.”

Early in the original text, Bermann writes:

At this moment in time tourism is really taking off in Ireland. It will not exactly do away with the country’s history because it feeds on it — Ireland’s history populates the countryside with splendid sights, with druidic stones, with ancient kings and ruins in every shape and size, all meticulously decorated in ivy. But the tourist industry should help clear the huts, these dreadful holes, even if then the ladies from Connecticut are thereabouts find Ireland a lot less delightful.[2]Ireland, pp.45-46.

At Killarney, he grumbles about tour buses “packed with Americans.” Later, he smirks that “it is just too comical seeing really old American women climb onto gentlemen’s saddles and gallop off.”[3]Ireland, p. 47 and p. 51, respectively. Was Bermann sexist as well as anti-American?

Other perspectives of these same American tourists are found in the 1913 U.S. newspaper clippings on this page. The Boston Globe reported how members of the city’s Irish county clubs–groupings of immigrants from Cork, Clare, Cavan, etc.–were touring “the Old Country.” Lady Aberdeen, wife of the Lord Lieutenant, hosted a U.S. agricultural delegation and promised to open a “Welcome Club” for American visitors in one of Dublin’s old Georgian mansions. Instead of climbing to the top deck of a tour bus or saddling a horse, other U.S. visitors to Killarney boarded a jaunting car.

“…a truly enjoyable experience,” Bermann wrote. “A trap on two high wheels, drawn by a single horse, rides like a fairground contraption rather than a coach. It looks as if the house’s saddle has slipped onto the horse’s rear end.”[4]Ireland, p. 49 

An American family on a jaunting car at the Lakes of Killarney, Co. Kerry. (Decatur, Illinois) Herald & Review, Aug. 31, 1913.

The 1913 Ireland trip was the first of what became three decades of “frenetic, restless, almost driven travels all around the world” for Bermann (1883-1939), Wheatley and Krobb write. He wrote the book “to establish himself as a journalist of punch and substance.” His “pinpointing the Americanization of the beauty spots” and satirizing of fellow tourists “often borders on the affectatious.” Yet, “in spite of some gratuitous posturing, he conveys a very vivid picture … of the Ireland of his day.”

Bremann’s 1913 travels occurred only weeks after my Kerry-born maternal grandfather sailed to America. The journalist’s descriptions of Ireland frame the county just as the emigrant left it, never to return. (Coincidentally, and overlooked by Wheatley and Krobb, the French photographers Madeleine Mignon-Alba and Marguerite Mespoulet made the first color photographs of Ireland in May and June 1913.)

Belvidere (Illinois) Daily Republican, Aug. 21, 1913

Fifty-six years after Bremann, about halfway between 1913 and today, one of my grandfather’s six daughters became the first of his American family to visit Ireland. After her death, I inherited my aunt’s collection of ephemera from her 1969 trip and subsequent visits to Ireland. A 44-page Irish Tourist Board pamphlet promotes both 6-hour flights from New York and Boston, as well as 7-day “regular sailings by ocean liner into Cobh and Galway.”

Packed with lovely photos, the pamphlet describes mid-century Ireland on the eve of the Troubles in romantic marketing prose:

Their little island contains all you ever hoped it would–the fabled scenery, the castles rimed with age and legend, twisting lanes and peat bogs and mists, Irish whiskey and linen and tweed, Irish wolfhounds and soda bread, Blarney Stone and Blarney talk. … Aran’s children with enormous eyes, scholar priests a-walking; slender young gentles of ancient line, jaunty old chaps who spin the tales; farmers and fishers and cutters of turf, writers and actors … Oh, it is a marvelous spread of folk we have over here! Bunched in the cities where the stunning Irish theater is, spread over the lush and rolling green of the south, spread a little thinner in the west where the ribs of rock show through.”

I made my first trip to Ireland in 2000, a dozen years after my aunt’s last visit in 1988, and 87 years after Bremann. Over 10 trips I’ve covered the same ground as both of them (including Killarney) and millions of others since 1913. I’m anxious to return after being kept away for two years by COVID, but I don’t expect to make the trip until at least next year.

“Ireland is much too close to America,” Bremann wrote in 1913, a sentence that probably resonated with his German readers a year before the outbreak of the Great War. For contemporary Irish tourism officials, the travel reluctance of so many potential visitors is a troubling concern, even as the country remains more welcoming then other parts of Europe.

The Boston Globe, Aug. 18, 1913

References

References
1 Published by Cork University Press, 2021. 200 pages, including Introduction and Note on Translation, Endnotes, and Index. No interior photos.
2 Ireland, pp.45-46.
3 Ireland, p. 47 and p. 51, respectively.
4 Ireland, p. 49

The Pittsburgh fight over 1921 relief to Ireland

The two-year war between Irish separatists and the British military grew so bitter by 1921 that even providing humanitarian relief to innocent victims turned controversial. British and U.S. government officials said money from the American Committee for Relief in Ireland succored the rebels. Historic animosity between pro-unionist Protestants and pro-nationalist Catholics became another factor. 

The campaign against the American Committee described below is an under-examined, if not untold, story of the 1921 Irish relief drive. It probably suppressed fundraising in Western Pennsylvania and elsewhere, though it was not widely covered by the press in 1921 or mentioned in the 1922 final reports of the American Committee and Irish White Cross, which is not surprising. Historians Francis M. Carroll and Bernadette Whelan have not referenced this counter campaign in their analysis.[1]Carroll, Francis M.“The American Committee for Relief in Ireland”, in Irish Historical Studies, Vol. 23, No. 89 (May, 1982), pp. 30-49. Whelan, Bernadette. United States Foreign Policy and … Continue reading Readers are encouraged to point out work I might have missed or suggest sources of further exploration.

American Committee leaders in Pittsburgh asked clergy of all denominations to announce from their pulpits on Sunday, April 3, 1921, the nationwide fundraising campaign to aid victims of the war in Ireland. The committee emphasized “impartial distribution of food and clothing to Protestant and Catholic women and children who are suffering.”[2]”Church Pleas For Irish Relief Tomorrow Asked”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 2, 1921. The Ulster Society of Pittsburgh countered with a quarter-page advertisement that denied the need for relief in Ireland and alleged the appeal was “purely a political stunt.”[3]”American Committee” advertisement, page 10, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 2, 1921.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 2, 1921.

This was the latest provocation between Pittsburgh’s Irish Protestant immigrants, who settled in the city from the early 19th century, and famine-fleeing Irish Catholics who arrived mid-century. In 1914, a ground-breaking sociological study of the city observed “here the old Irish cleavage has been repeated in the two strong religious elements in the community life.”[4]Woods, Robert A., “Pittsburgh: An Interpretation Of Its Growth” in The Pittsburgh Survey, Findings in Six Volumes, edited by Paul Underwood Kellogg, Survey Associates Inc., New York, 1914, p.9. This cleavage deepened during the Great War as Irish republicans stepped up their campaign for independence and the United States allied with Britain.   

The “cablegram of inquiry” mentioned in the Ulster Society ad was initiated by Rev. Edward M. McFadden, who founded the group soon after the 1912 Ulster Covenant was signed in Belfast. He organized an annual “Ulster Day” commemoration of the declaration against Irish home rule and was quoted using the familiar formulation of “Home rule means Rome rule.”[5]”Local Ulsterites Claim”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 23, 1914 McFadden had emigrated from Larne, County Antrim, in 1883, age 20, and settled in Philadelphia. After being ordained by the city’s Reform Presbyterian Theological Seminary, he preached in Rhode Island, Iowa, and Ohio, as well as Dumbarton, Scotland. He arrived in Pittsburgh about 1911.[6]“Rev. E. Marshall McFadden”, obituary, The Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 7, 1933. McFadden obituary in Presbytery of Monongahela (Pa.), minutes, March 28, 1933, from Presbyterian Historical Society. PHS … Continue reading

McFadden in undated photo used for his 1933 obituary.

Once the Irish war began in January 1919, McFadden would have become more familiar to the city’s 14,000 native Irish[7]1920 U.S. Census, Vol. 3, “Population-United States, Composition and Characteristics”, Table 13, Country of Birth for Cities of 100,000 or More, p. 50. and their offspring. That July, he invited Ulster unionist leader Sir Edward Carson to the United States to “offset the propaganda for Irish independence.” In December, he testified against recognition of the Irish republic at a U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing in Washington, D.C.[8]“Sir Edward Carson Asked To Come Here”, Pittsburgh Daily Post, July 17, 1919, “Ulster Day Is Observed At Services”, Pittsburgh Daily Post, Sept. 29, 1919, and U.S. Congress, House Committee … Continue reading 

Also in December 1919, McFadden traveled to New York City to meet a delegation of Protestant ministers from Ulster who sailed to America to speak against Irish separatism. The group included the same C. Wesley Maguire quoted in the 1921 Ulster Society ad against Irish relief. McFadden welcomed the Ulster delegation to Pittsburgh’s Syria Mosque theater in January 1920 for what became a raucous evening of anti-Sinn Féin speeches and pro-independence counter protest.[9]“Hecklers Lose In Disorder At Irish Meeting”, “Speaker Denies That Ireland Is Downtrodden; Calls It Most-Favored Island”, “Irish Speaker Means Tumult, Speaker Says” and “Sinn Fein … Continue reading Afterward, he joined the visiting ministers as they toured other cities, while members of the Ulster Society of Pittsburgh boasted about the delegation’s local visit in letters back to Belfast:

“Sinn Feinism is dead in this country. No chance of any recognition of Irish republic,” one wrote. Another cheered: “Hurrah! Hurrah! Our society slew that horrid monster, Sinn Fein … and it will see that it is never resurrected.”[10]”The Ulster Delegation in Chicago”, The Christian Workers Magazine, March 1920, p. 544, (McFadden toured), and “Effect Of Their Work: Testimony From Pittsburgh”, Belfast … Continue reading

On the first Sunday of April 1921, when Pittsburgh’s religious leaders were asked to announce the American Committee’s relief drive, McFadden scheduled a sermon titled, “What The Starving Irish Need.”[11]“Religious Services Tomorrow”, p. 8, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 2, 1921. He likely reflected the Ulster Presbyterian view of Irish Catholics as misled by Rome and republican radicals. His preaching probably sounded similar to what Ulster delegation ministers had delivered 15 months earlier, as recalled by Maguire: ” … the secret of Irish unrest is neither oppression nor lack of self-determination, but a closed Bible, with all that a closed Bible means in the life of the community.”[12]”Ulster Delegation, The Visit to America” by C. W. Maguire, Belfast News-Letter, Feb. 21, 1920. NOTE: Protestant ministers W.J. Dempster and David Lang of Pittsburgh traveled to Belfast … Continue reading  

Press coverage

The Protestant Ministerial Union of Pittsburgh passed a resolution that also denied the existence of hunger in Ireland. It cast the Irish relief campaign as a “scheme … of Sinn Féin propaganda to raise funds to assist those who are in rebellion against the constituted authorities of their country.” The resolution urged “our people to do nothing to aid a movement having for its object creating a spirit of antagonism between the United States and its friend and ally in the late war, Great Britain.”[13]“Ministers Score Irish Relief Campaign”, Los Angeles Times, April 22, 1921.

In addition to Maguire’s cable to McFadden, the resolution referenced a second message from Belfast[14]Attributed to “Sir Robert Liddell, former Lord Mayor of Belfast.” The title was incorrect. Sir Robert Liddell held the government designation of deputy lieutenant and was a member of the … Continue reading to Ulster Society Secretary John H. Fulton. This statement made a simple and incendiary sectarian connection: “Relief fund, Roman Catholic administration.”

Above the fold: The Pittsburgh Catholic, April 7, 1921.

The Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper described the counter campaign as “malicious propaganda introduced by bigoted factionalists” in one of four front page stories on April 7. Only the death of Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore competed for space above the fold. An advertisement for the American Committee campaign filled the issue’s back page. Inside, one editorial lamented “Ireland’s Plight” of poverty and another urged “all liberty-loving Americans” to attend the fifth anniversary observance of the Easter Rising, the failed 1916 strike for independence.

A week before the Ulsterite counter campaign, the Catholic complained that a “preliminary canvas” of city parishes yielded poor responses to the plea for Irish relief. “In hundreds of homes where they called at the supper hour, the head of the family left a table weighted down with food, to ignore the call from Ireland. It is a notable fact that few gave more than a dollar,” the paper reported.[15]“Pathetic Plea Of Starving Women And Children Has Touched America’s Heart”, The Pittsburgh Catholic, March 31, 1921.

While the Catholic newspaper fumed, the city’s secular press ignored the controversy, including the Ministerial Union’s demand that its resolution be published in full. There were a few exceptions outside the region.

Los Angeles Times, April 22, 1921.

Some 2,500 miles west of Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Times did publish the resolution. Publisher Harry Chandler was a critic of Irish nationalism’s impact on the League of Nations, which he supported. In November 1919, the Times splashed its front page with seven negative headlines about Sinn Féin leader Eamon de Valera’s visit to the city.[16]Hannigan, Dave, De Valera in America: The Rebel President and the Making of Irish Independence. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2010, page 88; and “Dev’s bad headline day in L.A.” , Mark … Continue reading

News of Maguire’s cable and the Ministerial Union’s resolution also reached a Sacramento paper, which reported it reignited “war” and “bickering” between the local Protestant church federation and pro-nationalist Irish societies. These hostilities had smoldered since Maguire and the Ulster delegation visited the California state capital in January 1920, soon after their stop in Pittsburgh.[17]“Church Union Is After Parish”, The Sacramento Star, April 16, 1921; “Irish Party Here Jan. 28”, Sacramento Daily Union, Jan. 11, 1920.

A secular newspaper in central Ohio also published the resolution in a letter to the editor. The writer indicated the content was copied from the pages of the Methodist Recorder in Pittsburgh, which demonstrates some extra attention to the resolution in the originating city.[18]“The Irish Question”, The Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune, May 9, 1921, citing the “People’s Forum” section of the Methodist Recorder newspaper in Pittsburgh.

Other secular and religious publications probably reported this story but are not available to review in digitized newspaper archives. The limited search returns from the hundreds of digitized titles indicates the coverage was not widespread. The trouble in Pittsburgh was not covered by the National Catholic Welfare Council News Service, which supplied content to diocesan newspapers, and pro-Irish republican organs including The Irish Press, Philadelphia; The Gaelic American, New York City; and the Friends of Irish Freedom News Letter, Washington, D.C.

The Catholic New Service did report on a cablegram to the American Committee from 30 “prominent non-Catholics” in Ireland, including poet William Butler Yeats, writer George Russell, and playwright Lennox Robinson, in addition to Church of Ireland, Methodist, and Jewish clergy who attested to the need for immediate relief. “Having heard that statements have been made in America that there is no distress in Ireland … we desire to express our opinion that there is work to be done,” the signatories wrote.[19]“Prominent Protestants Urge Relief For Ireland”, NCWC News Service, Week of April 25, 1921, p. 22. It is unclear whether they were responding to the counter campaign in Pittsburgh (and the quoted cables from Belfast), or statements by the British Embassy in Washington, which also cast doubt on the need for Irish relief. It’s possible that government propaganda operatives had planted the Ulster Society effort from the start.    

 Anti-Catholic

The Ulster Society of Pittsburgh fraternized with local Orange Order lodges and other Protestant groups, newspaper society columns show. More insight about the Society is found in the personal papers of businessman and former Memphis, Tennessee, mayor Harry H. Litty. The collection includes three Society newsletters from January, February, and March 1922, each signed by Fulton, the secretary who received the “Roman Catholic administration” cablegram from Belfast a year earlier. I have not determined whether the newsletter was published in spring 1921, and, if so, the circulation of the mailing list. But the three 1922 issues illustrate how it could have further damaged the Irish relief campaign.

March 1922 issue of the Ulster Society of Pittsburgh newsletter.

One issue fondly recalls the 1920 Ulster delegation visit to America. Another urges the year-old Northern Ireland parliament to “put down the Sinn Fein murderers.” And the Society’s anti-Catholic bias is clear: “It is certainly an anxious time for those of us who have relatives living on the old sod, but we know that Ulster will fight to the death before it submits to be ruled by murderers and cut-throats who represent that blood-stained fabric called the Roman Catholic Church.”[20]Harry H. Litty Family Collection, Box 1, Folder 12, “Litty, Harry H.–Clubs & Societies Involved In”, Jan. 12, 1922, Feb. 16, 1922 (1920 reference), and March 14, 1922 (both quotes). … Continue reading

Anti-Catholic bias was a regular feature of the war, from the bigotry in Birmingham, Alabama, when de Valera visited in April 1920, to the brutality of Belfast later that summer. Though the American Committee described itself as a “non-political and non-sectarian body, solely humanitarian in aim,” it closely affiliated with the Catholic Church through Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore, an honorary national vice chairman, and other high-profile clergy.

“The whole Catholic Church of America is deeply indebted to the Irish people,” Gibbons wrote in a St. Patrick’s Day appeal at the start of the relief drive, shortly before his death. “It is not too much to expect that in every parish of our land effective means be taken to collect funds for the relief of suffering in Ireland.”[21]”non-sectarian” from “American Committee For Relief In Ireland, Part 1, Suggested Plan for National Organization”, Undated. From Series X: Manuscripts & Printed Material, page 1, … Continue reading Several U.S. Catholic dioceses, institutions, and individuals sent money directly to Ireland outside the collections by the American Committee; notably, newly-elevated Cardinal Dennis Joseph Dougherty of Philadelphia.

This ad appeared on the back page of the May 5, 1921 issue of The Pittsburgh Catholic, front page show above.

The American Committee also deployed hardball tactics. An advertisement in Pittsburgh said the executive committee, in reviewing the donors list, “was surprised to note the number of well-known men and women … conspicuous by their absence.” Its name-and-shame threat targeted the local Irish immigrant community, “the very people who have drawn the line when their own flesh and blood is appealing have had their names high up in the lists of every other movement in Pittsburgh.”[22]“Names of Men and Women … “ advertisement. The Pittsburgh Catholic, May 5, 1921. 

Relief results

The American Committee assigned a $1.5 million quota to Pennsylvania, or 15 percent of the campaign’s nationwide goal. The 23-county Western Pennsylvania region set a $400,000 goal, or just over a quarter of the state quota from a third of its 67 counties. Pittsburgh businessman J. Rogers Flannery, chairman of the Pennsylvania campaign, expressed early confidence in meeting both the state and regional goals.

By late May, as the national campaign was ending, Flannery announced that $256,321 was collected toward a new $300,000 goal, without a reason reported for the 25 percent reduction. In reporting both these figures, the Pittsburgh Catholic noted the returns of eight counties and 50 local teams remained outstanding. “The Pittsburgh result will be more than was raised throughout the entire state,” the Catholic predicted, without providing any details of the Pennsylvania total.[23]“Box Sale Begun To Complete Irish Fund”, Pittsburgh Press, May 24, 1921; and “Irish Drive A Big Success In Pittsburgh Dioceses”, The Pittsburgh Catholic, May 26, 1921.

The newspaper also qualified its enthusiasm. “No campaign ever conducted in Western Pennsylvania encountered so much public opposition,” it wrote. In addition to the Ministerial Union’s resolution and Ulster Society’s ad, the paper suggested that Pittsburgh’s department stores, “which have contributed in all worthy causes, sent out a message that they would not assist in the Irish drive.” This is curious, given that Flannery announced the $256,321 total during a meeting at Kaufmann’s department store, also site of the campaign’s mid-April kickoff banquet.

The Catholic also insisted the final record would show “few dollars came from other than Catholic sources.” If true, this could be more evidence the Ulsterite counter campaign had hurt the relief drive, at least in Western Pennsylvania.

This March 31, 1921, advertisement in The Pittsburgh Catholic quoted Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, a national leader of the American Committee for Relief in Ireland, who died a week after the campaign’s St. Patrick’s Day kickoff.

A June 3 benefit show raised another $10,000 for the campaign, now largely closed. By November, when an Irish White Cross leader visited Pittsburgh to thank contributors, city newspapers reported “approximately $300,000” in local contributions.[24]“Irish Relief Show Of All Stars Nets $10,000 For Fund”, Pittsburgh Daily Post, June 4, 1921, and “Envoy Brings Thanks Of Irish For Funds”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nov. 2, 1921.

There is a contradiction, however, between the $300,000 reportedly collected in Western Pennsylvania and the $210,798 credited to the entire state in the American Committee’s 1922 audited report. Moreover, even including separate Catholic donations, the state campaign failed to reach a third of its $1.5 million quota.[25]American Committee for Relief In Ireland, 1922, Schedule A, p. 44, and “Copy list for American subscriptions other than those of the American Committee for the Relief in Ireland”, Undated. In … Continue reading America’s second most populous state, with the third largest number of Irish immigrants, finished seventh in donations to the relief campaign.

The $5 million collected nationwide by the American Committee, though only half the goal, was still “a remarkable amount of money,” Carroll wrote. He also notes that by 1921, Americans had donated millions to post-war relief in Europe, and more than $6 million to Irish causes: $1 million to the Irish Victory Fund in 1919, and $5.1 million to the Irish bond drive of 1920.

The Pittsburgh fight over Irish relief was surely another factor that depressed the result in Western Pennsylvania.


See more stories in my American Reporting of Irish Independence centenary series, and Pittsburgh Irish series.

© 2021, Mark Holan

References

References
1 Carroll, Francis M.“The American Committee for Relief in Ireland”, in Irish Historical Studies, Vol. 23, No. 89 (May, 1982), pp. 30-49. Whelan, Bernadette. United States Foreign Policy and Ireland: From Empire to Independence, 1913-1929. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2006.
2 ”Church Pleas For Irish Relief Tomorrow Asked”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 2, 1921.
3 ”American Committee” advertisement, page 10, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 2, 1921.
4 Woods, Robert A., “Pittsburgh: An Interpretation Of Its Growth” in The Pittsburgh Survey, Findings in Six Volumes, edited by Paul Underwood Kellogg, Survey Associates Inc., New York, 1914, p.9.
5 ”Local Ulsterites Claim”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 23, 1914
6 “Rev. E. Marshall McFadden”, obituary, The Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 7, 1933. McFadden obituary in Presbytery of Monongahela (Pa.), minutes, March 28, 1933, from Presbyterian Historical Society. PHS does not hold individually cataloged information about the Ulster Society of Pittsburgh, per July 27, 2021, letter from senior reference archivist Lisa Jacobson.
7 1920 U.S. Census, Vol. 3, “Population-United States, Composition and Characteristics”, Table 13, Country of Birth for Cities of 100,000 or More, p. 50.
8 Sir Edward Carson Asked To Come Here”, Pittsburgh Daily Post, July 17, 1919, “Ulster Day Is Observed At Services”, Pittsburgh Daily Post, Sept. 29, 1919, and U.S. Congress, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, “To provide for the salaries of a minister and consuls to the Republic of Ireland”, p. 86.
9 “Hecklers Lose In Disorder At Irish Meeting”, “Speaker Denies That Ireland Is Downtrodden; Calls It Most-Favored Island”, “Irish Speaker Means Tumult, Speaker Says” and “Sinn Fein Denounced, De Valera Assailed By Ulster Speakers”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jan. 13, 1920.
10 ”The Ulster Delegation in Chicago”, The Christian Workers Magazine, March 1920, p. 544, (McFadden toured), and “Effect Of Their Work: Testimony From Pittsburgh”, Belfast Newsletter, Feb. 25, 1920.
11 “Religious Services Tomorrow”, p. 8, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 2, 1921.
12 ”Ulster Delegation, The Visit to America” by C. W. Maguire, Belfast News-Letter, Feb. 21, 1920. NOTE: Protestant ministers W.J. Dempster and David Lang of Pittsburgh traveled to Belfast in August 1920. They were thanked for “services rendered” during the Ulster delegation’s Pittsburgh visit seven months earlier. “U.S. Ministers in Belfast”, Belfast News-Letter, Aug. 27, 1920.
13 “Ministers Score Irish Relief Campaign”, Los Angeles Times, April 22, 1921.
14 Attributed to “Sir Robert Liddell, former Lord Mayor of Belfast.” The title was incorrect. Sir Robert Liddell held the government designation of deputy lieutenant and was a member of the Down County Council. He helped establish the Ulster Volunteer Force and was involved in unionist activity, according to an April 17, 1928, obituary in the Belfast News-Letter. Another Robert Liddell, born in England, was mayor of Pittsburgh from 1878-1881. He died in 1893.
15 “Pathetic Plea Of Starving Women And Children Has Touched America’s Heart”, The Pittsburgh Catholic, March 31, 1921.
16 Hannigan, Dave, De Valera in America: The Rebel President and the Making of Irish Independence. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2010, page 88; and “Dev’s bad headline day in L.A.” , Mark Holan’s Irish-American Blog, Nov. 22, 2019.
17 “Church Union Is After Parish”, The Sacramento Star, April 16, 1921; “Irish Party Here Jan. 28”, Sacramento Daily Union, Jan. 11, 1920.
18 “The Irish Question”, The Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune, May 9, 1921, citing the “People’s Forum” section of the Methodist Recorder newspaper in Pittsburgh.
19 “Prominent Protestants Urge Relief For Ireland”, NCWC News Service, Week of April 25, 1921, p. 22.
20 Harry H. Litty Family Collection, Box 1, Folder 12, “Litty, Harry H.–Clubs & Societies Involved In”, Jan. 12, 1922, Feb. 16, 1922 (1920 reference), and March 14, 1922 (both quotes). Memphis Public Library. Retrieved and digital copies by Scott Healy, History Department, June 5, 2021.
21 ”non-sectarian” from “American Committee For Relief In Ireland, Part 1, Suggested Plan for National Organization”, Undated. From Series X: Manuscripts & Printed Material, page 1, in  “Maloney collection of Irish historical papers, 1857-1965”, New York Public Library; and American Committee for Relief In Ireland, 1922, p. 19. The letter was widely published, including the March 31, 1921 advertisement in The Pittsburgh Catholic shown in this post.
22 “Names of Men and Women … “ advertisement. The Pittsburgh Catholic, May 5, 1921.
23 “Box Sale Begun To Complete Irish Fund”, Pittsburgh Press, May 24, 1921; and “Irish Drive A Big Success In Pittsburgh Dioceses”, The Pittsburgh Catholic, May 26, 1921.
24 “Irish Relief Show Of All Stars Nets $10,000 For Fund”, Pittsburgh Daily Post, June 4, 1921, and “Envoy Brings Thanks Of Irish For Funds”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nov. 2, 1921.
25 American Committee for Relief In Ireland, 1922, Schedule A, p. 44, and Copy list for American subscriptions other than those of the American Committee for the Relief in Ireland”, Undated. In Senator James Green Douglas Papers, National Library of Ireland.