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Showing posts from July, 2019

Irish-American Song & Dance Man George M. Cohan Honored in Providence RI

George M. Cohan , famed Broadway song and dance man whose songs helped define the World War I generation, was born in Providence RI on July 3, 1878.   A  statue honoring Cohan at the corner of Wickendon and Governor Streets in Providence   was created by noted sculptor  Robert Shure , who also created   the  Irish Famine Memorial in Boston  and  Providence .  Cohan (1878-1942) was the son of Jeremiah Cohan from Boston and Nellie Costigan from Providence.  They met met on the vaudeville circuit and married in 1874.  George and his sister Josephine became part of a successful family troupe, named the Four Cohans, which traveled around the country on the minstrel circuit, performing a cabaret of songs, dances, jokes and comedy routines popular at the time.  In 1893 George settled in New York City and soon became the  toast of Broadway , writing popular tunes like Yankee Doodle Dandy, You're a Grand Old Flag, and Over There, a trio of songs that resonated with Americans and E

Boston Artist John S. Copley, Son of Irish Immigrants, Born on July 3, 1738

America's first great portrait artist, John Singleton Copley (1737-1815) was born in Boston on July 3, 1738.  He was  the son of Irish immigrants who emigrated to Boston in the 1730s. Copley Square Park in Boston's Back Bay was named in his honor in 1883. In 2002, the city of Boston unveiled a statue to  John Singleton Copley  by artist Lewis Cohen, and it is now on the  Boston Irish Heritage Trail . John's parents, Richard Copley and Mary Singleton from County Clare, were married in Limerick before emigrating. His father died in the West Indies just after their son was born, leaving his mother to raise John by working at a shop in Boston that sold tobacco down by the docks.  In 1747 Mary S. Copley married Peter Pelham, a colonial artist and an original member of the Charitable Irish Society formed in 1737. Pelham helped to nurture his stepson's talent, and by age twenty Copley had already gained a reputation as a promising artist. His first painting, &q