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Showing posts from July, 2020

Norman Rockwell Museum Features Exhibit on Rose O'Neill, Artist & Suffragette

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge MA has a new exhibit titled, Rose O'Neill: Artist & Suffragette , on display through September, 2020. The exhibit is timely since 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of American women formally given the right to vote, a cause to which O'Neill was devoted. Born in Wilkes Barre, PA, Rose O'Neill (1874-1944) and her family moved to Nebraska when she was young, and grew up in an artistic household where creative expression was encouraged and prized.  A self-taught illustrator, O'Neill moved to New York City at age 19 and soon her work was being published in leading magazines such as Harper's, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping, as well as Puck Magazine.  In 1909 O'Neill created the popular characters the Kewpies dolls, elf-like figures that were immediately popular with the general public.  The merchandising of Kewpie dolls made O'Neill a millionaire, according to the exhibition notes. O'Neill becam

Irish Piper Seamus Ennis Featured at Newport Folk Festival in July 1964

Seamus Ennis , one of Ireland's most inspirational traditional Irish musicians, performed at the 5th Annual Newport Folk Festival  on July 23-26, 1964.  He was 45 years old. Ennis was a featured artist on opening night on Thursday, July 23, where he performed the uilleann pipes, told stories and sang Irish songs as part of a traditional folk program.  He was joined by Mississippi John Hurt, Muddy Waters, Doc Watson, the Nova Scotia Singers and the Stanley Brothers. Then on Saturday night, Ennis joined the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys, Judy Collins, Peter Paul and Mary and the Osborne Brothers on the main concert stage. Other performers during the weekend included Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, the Jug band, the Staple Singers and the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. Founded in 1959 by jazz pianist and music impresario George Wein, the Newport Folk Festival has become the world's premier festival devoted to folk and traditional music from h

Cambridge Irish Famine Memorial Unveiled By Ireland's President on July 23, 1997

On Wednesday, July 23, 1997, Ireland's President Mary Robinson officially helped dedicate the Cambridge Irish Famine Memorial in Cambridge Common, a tribute to the 150th anniversary of Ireland's Great Hunger, known as An Gorta Mor. Nearly 4,000+ people attended the ceremony in the iconic Cambridge Common near Harvard Square, which also includes the Cambridge Civil War Monument designed by Irish immigrant Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1870. The Cambridge Irish Famine Memorial was created by Maurice Harron of Derry, Northern Ireland, who said the sculpture "is meant to convey the tragedy, two people dying, two people escaping, the fearful guilt of leaving loved ones behind, and the will to carry on." At the dedication ceremony, President Robinson said, "Part of Looking back and remembering was to link the Irish famine with modern famine and hunger and inequalities in our world.  It reinforced a very strong commitment of the Irish people to developing cou

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy born on July 22, 1890 in Boston's North End

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy , mother of President John F. Kennedy , was born on July 22, 1890 at 4 Garden Court in Boston's North End, at a time when the neighborhood was heavily Irish. Her father, John "Honey" Fitzgerald, was a prominent businessman and newspaper publisher of  The Republic  and her mother was Mary Josephine Hannon. When Rose married Joseph P. Kennedy of East Boston on October 7, 1914, it marked the merger of Boston's two most influential Irish political families. The newlyweds bought their first house at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, where they raised four boys and five girls.   The JFK Home in Brookline is managed by the National Park Service and is open to the public. Their second eldest son, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, became the first Catholic President of the United States in 1960.  Sons Robert and Edward were senators and played key roles in the Kennedy Administration, with Robert serving as the US Attorney General. Their daughter

July 1750, Irish Servant Girl Escapes from her 'Master' in Salem, Massachusetts

In the 18th century, many of the original Irish in New England were indentured servants who gained passage to America by agreeing to work in servitude for up to seven years.  But after they arrived here, many of them were dissatisfied with their harsh working conditions and poor treatment.  So they absconded from their 'masters' and escaped into the colonies. In the first half of the 18th century, newspapers such as the Boston Gazette , Boston News-Letter and New England Weekly Journal regularly ran advertisements seeking the return of these runaway servants. Very often the servants were captured and returned to their masters, as in the case of Edmund Murphy, who ran away from the home of Thomas Craddock in Milton in November 1737.  He was captured and returned to the Craddock household, only to escape again in March 1738.   Murphy's companion in the second escape was Edmond Butler, who was described in the advertisement as "a good scholar who speaks Englis

Boston's First Irish Mayor, Hugh O'Brien, Born on July 13, 1827 in County Cork

Hugh O'Brien , Boston's first Irish-born mayor, was born in County Cork, Ireland on July 13, 1827.  He  emigrated with his family to Boston in 1832 when he was five years old.   O’Brien attended a public school in Boston’s Fort Hill neighborhood, and at age 12 joined the  Boston Courier  newspaper as an apprentice.  By the age of 15 he had become foreman of a printing office, before starting his own publication, the  Shipping and Commercial List .  He had a successful career as a businessman and gained the respect of city leaders as well as the Irish immigrant community that struggled to gain a foothold in Boston. O'Brien launched his political career in 1875 on the Board of Alderman, and in 1884 ran against and defeated incumbent Boston Mayor Augustus Martin.  On Monday, January 5, 1885, O'Brien was sworn-in as the city of Boston's first Irish-born Mayor.  At that time, the term of office was one year, so O'Brien ran and won again in 1885, 1886, 1887 an

18th Century Painter John S. Copley Born in Boston to Irish Immigrant Parents, 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. John's parents, Richard Copley and Mary Singleton from County Clare, were married in County Limerick before emigrating to Boston. Right after their son John was born, Richard Copley traveled to the West Indies and died shortly thereafter, leaving John’s mother to raise him as a widow. She worked at a shop in Boston that sold tobacco close to Boston Harbor. In 1747 Mary S. Copley married Peter Pelham, a colonial artist and an original member of the Charitable Irish Society formed in 1737. It was Pelham who helped to nurture his stepson John's talent, and by age twenty Copley had gained a reputation as a promising artist. His first painting, "A Boy and the Flying Squirrel," was sent to the Royal Academy in London and his reputation began to take shape. Copley seized the oppo

Irish American Song & Dance Man George M. Cohan Born on July 3, 1878

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 in  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 resonnated with Americans