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Showing posts from July, 2022

Thomas Cass of Massachusetts Irish 9th Regiment, Dies from Civil War Battle Wounds on July 12, 1862

Thomas Cass Memorial, Boston's Public Garden On July 12, 1862, Colonel Thomas Cass, leader of the Irish 9th Regiment Massachusetts, died in Boston from his wounds at the Battle of Malvern Hill. He was buried with military honors at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. Born in Farmleigh, County Laois, Ireland in 1821, Thomas Cass emigrated with his family to Boston when he was nine months old, where they settled in the North End. He worked with his father and eventually became successful businessman, and also a prominent member of the Boston School Committee. He lived on North Bennet Street. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers to defend the Union. Cass immediately offered to raise a regiment of Massachusetts Irish volunteers to fight for the Union. Governor Andrew commissioned Cass to lead the Fighting Irish 9th, as it was called, and the Regiment was permitted to carry its own Irish flag, which was

Boston Songwriter Jimmy McHugh Wrote 500+ Hits for Hollywood During Illustrious Career

Photo courtesy of Born in Jamaica Plain, songwriter Jimmy McHugh (1894-1969) was hailed as one of Hollywood's top composers.  During his career, McHugh wrote more than 500 hit songs, including, "On the Sunny Side of the Street," "I'm in the Mood for Love," 'Let's Get Lost" and countless other songs that were recorded by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ella FitzGerald, Billie Holiday and Chet Baker. Born on July 10, 1894, Jimmy's father James was a plumber, and his mother Julia (Collins) was an accomplished pianist who Jimmy credited for his career in music. He grew up in an Irish-American community, part of a neighborhood that included boxer John L. Sullivan and politician James Michael Curley.  In his youth McHugh worked at the Boston Opera House he practiced on the company's pianos and got to met stars like Enrico Caruso.   In 1920, McHugh moved to New York City to work for Irving Berlin and there met lyricist Dorothy

Twin Marble Lions in Boston Public Library Part of Boston's Irish Heritage Trail

Photo by BITA One of Boston’s most popular and widely-viewed public art memorials is located in the foyer of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square.       Known locally as the Twin Lions, the amazing monument is a tribute to two Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry regiments - the Second and the Twentieth - that fought bravely in the Civil War.     The lions were carved by master sculptor Louis St. Gaudens (1854-1913) and were commissioned by the surviving members of the two volunteer regiments.  Although St. Gaudens intended to polish the Siena marble before the memorial was unveiled, the regiment members were so delighted with the unpolished, raw look of the statues, that they asked the artist to leave it as is.  Photo by BITA Born in New York City on January 1, 1854, Louis was the son of Bernard Saint-Gaudens from France and Mary McGuinness from Ireland, and he was the brother and protégé of his older brother Augustus Saint Gaudens , considered the preeminent American sculptor of h

On July 2, 1947 Boston Pops Maestro Arthur Fiedler held "Giant Sing" Concert in Honor of the World Peace Jubilee

Courtesy of Digital Commonwealth On July 2, 1947, Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fiedler and his orchestra held a “giant sing” on the Charles River Esplanade in celebration of Independence Day.   It was also meant to celebrate the 75 th  anniversary of the World Peace Jubilee and International Music Festival held in 1872, led by famed Irish-born impresario Patrick S. Gilmore.    According to reporter Cyrus Durgin, writing in  The Boston Globe , “Mr. Fiedler has asked for people to volunteer as participants in the “Anvil Chorus” from “Il Trovatore” by Verde and in the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s oratorio, "Messiah."  Both these pieces had been on that festival program of 1872.”   Fiedler was apparently swamped with hundreds of letters, postcards and phone calls.  He selected 38 of the best singers to lead the chorus, along with the rest of the audience, estimated at 35,000 people.   The orchestra played a number of other songs from the 1872 Jubilee, including “A Mighty For