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Showing posts from September, 2022

Irish Poet William Butler Yeats Lectures in Boston on September 28, 1911

  Photo courtesy of the Burns Library at Boston College Irish poet and playwright  William Butler Yeats  addressed an audience at the Plymouth Theatre in Boston on Thursday, September 28, 1911 on the subject, "History of the Irish National Theatre and its Purposes."  The lecture was part of a national tour Yeats was undertaking, as  managing director of Dublin's  Abbey Theatre ,  to introduce a new literary movement taking place in Ireland that he hoped would be "the awakening of the mind of Ireland." The  Plymouth Theatre , located at Eliot Street (now Stuart) and Tremont Street, was a brand new playhouse, described as "a cozy, compact and home like-arrangement, with the seats in all parts of the house as near the stage as possible."  The Abbey players christened the new theatre with their productions. The Irish plays on opening night included "The Shadow of the Glenn" by John M. Synge, "Birthright" by T.C. Murray, and "Hyacin

Death of Irish-Born Bandleader + Impresario Patrick S. Gilmore, September 24, 1892

Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore (1829-1892)  died suddenly on September 24, 1892 in St. Louis, where the Gilmore Band was performing at the St. Louis Exposition.   His wife Nellie and daughter Minnie were by his side when he died.  Gilmore's body was sent by train to New York for his funeral at St. Francis Xavier Church, followed by burial at Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens. Photo by Michael Cummings Born in Ballygar, County Galway, Gilmore emigrated to Boston in 1849 and quickly established himself as an excellent cornet player and a band organizer.  He led several prominent bands in the 1850s, including Suffolk, Charlestown, Salem and Boston Brigade, before  finally establishing his own Gilmore's Band. The band was called upon for the most important occasions, such as the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in 1886,  and he performed for the inaugurations several US presidents, including Buchanan and Lincoln.   Gilmore and his band were attached to the Massachusetts 24th Regim

Boston Public Garden gets a new Colonel Thomas Cass Statue on September 22, 1899

On September 22, 1899, the Society of the Ninth Regiment installed a bronze statue in the Public Garden. of Civil War leader Colonel Thomas Cass, commander of the 9th Regiment. Several thousand people attended the ceremony, including Boston Mayor Josiah Quincy along with Mrs. C. B. Craib, the daughter of Colonel Cass, who unveiled the statue to great applause. Major Daniel G McNamara, a member of the 9th who served with Cass in the 9th Regiment, was the orator for the day. The bronze statue by sculptor Richard Edwin Brooks was hailed as a brilliant and fitting depicting of Cass, a larger-than-life leader who was beloved by his men. Mayor Quincy called the sculpture "a work of art as well as a memorial to the brave colonel, and must be considered by all as such." The statue, Quincy said, had already won an award at the Paris Exposition by the time it was unveiled. Brooks' statue replaced an inferior granite model that had been installed on November 12, 1889; the circumstan

On September 17, 1877, the Civil War Army + Navy Monument Was Unveiled on Boston Common to 100,000 Spectators

One hundred and forty-five years ago today, public officials, military leaders and the people of  Boston  unveiled the  Army & Navy   Monument  at Flagstaff Hill on Boston Common to commemorate  Massachusetts  men and women who gave their lives during the Civil War.   More than 100,000 spectators lined the streets of  Boston  as 25,429 veterans marched along a 6 1/2 mile route through the city and up to Flagstaff Hill. Among the marchers was Peter Nolan of Post 75 G.A.R, "who marched the entire route on crutches, having lost a leg at the second battle of Bull Run," according to the program notes.  "All nationalities, all colors and conditions of men were represented," reported the  New York Times .  "The Irish, Scotch, English, Portuguese and others were out in large numbers and carried the blood-stained flags under which they fought.  The colored men also turned out in large numbers and stepped as proudly to the strains of martial music as the men who had

Shipping up to Boston Harbor - Revolutionary War Naval Hero John Barry

American naval hero of the Revolutionary War,  Commodore John Barry  was born in Tacumshane, County Wexford on March 25, 1745 and died on September 13, 1803.  At age 15, he emigrated to Philadelphia in 1760, and joined the American forces at the outbreak of the war.  Barry's ship, the Lexington, was the first to capture a British vessel under the American flag. During much of the war, Barry commanded ships out of Boston Harbor, including the Delaware and the Alliance. After the war,  President George Washington  assigned Barry to help create the United States Navy.   Barry settled in Philadelphia  and died there at age 59. He is buried at St. Mary's Churchyard on S. Fourth Street. Though Boston's Irish-American, naval veterans and local historians have long honored Barry for his distinct role during the Revolutionary War, it wasn't until 1949 that  Boston Mayor  James Michael Curley , in his final term in office, vowed to commemorate Barry with a public space.  Speaking

Irish-American Labor Leader Mary Kenny O'Sullivan (1864-1943)

This Labor Day we celebrate Mary Kenney O'Sullivan (1864-1943), a nationally acclaimed union organizer who lived in Boston for 50 years. A plaque in her honor is featured in the Women's Portrait Gallery next to Doric Hall at the Massachusetts State House. She and other Irish items at the State House are part of the Boston Irish Heritage Trail. Born in 1864 in Hannibal, Missouri to Irish immigrant parents, Mary and her widowed mother moved to Chicago in 1888, where she immediately began organizing women working in the cigar-making, printing and bookbinding industries. After spending a year in New York City as the American Federation of Labor's first salaried woman organizer, she was enlisted by Samuel Gompers, head of the AFL, to organize women workers in Massachusetts, and she moved to Boston in 1893. Here she married John O'Sullivan, labor editor at The Boston Globe, and settled in the South End. She began organizing rubber makers, shoe makers and laundry and ga

Louis Sullivan, Son of Irish Immigrant, Born in Boston on September 3, 1856

Photo Courtesy of New York Public Library Archive s Louis Sullivan , regarded as the Father of American Architecture, was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 3, 1856 to an Irish father and a French-Swiss mother.   The family lived at 22 South Bennett Street in Boston's South End, and he attended local public schools, including English High School. Sullivan spent his summers with his grandparents in South Reading in a bi-lingual household and he advanced quickly as a student, attending MIT at age16 and then moving to Paris to complete his studies before settling in Chicago right after the Chicago Fire of 1871, where his services were in great demand. Sullivan's father Patrick Sullivan, an itinerant dance teacher from Ireland, arrived in Boston on the ship The Unicorn in July 1847 just weeks after Deer Island's quarantine station had opened for hundreds of passengers too sick to come ashore. According to Louis, in his book, Autobiography of an Idea , his father "