Archiver > IRISH-IN-CHICAGO > 2007-10 > 1192803610

From: Jim Mullany <>
Subject: Re: [IRISH-IN-CHICAGO] Biographical History of the American Irishin Chicago
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2007 07:20:10 -0700 (PDT)

Thanks very much for posting this link. The book is very interesting and gives a great sense of the lives of the Chicago Irish of the time.

I get the sense that this one is like many regional vanity compilations that, maddeningly, require the folks to pay for their entries in the book. The cheap Irish - like mine! - will never show. My relation, the Most Rev. Anthony O'Regan, third bishop of Chicago, for instance, makes no appearance here except as an aside in others' bios. He was a controversial Catholic leader, but was also quite important in the history of the Chicago Irish of the mid-1800s.

And what was left out of some prominent Irish biographies is quite telling. I sense that Irish music and dance was considered a sign of ill-breeding and of being "too Irish" among a people (is the term "Lace-curtain Irish applicable here?) trying to blend in with ordinary Americans of the time (whatever that means in immigrant-rich Chicago of the late 1800s). How else to explain the lack of mention of Irish music in the included biography of Chicago Police Captain O'Neill, he one of the most venerated collectors of Irish music in the Western hemisphere. O'Neill's stupendous collection of written-out Irish tunes remains one of the most referenced Irish music collections a hundred years later. Yet his biography is lined with admirably industrious but culturally neutral activities.

With most of the bios I read, the Irishness of the individual seems deliberately muted. Overall, an excellent source book, though, and one I intend to scour repeatedly. And, yes, I find the search box disabled on my PC, too.

Jim Mullany
Sandia Park, New Mexico

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