Letters of 1916 New York Launch | 17 March 2016

The Letters of 1916 project was launched in the Consulate General of Ireland, New York on St. Patrick’s Day as part of its Ireland 2016 centenary programme.

The event took place after the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade which has been running since 1762 making it the oldest and largest Patrick’s Day parade in the world!

Professor Philip Nolan, president of Maynooth University, was present to introduce the Letters of 1916 project and its founding editor, Professor Susan Schreibman. In her talk, Susan took the audience back to 1916 through readings from letters written either in the USA or to New Yorkers around the time of the Rising.

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Letters with a New York connection from the Letters of 1916 collection include correspondence between Eamon De Valera and his mother, Catherine Wheelwright (née Coll) while he was imprisoned and from John Quinn, the wealthy corporate lawyer and patron to many Irish and modernist writers to George Gavan Duffy who unsuccessfully defended Sir Roger Casement who was tried for treason in London.

The audience also learned how shortly after the outbreak of the Rising, cities with significant Irish-American populations, began to raise money under the banner of the Irish Relief Funds. They raised hundreds of thousands of dollars through events and appeals such as this letter which was circulated in New York in July, months after the Rising:

courtesy of the American Irish History Society
image courtesy of the American Irish History Society

 

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