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Telling Our Stories: Oral Histories and Irish America


March 25, 2013


NYPL and Glucksman Ireland House New York University present a rare opportunity to listen to fascinating excerpts from oral histories with Irish immigrants and Irish Americans; reflecting on why they, or their ancestors, left Ireland and how they maintain links with the homeland. These unique reflections have been captured by the Glucksman Ireland House Oral History of Irish America and will be presented by three experts on Irish and Irish American history, Dr. Linda Dowling Almeida, Dr. Marion R. Casey and Dr. Miriam Nyhan. By interspersing discussion with the actual voices and memories of immigrants and their descendants, the lived experience of immigration is richly demonstrated.


Oral histories add color to our interpretations of the past and of how we view historical actors like immigrants. In doing this, they also remind us of the continuities in the experiences of immigrants today. This presentation will add to your understanding of Irish culture and migration, but it will also be instructive for other ethnic groups who record oral histories.


The Glucksman Ireland House Oral History Project is pioneering in its effort to collect oral histories of Irish America. Linda, Marion and Miriam are on faculty at Glucksman Ireland House and are Co-Directors of the Glucksman Ireland House Oral History Project. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear the insightful memories of those who have contributed to this collection and have a chance to chat with three impressive scholars of Ireland and Irish America.




Linda Dowling Almeida received her BA and MA degrees from Boston College and was invited to teach in the Center for Irish Studies at New York University upon completion of her doctorate at NYU. Specializing in twentieth century immigration, Professor Almeida has focused primarily on the ‘New Irish’ of the 1980s and 1990s. Her book, Irish Immigrants in New York City, 1945-1995, was published by Indiana University Press in 2001 and was critically reviewed as a valuable addition to American ethnic history and the placement of Irish America within the mainstream narrative of American historiography.  


After receiving her undergraduate degree from University College Dublin,Marion R. Casey came to New York University for her graduate work, studying with American immigration historian David M. Reimers.  Her career at NYU has included a three-year appointment as Assistant Professor of History/Faculty Fellow in Irish-American Studies; Associate Editor, Glucksman Ireland House; Senior Archivist, Archives of Irish America, Bobst Library and she is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor of Irish Studies. In addition to journal articles, her publications include essays in Making the Irish American: History and Heritage of the Irish in the United States (2006, a volume she co-edited with J.J. Lee), Race and Ethnicity in America: A Concise History (2003), and The New York Irish (1996), as well as the major entries on the Irish in The Encyclopedia of New York City (1995, rev. for 2nd edition, 2009) and The Encyclopedia of New York State (2005).  Johns Hopkins University Press will publish her forthcoming manuscript on the Irish image in America popular culture.


Miriam Nyhan received her BA and MPhil degrees from University College Cork (N.U.I), Ireland and her PhD from the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. With a special interest in 20th-century immigration, Professor Nyhan has focused primarily on the 1950s Irish immigrants who settled in New York and London. Her book, ‘Are You Still Below?’ The Ford Marina Plant, Cork, 1917-1984, (The Collins Press, Cork, 2007) provides an illuminating social history of Ireland’s only Ford factory and demonstrates how oral histories can be used to complement written sources. Dr. Nyhan is currently preparing her doctoral thesis for publication.