Thursday, May 31, 2007

LAOH: Conclusion

With this in mind, the Hibernians turned their attention to the fears of Communism and the Cold War. Members were American first and Irish second. This sense of being American first and Irish second led to many Irish rallying around the American and even, the British flag during World War II and the Cold War. They felt that it was their patriotic duty to defend America from the evils of Communism. As the Irish became more educated, they became exposed to improved economic conditions, and they were soon swept in the consumer culture that began in the 1950s.[1] Throughout the next thirty years there was a lack of Irish-American involvement in their culture. By the 1980s, Irish-American attention became centered on the conflict in Northern Ireland. This new found interest in the current events of Northern Ireland combined with the new found interest in understanding their ethnicity led many Irish, Catholic Americans back to the old fraternal organizations, especially the AOH and the LAOH.[2] Historian Ronald Takaki summarizes this need to understand our ethnic heritage with the words of Walt Whitman, “of every hue and caste am I, I resist any thing better than my own diversity.” For example, Sister Ann McManus joined the LAOH because “it means I’m continuing my Irish heritage.”[3] Her parents were born in Ireland and by becoming a member; she could ensure that “Irish roots would continue in Toledo.”[4]

The LAOH re-emerged in Toledo at a meeting at OB’s Tavern on May 17, 1990 when a group of Irish-Americans met with the purpose of organizing a new chapter. The person responsible for leading the charge was Mary Ann Buckley.[5] Buckley had received a phone call from the Dayton, Ohio LAOH about starting up a new division in Toledo.[6] Shirley Keaton, on behalf of the state LAOH board, initiated new members into the division. On June 2, 1990 a meeting was held at Chicago’s Restaurant with LAOH state president Kathi Linton present to witness the election of officers.[7] This served as the first official meeting of the new division in Lucas County. In addition to the election of officers, the determination of the amount of dues and names for the new order were suggested. These included Cardinal O’Faigh, Bernadette Devlin, and Oliver Plunkett, but Mother Catherine McCauley was chosen as the name for the division.[8] One charter member, Sister Ann McManus, along with Mary Ann Buckley went on a “rampage for new members” for the division.[9] The result of this rampage was between 25 and 35 new members.[10] The resurgence of the LAOH in Toledo and the state of Ohio was reflected nationwide as well.

Today, the LAOH nationwide has over 12,000 members in thirty states.[11] The LAOH remains committed to their motto of “friendship, unity, and Christian charity.” The lady Hibernians actively raise money for various Catholic charities and to support the renovations of historical Irish parishes throughout the United States. An excellent example of this is the annual St. Patrick’s Festival held by the AOH and LAOH of Toledo, Ohio to raise funds for the restoration of Historic St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. The LAOH actively promotes Irish culture through lectures at schools, Irish dancing demonstrations, exhibits at libraries, and musical gatherings held at local Irish-American pubs such as Mickey Finn’s on Lagrange Street in Toledo. The LAOH in Dayton also participates in promoting and preserving Irish culture. The division organized an Irish step-dancing school in the 1950s in order to instruct its junior members in that tradition. The dancing school known as the Celtic Academy participates in parades, banquets, political rallies, and dance contests throughout the state. They also “heartily support national LAOH efforts such as the Columban Missions, the Irish Brigade Civil War Museum at Antietam, scholarships, vocations, and the annual Irish history essay contest.”[12] In addition to all of the activities just mentioned, the LAOH is actively involved in the conflict in Northeastern Ireland.

The Mother McCauley division works with Project Children to bring the children living in northeastern Ireland, both Catholic and Protestant, to America. Here they have an opportunity to see that they have quite a lot in common, although they are raised in northeastern Ireland to be on opposing sides. Since the Good Friday Agreement, Project Children is more focused on bringing the disabled children of northeastern Ireland to America where children with disabilities are more widely accepted than in their homeland. A second activity of the LAOH is to give the Catholic families of northeastern Ireland a vacation outside of that area. Because Catholics have the highest unemployment rate in northeastern Ireland, they often do not have the money to escape the conflict for a few days. A third activity involving LAOH is the Between Project, which brings children from both northeastern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland together in order to show that the children are the same, rather than different from one another.[13] Dayton LAOH chose to get involved in northeastern Ireland by “adopting” Sister Corrigan at St. Paul’s parish in Belfast “in efforts to help diminish the affects of The Troubles among the youth there.” Some of their contributions to the children there are “sports uniforms, monetary donations, and many prayers.”[14]

The emphasis on historic preservation, raising funds for Catholic based charities, promotion of Irish culture, and involvement in the conflict in northeastern Ireland is a shift in the focus of the LAOH in the late twentieth century from that of the LAOH in the early twentieth century which focused its energies on social gatherings and raising money for the scholarship endowment at Trinity College and local charities. This shift in focus of the LAOH can be traced to the liberation of women from the traditional roles of society. During the early twentieth century, married women were expected to not work outside of the home. Society’s gender roles deemed that middle class women belonged in the home cooking, cleaning, and caring for the children while men worked outside of the home. However, Irish women did not always fulfill the traditional role in which society deemed appropriate for them. Many Irish immigrant women worked outside of the home as domestic servants, nurses, teachers and only left the work force when they married late in life when compared to other immigrant women in America according to Diner. But, the overwhelming majority of LAOH members worked inside of the home, due to the fact that the majority of the LAOH members were part of the middle class.[15]
Since the LAOH members of the early twentieth century worked inside of their homes, their activities within the order were confined to the traditional middle class activities such as planning socials and raising money for local charities. The AOH discouraged the LAOH during the early twentieth century from taking part in the cause of Irish independence from Britain; this cause was strictly reserved for the male organization.[16] As middle class Irish women began to bend society’s traditional roles and left housework for work outside of the home, the scope of their activities within the order changed. They honored their roots by raising money to preserve historically significant buildings, which are important in Irish-American history and by hosting Irish dances, speakers, and other events to promote Irish culture. The AOH during the late twentieth century encouraged the women to become involved in Irish nationalism. LAOH delved into issues by the 1970s and 1980s that they had not dealt with before, such as the conflict in northeastern Ireland. By joining the LAOH, Irish-American women were able to go beyond the “green beer” aspect of their heritage and to use the organization as “an eye opener to my Irish heritage” according to Ann Dollman, a heritage where their Irish ethnicity is intrinsically linked with their Catholic faith.[17]

[1] McCaffrey, The Irish Catholic Diaspora, 172-177 and interviews with J. Michael Finn and Thomas O’Mahoney.
64 Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America (New York: Little, Brown, & Co., 1993), 1-17 and 378-428 and interviews from the following individuals: Ann Dollman, Mary Ann Buckley, J. Michael Finn, Thomas O’Mahoney, and Sister Ann McManus.

65 Quote from Whitman comes from Takaki, A Different Mirror, 428 and the other quote comes from: Sister Ann McManus, interview with author, 12 December 2003. Sister Ann McManus is an Ursuline nun born to Irish immigrant parents from County Roscommon. She has held every office in the Lucas County LAOH division except for Treasurer. She was involved in various Irish organizations as a child and young adult such as the Irish Benevolent Club and Knights of Equity. Information and quote taken from interview dated 12 December 2003. Uncatalogued material, Ward M. Canaday Center, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.
66 Ibid.
67 Mary Ann Buckley is an Irish immigrant born in County Mayo, Ireland. She began working in Dublin as a waitress at an ice cream parlor on O’Connell Street. She moved to London and trained as a typist and began work in the Ministry of Works. Poor wages in London led her to follow her brother to immigrate to America, who was living in Toledo in 1947. She worked in a local office doing secretarial work until she met her husband, Morris in 1949. She was actively involved in several Irish organizations in Toledo such as the Irish Social Club and the Knights of Equity before starting up the new LAOH division in Toledo in 1990. Information gathered by author in interview on 24 November 2003 in Toledo, Ohio. Uncatalogued material, Ward M. Canaday Center, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.
68 Ibid.
69 Ibid.
70 Kathi Linton went on to become the national president of the LAOH during the latter half of the 1990s.

67 Mary Ann Buckley is an Irish immigrant born in County Mayo, Ireland. She began working in Dublin as a waitress at an ice cream parlor on O’Connell Street. She moved to London and trained as a typist and began work in the Ministry of Works. Poor wages in London led her to follow her brother to immigrate to America, who was living in Toledo in 1947. She worked in a local office doing secretarial work until she met her husband, Morris in 1949. She was actively involved in several Irish organizations in Toledo such as the Irish Social Club and the Knights of Equity before starting up the new LAOH division in Toledo in 1990. Information gathered by author in interview on 24 November 2003 in Toledo, Ohio. Uncatalogued material, Ward M. Canaday Center, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.
68 Ibid.
69 Ibid.
70 Kathi Linton went on to become the national president of the LAOH during the latter half of the 1990s.
71 Membership drive correspondence from Mary Ann Buckley dated May of 1990 and minutes from the June 2, 1990 meeting of the Mother Catherine McCauley division of Lucas County, Ohio. Uncatalogued material, Ward M. Canaday Center, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.

72 Sister Ann McManus interview.
73 June 2, 1990 meeting minutes of Mother McCauley division of Lucas County Ohio.
74 National Hibernian Digest (Philadelphia, PA: Ancient Order of Hibernians & Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians), July-August 2003. Eileen McNeil is a past state of Ohio LAOH president.
75 Information from Toledo taken from meeting minutes and Dayton came from the Townsend article on the history of the LAOH in Dayton, pgs 6-12.
76 Information contained in paragraph was obtained in interviews from the following people: Sister Ann McManus, and Ann Dollman. Additional information was obtained from meeting minutes of the Lucas County LAOH and Townsend, 12. The term “The Troubles” refers to the conflict in northeastern Ireland from 1969 to the present.
77 Information contained in paragraph was taken from the following sources: Diner, Erin’s Daughters in America,, Nolan, Ourselves Alone, Ann Dollman’s private collection of LAOH in Ohio historical papers. Uncatalogued material, Ward M. Canaday Center, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.

78 Diner, Erin’s Daughters in America, 25 and interviews with Mary Ann Buckley, Ann Dollman, J. Michael Finn, & Thomas O’Mahoney.
79 Ann Dollman interview.

Monday, May 28, 2007


By the 1970s, the tide of decline in membership changed to an increase for both the AOH and LAOH. With the explosion of the interest in ethnicity and genealogy due to the successful television mini-series of Alex Haley’s Roots during the 1970s combined with
a time of great social and political turmoil inspired by the Vietnam War, the
Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and the Women’s Movement, people
of many different national backgrounds began to recognize and assert their
ethnic identities. They objected to ethnic stereotypes and promoted the benefits
of their individual cultures. They took the view that rather than a “melting pot,”
America was more like a “tossed salad” in which each ingredient is distinct and
adds its own flavor the whole[1]

This was also a time where both the AOH and LAOH seemed to be reborn. In 2004, the AOH has over seventeen divisions and total membership of over 2000 in Ohio, while the LAOH has over ten divisions in eight counties and a total membership of over 700. Both organizations continue to induct new members every month into their respective organizations.[2]

The activities of the LAOH changed during the course of the twentieth century. During the early years of the LAOH, the Hibernian women tended to keep within the traditional societal roles of women in carrying out their activities for the order. During the early part of the twentieth century, “propriety demanded that wives [and women in general] remain at home, and in many cases domestic chores and childbearing drained them of any energy that they might have devoted to intellectual activities or careers.”[3] According to Sara M. Evans, a historian of women’s history, “the urban middle class appeared to be devoted primarily to the elaboration of a life-style focused on domesticity and motherhood.”[4] She went on to argue that “women were to serve as an emotional center of the family and home.”[5] Although women were confined to the home, they were able to take part in the community through organizations such as the LAOH.[6]

In the beginning of the twentieth century, the LAOH, or the Auxiliary as it was known, was featured in the March 16, 1903 issue of the Youngstown Daily Vindicator in an article describing the Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations in the city. Mr. J.T. Carroll, state secretary for the AOH state board of Ohio commented that the evening’s festivities would not be complete without thanking the ladies for “their assistance in furthering the A.O.H. work” and the Auxiliary members who sang at the banquet with their “sweet soprano voice.”[7] The ladies division in Youngstown met every other Wednesday evening at the AOH hall at 145 W. Federal.[8] In addition to singing at the banquets of the AOH, the Auxiliary held an Easter dance and card parties to provide entertainment for the men of the order.[9] Auxiliary members in other cities played similar roles according to newspaper accounts in the cities of Toledo and Dayton.[10] State board president of the LAOH prior to World War I, Eva DeVanney summarized that the motto of the friendship, unity and Christian charity
will be practically demonstrated so that in coming years all entitled to
membership will be included in its ranks and the history, language, customs,
traditions and songs of our mother country will be perpetuated.[11]

The LAOH in both Toledo and Dayton raised money for various causes. The Dayton LAOH collected over $1700 and gave it as death benefits to the families of fifteen sisters “who had been called from our midst” during the early years of the organization.[12] The LAOH in Toledo’s project focused raising money for the stained glass windows in the new Irish parish of St. Patrick’s on Avondale Avenue in downtown Toledo. The women of the organization, along with the men of the AOH, were able to raise enough money to install a beautiful stained glass window depicting St. Patrick and the birth of Christianity in Ireland.[13] Both of these examples fulfilled the traditional role of women within the community, which was to assist their community in times of need and to improve the beauty of their surroundings.[14]

However, bigger events to plan for the Youngstown divisions came to fruition with the announcement that the AOH state convention of 1904 would be held there on August 9th through the 11th.[15] The women assisted with the planning of the state convention, which began in June of 1904 according to an announcement in the Youngstown Daily Vindicator. The announcement states:
The convention soon to be held here is exciting uncommon interest and the enthusiastic way in which the members are perfecting details leads to the conclusion that the gathering will be extremely pleasant as well as successful in other ways.[16]

By the eighth of August, members of both orders began arriving in Youngstown. Some of the members who arrived that day were Catherine Collins of Toledo, the state president of the Auxiliary, state secretary Gertrude O’Brien, state treasurer Mary Blakeley and state board officers for the men’s order including D.D. Cahill and J.P. Rigney.[17]

The Daily Vindicator described Catherine Collins as “brilliantly educated, tactful president” in an article about the first day of the convention.[18] Collins addressed the Convention delegates with the following statement:
It is indeed a pleasure to me to have an opportunity to greet the majority of this assembly as sisters and brothers in the cause of friendship, unity, and true Christian charity, as children of the mother church and as sons and daughters of an unconquered race. The auxiliary to the A.O.H. is still in its infancy but by faithfully following the footsteps of our brothers we have already accomplished a great deal for the cause of education by contributing $10,000 for the endowment of a free scholarship for the members at Trinity college. Our hopes for the future are many but among our most cherished are the introduction of Irish history and the revival of Irish literature in our schools.[19]

Collins came across as a traditional, but strong and independent woman who informed the men of the convention that the women were pursuing their own goals, and not just what the members of the men’s order deemed appropriate for them. She followed the proscribed gender role of women of that time by promoting the traditional roles of women in educating the children on both the primary and higher levels of education. A testament to her character was her refusal to accept another term as state president she said that “there are so many capable, brilliant young women throughout the state who are willing to fill the office.”[20]

In addition to Collins, the journalistic coverage of the convention focused on Gertrude O’Brien of Urbana, Ohio who was re-elected to her position of state secretary “by acclamation which shows her popularity” according to the Youngstown Vindicator. The Vindicator described Miss O’Brien as “ a charming young lady and [was] gifted with many affable and pleasing traits” who was “deeply devoted to the interest of the L.A.O.H. and there is no more sincere worker [than her] in the organization.”[21]

Besides commenting on the individual leaders of the LAOH, the newspapers concentrated on the philanthropic ventures of the organization. The Youngstown Daily Vindicator came across as “surprised” by the fact that the auxiliary treasury “ had a balance of $9,030.45” which the reporter remarked was “a financial condition which would do credit to any association.” The report continued, “ the members of this state forwarded a contribution of $525 to the $10,000 endowment given Trinity college by the national auxiliary and … [gave] without reserve to countless other worthy enterprises.”[22] The endowment at Trinity College was created in 1902 at the Denver, Colorado national convention, where “a resolution was adopted to establish a four years’ scholarship.” The leaders of the LAOH set up the endowment as they saw a “need for and the value of good educational opportunities for the young women of the day.”[23]

After commenting on the charitable activities of the organization, attention was drawn to the number of people involved and the Daily Vindicator seemed impressed with the number of members in the auxiliary. At the 1904 state convention, the auxiliary had over 2500 members.[24] In addition to commenting on its large membership, the paper sang the praises of the Youngstown division of the auxiliary:
Although organized but six years, the Mahoning county division of the Ladies’ Auxiliary has prospered in a most remarkable manner, and none are more active in the state. The constitution of the auxiliary is practically the same as that of the men and many a benevolent and charitable action has been engineered by them.[25]

The delegates of the AOH complimented the women on the work, yet the editorial board of The Youngstown Daily Vindicator did not fail to mention that a woman’s duty was to the home first:
They have accomplished and are accomplishing a great and noble work and we believe that they are doing this work without detriment to home and fireside. The Irish women of today are maintaining the noblest traditions of the women of our race. It was Christianity that first emancipated womankind, and in woman has ever been found the purest and best exemplifications of Christian virtues and Christian principles.[26]

Although the news coverage gave a favorable opinion of the LAOH, by the tone of the report, the paper appeared that it did not want to insinuate the idea that women should neglect their duties to the children and home by taking part in fraternal organizations, but rather that such involvement kept women in their confined societal roles as cook, housekeeper, and nurturer.

After the conclusion of the 1904 state convention, the auxiliary went back to the normal order of business such as planning and participating in social gatherings and charity events with the AOH. In May of 1912, the six local divisions of the AOH along with Auxiliary held an outing at Lincoln Park in Youngstown. The outing was to serve as a fundraiser for a local hospital, St. Elizabeth’s. Events such as ball games, sprinting, dancing, and other Gaelic related sports were organized, which drew over 5,000 people.[27]

During the time of events such as the state convention and the fundraiser for St. Elizabeth’s the Auxiliary in Youngstown saw an increase in membership when it expanded from one division to four by 1915.[28] This increase in membership can possibly be explained by the fact that during this time the overwhelmingly majority of Irish immigrants were women, according to historian Janet Nolan. These women were fleeing Ireland due to the loss of their independence and life, as then they had lived prior to the Great Hunger of the 1840s and early 1850s. Before the Great Hunger, women in Ireland were seen as equals in society, however they were seen as secondary to Irish men afterwards. This new role for Irish women forced many “to seek a new direction in their lives by emigrating.”[29] Between the years of 1880 and 1920, the majority of emigrants coming from Ireland to the Untied States were women.

Nolan argues that the influx of female migration during those years resulted from the fact that Ireland lacked an urban and industrial culture. “The inhibiting social, demographic, and economic constraints placed on women promoted overall economic recovery but, at the same time, also prevented women from achieving an adult status as wives and wage earners within the still agricultural world of rural Ireland.”[30] Women saw emigration as their chance at gaining back what they had lost in Ireland as a result of the Great Hunger or An Gorta Mor.[31] Upon their arrival in America, women worked in various occupations such as domestic service and joined Irish fraternal organizations such as the LAOH “where women found support and aid” which enabled them to remain committed to their heritage according to historian Hasia Diner.[32] Diner goes on to state that “their economic assertiveness and strong sense of self did not jar those cultural traditions but proved instead to be the mechanism for blending old-world ideals with American needs.”[33]

Irish women became involved in all facets of Irish-American life, which helped them to regain the independence and status that they once had in Ireland. However, with this independence, many women turned away from their cultural roots and instead celebrated their newly found American heritage. This new sense of being an American combined with the political events including the outbreak of World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II, led the LAOH to suffer a decline in membership. The children and grandchildren of Irish immigrants became Americanized and did not seem to be concerned with keeping the heritage of the older generations alive. This lack of interest in Irish roots can be tied to a variety of factors such as the devastation of two world wars which led a to great loss of life and an economic depression which caused people to be more concerned about putting food on the table than maintaining the cultural roots of the earlier generations.[34] A final and most important factor, which led to the decline in membership of the LAOH, was that the majority of the island of Ireland achieved its independence from Britain in 1921. Since Ireland was finally free of British rule, many Irish-Americans were no longer concerned with the events that occurred back in the old homeland. According to noted Irish-American historian Lawrence J. McCaffrey, “many Irish-American Catholics were disgusted and puzzled by the 1922-1923 civil war between Free Staters and Republic diehards.”[35] The overwhelming majority of Hibernians felt the same way in regards to the Irish civil war and “they agreed with Michael Collins, Ireland’s leading hero in the 1919-1921 guerilla war of liberation, that dominion status was a major British concession, and that it provided an opportunity for expanded sovereignty.”[36]

[1] Michael Novak, Ethnic Groups Never Truly “Melt’ into American Culture Immigration: Opposing Viewpoints, ed David L. Bender and others (San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1992), 49-50.
[2] Information compiled from AOH and LAOH state board information given to author via correspondence from J. Michael Finn, state historian of Ohio for the AOH and Ann Dollman, LAOH state board vice president. Information given to author consisted of directory and membership lists for each division in the state of Ohio. Uncatalogued material, Ward M. Canaday Center, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.
[3] Barbara J. Harris, Beyond Her Sphere: Women and the Professions in American History (Wesport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978), 102.
[4] Sara M. Evans, Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America (New York: The Free Press, 1989), 138.
[5] Ibid., 229.
[6] Additional information which the author used to explain how the early twentieth century LAOH’s activities differed from that of the late twentieth century organization: Teresa Amott and Julie Matthaei, Race, Gender, and Work: A Multicultural Economic History of Women in the United States (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1991), Babara Kuhn Campbell, The “Liberated” Woman of 1914: Prominent Women in the Progressive Era (United States: UMI Research Press, 1976), Maurine Weiner Greenwald, “Working-Class Feminism and the Family Wage Idea: The Seattle Debate on Married Women’s Right to Work, 1914-1920l” The Journal of American History (Jan.,1989) & Sharon Sassler, “Learning to Be an ‘American Lady’?: Ethnic Variation in Daughters’ Pursuits in the Early 1900s” Gender and Society, (Feb., 2000).
[7] The Youngstown Daily Vindicator, 16 March 1903.
[8] The Burch Directory (city directory of Youngstown, Ohio, 1903 & 1904).
[9] The Youngstown Daily Vindicator, 20 February 1904.
[10] Toledo News Bee, March 1904. Toledo Blade, March 1905. Dayton Daily Vindicator, March 1903, March 1904, March 1907.
[11] Townsend, Centennial celebration, 1896-1996,1. The Dayton division also assisted sisters who were in need of financial assistance for medical reasons as well.

39 Information on the Toledo LAOH project was taken from the following sources: Toledo Blade (Toledo, Ohio), 16-18 March 1904 & 20 July 1904 and Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Local History Collections, Historic Church of St. Patrick records, Toledo, Ohio, Box 1 Folder 2-5, Box 2 Folder 16-18, Box 3 Folder 37, and Box 4 Folder 70,95,114,118, and 121.
40 Harris, Beyond Her Sphere, Campbell, The “Liberated” Woman of 1914, and Evans, Born for Liberty
41 The Youngstown Daily Vindicator, 21 July 1904.
42 Ibid.
43 Ibid., 1 June 1904.

[17] Ibid.
[18] Ibid., 9 August 1904.
[19] A scholarship, which is still given annually to either a member of the LAOH or a relative of a member at the national convention. Excerpt of speech taken from the following source: The Youngstown Daily Vindicator, 9 August 1904.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Ibid., 12 August 1904.
[22] Ibid.
[23] Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and Trinity College: Partners in the Education of Women for More than a Century. Brochure in the hand of Ann Dollman, state board Vice President, Toledo, Ohio. Brochure is a timeline of information about the relationship between the LAOH and Trinity College in Washington, D.C., Uncatalogued material, Ward M. Canaday Center, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.
[24] The Youngstown Daily Vindicator, 10 August 1904.
[25] Ibid.
[26] Ibid., 11 August 1904.
[27] Ibid., 24 May 1912.
[28] Youngstown City Directory (1915, Youngstown).
[29] Nolan, Ourselves Alone: Women’s Emigration, 42. Before the 1880s, men made up of over fifty percent of those emigrating from Ireland. By 1885, females were the emigrant majority. This shift occurred as more opportunities became available to men in Ireland, while those for women were non-existent. Lack of opportunity combined with a decrease in the male population and an increase in the female population, led to the increase in female emigration.
[30] Ibid., 73.
[31] In Ireland, it is referred to as An Gorta Mor. Also known as the more commonly used Famine, but I disagree with the word famine as that would indicate that there were no sources of food available in Ireland and that all of the crops had failed. However, the only crop that failed was the potato, which 90% of the Irish relied on as their main source of food. According to Dr. Seamus Metress, noted scholar of Irish Studies, the An Gorta Mor was “a time period when Irish peasants starved in the midst of plenty. Wheat, oats, barley, butter, eggs, beef, and pork were exported from Ireland in large quantities.” Seamus Metress & Richard A. Rajner, The Great Starvation: AN Irish Holocaust (Stony Point, NY: American Ireland Education Foundation, 1996), xviii. An Gorta Mor is an Irish phrase that is used extensively throughout the field of Irish Studies and in the Republic of Ireland.
[32] Diner, Erin’s Daughters in America, 153. Members of the LAOH in Ohio were predominantly married women who did not work outside of the home. Newspaper coverage about the LAOH seemed to introduce LAOH members as Mrs so and so and not Miss. Many Irish single women were often too busy working to earn a living to become involved in LAOH activities. Once they married, however, many women were able to combine LAOH activities with their roles as wives and mothers.
[33] Ibid.
[34] Thomas O’Mahoney, interview with author, 12 December 2003. Uncatalogued material, Ward M. Canaday Center, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.
[35] McCaffrey, The Irish Catholic Diaspora, 169.
[36] AOH/LAOH opinion comes from the following interviews conducted by the author: Ann Dollman, interview with author, 14 December 2003; Sister Ann McManus, interview with author, 12 December 2003; Mary Ann Buckley, interview with author, 24 November 2003; Thomas O’Mahoney, Ohio AOH state board president, interview with author, February 2004; and J. Michael Finn, Ohio AOH state board historian, interview with author, February 2004. Uncatalogued material, Ward M. Canaday Center, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Part II

As the organization grew in membership and as more unmarried Irish women immigrants entered the United States, it was necessary to form a female branch of the Hibernians. According to historian Hasia Diner, “the Church provided the only formal institution in which women participated on any regular basis,” so forming a female branch of an Irish and Catholic faith based organization made sense.[1] The LAOH began as the “Daughters of Erin” and was first organized in Omaha, Nebraska in 1894 by a group of women who were married to members of AOH. However, the men were wary of granting the “Daughters of Erin” their own charter at the National AOH Convention held in Detroit, Michigan on July 14-17, 1896. In order to calm the fears of the men, a female delegate, a Miss Laughlin stated:
Now, by our presence here, we do not want…to be speechmakers, or political speakers…we are not the “New Woman,” but women who have good Irish mothers who taught them to cook, to sew, to wash, to iron, and to get a good square meal for their husbands. The time, has almost arrived when women and men can stand on equal ground.[2]

While her speech calmed the fear of men about the possibility of Hibernian women becoming suffragists, it also served as a warning that Irish-American women “would no longer be content to remain in the background” according to historian Janet Nolan.[3] The charter members of this new organization notified the public of what the exact purpose of the new female organization was going to be and changed the name of the organization to the Ladies Auxiliary of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 1906. This act made the LAOH completely independent of the men, although the name of auxiliary suggested otherwise. The Auxiliary part of the LAOH was dropped in the 1980s in order to signify that the women’s branch was truly independent of the male AOH. The LAOH adopted the same motto of “friendship, unity, and Christian charity” as the men, but it remained a completely separate organization from its male counterpart. The LAOH “sought to educate their members in the Catholic culture as well as provide a place where people could come together, enjoy one another’s company, and share their concerns.”[4]
At the National Convention in 1896, delegates debated whether or not wives of AOH members who were not born in Ireland or of Irish descent should be allowed admittance into the LAOH. Father Murphy, chaplain for the Wisconsin AOH said he was:
in favor of the free coinage of Irishmen at any rate; that when persons were
married, they became two in one, although in some cases it is hard to find out which it is; but, when a woman cares enough about an Irishman to marry him he will very likely be the one; heartily in favor of taking them into the order every white woman who was a practical Catholic and married to an Irishman.[5]

This argument eventually won over the men at the convention, and non-Irish women who were married to AOH members were invited to become members of the auxiliary. This is the only account of Hibernian men getting involved in the LAOH. After this debate over membership, the LAOH members were able to keep the men out of the organization’s business.

Allowing American born Irish women and non-Irish wives of Irishmen as members led to an increase in membership for both the AOH and the LAOH. As Irish immigrants moved from the East to the Midwest, they established new divisions of the AOH and the Auxiliary. The AOH came to Ohio in 1850 when the first division of the state was installed in Cincinnati.[6] Divisions sprang up in the urban areas of Youngstown, Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Dayton and Akron by the end of the 1870s. Cleveland’s first division was created in 1871. By the end of 1875, four divisions were up and running in the area with membership nearing 400. Toledo installed its first division in July of 1875 with Patrick Garry as the division president. By 1884, “there were 74 divisions in the state, in 27 different counties—the fourth highest number in America and a membership numbering 4,000.” After the 1896 Convention, each male division encouraged their Irish and Irish-American wives to start their own divisions of the LAOH as well. The first charter for the LAOH in Ohio was granted in 1896 to the wives of AOH members in Dayton.[7] By 1910, the Dayton division had over 200 members and “was [one] of the largest auxiliaries in the state.”[8] However, membership in both the AOH and LAOH began to decline with the onset of the 1920s and 1930s. This trend in declining membership in the order can be traced to the high rates of members leaving due to death or old age while not being replenished by the younger generations. By 1941, “there were only 111 Hibernian [members] in divisions left in the entire state.”[9] According to the LAOH state board, the LAOH records reflect this trend as well.[10]

[1] Hasia Diner, Erin’s Daughters in America: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983), 127.
[2] Janet Nolan, Ourselves Alone: Women’s Emigration from Ireland, 1885-1920 (Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1989), 85-86. First name of Miss Laughlin is unknown. In the national history of the Ancient Order of Hibernians written by O’Dea, History of the Ancient Order of Hibernians she is referred to as both Miss Laughlin and Sister Laughlin, with no mention of her first name.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Information contained in paragraph was taken from the following source: the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians state of Ohio website: and the quote was taken from the following source: Jay P. Dolan, The American Catholic Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co, Inc, 1985), 258.
[5] O’Dea, History of the Ancient Order, 1121. Statement is attributed to Murphy according to author John O’Dea who had access to the minutes of the convention when writing the history of the AOH in 1923.
[6] Irish in Cincinnati Events of Importance. Timeline in the hand of Pat Mallory, President of the Hamilton County, Ohio # 1 division, Cincinnati, Ohio. Timeline was obtained through correspondence with Mr. Mallory. Uncatalogued material, Ward M. Canaday Center, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.
[7] Mary Colleen Russell Townsend, Centennial celebration, 1896-1996, November 2, 1996/Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, John F. Kennedy Division No.1, Dayton, Ohio (Dayton: Ohio: Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians John F. Kennedy Division No.1, 1996), 1. Available at Dayton Public Library, Local History Department, Dayton, Ohio. The Dayton No. 1 division of the LAOH is one of the oldest, continually active divisions in the United States. The LAOH in Dayton changed the name of the division to honor President John F. Kennedy upon his assassination in November of 1963. Prior to the 1960s, the division was strictly known as division # 1.
[8] Ibid., 2.
[9] Information contained in the paragraph including the first and third quotes was taken from the following source John T. Ridge, Erin’s Sons in America—The Ancient Order of Hibernians (Brooklyn, NY: AOH Publications, 1986), 93-94.
[10] Ann Dollman, LAOH state board of Ohio Vice President, interview by author, Toledo, Ohio, 14 December 2003, Uncatalogued material, Ward M. Canaday Center, University of Toledo, Toledo Ohio. This trend is also reflected in variety of city directories from the cities of Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Youngstown during the years from the 1920s through the 1970s where there where a lack of divisions actually in existence. This can be compared to the directories of those cities during the 1880s through the 1920 when divisions were listed for several pages for each city.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Part I

The majority of Americans can trace their ancestry back to immigrants who made the decision to leave everything they knew behind, for a chance at better lives in a new and foreign land. Upon their arrival many of these immigrants joined ethnic organizations as an important means of socialization in adapting to their lives in America. These organizations provided mutual assistance for members during times of need, provided a network of information on employment, and gave people a sense of belonging in a strange world where one longed for the comforts of the native homeland. Scholars such as Kerby Miller, Lawrence McCaffrey, and Andrew M. Greeley have written extensively on the Irish-American experience and organizations such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) in America. While the majority of the literature focuses on the male perspective of ethnic organizations and immigrant life, it is necessary to give a voice to the female perspective in the area of immigration, an area that is still somewhat overlooked in immigration history.[1]

Hasia Diner and Janet Nolan have written about the experiences of Irish immigrant women in America, but these past efforts focused primarily on a narration of their lives.[2] This study takes an in-depth look at one of the ethnic organizations in which Irish immigrant women took part. The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians (LAOH) was one organization that both Irish immigrant and Irish-American women could join. While membership in the LAOH was widespread throughout the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Ohio organization stands out as particularly significant. Ohio became the home to many Irish immigrants as they worked their way westward on the canals and railroads. Many Irish settled in the cities of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Youngstown. Divisions of both the AOH and LAOH sprang up in these cities. The state of Ohio had one the largest AOH and LAOH memberships in the nation at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and contributed important officers to the organization on the national level.

The LAOH’s scope of activities changed from the early twentieth century to the late twentieth century and this shift in activity can be traced to changing societal roles for women. Most importantly, the activities of the LAOH helped to maintain the link with native Ireland. Members also worked to keep the heritage alive among American-born generations who may not have felt a close connection with their ancestral roots without the organization. The AOH and LAOH “developed in the nineteenth century as… provident association[s] devoted to the advancement of the interests and welfare of Irish immigrants.”[3] In order to understand the history of the LAOH it is necessary to take a look at the history of its male counterpart, the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), its rate of growth in the number of divisions and members, and finally, the activities of the LAOH organization.

The AOH is one of the oldest Irish organizations in the United States. It was founded in 1836 in New York City as a Catholic lay organization for people born in Ireland and later, people born of Irish descent in the United States. The roots of the AOH stretched back to Ireland where the precursor to the American AOH was founded in 1565 to defend Catholic Ireland against Protestant Britain. The American AOH’s motto of “friendship, unity, and Christian charity” was based on that of the older original Ancient Order of Hibernians in Ireland. The AOH was created in New York in response to the rise of nativists’ bigotry against the Irish. The nativist movement was a response to increasing numbers of immigrants, especially the Irish coming into America to flee hunger, disease, and death in Ireland.[4] They feared that increasing numbers of immigrants would harm America economically and felt Catholicism threatened their Protestant nation. Of these three, “anti-Catholicism was the core of nativism from the 1830s through the 1850s.”[5] Many well-known individuals such as Reverend Lyman Beecher and Samuel F. B. Morse “believed in an international conspiracy, engineered by European despots, mainly the Hapsburgs, to use Catholicism as a wedge to destroy American liberal democracy.”[6] After nativists burned down an Ursuline convent in Massachusetts in 1834, “a wave of shootings, hangings, and burnings” were carried out against the Irish immigrants.[7] In order to understand this bigotry and hatred of the Irish, it is necessary to see what was being said about them. Wealthy Protestant George Templeton Strong provides an example of typical rhetoric in a journal entry that described the Irish as “brutal, base, cruel, cowards and as insolent as base; they came from a land populated by creatures that crawl and eat dirt and poison every community they infest.”[8] During the 1850s, a nativist group called the Order of the Star Spangled Banner or Native American party (Know Nothings) became the main nativist group to attack Catholic and especially Irish immigrants.[9] To try and halt the Know Nothings attacks on both Irish people and Church property, the AOH began to “stand guard to defend Church property.”[10

Most early AOH activities remain unknown as the society was founded upon the basis of secrecy. In addition to defending Church property, the organization assisted Irish immigrants financially “who arrived as members in good standing from the Irish Order,” and provided networks which facilitated employment and upward mobility for their members.”[11] The AOH was also instrumental in the “preservation of Irish culture and traditions in America.”[12] As the nativist movement dissipated after the American Civil War, the AOH shifted its focus from defending property to “charitable activities in support of the church’s missions, community service, and the promotion of preservation of their Irish cultural heritage in America.”[13] Organizations such as the AOH did not hinder assimilation into America, but felt “the development of an ethnic identity expressed through a rich institutional and associational life was the primary means through which the American Irish assimilated.”[14] Between the years of 1856 and 1921, over three million Irish immigrated to the United States, increasing membership in the AOH.[15] However controversy over membership in the AOH developed. In 1884, the AOH debated whether or not American born Irish could be admitted as members.[16] Members of the AOH decided that American born Irish could be admitted to the order in addition to those who were born in Ireland.[17] This decision ensured that AOH membership would remain strong after the Irish born members died and that their American born children could carry on the traditions and the work of the AOH.

[1] Andrew M. Greeley, The Irish Americans: The Rise to Money and Power (New York: Harper & Row, 1981), ______, The Most Distressful Nation: The Taming of the American Irish (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1972), Lawrence J. McCaffrey, The Irish Catholic Diaspora in America (United States: Catholic University of America Press, 1997), & Kerby A. Miller, Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985).
[2] Hasia Diner, Erin’s Daughters in America: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983) & Janet Nolan, Ourselves Alone: Women’s Emigration from Ireland, 1885-1920 (Lexington, Kent: University Press of Kentucky, 1985).
[3] Reginald Byron, Irish America (Great Britain: Clarendon Press, 1999), 246.
[4] Information contained in paragraph was garnered through a variety of sources such as the national website of the AOH located at and newspapers from the AOH national newsletter, The National Hibernian Digest. The National Hibernian Digest archives are located at: Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, Manuscript Collections, Philadelphia, Penn.
[5] McCaffrey, The Irish Catholic Diaspora in America, 99.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid., 100.
[8] Kevin Kenny, The American Irish: A History (London: Pearson Education Limited, 2000), 117-118.
[9] Michael F. Holt, “The Politics of Impatience: The Origins of Know Nothingism” The Journal of American History, Vol.60, No. 2 (September, 1973), 309-331.
[10] Taken from the Ancient Order of Hibernians website history page.
[11] First quote taken from: and second quote from: Miller, Emigrants and Exiles, 500.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Kenny, The American Irish, 148-149.
[15] Miller, Emigrants and Exiles, 346.
[16] Ibid., 535.
[17] John O’Dea, History of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Auxiliary, published by the authority of the National Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (Philadelphia: Keystone Printing, 1923), 1066-1072.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Book Review

Holden Furber’s John Company at work: a study of European expansion in the late eighteenth century was written in 1948 and examines the rise of the British East India Company during the eighteenth century. Furber begins the book with a description of British controlled India in 1783. His goal in writing the book is “to tell how European expansion took place in India and to describe the consequences of the growth of European power in India at the close of the eighteenth century.”[1] He focuses on the decade between the American and French revolutions, when the “consolidation of European power in India” took place.[2] Furber argues that “by thoroughly understanding what happened during one decade, we can gain a clearer conception of what occurred before and hat came after.”[3

Furber divides his work into nine chapters, each dealing with a different aspect of European expansion in India. After a look at British India during the years of 1783-1785, Furber discusses the rivalry between the English and the French in India. England’s goal according to Furber was to eliminate all competition from India ensuring that they would reign supreme. England’s competition in the form of the Dutch and the French were dependant on them for shipping their trade back to their home countries.

The second half of the book examines the activities of the East India Company at three centers in India: Bombay, Bengal, and Madras. Furber argues that the Company was “robbed and cheated right and left by officials and servants who profited at the expense of the old John Company.”[4] He concludes that “the Company in its corporate capacity was simply a tool used by groups of individuals who cared not a whit what the balance sheet looked like so long as their private ends were served.”[5] In the final chapter Furber discusses that additional studies of English economic activity in India are needed due to the fact that the drain of Indian wealth was offset “ by an increase in wealth among the Indian mercantile community, for which European activity was primarily, though indirectly, responsible.”[6]

Overall, Furber’s work is an excellent analysis of the East India Company during the latter eighteenth century. He used a variety of sources and used the archival records of the East India Company and British colonial administration extensively. Furber’s work just barely touches the history of East India Company, but he gave future historians plenty of unexplored territory to pursue.

[1] Holden Furber, John Company at work: a study of European expansion in the late eighteenth century, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1948), vii.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid., 269.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid., 312.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thoughts on my travel to the Carolinas

While my husband and I were vacationing in the Carolinas last week, I observed many differences between the Carolinas and the Midwest. The first thing that I noticed was the excellent shape that the roads and interstates in the Carolinas were in as compared to the sad shape that many roads and highways in Ohio and Michigan. Another interesting difference was the lottery. All profits from the lotteries in the Carolinas go strictly towards education while the lottery profits here in the Midwest I am not at all too sure of where the money goes. We were very impressed with the cities that we visited and people that we met. The warmest receptions were in Charleston, SC and Wilmington, NC by far. I can't wait to return to the Carolinas. We have even discussed that we would not mind living there in the future if a position at a university or college were to become available. This is a quick post as I have to return to work at my summer job. I will try to write more later.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm back

Just a quick post this morning that I am back from getting married and the honeymoon. I will write about our trip to Charleston and Wilmington SC later today.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Glenn J. Ames, Rensacent Empire? The House of Braganza and the Quest for stability in Portuguese Monsoon Asia, c. 1640-1683

In 2000, Glenn Ames’s work, Renascent Empire? The House of Braganza and the Quest for stability in Portuguese Monsoon Asia, c. 1640-1683 concentrates “on detailing the motivations, underlying assumptions, specific policies, and results of this reformation campaign in Portugese Monsoon Asia” during the years of 1640 to 1683 under the House of Braganza.[1] In addition, “it will also seek to examine the structural limits imposed on this campaign by the internal political, cultural, and economic structures of early modern Portuguese society.”[2] The book is organized into an introduction, seven chapters, and a conclusion; each chapter examines a different aspect of Portuguese Asian history.

The first chapter discusses the consolidation of power of the Portuguese throne under the Braganza dynasty from the Spanish Hapsburgs from Joao IV in 1640 to Pedro’s regency in 1668 when Portugal was recognized as an independent nation in the peace talks with Spain and England at St. Eloi in 1668. Ames states that during this time that the Portuguese “learned to adapt to changing technologies, business practices, administrative reforms, and geo-political and religious realities in the Indian Ocean trade.”[3] Chapter two looks at the politics and policies of Portuguese Asia under the various Viceroys and Governors from 1661 to 1681 in governing Portuguese Asia. The viceroys and governors came from noble families. Ames argues that both sides (the crown and nobility) benefited in the fact that it “…served the needs of an Asian empire badly in need of assistance after long decades of neglect.”[4] Chapter three looks at the role Christianity in Portuguese Asia from 1640 to 1683. This chapter also examines history from below in the fact that it examines the Orphan laws from that time. The fourth chapter is an economic history of Portuguese Asia, especially the impact that the spice trade had on Portugal. In this chapter, Ames demonstrates how Pedro “…was willing to break with centuries-old practices, traditions, and supporters in an effort to salvage what remained of the Estado.”[5] Chapter five focuses on the administration and resiliency of indigenous structures. The sixth chapter looks at how Portugal’s foreign policy maneuvers helped to stabilize Portuguese Asia. The final chapter is a look at how the Portuguese expansion into Mozambique allowed Portuguese Asia to survive.

Ames examined a variety of sources for his work on the Renascent Empire. Archives were consulted in Lisbon, Evora, Panjim, Paris, London, and Bombay in order to tell the story of how the House of Braganza was able to hang onto Asia and make it profitable for Portugal again. Non-archival sources came from a variety of memoirs and other accounts of the period of the Estado. Numerous secondary sources from the experts in European Expansion were consulted such as Boxer, Braudel, Parry, and Prestage.
Overall, the work is an excellent source of information on the House of Braganza and the Estado. A student will find the bibliography to be the most helpful in their perusal of the sources that are available for their research interests in European expansion, especially the Portuguese in Asia. The author did indeed “examine the process by which the Portuguese Crown, in the span of less than two decades, was able to turn the pitiful lamentations of Mello de Castro into the respectful, even envious, descriptions of Aungier and other competitors in the trade.”[6]

[1] Glenn J. Ames, Renascent Empire? The House of Braganza and the Quest for stability in Portuguese Monsoon Asia, c. 1640-1683. (Amsterdam: Amterdam University Press, 2000), 14.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid., 38.
[4] Ibid., 47.
[5] Ibid., 113.
[6] Ibid., 16.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Heffer and Nash

I am a proud "Mom" to my two "kids" Heffer and Nash. Heffer is an 18 month old mutt (Beagle/Australian Shepherd/Australian Cattle Dog) and Nash is a 5 year old Brindle Great Dane. They have two distinct personalities. Heffer is an outgoing, bouncing off the walls, in your face personality. His nose is always getting him into trouble. He doesn't listen very well and is very stubborn. He loves to play fetch, run around, and wrestle with my husband. He also loves to snuggle with me in the mornings before I go off to school. Nash on the other hand reminds me of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. My husband got him as a 1 year old pup before I had ever met him. Nash had come from an abused home where he was not allowed to learn how to play. Nash is low key, always looks sad, and does not ask very much from us. We love him all of the time but he does not know how to play, even though we have tried on numerous occasions. What Nash loves most in the world is his sofa. He is happiest when he can lay on his sofa for hours on end.

Both of the dogs love walks, car rides, and trips to the park. They are always doing something funny or crazy. The craziest thing that they did today was when the tornado siren wailed. Instead of following me to the basement, they started howling, barking, and pawing the back door. These two crazy dogs wanted to go outside in the middle of severe weather. It took my husband and me to get them away from the door and down to the basement.

There is never a dull moment with these two kids of mine. I can't imagine life without either of them. They are always there if you need cheering up when you are sad and they are always there whooping it up with you when you're happy. My husband and my two kids give me a family where I am completely free to be myself and loved just for me.