The Monsignor Noe Field Archives and Special Collections Center is pleased to announce the addition of six new archival collections related to the Irish-American experience. Thanks to a generous grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, we were able to process the following collections that are now available to researchers:
- MSS 0135 John Concannon and the Ancient Order of the Hibernians Collection
- MSS 0145 James MacFarland Collection
- MSS 0146 Ancient Order of Hibernians – New Jersey Collection
- MSS 0147 Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Daughters of America – New Jersey Chapter
- MSS 0148 James Comerford Papers
- MSS 0150 Gloria Schneider Papers
In addition to processing these collections, we have digitized roughly 1,200 files, at just over 9GB of data, primarily from the John Concannon and James Comerford collections.
Irish-American Experience in the 20th Century: Collection Highlights
The correspondence, research files, publications, photographs, and audio-visual materials in these collections provide an inside look at how Irish-American fraternal organizations worked together and separately to wield influence and political pressure on issues of importance to their communities — primarily immigration reform and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. These documents demonstrate how many of these organizations, notably the Ancient Order of Hibernians, maintained close ties with local political and religious leaders in New York and New Jersey.
For the first half of the 20th century, in the absence of larger governmental programs, membership organizations collected dues and shared out their funds to members in need of assistance. The AOH New Jersey and Knights of Columbus collections include ledgers and membership registers that record in granular detail how these organizations provided health insurance and sick benefits to their members.
In addition to serving as advocacy groups, Irish-American organizations provided a sense of community and maintained a full calendar of social events. The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is widely documented in the John Concannon collection, as members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians helmed its operation for many decades. The collection includes internal documents, lines of march, invitations, correspondence, and hundreds of photographs.
For an overview of these collections, we invite you to explore two digital exhibits:
- Irish-American Organizations: The Power of Connection
Exploring the relationship between Irish-American organizations and political advocacy
- James Comerford
Irish-American advocate and New York City judge