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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Theme > Immigration and Migration (x)
  • Historical Eras > Antebellum America (1816-1860) (x)

We found 26 items that match your search

An Irish Emigrant to New York Writes Home

This letter home from 23-year-old Irish emigrant Margaret McCarthy captures both the opportunity and adversity awaiting arrivals to a new land. McCarthy sailed from Liverpool on the Columbus on September 7, 1849, and arrived in New York on October [...]

A Letter from Ireland Tells of the Suffering Caused by the Potato Famine

This 1847 letter from Hannah Curtis to her brother John, who had emigrated from Queen's County, Ireland to Philadelphia some years earlier, gives a sense of the deprivation of those who remained behind during the time of the Irish potato famine. The [...]

A Nativist New Yorker Disparages Irish Arrivals

The following are excerpts from the diaries of George Templeton Strong (1820-1875), a prominent New York lawyer. Written between 1838 and 1857, the entries reveal Strong's undisguised contempt for the Irish immigrants who were then flooding the [...]

An Irish Emigrant Writes to Relatives in County Donegal

In this letter to relatives back home in County Donegal, William Dever describes some of the obstacles faced by Irish immigrants in the antebellum period. In contrast to German and Dutch immigrants, who were often able to purchase farms, the Irish [...]

Graph of Mid-19th Century Emigration from Ireland to New York

This graph shows the number of arrivals in New York City ports from Britain and Ireland from 1841-1855. Before 1847, records did not usually distinguish between immigrants from the two countries (Ireland remained a part of the United Kingdom until [...]

Table of Emigrant Savings Bank Account Records

This sample of account records from Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank provides evidence about the lives of immigrants living in New York City during the mid-nineteenth century. All account holders included in this sample lived in the Five Points [...]

"I Am the Little Irish Boy"

Henry David Thoreau is one of America's best-loved poets and authors, known especially for his work Walden, with its meditations on nature. In this 1850 poem, Thoreau turns his attentive eye to a "little Irish boy," destined for a life of manual [...]

A California Businessman Contracts for Chinese Immigrant Labor

This labor contract between a Chinese worker, "Affon," and California businessman Jacob P. Leese, was made in Hong Kong on July 28, 1849, and witnessed by A. Shue, C. H. Brinley, and Henry Anthon, Jr., acting U.S. Vice Consul in Hong Kong. The [...]

"Poor Pat Must Emigrate"

A.W. Auner of Philadelphia was among the most prolific printers of "broadside ballads," cheaply-produced topical songs and poems that were widely available throughout the nineteenth century. "Poor Pat Must Emigrate," published by Auner sometime in [...]

A Know-Nothing Compares "Romanism" with "Republicanism"

In the mid-nineteenth century, the arrival of large numbers of Catholics from Ireland and Germany made the new immigrants' faith and its place in American society a hot-button issue. Such ideas found their expression in the anti-Catholic polemics of [...]