Thursday, January 9, 2014

'The Irish Domestic in the 1800s' at the New Haven Museum

"Shades of Downton Abbey at the New Haven Museum"
NEW HAVEN  – A lecture dubbed “Irish Women in Domestic Service,” will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the New Haven Museum on Jan. 23, according to a release.
During the lecture, Neil Hogan, editor of the Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society’s newsletter,, “The Shanachie,” will share research and stories collected as part of the Society’s ongoing oral history project," the release said.
There is no charge for admission.
"Faced with starvation in their native land, a multitude of brave Irish women faced the perils of an Atlantic crossing during the 1800s in the hope of becoming domestic servants in the United States. Thousands landed, lived, and worked in Connecticut, resulting in drama occasionally reminiscent of scenes from 'Downton Abbey,'" the release said.
The program is made possible by support from Connecticut Humanities and is part of “Connecticut at Work,” a year-long conversation about the past, present and future of work life in Connecticut created by Connecticut Humanities, the release said.
(Snow date - Thursday, January 30, at 5:30 p.m.)
 "Hogan notes that housework was considered so demeaning that 19th-century, native-born women would sometimes accept lower-paying work rather than face the humiliating task of cleaning another’s home. Though faced with long hours, grueling physical labor, religious intolerance and a great many prejudices, in some cases the women found fulfillment, love and acceptance on American soil. Hogan will share stories of Irish domestics employed by some of Connecticut’s most prominent families—including those of Mark Twain, P.T. Barnum and the Beechers of Hartford—and at Wooster Square, the home of manufacturer J.B. Sargent and the Russell Military Academy, which employed an all-Irish, female domestic staff."
“Irish Women in Domestic Service,” is offered in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibition “Beyond the New Township: Wooster Square,”  which runs through May 31, 2014, the release said.
The talk is co-sponsored by the Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society and Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University.  It is presented in conjunction with Connecticut at Work, an initiative of Connecticut Humanities, and a related exhibit, ‘The Way We Worked,” on view at the New Haven Free Public Library through January 19, 2014.
Exhibition hours:  The New Haven Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, from 10 am to 5 pm, and Saturday, from 12 noon to 5 pm., through May 31, 2014, and is open free of charge to the public every first Sunday of the month. For more information visit  or or call 203-562-4183.
Editor's note: All information and the photo in this post was contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

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