Anbinder, From Famine to Five Points

Anbinder, From Famine to Five Points - | From Famine to...

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08/02/2006 02:43 PM | From Famine to Five Points: Lord Lansdowne's Irish Tenants Encount…| The History Cooperative (http://historycooperative.press.uiuc.edu) Page 1 of 34 http://historycooperative.press.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/printpage.cgi http://historycooperative.press.uiuc.edu/journals/ahr/107.2/ah0202000351.html From The American Historical Review Vol. 107, Issue 2. Viewed August 2, 2006 16:45 EDT Presented online in association with the History Cooperative. http://www.historycooperative.org From Famine to Five Points: Lord Lansdowne's Irish Tenants Encounter North America's Most Notorious Slum TYLER ANBINDER From Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper (March 13, 1880), p. 29: "New York City.—Irish depositors of the Emigrant Savings Bank withdrawing money to send to their suffering relatives in the old country." Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
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08/02/2006 02:43 PM | From Famine to Five Points: Lord Lansdowne's Irish Tenants Encount…| The History Cooperative (http://historycooperative.press.uiuc.edu) Page 2 of 34 http://historycooperative.press.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/printpage.cgi As New Yorker Ellen Holland looked back over her first forty-seven years of life in 1860, she must have wondered whether she was blessed or cursed. "Nelly" had been born and raised in southwestern Ireland in the County Kerry parish of Kenmare. There she grew up surrounded by jagged mountain peaks and lush green hills that sloped dramatically to the wide, majestic Kenmare River. Nelly and her family were tenants of the marquis of Lansdowne, whose estate was home to 13,000 of the most impoverished residents of nineteenth-century Ireland. Visitors to the huge property commonly chose terms such as "wretched," "miserable," "half naked," and "half fed" to describe the poor farmers and laborers who dominated its population. 1 1 Observers invoked such descriptions of Nelly's birthplace even before 1845, when a mysterious potato blight began to wreak havoc on the meager food supply. By late 1846, Kenmare residents began to succumb to starvation and malnutrition-related diseases. As conditions continued to deteriorate in early 1847, the death toll multiplied. An Englishman who visited the town of Kenmare at this time wrote that "the sounds of woe and wailing resounded in the streets throughout the night." In the morning, nine corpses were found in the village streets. "The poor people came in from the rural districts" in such numbers, wrote this observer, "it was utterly impossible to meet their most urgent exigencies, and therefore they came in literally to die ." Tens of thousands fled Ireland in 1847, but almost none of the Lansdowne tenants could afford to emigrate. Relatively few had journeyed from this isolated estate to America in the pre-famine years, so they did not receive the remittances from abroad that financed the voyages of many famine emigrants leaving other parts of Ireland. 2
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This note was uploaded on 12/21/2009 for the course HUMANITIES 128 taught by Professor Barron during the Spring '09 term at Harvey Mudd College.

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Anbinder, From Famine to Five Points - | From Famine to...

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