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The Prendergast Letters


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SHELLEY BARBER is archivist, John J. Burns Library, Boston College. RUTH-ANN M. HARRIS is adjunct professor of Irish studies, Boston College. MARIE E. DALY is director of readers' services, New England Historic Genealogical Society.


These letters are important for how they open a window on the lives and struggles of famine-era Irish and their immigrant offspring in America, in this case Boston, who stood somewhere between the 'relatively undifferentiated mass of those who barely survived' and 'those who became distinguished major figures.'. . . This book fills an important niche in the spectrum of studies in the field.--Arthur Gribben, editor of The Great Famine and the Irish Diaspora in America

A fascinating study that provides fresh insights into both Irish and Irish American history.--Christine Kinealy, author of The Great Irish Famine: Impact, Ideology, and Rebellion Archivist Shelley Barber has done a magnificent job editing this collection to the highest scholarly standards. It is a handsome book with several photographs of the letters themselves. . . .The Prendergast Letters are a testament to the mundane in everyday life, even when that life is punctuated by matters of disorder and upheaval, such as those the Great Famine engendered.--James Charles Roy Here is an excellent example, worthy of emulation, of what can be done with a small collection of historical letters. . . . The book has been expanded with good historical and genealogical essays, an excellent glossary has been added to explain especially the people and events in Ireland, and the book is thoroughly indexed.--Forum The Prendergast Letters' principal value is in using the hopes, aspirations, and fears of one family to link both sides of the Atlantic. It will be a resource for students of immigration, ethnic studies, the Potato Famine, and social history. More studies of this kind are needed to give historians insight into the social, economic, and biological forces that shape human existence.--Historical Journal of Massachusetts

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