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Exodus to America: The experience of Irish Women in a New World.

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  1. Introduction
  2. Female emigration from Ireland
  3. Irish American marriage patterns
  4. Employment for young Irish women in America
    1. The situation for working Irish women in America
    2. Good luck in finding jobs or husbands
  5. Husbandless Irish women and widows
  6. Alcoholism as a problem for Irish women
  7. Conclusion
  8. Works consulted

Throughout the 19th century, the Irish were leaving Ireland by the thousands in hope of a better life in America. During the famine the numbers intensified, bringing large amounts of poor and destitute families over to the growing American cities of New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago. But in the years following the famine, a change in the demographic of Irish emigrants occurred: over the years female Irish emigrants began to outnumber male emigrants. Young women arrived on American shores looking for employment, the opportunities to start families and an overall better life for themselves. In this paper I address the questions of women's lives after emigration. Were women's lives generally improved after starting over in America, or were the challenges more numerous than the benefits and improvements?

[...] The article Scattered Debris of the Irish Nation: The Famine Irish and New York City, 1845-55,? by Edward O'Donnell, includes an excerpt from an advertisement to illustrate this point: WANTED- An English or American woman, that understands cooking, and to assist in the work generally if wished; also a girl to do chamber work. None need apply without a recommendation from their last place. IRISH PEOPLE need not apply, nor anyone who will not arise at 6 o'clock, as the work is light and the wages are sure. [...]


[...] p Ibid, p Diner, Hasia R. Erin's daughters in America: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London: 1983. pp. 46-9. Miller, Kerby A. with David N. Doyle and Patricia Kelleher. love and liberty?: Irish women, migration and domesticity in Ireland and America, 1815-1920.? The Irish Worldwide Series V4: Irish Women & Irish Migration. Ed Patrick O'Sullivan. Leicester University Press. London and New York: 1995. p Ibid. p Akenson, Donald Harman. The Irish Diaspora: A Primer P.D. [...]


[...] Erin's daughters in America: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore and London: 1983. p.72. O'Donnell, Edward. Scattered Debris of the Irish Nation: The Famine Irish and New York City, 1845-55.? The Hunger Stream: Essays on Emigration and Famine. Ed E. Maragaret Crawford. Nicholson & Bass Ltd. Belfast: 1997. p McCaffrey, Lawrence J. The Irish Diaspora in America. Indiana University Press. Bloomington & London: 1976. p.96. Miller, Kerby A., with David N. Doyle and Patricia Kelleher. [...]

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