Winner of the 2005 New Jersey Author Award for Scholarly Non-Fiction
Since Irish immigrants began settling in New Jersey during the seventeenth century, they have made a sizable impact on the state’s history and development. As the budding colony established an identity in the New World, the Irish grappled with issues of their own: What did it mean to be Irish American, and what role would “Irishness” play in the creation of an American identity?
In this richly illustrated history, Dermot Quinn uncovers the story of how the Irish in New Jersey maintained their cultural roots while also laying the foundations for the social, economic, political, and religious landscapes of their adopted country. Quinn chronicles the emigration of families from a conflict-torn and famine-stricken Ireland to the unfamiliar land whose unwelcoming streets often fell far short of being paved with gold.
Using case histories from Paterson, Jersey City, and Newark, Quinn examines the transition of the Irish from a rejected minority to a middle-class, secular, and suburban identity. The Irish in New Jersey will appeal to everyone with an interest in the cultural heritage of a proud and accomplished people.