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Archaeology of Identity and DissonanceContexts for a Brave New World$
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Diane F. George  and Bernice Kurchin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056197

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056197.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 21 May 2022

The New York Irish

The New York Irish

Fashioning Urban Identities in Nineteenth-Century New York City

(p.39) 3 The New York Irish
Archaeology of Identity and Dissonance

Meredith B. Linn

University Press of Florida

During the mid- to late-nineteenth century, millions of Irish people emigrated to the U.S. fleeing hardship and searching for a better life. Much has been written about how they faced great anti-Irish prejudice and yet forged an Irish American identity in cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. A previously under-examined dimension of this struggle is how these predominately rural newcomers adjusted to urban life. This chapter begins to address this issue, focusing on how Irish immigrants in mid-nineteenth-century New York City manipulated their appearances. Using evidence from archaeological sites, immigrant letters, historical newspapers, and folklore archives, this study shows how some Irish immigrants utilized cosmetic hair preparations as transformative substances to style new urban Irish American identities and to manage interactions with employers, native-born peers, and other Irish community members.

Keywords:   anti-Irish prejudice, Irish American identity, Irish immigrants

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