Irish Titan, Irish Toilers: Joseph Banigan and Nineteenth-Century New England Labor

Irish Titan, Irish Toilers: Joseph Banigan and Nineteenth-Century New England Labor

by Scott Molloy



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781584656906
Publisher: University of New Hampshire Press
Publication date: 07/31/2008
Series: Revisiting New England Series
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

SCOTT MOLLOY is an award-winning Professor at the Labor Research Center, University of Rhode Island. He previously drove a bus, was a union activist, and was Chief of Staff to a United States Congresswoman. A prolific writer, Molloy’s most recent book is Trolley Wars: Streetcar Workers on the Line (UNH, 2007).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction: Spouting     1
The Irish Background     11
Rhode Island's Yankee Ascendancy     29
The Rhode Island Irish     59
The Woonsocket Rubber Company     80
A Knight of St. Gregory Against the Knights of Labor     106
Tragedy, Philanthropy, and Lace Curtain     140
Rubber King and Rubber Workers     168
The United States Rubber Company     196
Conclusion: A Memorial Forever     226
Notes     253
Index     299

What People are Saying About This

Professor Patrick Duffy

“Irish Titan, Irish Toilers is a superlative labour history of Rhode Island at a formative stage in the industrialization of America. Its mid-century experience was fueled by an endless stream of impoverished Irish immigrants who often violently resisted discrimination and who kept alive memories of childhood pain and grievance for a distant time and place.
“From the ‘Bannikan’ cabin in county Monaghan to the Banigan mansion in Wayland Square, Providence, Scott Molloy uses Joseph Banigan's story and the Woonsocket Rubber Company as sounding boards for the story of Irish immigration into this nineteenth-century cauldron of political struggle and labor resistance. His authority and scholarship as a labor historian is, if anything, enhanced by the book’s racy, action-packed narrative of riots, strikes, ethnic prejudice, political chicanery, enterprise, initiative, and above all, in the end, American success and achievement. It's a story well told and well worth the reading.”

Robert E. Weir

“Irish Titan, Irish Toilers is an inventive look at politics, culture, and identity in 19th century America. Scott Molloy’s book is, simultaneously, a biography, an ethnography, an industrial study, a labor history, and a foray into identity politics. His protagonist, Joseph Banigan (1839-98), embodies the fluidity of Gilded Age America, but also its limits. Molloy follows Banigan from his Famine Irish immigrant roots to his emergence as a Rhode Island-based rubber industry monopolist.
Molloy’s nuanced monograph challenges assumptions about social identity and invites us to consider how reputation, respectability, and manliness are constricted. He reconstructs a complex social milieu in which an Irish Catholic industrialist found himself in the midst of a dispute with the Knights of Labor, on organization comprised of large numbers of Irish Catholic workers in a state in which both were viewed with suspicion by entrenched Yankee elites. Molloy takes us inside a world in which paternalism has given way to hard-hearted industrial labor, the ethos of producerism is crumbling before market forces, the Catholic Church battles unions for workers’ souls, and shared ethnicity bifurcates along class lines.”

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