The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930

The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930

by Margaret Lynch-Brennan

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Overview

The Irish Bridget: Irish Immigrant Women in Domestic Service in America, 1840-1930 by Margaret Lynch-Brennan

Many of the socially marginalized Irish immigrant women of this era made their living in domestic service. In contrast to immigrant men, who might have lived in a community with their fellow Irish, these women lived and worked in close contact with American families. Lynch-Brennan reveals the essential role this unique relationship played in shaping the place of the Irish in America today. Such women were instrumental in making the Irish presence more acceptable to earlier established American groups. At the same time, it was through the experience of domestic service that many Irish were acculturated, as these women absorbed the middle-class values of their patrons and passed them on to their own children. Drawing on personal correspondence and other primary sources, Lynch-Brennan gives voice to these young Irish women and celebrates their untold contribution to the ethnic history of the United States. In addition, recognizing the interest of scholars in contemporary domestic services, she devotes one chapter to comparing "Bridget's" experience to that of other ethnic women over time in domestic service in America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780815633549
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Publication date: 04/15/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 529,340
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Margaret Lynch-Brennan recently retired from the New York State Education Department where she worked on issues related to civil rights, education reform, and professional development. She holds a Ph.D. in American history from SUNY Albany and has taught in SUNY Oneonta's Cooperstown Graduate Program.

Table of Contents

Illustrations ix

Foreword, Maureen O'Rourke Murphy xi

Preface xv

Introduction xvii

1 Home Life in Ireland 1

2 From Ireland 22

3 To America 40

4 The World of the American Mistress 60

5 The Work World of the Irish Bridget 84

6 The Social World of the Irish Bridget 121

7 Was Bridget's Experience Unique? 151

Epilogue 177

Works Cited 185

Index 209

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