Irish scholar and professor Maureen Murphy lectures on “Irish Emigrant Girls in New York” as part of the spring 2019 Fund for Irish Studies series.

A unique aspect of Irish migration to the U.S. was the predominance of young women traveling alone. Between 1883 and 1908, 307,823 young Irish women arrived at the Port of New York. Most of the girls who were not met by family or friends were assisted by the Mission of Our Lady of the Rosary for the Protection of Irish Immigrant Girls.

The Mission was the inspiration of Charlotte Grace O’Brien (1845-1909), the daughter of William Smith O’Brien, who was deported to Tasmania for his part in the 1848 Rebellion. Murphy has led the research into the rich archives of this extraordinary institution and her lecture will explore this fascinating story.


maureen murphyMaureen O’Rourke Murphy is the Joseph L. Dionne Professor of Teaching, Leadership and Learning in the School of Education, Health, and Human Services at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York. A past president of the American Conference for Irish Studies and a past chair of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures, Murphy was one of the six senior editors of the prizewinning Dictionary of Irish Biography published in nine volumes and online by the Royal Irish Academy and Cambridge University Press in 2009. Murphy directed the New York State Great Irish Famine Curriculum Project (2001), which won the National Conference for the Social Studies Excellence Award in 2002; she was the historian of the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City. She is currently the historian, with John Ridge, of the Mission of Our Lady of the Rosary/Watson House Project.

Murphy edited Irish Literature: A Reader (1987, rev. ed. 2006), with James MacKillop. She also edited Asenath Nicholson’s Annals of the Famine in Ireland (1998) and Ireland’s Welcome to the Stranger (2002). She edited Annie O’Donnell’s Your Fondest Annie in 2005. Her biography of Asenath Nicholson, Compassionate Stranger: Asenath Nicholson and the Great Irish Famine was published in 2016.

Murphy  has been awarded honorary degrees by the State University of New York at Cortland and by the National University of Ireland.  She received the President of Ireland’s Award for Service in 2015.


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