Introduction

Glucksman Ireland House and the Division of Libraries at New York University are working to build a leading archive relating to various aspects of Irish American life. This will be the first permanent, professionally staffed repository of its kind. By preserving the primary sources necessary to interpret Irish America in conjunction with an academic course of study in this emerging field, the Archives of Irish America will become a major research center over the next decade.

Housed in NYU’s Bobst Library, the archives are salvaging items in danger of being irretrievably lost, as well as actively collecting papers in underdocumented areas. The written record is being supplemented by recorded oral histories, photographs, home movies, print materials, and ephemera. Once the archive is opened for research, these materials will transform our understanding of the Irish migration experience and the distillation of American Irish ethnic identity, especially during the twentieth century.

The Tamiment Library/Wagner Labor Archives at NYU already house several collections that complement and Archives of Irish America. These include the papers of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Gerald O’Reilly, Mike Quill, and the records of the Transport Workers Union. In addition, the Archives of Irish America complement other collections on the Irish diaspora, such as the Smurfit Archives of the Irish in Britain at the University of North London and the Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park in Northern Ireland.

Funding has been generously provided by the Paul O’Dwyer Archival Fund of the Irish Institute of New York, the Curricular Development Fund at New York University, and the Melvin Rauch Foundation.