Documenting an historical past is a complicated process. The chronicle of the Irish in America has been the subject of novels, biographies and films. Family histories preserve a treasured story of a journey to America and then the subsequent struggle for acceptance and upward mobility. Social historians, on the other hand, rely on official records as sources to systematically study the journey of the Irish to America and Newport. Records once accessible only in the National Archives, in specialized research collections, or in local archives can now be accessed online. Dr. Schlichting will explore historical records pertaining to Irish immigration to Newport that provide a complex view of the immigrants’ journey and the social conditions they encountered in Newport in the 1800s.
KURT C. SCHLICHTING is the E. Gerald Corrigan ’63 Chair in Humanities & Social Sciences Department and a Professor of Sociology at Fairfield University (CT). He is the author of Grand Central Terminal: Railroads, Architecture and Engineering in New York (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2001), for which he received the 2002 Best Professional/Scholarly Book: Architecture & Urbanism Award from the Association of American Publishers. This book was the basis of “Grand Central,” an American Experience documentary on PBS, for which Dr. Schlichting served as an academic advisor and was an on-screen interviewee. His recent book, Grand Central’s Engineer: William J. Wilgus and the Planning of Modern Manhattan, was published by Johns Hopkins in the spring of 2012.
In collaboration with the Redwood Library, he and his students are creating a website, “Digital Historic Newport Rhode Island,” to explore Newport’s rich history. The project is funded by the Humanities Institute of Fairfield University. Dr. Schlichting received his bachelor’s degree from Fairfield University in 1970 and his master’s degree and a doctorate from New York University. This is Dr. Schlichting’s second talk for the Museum of Newport Irish History.