The First Printing of the Irish Press
Historians often use newspapers to learn about the past. The Digital Library at Villanova has made available multiple printings of the Irish Press a newspaper that was printed in early twentieth-century Philadelphia.
Looking at the Irish Press can give insight to pertinent issues for the Irish community of Philadelphia and help us #explore1918
Published at the Heed & Scott Building near City Hall, the newspaper placed itself near the political heart of Philadelphia. Although the paper only lasted for four years, it vividly describes important events that took place around Philadelphia. Such description and adds to the history of the city and helps us to understand how Philadelphia was an important international center for independence movements, largely due to its strong immigrant communities .
In the first issue, the newspaper explains that it will support the Irish fight for independence from the United Kingdom and called for support from the Irish in America. In a nationalist rally held at the Academy of Music, speeches were given in support of Irish separation from England in what the paper deemed a time of sovereignty across the world. Pipers played Irish airs and the Irish tricolor flew beside the Star-Spangled Banner on Broad Street in Philadelphia.
The event, held shortly after St. Patrick's day in March was of special significance to Ireland, at the time a part of the United Kingdom, because it showed transnational solidarity. As World War I was still occurring, the United Kingdom considered drafting Irish into the British army, a move that was vehemently contested in Ireland. In the United States, President Woodrow Wilson faced a similar issue with mandatory military service in the United States army. According to The Irish Press, Wilson granted Irish Americans an exemption from conscription in response to Irish political pressure.
100% of the SBD rewards from this #philly5151 post will support the Philadelphia History initiative @phillyhistory. This crypto-experiment is part of a graduate course at Temple University's Center for Public History and is exploring history and empowering education to endow meaning. To learn more click here.