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Exhibit: Irish Immigrants in Nineteenth Century Maine

Portland Schools Americanization Classes, 1926

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Portland Schools Americanization Classes, 1926 / Maine Historical Society/MaineToday Media

Text by Andrew Patrick

Images from Maine Historical Society

The nineteenth century was a time of upheaval in Ireland and of great promise in the United States. Economic depression and famine made Ireland a difficult place to live, and the burgeoning fortunes of Americans made emigration to the new land attractive.

Maine received many of its Irish in the mid-nineteenth century. Primarily poor, Catholic, and uneducated, they found labor-intensive jobs and harsh discrimination. Despite these problems, the Irish managed to slowly eke out a living in their new home.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, Irish-Americans were an integral part of the state.

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