Dr. Tara McCarthy presents, "A Monumental Mission: The Ladies' Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Celebration of Irish-American Identity in the Early Twentieth Century". Inspired by cultural and political nationalism at the turn of the twentieth century, the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America sought to preserve cultural identity and celebrate Irish contributions to American history. During this period, women came to the forefront of the AOH to advocate for the study and celebration of Irish women. Three related issues emerged: the push to teach Irish history in public and parochial schools; attempts to demonstrate the importance of the Irish in American history and censor offending textbooks; and monument building. While not all of these efforts originated with the AOH, the campaigns benefited from the emergence of its ladies' auxiliary, and women justified their activities in gendered terms.
Tara McCarthy received her Ph.D. in history at the University of Rochester in the fall of 2005. She spent one year as a post-doctoral teaching fellow in the writing program at the University of Rochester, and one year as a Visiting Professor of History at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, before joining the faculty at Central Michigan University. Dr. McCarthy’s main research interests are American women, social reform movements, and immigration. Her current project traces the political activities of Irish-American women in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, focusing on Irish nationalism, ethnic organizations, suffrage, and the labor movement.