Lecture Series: 25 Years of the Molly Maguires with Prof. Kevin Kenny


Location: 215 McKenna Hall (View on map )

Molly Maguires

After celebrating the launch of his new book, we are delighted to have Prof. Kenny with us for another day.  This event will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the publication of his groundbreaking book, Making Sense of the Molly MaguiresProf. Kenny will offer reflections on both writing and researching the book, as well its reception and the longevity of its impact on Irish, Irish-American, American, diasporic, and political history. 


Making Sense of the Molly Maguires

"Twenty Irish immigrants, suspected of belonging to a secret terrorist organization called the Molly Maguires, were executed in Pennsylvania in the 1870s for the murder of sixteen men. Ever since, there has been enormous disagreement over who the Molly Maguires were, what they did, and why they did it, as virtually everything we now know about the Molly Maguires is based on the hostile descriptions of their contemporaries.

Arguing that such sources are inadequate to serve as the basis for a factual narrative, author Kevin Kenny examines the ideology behind contemporary evidence to explain how and why a particular meaning came to be associated with the Molly Maguires in Ireland and Pennsylvania. At the same time, this work examines new archival evidence from Ireland that establishes that the American Molly Maguires were a rare transatlantic strand of the violent protest endemic in the Irish countryside.

Combining social and cultural history, Making Sense of the Molly Maguires offers a new explanation of who the Molly Maguires were, as well as why people wrote and believed such curious things about them. In the process, it vividly retells one of the classic stories of American labor and immigration."