Fordham Notes: Dagger John and the Irish

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dagger John and the Irish

Novelist Peter Quinn, GSAS ’75, headed up an all-star program at the Museum of the City of New York on March 13. Readings and a discussion centered on Fordham founder Archbishop John Hughes, with Quinn being joined by historian Terry Golway, columnist Dan Barry, poet Honor Molloy, and museum trustee Jim Quinn moderating.

The evening, titled, "Immigrant, Archbishop, and Politician: John Hughes and the Rise of Irish New York," provided riveting accounts of Hughes’ tenure as the champion of the Irish at a time when million’s of the isle’s starving arrived in New York.

Quinn called it “the perfect marriage of the man and the moment,” creating in Hughes the “prototypical in-your-face New Yorker, [like] Al Sharpton with a brogue.”

He noted that the ever-persuasive Hughes induced the Jesuits to move from Kentucky to Fordham with none-to-subtle advice that the best thing for them to do “was to get the hell out of town” and move to the Bronx.

Later, during the discussion with Goloway, Peter Quinn noted that any analysis of the Tammany Hall era of New York without a focus on the Irish famine is an incomplete history.

“Some call that revisionism,” he said. “I call it history.” 

-Tom Stoelker

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