queencallipygos (queencallipygos) wrote in little_details,

The Stuff They Don't Talk About In History Class

In general: for a play, I'm seeking information about day-to-day life for Irish-Americans in New York City in 1870.

In specific: the show is set in summer of 1870, during the "Orange Riots." One character is a policeman who immigrated to the US during the Famine. He has a daughter, born here a couple years after (and I'm going to be cruel and kill her mother off early on). I also want to have a little dramatic tension with the grown daughter now flirting with a recent Irish emigre, who will be staying in the same boarding house as dad and daughter.

So the questions --

* In the mid 1800's, the "irish neighborhood" was the Lower East Side. Where was it in the later part of the century?

* Would a widower with a daughter prevail upon the kindness of the landlady to help take care of his daughter as she was growing up? Or would the daughter have been sent out to work earlier than usual? Or would the father have felt pressure to marry and give the poor girl a mother?

* What exactly did the St. Patrick's Day parades of the 1800's consist of? How did Irish immigrants see the parade -- a chance to reminisce about home? A big joke? A chance to assert themselves?

* Was St. Patricks' Day more of a religious observance then?

* About the Orange Riots -- what became of any civilians charged with inciting violence?

* Exactly how loose or strict were the sexual mores at the time (I'm sure the two lovebirds would have gotten up to something, but how much of something is the question).

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