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- Publication"The Best Country in the World": The Surprising Social Mobility of New York’s Irish Famine ImmigrantsWe use databases we have created from the records of New York’s Emigrant Savings Bank, founded by pre-Famine Irish immigrants and their children to serve Famine era immigrants, to study the social mobility of bank customers and, by extension, Irish immigrants more generally. We infer that New York’s Famine Irish had a greater range of employment opportunities open to them than perhaps commonly acknowledged, and that the majority were eventually able to move a rung or two up the American socio-economic ladder, supporting the conviction of many Famine immigrants that the U.S. was indeed “the best country in the world.”
- PublicationImmigrants and Savers: A Rich New Database on the Irish in 1850s New YorkWe describe a new dataset created from the first 18,000 savings accounts opened (from 1850 to 1858) at the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank in New York City. The bank was founded by Irish Americans and most of its depositors in its first decade of operations were recent Irish immigrants. The data offer a unique window on both savings behavior by the poor and not-so-poor in antebellum New York and on how emigrants who came primarily from rural parts of Ireland adapted to urban life. They also contain much that is new on the regional origins of mid-nineteenth century Irish immigrants and on their settlement patterns in New York.