Teen Debunks Professor’s Claim That Anti-Irish Signs Never Existed - History in the Headlines
A 14-year-old girl has proven that historical scholarship is not solely the realm of tweedy academics. Armed with her curiosity and an Internet connection, Rebecca Fried has debunked a history professor’s claim that “No Irish Need Apply” signs were not historical realities, but “a myth of victimization.
The deeper Fried dug through online archives, the more she found. The teenaged historian discovered dozens of NINA newspaper advertisements printed in big cities such as New York and Boston and small towns such as Alpine, Texas, and Monmouth, Illinois. In 1842 editions of the New York Sun alone, she found 15 instances of advertisements telling Irish men not to apply. In addition, Fried’s research unearthed newspaper accounts mentioning NINA signs appearing in workplaces and public accommodations as well as reports of Irish-American workers protesting and striking in response. Contrary to Jensen’s contention that no court cases involving NINA existed, Fried found one from 1853 and another from 1881.