Student Displays Galesburg’s Historic Irish Community

From the Daily Review Atlas (Monmouth, IL):

A public opening for student-produced exhibit entitled “Forgotten Tales Along the Rails” will take place in The Box on April 30 at 6 p.m. The exhibit explores what life was like for Irish immigrants coming to Galesburg between 1850 and 1870 while also considering how immigrants were nationally perceived at the time.

Unlike the frequently studied immigrant experience in New York City or Boston, few historians have examined the experience of Irish immigrants in smaller communities, like Galesburg. Knox College senior Margaret Spiegel has conducted such a study for her history honors project. Wanting to make this information accessible to the Galesburg community, she has presented it in a visually-compelling way by constructing an exhibit.

“Their stories need to be told,” Spiegel said. “The Irish accounted for approximately 6 percent of Galesburg’s population by 1870. That is too significant a number to ignore.”