[Ads-l] "No Irish need apply" (UNCLASSIFIED)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 3 21:21:59 UTC 2015


Barry Popik has found examples from 1827.

http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/no_irish_need_apply/

26 September 1827, New-York (NY) Evening Post, pg. 3, col. 4:
COOK—Wanted immediately, in a small family, at 491 Broome street, a
white middle aged American woman, to cook and wash. None need apply
who cannot produce satisfactory reference from their last place as to
character & ability. No Irish need apply.

20 December 1827, New-York (NY) American, pg. 2, col. 5:
WANTED—at No. 300 Greenwich street, a good COOK:one that can bring
recommendations forindustry, neatness, and fidelity. No Irish need
apply.


On Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 5:09 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>
> It took only a few minutes to find still earlier American examples.
> (Fried's is from 1842).
>
> The earliest:
>
> 1830 _New-York Morning Herald_ (July 12) 3:  "NO IRISH NEED APPLY."
> Several advertisements with this insulting appendage have been from time to
> time left on out hook for insertion, but which we rejected with disdain for
> their authors. If one Irish servant maid commits a fault, is that a reason
> that all other Irish girls must be bad. Surely not. Those who write those
> illiberal and foolish advertisements must remember that the misconduct of a
> few can afford no ground for insulting a whole nation; and a nation like
> Ireland - renowned fro the virtue of her females, and the genius and
> generosity of her sons. That American cannot be patriotic who would offer a
> deliberate insult to the country of General Montgomery and Commodore Barry.
> When we were making the great struggle for out liberties, were we not nobly
> assisted by IRISHMEN?
>
> Apparently such ads were familiar in NYC by the summer of 1830.
>
> BTW, the song called "No Irish Need Apply" (by John F. Poole, 1862) was
> apparently shortened by Pete Seeger around 1950 and set to a catchy tune of
> his own.
>
> JL
>
> On Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 12:44 PM, George Thompson wrote:
>
>>
>> Looking at the Brooklyn Eagle only, through 1870, I see "no Irish need
>> apply" on March 29, 1860, and the day following; May 1, 1863, and the day
>> following;FFebruary 16, 1865; August 12, 1868, and the day
>> following;November 18, 1868, which specifically welcomes applications from
>> "German or colored"; and October 12, 1870.  Searching "irish need", I find
>> on January 22, 1869, and the day following, the advice "Irish need not
>> apply".
>> I also note notices that specify "A Protestant Woman" or "American
>> preferred".
>> The advisory "no Irish need apply" appeared more frequently after 1870.
>>
>> Searching my own notes from NYC newspapers, through 1870, it seems that I
>> didn't note that phrase in anything.
>> It was standard practice for the newspapers to label the perp in street
>> violence, robberies, family violence, &c. as Irish, whenever applicable,
>> often with an editorial comment deploring the prevalence of such crime
>> among the Irish.  When the Irish penchant for drunkenness, wife-beating,
>> &c. wasn't being deplored, it was a source of amusement, from the curious
>> way the Irish talked and behaved in general.  (At least one of us will
>> think of parallels in the treatment of another group in the newspapers,
>> indeed until recent memory.)
>>
>>             There were several cases of complaints against husbands for
>> beating their wives, but the parties being Irish, the women kept away, as
>> usual, and the husbands were discharged.
>>             NY D Express, August 28, 1839, p. 2, col. 5
>>
>>             A brutal, savage looking, uncouth Irishman, named Michael
>> McEntire [was arrested November 18 for riotous behavior and
>> wife-beating].  The
>> Magistrate committed him for further examination, and to give an
>> opportunity for the witnesses of his rascality to appear against him.
>>             NY D Express, November 20, 1840, p. 2, col. 7
>>
>>             David Conlin, a blathering Irishman, guilty of an assault and
>> battery on his wife.  ***
>>
>>             NY D Express, August 3, 1842, p. 2, col. 5
>>
>>             [crime statistics, March 1845-March 1846, for the upper part of
>> the city, by offense and national origin of the perp: U. S. male and
>> female, black and white; Ireland, male and female; elsewhere]
>>             N-Y D Tribune, May 1, 1846, p. 2, col. 5
>>
>>             Dialogue at a Public Dinner at a Fashionable Hotel up Town.
>> [an
>> anecdote in dialog: an ignorant Irish waiter doesn't know what *pate de
>> foie gras* is]  Moral. -- At public dinners where the waiters are Irish,
>> there would be some advantage in having the bill of fare printed solely in
>> the Hibernian language.
>>             N-Y D Tribune, June 12, 1847, p. 2, col. 5
>>
>>             OUR CITY AMUSEMENTS.  How the Mass of Our People Amuse
>> Themselves.  By the Strong-Minded Reporter for the New-York Times.  ["the
>> German portion of our population" makes "music one of their chief means of
>> amusement, and are strictly decent in their public pleasures"]  Those, on
>> the other hand, who delight in indelicate and indecent exhibitions, are
>> chiefly the lower class of Irish, and negroes.
>>             N-Y Times, December 3, 1858, p. 1   [the Times of this era was
>> hell-bent on Sabbath-keeping]
>>
>> GAT
>>
>> On Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 10:06 AM, Mullins, Bill CIV (US) <
>> william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil> wrote:
>>
>> > CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED
>> >
>> > Jensen's original article is available here:
>> >
>> > http://tigger.uic.edu/~rjensen/no-irish.htm
>> >
>> > I can't find Fried's rebuttal article, except behind a (rather expensive)
>> > paywall:
>> >
>> http://intl-jsh.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/07/03/jsh.shv066.full
>> >
>> > (and, btw, Fried's title, "No Irish Need Deny", is great)
>> >
>> > Does anyone have contact info for Fried that I can ask her to send a
>> copy?
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > > -----Original Message-----
>> > > From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
>> > Behalf Of Jesse Sheidlower
>> > > Sent: Sunday, August 02, 2015 12:20 PM
>> > > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>> > > Subject: "No Irish need apply"
>> > >
>> > > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> > -----------------------
>> > > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> > > Poster:       Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM>
>> > > Subject:      "No Irish need apply"
>> > >
>> >
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> > >
>> > > Slightly off-topic, but interesting: In 2002, a professor published an
>> > article claiming that he could barely find any evidence for the supposed
>> > > notices reading "No Irish need apply", and that the notion that the
>> > Irish were thus discriminated against stemmed from a sense of
>> > > victimhood among modern Irish-Americans.
>> > >
>> > > A high-school student with better database-fu has no proved that, in
>> > fact, there were many such notices. The student's article is appearing
>> > > in a major journal.
>> > >
>> > >
>> >
>> http://www.longislandwins.com/columns/detail/high_school_student_proves_professor_wrong_when_he_denied_no_irish_need_app
>> > >
>> > > Jesse Sheidlower
>> > >

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