New York of the 1850s was a time when the Irish fleeing the famine in their home country arrived in great numbers only to settle in ethnic ghettos. With no skills or education, little English, and of Catholic faith in a Protestant culture they faced discrimination for the available factory jobs. Many children became homeless and worked as shoeshine boys. Horatio Alger wrote novels about these boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of comfort through hard work, determination, and honesty. We will read excerpts from Alger’s most famous novel Ragged Dick and learn about the Gilded Age, the Newsboys Lodging House, Barnum’s Museum and New York City during this period.
Presenter: Rick Feingold teaches American Business History at Bergen Community College and holds an MBA from Penn State University and a BA in History from Rutgers University.
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