AIA: Highlights from the Moloney Collection
The Mick Moloney Irish-American Music and Popular Culture Collection in the Archives of Irish America at the Tamiment Library, New York University, is an aurally and visually rich resource for scholars and students of the Irish-American experience.

Through a wide variety of materials dating from 1817 to the present, the collection provides unparalleled perspectives on the evolution of Irish-American culture, with particular emphasis on music and its place in Irish-American society.

This exhibit presents a sampling of artifacts representing the main elements of the collection listed here below.

Irish Americana: Approximately 1,500 examples of sheet music created for the Irish-American home market by New York’s Tin Pan Alley and other music publishers (1817-1995); nearly sixty songsters and song albums containing both Irish and Irish-American content (1863-1960); twenty-one jokebooks (1883-1928); over 800 postcards produced for both the St. Patrick's Day market and tourism to Ireland (1900-1915); and a variety of ephemera including tobacco cards, illustrations from Puck and Harper's Weekly and assorted advertisements (1856-1960).

One of the largest collections of Irish-American printed ephemera ever assembled, this part of the Moloney collection documents the Irish image in American popular culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. It provides important alternative source material for the history of the Irish in the United States, and especially for the origins of ethnic perceptions and representations.

Field Recordings: Approximately one thousand hours of interviews, concerts, formal and informal sessions of traditional music. The tapes include rare first-hand accounts of the Irish-American experience from the 1920s through the 1990s and musical performances by some of the greatest names in Irish traditional music. This is oral history that truly does not exist elsewhere. All these recordings were made or collected by Moloney on roughly 1200 cassettes and reel to reel tapes over the course of three decades.

Commercial Recordings: Over 4000 78s, LPs, 45s and cylinders, many dating back to the turn of the 20th century, including the first American recording of Irish traditional instrumental music, "The Stack of Barley" by Herborn and Wheeler. These recordings present Irish-American music in all its permutations, from Vaudeville through the folk revivals of the 1950s and 1970s, reflecting not just the tastes of traditionalists but of the broad spectrum of Irish-Americans.

Papers and Photographs: Moloney's personal papers and photos, documenting his career as performer, producer, academic and cultural advocate. The papers offer a unique insight into Moloney's multifaceted career, including his involvement with the Philadelphia Irish, Smithsonian Folklife and Augusta Heritage Festivals, the founding of the musical groups Green Fields of America and Cherish the Ladies and the production of seminal traditional albums, books and documentary series. In addition to his personal photographs, Moloney also collected a trove of rare historical photos illustrating Irish-Americans and their music.

Dr. Mick Moloney is Global Distinguished Professor of Music and Irish Studies at New York University. A musician and folklorist, he has recorded and produced over forty albums of traditional music, organized scores of festivals and concerts, and directed the musical ensemble The Green Fields of America for over thirty years.

In 1999, Moloney was awarded the National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts — the highest official honor a traditional artist can receive in the United States. He is the author of the book and CD Far from the Shamrock Shore (2002), as well as numerous essays on Irish music and musical culture, and holds a Ph.D. in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania.

We recommend viewing the exhibit as a slide show by clicking on the link on the top right of the images.

Please note that these images are provided for reference purposes only. Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the Director of the Tamiment Library / Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, New York University, 70 Washington Square South, New York, N.Y. 10012.

This exhibit was created by Brendan Dolan with scans by Karen Murphy, Dana Lyn, Marion Casey and Brendan Dolan.

For more information, contact the AIA archivist:
Phone: (212) 998-3478
Fax: (212) 995-4225
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