Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources Bibliography

Ammons, Elizabeth. 2008. “The Myth of Imperiled Whiteness and Ethan Frome.” The New England Quarterly 5-33.

Ammons writes an analysis of the well-known book Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, looking specifically at several different characters and how they represent the ideas of white New England versus colored immigrants as well as farming versus industry. Ammons also draws from Wharton’s contemporary writers and politicians to show how common the view expressed in Ethan Frome were at the time. She discusses the common fear of change and racism that is evidenced by police reports, newspaper clippings, and personal letters. This article is well researched and fully cited, and is written with an higher level academic audience in mind. This source will be useful in examining the common attitudes towards immigrants in New England. As Ethan Frome is in fact set in a fictionalized version of North Adams, this article is one of the few that specifically references the small town, and gives exacting evidence of the racism immigrants to the town faced during this time period.


Hoberman, Michael. 2001. “High Crimes and Fallen Factories: Nostalgic Utopianism in an Eclipsed New England.” The Oral History Review 17-40.

Hoberman writes about several interviews conducted in the 1990s with several of the oldest living residents of North Adams, dating their recollections to the early 1900s, when North Adams had it’s heyday. North Adams was most prosperous when it was a bustling industrial town filled with several distinct ethnic groups that supported many local businesses. Hoberman includes direct quotes from the interviewees, along with his own research about the town’s history. He focuses on the idea of “nostalgic utopianism”, that the past was better, which is mostly true in North Adams’ case given it’s shutdown factories, tiny population, high crime rate, and drug problems. Hoberman writes for an academic audience, though he could be understood by a layman. Hoberman’s interviews will be useful in understanding how North Adams accepted it’s multi-ethnic population and how those populations interacted prior to the town’s decline.


Lojek, Helen. 1994. “Thoreau’s Bog People.” The New England Quarterly 279-297.

Lojek’s article focuses on Henry David Thoreau’s writings about the Irish as a way of examining the common stereotypes of the time. Throughout many of his books, letters, and other writing, Thoreau describes Irish people and characters as dirty, superstitious, rowdy, drunkards, poverty stricken, and firmly lower class. These descriptors, Lojek says, are on par with how the general population viewed the Irish immigrants. One thing of note is that Thoreau rarely disparages the Irish for being Catholic, despite the strong anti- Irish Catholic sentiment that was common throughout New England at the time. Lojek also describes how Thoreau’s most frequent mentions of the Irish occur around and before 1850, when Irish immigration was at it’s height, but as it begins to taper off, and the Irish become more accepted, Thoreau becomes more sympathetic towards the Irish (specifically the way they are exploited and earn very low wages), and calls them hardworking. Lojek concludes that Thoreau’s writing was no more accepting or racist than the common attitude given the time period. Lojek’s writing is clear, concise, and could be easily read. This article is useful for examining the common attitudes (and their shifts) towards the Irish immigrants, and it also provides several key figures and dates for Irish immigration.


Morgan, Jack. 2009. “Among Cromwell’s Children: The Irish and Yankee New England.” New Hibernia Review 89-107.

Morgan’s article explains the anti-Irish sentiment of native New Englanders pre-Civil War as mostly a struggle between nativist sentiment versus immigrants and Protestants versus Catholics. He goes on to explain that rising numbers of Irish, their involvement in the Civil War, and the emergence of several respectable figureheads lead to a softening in attitude. Although there was still pushback when agrarianism was supplanted by industrialism and Irish immigrants took work in factories. Eventually many intellectuals became more exposed to Catholicism and Celtic culture and helped soften Protestant Nativism, and the Irish became viewed as an infusion of energy and culture into a stagnating Protestant Yankee culture. Morgan’s writing is clearly directed towards those who have an extensive background in New England and Europe history, and there are whole paragraphs that are nearly incomprehensible to the uniformed. This article provided a background and general timeline from the main influx of Irish immigrants in the 1800s to their general acceptance just before the 1900s, as well as illuminating the Protestant versus Catholic conflict and Irish contributions to New England culture.


Rudolph, Frederick. 1947. “Chinamen in Yankeedom: Anti-Unionism in Massachusetts in 1870.” The American Historical Review 1-29.

Rudolph begins by describing North Adams’ rise as an industrial town, then gives a general biography of Calvin T. Sampson, a shoe factory owner and businessman. During the Civil War, a better sewing machine made skilled craftsmen unessential in the factories, which led to the rise of the Knights of St. Crispin, a workers union. The Crispins of North Adams struck against Sampson for better wages, an eight hour day, and better opportunities for the skilled craftsmen. Sampson tried again and again to break the strike by ordinary means, but was foiled, and he eventually hired 75 Chinese workers from the west coast in June of 1870. The general attitude of the North Adams people was curiosity and suspicious acceptance of the Chinese (who kept themselves isolated for the most part), while directing their anger towards Sampson. Sampson profited from the cheap and newly trained immigrant labor. The Crispins of North Adams formed their own co-operative shoe factory in response. Rudolph ends by running through the different political parties viewpoints on Chinese labor at the time, the eventually end of the Crispins, and some reverberations Sampson’s Chinese strike breakers had caused. Rudolph’s writing is clear and would be understandable for a layman. While this article does not mention the Irish immigrants of North Adams directly, there were many Irish members of St. Crispin and Irish factory workers, so this event would have effected some of the Irish population of North Adams. This was a significant event in North Adams’ economic and labor history, of which the Irish are also a significant part of.