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Irish Museum Lecture: Cheers to Eire:The Political Life of J. Howard McGrath

November 15 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Join members and friends of the Museum of Newport Irish History for the third lecture of our 20th Annual Michael F. Crowley Lecture Series with guest speaker Dr. Debra A. Mulligan: “Cheers to Eire: The Political Life of J. Howard McGrath”

All are welcome to the virtual presentation, and there is no fee to participate, but reservations are required to receive the Zoom login info.

To RESERVE, click the Event Website link on this page.

The life of J. Howard McGrath (1903-1966), one of the most pivotal figures in twentieth century Rhode Island history, was predicated on the influx of Irish immigrants to Rhode Island. James Howard McGrath, like many children of immigrants, faced an ever-changing and often confusing America. As a rising young neophyte, following the path laid out for him by his father, Irish immigrant, James J. McGrath, and his political mentor, Theodore Francis Green, he climbed the ladder of success and eventually emerged as the state’s governor. After ably guided his constituency through the dark days of the Second World War, he earned national recognition as Democratic National Chairman, wielding his power and influence by balancing competing interests during the contentious 1948 political campaign. Facing mounting challenges from Democrat and Republican alike, McGrath held these forces at bay to secure a win for President Harry Truman that November.

Following Truman’s victory, McGrath could have easily written his own ticket to further political success—but his career was cut short in 1952 when he was forced to resign as Attorney General amid a cloud of scandal. McGrath again turned to his Irish Catholic ancestry for solace during this period of great personal turmoil.

DEBRA A. MULLIGAN is a Professor of History at Roger Williams University, where she teaches a variety of courses including American, East Asian, and European history. A native of Rhode Island, Dr. Mulligan received her M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Providence College. The author of numerous books, journal articles and podcasts, her latest book is Democratic Repairman: The Political Life of James Howard McGrath (McFarland Press, 2019). She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame and is a frequent community lecturer. We welcome Dr. Mulligan to this, her first presentation for the Museum of Newport Irish History.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This lecture was previously announced to members of the Museum of Newport Irish History. Seats at the Wayfinder Hotel in Newport the evening of the lecture are limited and prioritized for Museum members of record. A cash-bar reception with complimentary light hors d’oeuvres following the talk and Q&A.

If you prefer to attend this event in person please consider becoming a member. To join, please visit: https://newportirishhistory.org/membership/

Those who join the Museum to attend this talk will have their new annual membership extended to Mar. 31, 2023 and the usual in-person lecture fee/donation of $5 per person will be waived.

Dr. Mulligan will have a limited number of copies of her book, “Democratic Repairman” available for signature and sale, and you may also obtain a copy online in advance of the event:

NOTE: All in-person attendees must be fully-vaccinated.

QUESTIONS? NewportIrishHistory@gmail.com or (401) 841-5493


November 15
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Tags:


Museum of Newport Irish History


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