Preferred Name

Erin Kelly

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


Evan Friss

Gabrielle M. Lanier

Kevin Borg


From 1879 to 1881 Western Ireland suffered a famine that left one million people in a state of destitution. To assist the starving, impoverished farming communities that were scattered across the region English Quaker and philanthropist James Hack Tuke successfully pitched the Tuke Emigration Scheme to the UK government in 1882, lasting through 1884. While historians of Irish immigration have recently begun to research famines other than the Great Famine, very few have delved more deeply into this particular scheme. Of those who have, including Christine Kinnealy and Gerard Moran, analysis has been limited to the perspective of Ireland and thus far only the unpublished research of Margaret Lynch of Cleveland, Ohio’s Irish American Archives Society has delved into the American view of the scheme. While the mission and reports of Tuke and his governmental committee are well documented, investigating the reality of immigrant experiences in the United States requires more effort. Using a database of state and federal biographical records in tandem with Tuke’s sailing manifests, statistical analysis of the status of immigrants can be completed. This research paper along with a complementary ArcGIS Cascade virtual exhibit focuses on one sailing of the Tuke Emigration Scheme, that of the S.S. Canadian in April 1884, uses such analysis to demonstrate that while the scheme was certainly successful in establishing new connections and trends in four particular regions of the United States in later Irish-American immigration as driven by Tuke, in reality it only aligned with Tuke’s more specific vision to a degree. Through a combination of passenger data, the writings of Tuke and his committee, local historical records of Cleveland, Ohio; the Pennsylvania coal mining region; western states; and Holyoke, Massachusetts, and additional source material, the impact and realities of Tuke’s scheme in the United States is revealed.

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