Cover for MITCHELL: The Paddy Camps: The Irish of Lowell, 1821-61

The Paddy Camps

The Irish of Lowell, 1821-61

The dramatic story of the fights and compromises that shaped an Irish community

Disdained by many Yankee residents as Catholic lowlifes, the growing Irish population of the Lowell, Massachusetts, “paddy camps” in the nineteenth century proved a tempting source of cheap labor for local mill owners, who took advantage of the immigrants’ proximity to exploit them to the fullest. Displaced by their cheaper labor, other workers blamed the Irish for job losses and added to their plight through repression and segregation.

Now in paperback and featuring a new preface, Brian C. Mitchell’s The Paddy Camps demonstrates how the Irish community in Lowell overcame adversity to develop strong religious institutions, an increased political presence, and a sense of common traditions.


“A penetrating analysis of the impact of the Irish on Lowell and Lowell on the Irish.”--Choice

"In Mitchell's work we see the Lowell Irish as an immigrant community who struggled with poverty and discrimination and tried to establish a foothold in a new and sometimes hostile land. The emergence of leaders, the building of churches, and the development of a parochial school system represented the flowering of a community, not merely declension from a golden age of native laborers in an industrial paradise.”--Journal of Economic History

"This is a very welcome new edition of Brian Mitchell's 1988 study of the Irish in antebellum Lowell, Massachusetts. . . . All students of Irish America owe the University of Illinois Press thanks for reissuing it."--Journal of American Ethnic History


Brian C. Mitchell is president of Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

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