Monthly Archives: March 2016

1916: Roger Casement

In August of 1916, Roger Casement was executed for his role in the Easter Rising in Ireland. Before his trial, however, the British government leaked documents to the press and politicians. These were identified as Casement’s diaries and ledgers, which chronicled a series of homosexual encounters. Though many immediately denounced the Black Diaries (read excerpts of the diaries transcribed by Angus Mitchell here) as forgeries, asserting that the British government was trying to tarnish the name of a hero to circumvent public outcry against his execution – which, certainly, the British government was seeking to do – the damage was resounding. The question of forged or not forged has been asked again and again for decades. Why? After his death, it was assumed and reiterated by the Irish public and Casement’s friends that he could not be both homosexual and a nationalist. Dan and Averill return to the question of Irish identity in this special episode for the 1916 Easter Rising centenary, contemplating who counts, who doesn’t, and why.

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Show Notes

Primary Documents – Sir Roger Casement’s Speech Following his Conviction as a Traitor, 29 June 1916

Roger Casement,” Britannica 

“Roger Casement,”  BBC 

The 1916 Rising,” Department of the Taoiseach 

Kathryn Conrad, “Queer Treasons: Homosexuality and Irish National Identity,” Cultural Studies, 15:1, 124-137

Kevin Grant, “Bones of Contention: The Repatriation of the Remains of Roger Casement,” Journal of British Studies Vol. 41, No. 3 (July 2002), pp. 329-353

Michael Laffan, “Sir Roger David Casement,” RTE 

Brian Lewis, “The Queer Life and Afterlife of Roger Casement Books of Critical Interest” Journal of the History of Sexuality 14.4 (2005) 363-382

Ronan McGreevy, “Roger Casement Made a Fool of Himself,” Irish Times 21 Oct 2015

Michael O’Sullivan, “Lies, Damn Lies & Forensics: The Ghost of Roger Casement,”History Ireland Vol. 10, No. 2 (Summer, 2002), pp. 5-6

Jeffrey Panciera, “Why Roger Casement Still Haunts Us,” The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide 21.3 (May/Jun 2014): 16-19.


Further Reading

Digital Walking Tour of Dublin during the Easter Rising

Lots of episodes on the Easter Rising on RTÉ’s The History Show 

Blog posts on the Easter Rising at The Irish Story

Helen McBride, “Eirebrushed: Erasing Women from Irish History,” on Nursing Clio

Sinéad McCoole,  No Ordinary Women: Irish Female Activists in the Revolutionary Years, 1900-23 (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003).

Fearghal McGarry,  The Rising: Ireland, Easter 1916. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

Sabhdh Walshe, “Eight Women of the Easter Rising,” New York Times 16 Mar 2016

Is that lamb made of…butter?!

If you live in the Rust Belt, you may have noticed that Easter brings not only jelly beans and chocolate bunnies to the grocery store but also boxes of butter molded into the shape of lambs.  Does it confuse you?  Do you eat it but have no idea why?  Join Tommy, Dan, and Marissa as they dig into the rollicking history of the butter lamb, just in time for Easter!

Don’t forget to enter to win the Butter Lamb T-shirt! Contest closes 26 March 2016 at 11:59PM EST.

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Show Notes and Further Reading

Abt, Christina. Chicken Wing Wisdom: Western New York Stories of Family, Life and Food Shared Around the Table. Buffalo, NY: Western New York Wares, 2005.

Division, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Shelton, Brenda K. Reformers in Search of Yesterday: Buffalo in the 1890’s. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1976.

Buffalo’s Broadway Market

Buffalo’s Polish Pioneers

Buffalo “Polonia” at the Turn of the Century

Butter Lambs are Polish Easter Tradition

Malczewski’s Easter Butter Lamb

The Emergence of Dairy Butter

The History of Butter Sculpture Is Strange, Indeed



Gay & Irish on St. Paddy’s Day in the US

Each year since 1990, the Irish-American Gay and Lesbian Organization of New York City has requested to march in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Each year the parade organizers have refused the request. In 1993, NYC Human Rights Commission mandated that the IGLO had to be included in the parade, a mandate that was overturned as “unconstitutional” by a Federal judge. The court case was predicated on free speech, asserting that the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which had organized the parade for 150 years, had the right to decide what was said in their parade, and what was not said. That legal precedent has had far deeper consequences. Underlying this battle over a quintessential celebration of Irish-Americanness, there was a question of what Irish-(American)ness is, and who gets to define that identity. Join Averill and Marissa for some of the history of the New York City and Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parades, the fight for inclusion and exclusion, and the shaping of Irish-American identities.

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Show Notes

David Beriss, “Introduction: ‘If you’re gay and Irish, your parents must be English,” in Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power v2 i3 (Taylor and Francis Online, 1996), 189-196.

Richard Conway, “The Gay Ban of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Un-Irish,” The Guardian 

Averill Earls, “Queering Dublin: Same-Sex Desire and Masculinities in Ireland, 1884-1950,” Forthcoming Dissertation, SUNY Buffalo, 2016.

Lisa Guido, “St Patrick’s Day Parade, NYC 1991-1992” vimeo

Christopher Harrity, “Out@NBCUniversal Makes St. Patrick’s Day History,” The Advocate

Shelia Langan, “Timeline of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade LGBT Controversy,” IrishCentral 

Daniel Reynolds, “NYC Mayor Opens St. Patrick’s Day Parade to LGBT Marchers,” The Advocate

About the AOH,” Ancient Order of Hibernians 

Civil War “Contraband”

We think we know the story of the end of slavery in the United States: Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery with a stroke of his pen, and millions of enslaved men, women and children went forward happily into their new lives as freedpeople. But the reality wasn’t quite so sunny. From the moment the Union Army entered slaveholding territories, enslaved people “voted with their feet,” and fled to the perceived safety of the Union army. These men, women and children came to be known as “contraband,” and the army’s treatment of them reveals a more realistic – but perhaps gloomier – story of emancipation. Join Elizabeth, Dan and Sarah as they discuss “contraband,” rights, and freedom during the American Civil War in this week’s episode of The History Buffs Podcast.


Matthew Brady, Contraband camp, Richmond, VA, 1865 | National Archives and Records Administration 524494 / Wikimedia Commons

Show Notes & Further Reading 

Downs, Jim. Sick From Freedom: African American Illness and Suffering During the Civil War and Reconstruction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Hahn, Steven. A Nation under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration. Cambridge: Belknap, 2003.

Harrold, Stanley, ed. The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Reader. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2012.

Masur, Kate. “A Rare Phenomenon of Philological Vegetation”: The Word “Contraband” and the Meanings of Emancipation in the United States.” The Journal of American History 93 (4), 1050–84.

McCurry, Stephanie. Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012. 

Feature Image: A contraband camp, ca. 1863 | Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons