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A “Friendly” Evening in Photos

On Tuesday, March 26, we celebrated the 248-year history of the Philadelphia Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland with music, talks, and an exhibit. Founded in Philadelphia in 1771, the Society is the second-oldest, continuously meeting Irish organization in the United States. The Society has made a number of contributions to Villanova University and recently partnered with the Library’s Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement department to digitize their historical materials, which can be viewed in the Digital Library.

The evening began with a social hour at 5pm, featuring refreshments and live Irish music from the band Irish Mist, featuring featuring Tom McLaughlin on banjo and spoons; Mary Tracy on fiddle, and Paul Harris on bass and guitar.

Photo of two men, one on banjo and one on guitar, and one woman on fiddle.

Live Irish music was provided by the band Irish Mist, featuring (from left to right) Tom McLaughlin, Paul Harris, and Mary Tracy.

A man on a banjo with a crowd of people in the background.

Tom McLaughlin of Irish Mist, looking toward the camera at left, and some of the attendees.

Talks began shortly after 6pm. As the exhibit curator and event organizer, I opened with a brief overview of some of the Irish connections in Falvey’s Distinctive Collections.

A woman speaking at a podium in front of a seated crowd.

Laura Bang giving an overview of Irish collections.

Dr. Joseph Lennon, Associate Dean of International and Interdisciplinary Initiatives and Emily C. Riley Director of Irish Studies, then spoke about the value to scholars of digitizing collections and making them freely available online.

A man speaking at a podium in front of a seated crowd.

Dr. Joseph Lennon speaking about the value of digitized collections.

Finally, our main speaker was Joseph P. Heenan, Past President of the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and current Chair of the Scholarship Committee and Chair of the Society’s Historical Records. Heenan gave an overview of the Society’s history and accomplishments.

A man speaking at a podium.

Joseph P. Heenan describing the Society’s history.

Left to right: Michael Foight, Laura Bang, Joseph P. Heenan, Joseph Lennon.

After the talks, people had the opportunity to mingle some more and examine the materials in the exhibit cases. Everyone enjoyed a fun evening in honor of the Friendly Sons!

A group of people talking.

A group of attendees.

A woman stands beside a sign advertising the exhibit and event.

Among the attendees, we were excited to meet Mary Clare Hogan, the daughter of Father Falvey’s (after whom Falvey Memorial Library is named) first cousin. A Falvey celebrity!

A man looking at an exhibit case.

One of the exhibit cases and the exhibit poster. (Photo by Laura Bang.)

The exhibit will be on display through the end of May. If you can’t make it to the library to see the exhibit, Society materials that have been digitized so far are viewable online in the Digital Library with more to come.

All photos courtesy of Regina Duffy, unless otherwise noted.


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Last Modified: April 4, 2019