12. Media Portrayals of Irish Immigrant Women

1. ‘The Last Reception of the Season’   2. ‘The Irish Declaration of Independence That We All are Familiar With’   3. ‘Another Blind for the Biddys – The Dynamiters’ New Device’   4. ‘A Bombardment That Would Paralyze Them’

“Bridget McBruiser”
Illustration “Contrasted Faces,” 1866

There were two types of Irish immigrant women who appeared in the political cartoons and popular media: the “Biddy” and the “Bridget.” Irish servant cartoons varied from those that represented Irish domestics as good natured bumpkins, to ridiculous figures trying to assimilate into American middle-class life (“The Last Reception of the Season”), to the insubordinate bullying Biddy (“The Irish Declaration of Independence That We Are All Familiar With”) and to the dangerous political Biddy intent on doing her part for Irish nationalism (“Another Blind for the Biddies”). These cartoons by artists like F. J. Opper in Puck and others drew on negative Irish stereotypes (“A Bombardment that Would Paralyze Them”) and remained pernicious portrayals in the popular press for over fifty years (approx. 1845 – 1905).

“Erin go Bragh”
St. Patrick’s Day Postcard

‘How to Keep a Girl’

‘Look On This Picture, Then On This,’ Ca. 1885