Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Ulster Irish Society of New York (founded 1926)


Founded in 1926, the Ulster Irish Society of New York seems to have been an influential group in its day, hosting swish annual banquets at top hotels in New York, with guest speakers such as pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt. It is interesting that there was a time when 'Ulsterness' was chic and fashionable, even in the New York City of the 'Roaring Twenties'.

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At the top table in the pic above is typography legend, Illinois-born Frederic William Goudy who presumably must have been of Ulster ancestry. His family surname was originally spelled Gowdy but this was changed in 1883, his parents were John Fleming Goudy and Amanda Truesdale.

One of the big Gowdy histories, published in the USA in 1919, says this –

'… The pioneer ancestors of this branch of the Gowdey-Goudey family, like so many other early American settlers bearing the name, represented the sturdy Presbyterian stock who carried their "Articles of Faith" with them when they left the vales of Ayrshire in Scotland for their new home in the "Ards" on the Peninsular in the County of Down in Ireland; and the elements of moral and religious character conspicuous in unnumbered generations of their fore-fathers were cherished by them and transmitted as a priceless heritage to their posterity …' –source here

As for Amelia Earhart, here's what she said in her 1933 address to the Society, who presented her with a roll of linen woven from flax from the field she landed in, near Londonderry –

" I never had greater hospitality than was shown me in Ireland, " concluded Miss Earhart. " I am going back some time, and I am going to take Mr. Putnam (her husband) with me to see if it is as beautiful as it looked to me on landing. And now I am going to tell you something which may be of interest to you - my mother's father's parents came from Londonderry."