Catholics in New York

1808-1946

May 16 - December 31, 2008

  • 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St., Open Daily 10am–6pm

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    Catholics in New York, 1808-1946 traces the rich history of Catholics in New York, from a tiny religious minority that faced widespread discrimination to a powerful force in city political and cultural affairs. As Catholics increasingly migrated to New York, established parishes, and created health and educational institutions, they reshaped the fabric of life in all five boroughs. The exhibition, the first of its kind, focuses on the role of churches in Catholic neighborhoods, the network of social and civic centers that provided services to Catholics and insulated them from prejudice, and the rise of Catholics in municipal politics, marked by the ascendance to prominence of such figures as William R. Grace (1832-1904), the Irish-born businessman who in 1880 was elected the first Catholic mayor of New York and Alfred E. Smith (1873-1944), the governor from the Irish Lower East Side who became the first Catholic to be nominated by a major political party for President of the United States, in 1928.

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