A Flame Upon the Hearthstones: The Columbian, The Cresset, and Tennessee Catholicity, 1915-1932

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Mosier, Kenneth Trent
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Middle Tennessee State University
For nearly a hundred years, a hackberry tree dedicated to the memory of an Irish Catholic soldier who perished fighting in the First World War stood in Nashville, Tennessee. Though historians have largely overlooked its significance, the living memorial to James Simmons Timothy was symbolic of a larger struggle by Irish Catholics to integrate into Southern society. This project explores the ways in which Catholic institutions like the Knights of Columbus and Diocese of Nashville used the press to further their assimilative campaigns before, during, and after World War I. Two papers, The Columbian and The Cresset, provide a rich base of primary source material. The Columbian illuminates how Irish Catholic activism during the war years led to a regionally distinct form of assimilation that I call Southernization. The Cresset chronicles how Nashville’s Irish Catholic community harnessed its assimilative successes in World War I and the beginning of the 1920s to stake a claim to indigeneity by the end of the decade.
Catholic Press, Irish Americans, Irish Catholics, Nashville Tennessee, World War I, American history