ACIS Logo Letters to Rhode Island: Alfred M. Williams and the Irish Literary Renaissance in Providence

From 1884 to 1890 Alfred M. Williams, an amateur folklorist and editor of the Providence Journal, published the work of William Butler Yeats, Douglas Hyde, Katherine Tynan, among many other Anglo-Irish verse and prose writers. As the second major American periodical to publish these “stars of the Irish Literary Renaissance‚” as Katherine Tynan refers to them, Williams makes an important contribution to the history of this literary movement. The purpose of this presentation is to detail this fascinating episode in Irish-American history by examining William’s journalistic career from 1862 to 1890, his experience in Ireland in the after the Civil War, and how this experience shaped him into a champion of minority rights at a time when there was tremendous ethnic prejudice and social unrest in the United States.