Book of Poetry

I always had a passion for reading and writing, so in college there was no doubt that I would major in English and Literature.  It was during college that my grandmother gave me a book of poetry that her great-uncle had written.  I thought it was a very sweet gesture, but I was studying Shakespeare and the literature of brilliant writers, and so I never really gave the book much thought.  Her great-uncle wrote about Ireland and his life as an immigrant coal miner in Pennsylvania.  At the time, I didn't have much interest.  I gave it a brief inspection and put it on my bookshelf.  It followed me as I moved to various places over the next 20 years of my life, well after my grandmother's death.  
I thought about the book one day when I was well into my 40s, no longer obsessed with the great writers of literature.  My newest obsessions were genealogy and immigration.  The books I read these days were written by immigrants, detailing their immigration journeys or their experiences in America.  I infused these books into my curriculum, studied immigration in my spare time, and volunteered at the Tenement Museum on weekends.  One day, I remembered the book my grandmother gave me, I pulled it off the shelf, and within a few hours was able to recreate my great-great-great grandparents entire journey to America through the poetry of their grandson.  To this day, that book is one of my most prized possessions.  

Place(s): Donegal, Ireland, Pennsylvania
Year: 1856

– Lisa Kasper

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more