In 1819, an Irishman who’d settled in St. Louis sent a letter to his brother back in County Wexford. Anthony Doyle had invested in a lime quarry and a grocery store. He was feeling bullish about the New World — and the Gateway City.

“Chances [are] here every day for men of foresight,” Doyle wrote.

Patrick Murphy’s new book tells the story of Irish assimilation in St. Louis. As author Patrick Murphy reports in his new book from Reedy Press, it wasn’t just Doyle who saw great potential in what was then a frontier city. In The Irish in St. Louis: From Shanty to Lace Curtain Murphy writes that by the time of Doyle’s missive, one in seven St. Louisans was native-born Irish.