Author Talk: Margaret Mulrooney

Author Talk: Margaret Mulrooney

Black Powder, White Lace: The Du Pont Irish and Cultural Identity in Nineteenth-Century America


Thursday March 9 at 7:00 PM
Soda House Auditorium
Registration via Eventbrite 

Celebrate St. Patrick’s day by coming to Hagley’s March 9 Author Talk with Margaret Mulrooney on the occasion of the publication of the second edition her acclaimed book, Black Powder, White Lace: The Du Pont Irish and Cultural Identity in Nineteenth-Century America. Twenty years after the first edition’s appearance, she will return to Hagley to discuss her book and reflect on how it has stood up over the years. Mulrooney will trace the lives and legacy of over 2000 Irish emigrants who relocated to northern Delaware for steady employment in du Pont black powder yards. Explosives work was dangerous, but the du Ponts provided a host of benefits, including assisted migration, free or low-cost housing, interest-bearing savings accounts, and widows' pensions. As a result, the Irish remained loyal to their employers, convinced by their everyday experiences of their shared interests with the du Ponts. Employing a wide array of sources, Mulrooney describes the worksite as well as their community, showing how powder mill families asserted their distinctive ethno-religious heritage at the same time as they embraced what American society had to offer.

Margaret Mulrooney is Senior Associate Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Equity at James Madison University. Copies of the second edition will be available for purchase and signing by the author. The library has created a website accompanying the second edition at

Author talks take place in Hagley’s Soda House Auditorium, starting at 7 pm promptly. Seating is limited and advance (free) registration is required. Please email any questions to Carol Lockman,