History Students Document Scranton’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Published on Mon, March 04, 2013

Students studying history at Marywood will be taking a new spin on a local tradition: Scranton's St. Patrick's Day Parade. For the past two months, students in Alisha Hoffman's "Digital Techniques for Public History" class have been interviewing locals, documenting their memories, thoughts and insights about one of the region's most notable pastimes.

"There is a lot that makes this project unique," says Hoffman, a history instructor at Marywood. "I have yet to find a large, oral history project that has been done on the parade."

When complete, the interviews will be archived at the Albright Memorial Library in Scranton for public use.

Student Brian Nargi interviews Parade Association President Austin BurkeThe list of interviewees to date include: Patrick Murphy, past historian and past president of the St. Partick's Day Parade Association of Lackawanna County; Austin Burke, president of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and current Parade Association President; Chester Kulesa, site administrator of the Anthracite Museum; James Munley, United States Federal District Court Judge; and Gary Duncan, Parade Association Historian.

"I am glad that [the university] has given me the opportunity to talk about the parade," Mr. Duncan explains. "The Albright Memorial Library is a great resource, and it is great that that these stories will be archived there."

Gia Reviello, a junior at Marywood, who has been working with a team of six other students to document parade-related commentary, was surprised to learn about the long history of the St. Partick's Day Parade in Scranton.

"Before this project, I wasn't aware of all of the work and effort that goes into it," Reviello says. "Parade planners meet all year to plan one day, and everyone we've spoken with has been very enthusiastic, very eager."

Hoffman hopes that the information gathered could one day form the basis of a larger project, such as a book. For now, though, she and her students will continue to build an oral history of the parade through the conversations and stories of those who experience it.

"We want to know what people's experiences are when they attend the parade," Hoffman says. "We have such a rich history in Scranton that has not been completely tapped."

If you are interested in being interviewed for the project, please contact the social sciences department at (570) 348-6288.