University of Missouri


Kerby Miller

Curators' Professor
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
areas: Modern Irish history; the Irish diaspora and the Irish in America; and U.S. urban and immigration history

B.A. Pomona College, 1966
M.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1967
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1976

In fall 2007 Professor Kerby Miller was appointed a Curators’ Professor at the University of Missouri.

Kerby teaches a three-course sequence on Irish history (ancient to 1850, 1850-1923, and 1900-present), basic surveys of American history, and upper-level courses on U.S. urban history, as well as graduate  seminars in modern Irish history.  In the past, he frequently taught graduate and undergraduate seminars on U.S. social, immigration, and urban history. 

In 2006 Kerby received major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the University of Missouri Research Council to work on a long-term project titled "Irish Religious Demography and Conflict, 1659-1926," a study of the relationships between population change and social, cultural, and political developments in Ireland, especially in Ulster, in collaboration with Professor Liam Kennedy of Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 2006 Kerby also received a grant from the University of Missouri Research Board for a second long-term project: a three-volume edited collection of letters, diaries, and memoirs written by Irishmen and -women who emigrated to America between 1815 and 1929.

In 2014 the first major book-length result of Kerby's NEH- and Guggenheim-funded "Irish Religious Demography" project will appear, as a c.500-page volume titled, Catholics and Protestants in Eighteenth-Century Ireland:  The Religious Censuses of the 1760s, to be published in Dublin by the Irish Manuscripts Committee, the Irish government's official publisher of edited historical documents.  The work is authored in collaboration with Professor Liam Kennedy of Queen's University, Belfast, and Dr. Brian Gurrin of the University of Limerick. 

In July 2008, Kerby’s most recent book, Ireland and Irish America: Culture, Class, and Transatlantic Migration, was published in Dublin by Field Day. This is a revised collection of many of his most important essays, originally published between 1980 and 2006, on the history of the Irish on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Kerby’s last previous book was Irish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan: Letters and Memoirs from Colonial and Revolutionary America, 1675-1815 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), an 815-page study of early Irish Protestant and Catholic immigration to North America, based largely on letters and memoirs written by Scots-Irish and other immigrants. In 2004 Irish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan was awarded the James S. Donnelly Prize, for the best book in Irish or Irish-American history, by the American Conference on Irish Studies.

In 2001 he and his wife, Patricia, published, for a general audience, an interactive book, Journey of Hope: The Story of Irish Immigration to America (San Francisco: Chronicle, 2001).

Kerby’s other books include: Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America (New York, 1985); Irish Popular Culture, 1650-1850 (Dublin, 1998), co-edited with James S. Donnelly, Jr.; and Out of Ireland: The Story of Irish Emigration to America (Washington, D.C., 1994), co-authored with Paul Wagner and released with a PBS documentary film, “Out of Ireland,” that was based on Miller’s research. In addition, a drama titled "Journey of Hope," based on Miller's research, was performed in Newport, Rhode Island, and elsewhere on the East Coast from 1995.

Since 2000 Professor Miller has authored or co-authored twenty published scholarly essays, published in journals or in books, on Irish emigration, Irish religious demography, Irish historiography, and/or the evolution of Irish and Irish-American societies and identities. Among the most important of these are:

"The Derry Watershed:  Its Religious and Political Demography, 1622-1911," Field Day Review, special issue on Derry City, no. 9 (2013). 

"People and Population Change, 1600-1914," in Liam Kennedy and Philip Ollerenshaw, eds., Ulster since 1660 (Oxford, 2012.

“Emigration in the Era of the Great Famine, 1845-1855” and “The Great Famine and Religious Demography in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Ulster,” both in John Crowley, William J. Smyth, and Mike Murphy, eds., Atlas of the Great Irish Famine (Cork, 2012);

“The Scots-Irish in Southwestern Pennsylvania, 1780-1810: Searching for ‘Irish’ Freedom--Settling for ‘Scotch-Irish’ Respectability,” in Warren Hofstra, ed., From Ulster to America:  The Scots-Irish Migration Experience, 1680-1830 (Knoxville, Tenn., 2012);

“‘For God and the Empire’:  The Rapid Rise, Strange Fall, and Remarkable Resurrection of an Irish Historian,” Field Day Review (Dublin), no. 7 (2011); 

“Minorities, Majorities and Demographic Power:  The Protestant and Catholic Communities of Tipperary since 1660,” in Sean Farrell and Michael de Nie, eds.,  Power and Popular Culture in Modern Ireland:  Essays in Honour of James S. Donnelly, Jr.  (Dublin, 2010);

“’Heirs of Freedom’ or ‘Slaves to England’? Protestant Society and Unionist Hegemony in Nineteenth-century Ulster,” Radical History Review, special issue on “The Irish Question,” 104 (Spring 2009);

“Re-Imagining Irish Revisionism,” in Andrew Higgins Wyndham, ed., Re-Imagining Ireland (Charlottesville, Va., 2006);

"Forging the 'Protestant Way of Life': Class Conflict and the Origins of Unionist Hegemony in Early Nineteenth-Century Ulster," in Mark G. Spencer and David A. Wilson, eds., Transatlantic Perspectives on Ulster Presbyterianism: Politics, Religion, and Identity (Dublin, 2005);

"Ulster Presbyterians and the 'Two Traditions' in Ireland and America," in Terry Brotherstone, et al., eds., These Fissured Isles: Varieties of British and Irish Identities (Edinburgh, 2005), and reprinted in J. J. Lee and Marion R. Casey, eds., Making the Irish American (New York, 2006);

"The New England and Federalist Origins of 'Scotch-Irish' Identity," in William Kelly and John R. Young, eds., Ulster and Scotland, 1600-2000: History, Language and Identity (Dublin, 2004);

“In the Famine’s Shadow: An Irish Immigrant from West Kerry to South Dakota, 1881 1979,” in Margaret M. Mulrooney, ed., Fleeing the Famine: North America and Irish Refugees, 1845-1851 (Westport, Conn., 2003);

"The Famine's Scars: William Murphy’s Ulster and American Odyssey," in Kevin Kenny, ed., New Directions in Irish-American History (Madison, Wisc., 2003);

"‘Scotch-Irish Myths’ and ‘Irish’ Identities in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century America," in Charles Fanning, ed., New Perspectives on the Irish Diaspora (Carbondale, Ill., 2000);

"‘Scotch-Irish,’ ‘Black Irish,’ and ‘Real Irish’: Immigrants and Identities in the Old South," in Andrew Bielenberg, ed., The Irish Diaspora (London, 2000).

In addition, Kerby published fifteen short entries in the Encyclopedia of the Irish in America (Michael Glazier, ed.; Notre Dame, Ind., 1999); and has three more in the Encyclopedia of Irish History & Culture (James S. Donnelly, ed.; New York, 2005).

Kerby also has several scholarly articles in press, the most important of which is:  “Walking Backward to Heaven?  Edmond Ronayne’s Pilgrimage in Famine Ireland and Gilded Age America,” in Breandán Mac Suibhne and Enda Delaney, eds.,  Power and Hunger:  The Great Famine and Irish Popular Politics (New York, 2014 forthcoming).

In all, since 1980 Kerby has published or has in press over forty-five major and minor articles and essays, not including encyclopedia entries and book reviews.

Since 1995 Kerby has delivered ca. sixty papers and invited lectures at venues that include:  the University of Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden; Radboud University, Nijmegan, the Netherlands; York University, Toronto; the University of Ottawa, Canada; the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Concordia University in Montreal; the Society of Irish Latin American Studies conference in Buenos Aires; the Milwaukee Irish Festival and Summer School; the Irish-Australian Conference in Melbourne; the universities of Auckland and Victoria, in New Zealand; the Ulster-American History Symposium at Omagh and Derry, Northern Ireland; "Re Imagining Ireland,” an NEH-sponsored conference on Ireland and Globalization at the University of Virginia; the American Conference for Irish Studies; Glucksman Ireland House at New York University; the F. Kevin Simon Memorial Conference on History, Sayre School, Lexington, Ky.; the University of Toronto; Virginia Tech University; Emory University; the University of Kansas; the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, University of Notre Dame; the Irish Diaspora Symposium, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale; the University of New Hampshire's International Seminar; the International Conference on Irish Emigration at University College, Cork; and the Parnell Summer School, Avondale, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Since 1995 Kerby has served as an adviser, consultant, or referee for numerous institutions, including:  the International Advisory Board of Irish Historical Studies; the Online Bibliography of Overseas Publications on Irish History; the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Irish Higher Education Authority in Dublin; the “Re-Imagining Ireland” conference at the University of Virginia; the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the South Street Seaport Museum, and the Conservancy for Historic Battery Park, all in New York City; the Center for Irish Migration Studies, at Omagh in Northern Ireland; the Institute for the Study of Ulster Migrations, Societies, and Cultures, at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg; the U.S. Postal Service in Washington, D.C.; and three documentary films: "From the Shamrock Shore," on the Scots-Irish in Ulster and America, forthcoming; "The Irish Empire," on Irish emigration worldwide, for BBC, Irish, and Australian TV (1998); and "The Irish in America," a film for A&E Network (1997). At the University of Missouri, he served as an adviser for “Building Communication Processes Across Divided Societies” (an inter-disciplinary, international program, incl. Missouri, the University of Ulster, and the National University of Ireland at Galway); and as a member of the campus European Center Proposal Committee, the Irish Initiatives Committee, and the Peace Studies Faculty Committee, as well as one term as faculty adviser for the University of Missouri Men’s Soccer Club.

In 2000-2003 Professor Miller was Middlebush Professor of History at the University of Missouri, and in 2002 he was Visiting Professor at Glucksman Ireland House, New York University, where he taught courses in Irish history and comparative Irish migration history. His national scholarly and teaching awards include appointment in 2002 as Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians; a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship at the University of Auckland, New Zealand (declined); the James S. Donnelly Prize (2004; mentioned above) for Irish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan; and the 1986 Merle Curti Award (Best Book in U.S. Social History) from the Organization of American Historians, and the 1986 Theodore Saloutos Award (Best Book in U.S. Immigration & Ethnic History) from the Immigration History Society, both for Emigrants and Exiles, which also was a finalist for the 1986 Pulitzer Prize in History. Miller's awards from the University of Missouri include: the Curators’ Professorship (2007); the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence (1997); two Greek Councils' Outstanding Teaching Awards (1997-98); the MU Panhellenic Council's Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award (1988); and the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Faculty Research (1987).


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Kerby Miller
Professor Miller

Irish History Students:
Below are your links to information about the optional paper you may write to earn extra credit for my Irish history courses.

Optional Paper Instructions
(in Word)


Why Study Irish History?


Ireland and Irish America
Ireland and Irish America: Culture, Class and Transatlantic Migration

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Irish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan

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Journey of Hope

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Emigrants and Exiles

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Irish Popular Culture

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Out of Ireland