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Patrick Donahoe

Patrick Donahoe

Patrick Donahoe was born on 7 March 1811 in the townland of Munnery, Kilmore, County Cavan. His parents were Terence Donohoe and Jane Christy. His mother died when Donahoe was an infant and when he was ten years old the family emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts. When he finished school he joined the staff of ‘The Columbian Sentinel’ as an apprentice. He was dismissed when he did not turn up for work on Christmas Day.

In 1835 he set up a ship passenger and foreign exchange business which prospered. He was always interested in the newspaper business and on 2 January 1836 along with George Pepper and H.L Devereaux he started publishing ‘The Pilot’. Donahoe assumed editorial control in 1838 and the paper became the most influential Catholic weekly newspaper in the United States. He published writers like Thomas D’Arcy McGee who was his assistant editor from 1842 until 1845 and John Boyle O’Reilly who was editor from 1870 until 1890.

Donahoe founded ‘The Emigrant Savings Bank’ which helped the many Irish emigrants who came to the United States after the famine with savings and financial matters. He was involved in a number of successful ventures like bookselling and provision of church supplies. All prospered and he donated generously to charitable causes.

The great Boston fire of 1872 destroyed his publishing plant and church goods store. With the depression that followed his bank got into difficulty and he was forced to relinquish control of the newspaper. In 1878 he started Donahoe’s Magazine, a monthly magazine devoted to Catholic and Irish American interest and in 1891 with his banking interests improving he once again took control of ‘The Pilot’. On 17 March 1893 he was honoured with ‘The Laetare Medal’ in recognition of his charitable works. He died on 18 March 1901. He is buried in St Augustine’s Cemetery, Boston. He was married twice, he first married Kate Griffin on 23 November 1836 and following her death in 1852, he then married Anna E. Davis on 17 April, 1853.

Edited Works

TitleYear
The Boston Pilot1989
Donahoe’s Weekly1991

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