Duffy’s Cut and the Arts Event


Dr. William Watson at the Duffy's Cut site

Dr. William Watson at the Duffy’s Cut site

Immaculata University will be the site of a special day-long event on “Duffy’s Cut and the Arts: A Symposium,” presented by the Irish Network Philadelphia on Saturday, October 11, from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m.  Events to be held in various locations on the campus, located at 1145 King Road, near Malvern, PA.  The arts-focused symposium will feature live music, literature, dance, art, film, and a panel discussion.  Cost for the day is $50.

The Duffy’s Cut project is an ongoing archival and archaeological search into the lives and deaths of 57 Irish immigrants who came to America in June, 1832 to work for Philip Duffy on the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad. Within six weeks, all were dead of cholera and possibly violence, and were buried anonymously in a ditch outside of Malvern known today as “Duffy’s Cut.”  The first bones were discovered in 2009.  So far, nine bodies have been uncovered and reburied in a proper grave. Immaculata Professor William Watson, Ph.D., and others, have spearheaded the Duffy’s Cut Project for over a decade.

Two Panel Discussions are scheduled from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. in Loyola Hall, the first is Duffy’s Cut and the Pennsylvania Railroad featuring William Watson, Ph.D., chair of the History Department at Immaculata, Rev. J. Francis Watson, Ph.D., and Earl Schandelmeier.  The second discussion, entitled Duffy’s Cut: Why It Matters, includes panelists Walt Hunter, a CBS-3 reporter who was the first reporter to cover the Duffy’s Cut story; a representative of the Pennsylvania Railroad; Bill Daly, a Hollywood veteran originally from the Philadelphia area; and Pat McDade, a professional actor for over 30 years.  Daly and McDade are working on a feature film on Duffy’s Cut.

Musical entertainment, beginning at 1:45 p.m. in the Great Hall, include the following singer/songwriters: Mickey Coleman, Marian Makins, Rosaleen McGill, Vince Gallagher, and Pat Kenneally; Celtic band Irish Mist; and a special display and recording by Jennifer Bellor of Duffy’s Cut, a chamber opera in one act.

Novelists Kristin Walker and Kelly Clark will both read excerpts from their forthcoming Duffy’s Cut-inspired novels beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Loyola Hall and Joe Devoy will read his poem, The Ballad of John Ruddy. Marita Krivda and others will provide dramatic reenactments of ghost tales of Duffy’s Cut at 2:15 p.m. in Alumnae Hall Theater.

In addition to the live entertainment, movie screenings of two documentaries on Duffy’s Cut, The Ghosts of Duffy’s Cut and Death on the Railroad, will be shown in Alumnae Hall Theater from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  The official Duffy’s Cut Museum, located in the Gabriele Library, will be open to participants during the Symposium.

Immaculata University is a Catholic, coeducational institution of higher learning, located on the Main Line between Malvern and Exton, 20 miles west of Philadelphia.

Author: lszyjka

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