Social History for Every Classroom


Social History for Every Classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

An Illustrator Depicts Irish Ethnic Stereotypes

In this 1866 illustration, the Anglo-Saxon features of Florence Nightingale, the storied battlefield nurse of the Crimean War, are contrasted with those of "Bridget McBruiser," whose animal-like features and generally slovenly appearance are typical of mid-nineteenth century depictions of Irish immigrants. This comparison appeared in a book about "physiognomy," a branch of supposedly scientific study popular in the nineteenth century which argued that individual moral character and intelligence could be seen in a person's facial features.

Contrasted Faces. "Look on this picture, and then on that." -Shakspeare
Source | Samuel R. Wells, New Physiognomy, (New York, 1866).
Creator | Samuel R. Wells
Item Type | Poster/Print
Cite This document | Samuel R. Wells, “An Illustrator Depicts Irish Ethnic Stereotypes,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed September 27, 2023,

Print and Share