While researching another project, I had the lucky coincidence of discovering one of the earliest known images of New York‘s famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade – perhaps even the first one rendered of the annual event. As far as my research can tell, no other images of the parade predate it.
The engraving, from 1860, marked what was the parade’s 98th annual parade. The first parade was impromptu, a gathering of native Irish soldiers then serving with the British Army, when New York, like all the original thirteen colonies of the United States were then under the rule of the English King.
A brief description of the parade describes one of the floats carrying a long white-haired Irish harpist “in the ancient Irish garb.”