The American Catholic Historical Society’s annual Fall Lecture on Tuesday, Oct. 19 features Dr. Zachary Schrag speaking about “The Fires of Philadelphia: The Nativist Riots of 1844.”

The social hour is 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 and the lecture at 7 p.m.

In May and July 1844, nativist mobs attacked Irish neighborhoods on the outskirts of Philadelphia, destroying two Catholic churches and ransacking a third.

In this talk, Schrag will tell the story of these riots, explaining their significance for Catholics and for all Americans.


He is a professor of history at George Mason University, author of four books and numerous articles on the history of cities, technology and public policy. His most recent book, “The Fires of Philadelphia: Citizen-Soldiers, Nativists, and the 1844 Riots Over the Soul of a Nation,” has just been published by Pegasus Books.

The lecture welcomes members and non-members, with the option for either in-person or online attendance.

In-person attendance is limited to 30 persons to avoid crowding.

Guests are required to wear masks while inside in the Society house unless actively eating (as per City of Philadelphia guidelines).

Prices for the dinner and lecture in person are $20 for members, $30 for non-members.

The lecture only via Zoom is free for members, $10 for non-members.

In-person registration will close once 30 people have registered for the event. If you cannot make the event, please notify ACHS by emailing so that another individual may be welcomed.

For those choosing online registration, the event will be livestreamed on Zoom as a webinar.

Registrants will be provided with a link at registration and reminded the day before and day of the lecture.

Learn more about the ACHS, located at 263 S. 4th Street in Old City Philadelphia, at