The Great Irish Famine was a moment of unprecedented global giving. Sympathy for the suffering Irish traversed class hierarchies and vast geographical spaces, with indentured workers in the West Indies donating alongside members of the royal family and attendees at charity balls and galas in New York, Port Elizabeth, and Surrey. This article examines the socioeconomic geographies of this giving. It provides a quantitative analysis that brings together donations from both sides of the Atlantic, approaching these donors as a single global community. This famine giving is also considered within the context of wider traditions of Western humanitarianism. The article suggests that although famine humanitarianism mobilized a vast community of donors and traversed class, gender, and ethnic groups, it was ultimately a conservative force that upheld social hierarchies and replicated the socioeconomic and racial inequalities that characterize Western humanitarianism more generally.

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