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These excerpts from author Tom Malloy's Profiles of the Past discuss Irish and Polish immigrants in towns in central Massachusetts. Although this region was heavily agricultural, significant industrial development occurred in the mid-19th century, encouraged by the extension of railroads through the region. Malloy focuses on the causes of immigration and chronicles the institutions, including churches and benevolent societies, immigrants created. Malloy stresses the distinction between the "old immigration" of the Irish and the "new immigration" represented by the Poles.