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Story Lines and Myths in 20 th Century Immigration Historiography.

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Presentation on theme: "Story Lines and Myths in 20 th Century Immigration Historiography."— Presentation transcript:

1 Story Lines and Myths in 20 th Century Immigration Historiography

2 Opening Comments – Where are the immigrants? Scholarship and autobiography John Higham, STRANGERS IN THE LAND Mark I Choate, EMIGRANT NATION; THE MAKING OF ITALY ABROAD African Americans

3 Pre 1790|1790|1820|1880|19

4 Colonial Period

5 Early National Period

6 Middle 19 th Century

7 Immigration High Tide The “New Immigrants”

8 Mid 20 th Century

9 Late 20 th Century

10 The General Theory – Push/Pull Push

11 Pull

12 The Mudsill Myth – “La Miseria” Difficulties in discerning differences between those who left and those who stayed behind Emigration is a positively selective process Motives for emigrating – Advancing the family economy – Avoiding conscription or jail Social strata of repatriates – Benestante, Americani, and new Americani

13 Social Stratification in Franza – 1900 & 1960 Joseph Lopreato, Peasants No More: Social Class and Social Change in an Underdeveloped Society (1967)



16 The fallacy of using schooling as a measure of an immigrant’s worth Schooling in 19 th and early 20 th century Italy and America – The significance of this for assessing the character and resources of emigrants? – In the U.S. the Common School provided 6 to 8 years of instruction to students – In Italy village schools offered 3 years [at best]

17 American Responses to Immigration Open Door – Motivations Humanitarian Economic Restriction – Motivations Economic Nativist

18 History of Nativism


20 A Case Study of Pull Immigration The Tirocchi of Providence, RI A Classic Chain Migration

21 Origins - Guarcino


23 Madame Tirocchi {Anna}

24 Madame Tirocchi her Butler Exchange Shop – “A & L Tirocchi” ca 1911

25 M. Tirocchi with Shop Girls


27 The new home of “Tirocchi Gowns” 514 Broadway - 1915

28 Laura Tirocchi-Cella and Dr. Cella

29 Eugenia Tirocchi – Grocerier and Landlord

30 The Tirocchi Men

31 Frank Tirocchi – padrone, pharmacy clerk, trucker


33 Tirocchi Cousins – sand and gravel merchants, concrete block manufactures, construction contractors, tire recapping plant, auto service stations, dairy plant and home delivery service, commercial laundry, etc.



36 Federico – missionary, parish priest

37 Ellis Island – The symbol 1982 – 1924 – 20+ Million immigrants pass through Ellis Island – Peak year – 1907 – 1,004,756 pass through the station – 560, 971 enter in 1921 – 1921 Quota Law set nationality limits for each nationality to 3% of their number in the 1910 U. S. population and total annual limit of 358,000 – 1924 Quota Law moved the “reference date” to 1890 and reduced annual quota to 164,000

38 The Ellis Island Myth – “our name was changed by officials at Ellis Island” Time spent and nature of the processing of immigrants at Ellis Island – Ship passenger lists – Eligibility screening – The “six second physical” – Utility of the Myth

39 Americanization/Assimilation - Theories Racial implications of the “new immigrant” concept Red Scare and the intensity of Americanization efforts

40 Melting Pot or Salad bowl

41 The Melting Pot at Ford

42 Immigrants’ responses to assimilation Family economic strategies – Old or new world locus Schooling for children Economic choices Language and citizenship decisions – “language loyalty”

43 The Myth of the Marginal Man

44 Americanization – Institutions Schools Settlement Houses Industry Public Libraries Religion Ethnic Press

45 George F. Johnson and the Square Deal New employees at Endicott Johnson were given a copy of a pamphlet called "An EJ Worker's First Lesson in the Square Deal." It read, in part: "To the new EJ worker: You have now joined the happy family in the square deal. If you are faithful, loyal, and reliable, you will earn a good living under fair conditions. You are indeed a part of the company. Remember that you are cared for when sick, medical and hospital services are yours, privileges of many kinds are yours. Your friend, George F. Johnson."

46 Religion The American “Irish” Church and Immigrants “National Parishes” – Protestant evangelicals – Italians – Trusteeism – Other Roman Catholic groups – “The Polish National Catholic Church -1897” Ownership of Church property Parish government in secular matters by parishioners Parishioner authority in assignment of Priests Appointment of Polish Bishops in the U.S. – participation of clergy and Laity


48 Schools – Public and Parochial





53 Chazy Central Rural School


55 Home Economics

56 Physical Education

57 Industrial Education







64 Adult Education






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