A Guide to the Study of the United States of America


B. Immigration: General

4404. Abbott, Edith. Immigration; select documents and case records. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1924. xxii, 809 p. 24–8650 JV6455.A7

4405. Abbott, Edith. Historical aspects of the immigration problem; select documents. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1926. xx, 881 p. 26–27485 JV6455.A68

These complementary volumes form a part of the University of Chicago social service series, and their compiler was for 18 years dean of that university’s Graduate School of Social Service Administration. The earlier volume opens with two historical sections, on "The Journey of the Immigrant" since 1751, and the "Admission of Immigrants under State Laws, 1788–1882." The remainder of the material dealing with the admission, exclusion, and expulsion of aliens consists largely of federal court decisions, 1892–1921, and of social case records drawn from the files of the Immigrants’ Protective League of Chicago, 1912–23. The same files are drawn upon for the cases which illustrate "Domestic Immigration Problems" in Part III. The materials in Historical Aspects nearly all antedate 1882, the year in which the control of immigration was assumed by the Federal Government. They are arranged within the following sections: "Causes of Immigration," "Economic Aspects of the Immigration Problem," "Early Problems of Assimilation," "Pauperism and Crime," and "Public Opinion and the Immigrant." No subsequently published volumes give as good an idea of the variety and character of the sources for the study of immigration.

4406. Brunner, Edmund de S. Immigrant farmers and their children, with four studies of immigrant communities. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran, 1929. xvii, 277 p. 29–11033 JV6606.A4B7

A study of the foreign-born farming population, undertaken by the Institute of Social and Religious Research (New York City) in 1926–27, and necessarily based on the census of 1920, which put the total at nearly one and a half million. Mr. Brunner concluded that the newcomers, judged by economic and technical standards, were making good on the soil; that their children were no more and no less intelligent than native children, whether judged by special tests or by their school records; that marriage outside the immigrant group increased substantially after World War I; that over two-thirds of the communities studied "were progressing more or less surely along a well-charted course leading toward complete assimilation into the life of rural America"; and that the younger generation were not deserting the church into which they were born, but were insisting "that their church shall be an American institution." The concluding portion of the book consists of four case studies of immigrant villages by different hands: Castle Hayne, N. C. (various stocks); Askov, Minn. (Danes); Petersburg, Va. (Czechs); and Sunderland, Minn. (Poles).

4407. Committee for the Study of Recent Immigration from Europe. Refugees in America, report of the Committee, by Maurice R. Davie with collaboration of Sarah W. Cohn, Betty Drury, Samuel Koenig [and others] New York, Harper, 1947. xxi, 453 p. 47–2565 D809.U5C6

A study of the immigration since 1933, taking refuge from Hitler and his allies, which is estimated at an approximate 275,000 persons, of whom nearly fourth-fifths are Jews by religion or race. Over half come from Germany and Austria, and most of the rest from Poland, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Russia, France, and Hungary. Unlike the earlier migrations, it is composed primarily of middle and upper-class persons, spearheaded by 12 Nobel prize winners in science and literature, and including many names since listed in Who’s Who or American Men of Science or both. It is here studied in a sample of 11,233 replies to a questionnaire, from 638 communities in 43 states. The text, which makes skill-full use of excerpts from the individual replies, deals with the economic, occupational, social, and cultural adjustment of the refugees; the occupational experiences of businessmen and manufacturers, physicians, lawyers, teachers and scientists, artists and writers; and their opinion of America and Americans’ opinion of them. "In general, the attitude of the American community toward the refugee has been preponderantly sympathetic and helpful," and the hopes of the vast majority, especially for their children, are now centered here.

4408. Erickson, Charlotte. American industry and the European immigrant, 1860–1885. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1957. 269 p. (Studies in economic history) 57–5485 HD8081.A5E7

A study of the efforts of organized labor to obtain legislation preventing contract labor from entering the United States. "The thesis of this book is that contract labor was rare in America during the years after the Civil War, and never reached the proportions claimed by the advocates of a law against its importation." The exclusionist movement, Miss Erickson demonstrates, originated with the craft unions. They feared the importation of skilled workers from Europe as strike breakers, and manipulated the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor until the passage of the Foran Act of 1885, which excluded contract labor of all types. The author describes the haphazard labor recruiting methods of American industries to show that they had little to do with this legislation, which, she contends, was actually racist in motivation. Methods of distributing unskilled labor are also treated and the fact emphasized that the industries depended upon a ready reservoir of cheap foreign labor and had no interest in excluding it.

4409. Ernst, Robert. Immigrant life in New York City, 1825–1863. New York, King’s Crown Press, 1949. xvi, 331 p. 49–9759 F128.9.A1E7 1949. Bibliography: p. [297]–319.

Between the opening of the Erie Canal and the draft riots of 1863 the foreign-born of Manhattan Island increased from less than 20,000, or about 11%, to 384,000, or 48% of the whole. Of the latter, over 200,000 came from Ireland, 120,000 from Germany, and 27,000 from England. The author details the miseries of tenement life in congested lower Manhattan, but points out that the younger immigrants and their children were able, through their earnings, to improve their status and move to cleaner, safer neighborhoods, making way for newcomers from abroad. One reason for this was the vigorous labor movement, which carried on four decades of struggle for better wages and working conditions, and in which, for the most part, natives and immigrants worked toward the same ends, although the Germans usually had labor organizations of their own. The newcomers maintained a variety of military and social organizations, churches, and periodicals of their own, which contributed to New York’s cosmopolitan appearance but did not prevent the assimilation of their children to American speech and habits. Once manhood suffrage was adopted in 1827, Tammany Hall forestalled all opponents in the systematic cultivation of the foreign vote and thereby kept the Democratic Party in control during most of the period.

4410. Handlin, Oscar. Boston’s immigrants, 1790–1865; a study in acculturation. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1941. xviii, 287 p. tables, diagrs. (Harvard historical studies, v. 50) A41–4664 F73.9.A1H3

Note on sources: p. [251]–268.

An outstanding study, based upon a Harvard dissertation of 1940, of "the transformation of a neat, well managed city into a slum and disease ridden metropolis." Many immigrants entered the great commercial port of Boston, but few remained until the penniless Irish, fleeing from eviction and starvation at home, began arriving in quantity about 1835. By 1865 there were 72,000 of them in a total population of 331,000, more than double the number of all the other foreign-born. Without capital or training, they were confined to the least desirable occupations. They were crowded into the old mansions and disused warehouses of Fort Hill and the North End, without cleanliness, privacy, or proper ventilation, and epidemic diseases and tuberculosis rose to new levels. They remained the one element which took no part in Boston’s thriving cultural life, and made fewer marriages out of their group than did Boston’s Negroes. The 1850’s were marked by jarring group conflicts and Know-Nothing racism, but the strong loyalty and excellent military record of the Boston Irish in the Civil War led to a remarkable relaxation of antagonisms and discriminations, although it by no means ended their physical and cultural isolation.

4411. Handlin, Oscar. The uprooted; the epic story of the great migrations that made the American people. Boston, Little, Brown, 1951. 310. p. 51–13013 E184.A1H27. Bibliography included in "Acknowledgments" (p. 308–310).

An original book which attempts a generalized psychological history of the 35 million immigrants who came to America in the century after 1820, in terms of "alienation and its consequences." It was the collapse of the old village economy in central and eastern Europe which uprooted the peasant and started him on his way to the very different life of the New World. The native conservatism of these folk was increased by the harshness of their new circumstances and led them to cling firmly to the churches of their old communions, which they reconstructed here in minute detail, and to reject political radicalism, leaving a fair field for the local party boss and his system of special favors. The book concludes with an affecting evocation of transplanted peasants who had bogged down in the slums of the seaboard cities and become sweated, unskilled laborers; turned old folk, they still labored under "a consciousness that they would never belong." As an overall picture, it gives small place to the migration from farm to farm, and underestimates the degree of prosperity and rapid acculturation, especially among those elements closest to the older American stocks.

4412. Hansen, Marcus Lee. The Atlantic migration, 1607–1860; a history of the continuing settlement of the United States. Edited with a foreword by Arthur M. Schlesinger. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1940. xvii, 391 p. 40–6920 JV6451.H3

4413. Hansen, Marcus Lee. The immigrant in American history. Edited with a foreword by Arthur M. Schlesinger. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1940. 230 p. 40–35768 JV6451.H33

Professor Hansen (1892–1938) was the son of a Norwegian immigrant to Wisconsin. A graduate of the University of Iowa, his work for his Ph. D. at Harvard was interrupted by service in World War I. He was the first to master the 19th-century immigration to America as an immense but unitaryhistorical process, and to exhibit it at once in its roots, trunk, and branches. His death at 45 was a misfortune to American scholarship, but his published writings, and especially the two posthumous volumes listed here, were at once a solid achievement and a guide for all subsequent workers in the field. The Atlantic Migration was to have been the first volume of a three-volume work, with the others carrying the story from 1860 to the 1920’s. The recurrence of economic distress among the laboring classes of western Europe, rural and urban, in the years after 1815, is emphasized, along with the common man’s discovery of America, which, notwithstanding its hardships, "he did not hesitate to call a Utopia." Conditions on either side of the ocean responsible for the statistical fluctuations of the migration are clearly isolated. Five out of the nine essays of The Immigrant in American History are adapted from the course of eight public lectures which Hansen delivered at the University of London in 1935 on "The Influence of Nineteenth Century Immigration on American History," and discuss immigration in its relation to expansion, democracy, Puritanism, and American culture. All evidence the author’s genius for solid generalization. "The Second Colonization of New England" puts into perspective the coming of the Irish after 1825 and the French Canadians after 1900. The serious student will find no more suggestive aid than "Immigration as a Field for Historical Research."

4414. Kent, Donald Peterson. The refugee intellectual; the Americanization of the immigrants of 1933–1941. New York, Columbia University Press, 1953. xx, 317 p. 53–7600 E184.A1K4 1953. Bibliography: p. [303]–307.

A study which continues, on a more minute scale, Refugees in America (no. 4407); it was undertaken in 1947 by the Oberlaender Trust in cooperation with the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation. It is based upon 721 replies to questionnaires or interviews with German and Austrian professional persons, estimated to represent nearly 10% of the total immigration of such persons during 1933–41. It was found that 520 of the 721 were able to follow their former pursuits in the United States. The author concludes that if the immigrant is under 40 and has children, he has a decided advantage toward integration, and identifies other facilitating or retarding factors. However, "fine personal qualities" permit adjustment even under unfavorable conditions. In sum, "probably no other large group of immigrants has ever surpassed them in the speed with which they have adjusted to American culture."

4415. Smith, William Carlson. Americans in the making; the natural history of the assimilation of immigrants. New York, Appleton-Century, 1939. xvii, 454 p. (The Century social science series) 39–22860 JV6465.355. Bibliography: p. 432–439.

"An endeavor to set forth the natural history of the assimilation of immigrants to America; it aims to present the more general aspects of the assimilatire process which are common to all groups." Data have been largely selected from personal letters, as well as published and unpublished diaries, autobiographies, and life histories, to afford an understanding of immigrants and their children as persons, and of their problems in American society. To this end, the author presents the immigrants’ point of view regarding the causes of immigration; their reception and settlement; the processes, stages, factors, and agencies of assimilation; and the effects of their heritage upon their way of life in a new environment. The second generation is seen as belonging neither to the immigrant society nor to the society of those longer established, and is studied from the point of view of its reception by the American social mélange. The immigrants’ contribution to America in all fields is treated separately.

4416. Stephenson, George M. A history of American immigration, 1820–1924. Boston, Ginn, 1926. 316 p. 26–4956 JV6455.394

"Select bibliography": p. 283–302.

A brief treatment of the great century of immigration to the United States, emphasizing "the part that immigration and the immigrants have played in the political history of the United States." Part I is introductory, reviewing the European background and characteristic settlement of seven major racial groups. Part II analyzes the American political reaction to the immigrants from the Know-Nothing movement through World War I, including the various schemes of restriction which came increasingly to the fore, the attitudes of immigrant groups to European conflicts, especially the war of 1914, and the evolution of naturalization policy. A final part gives separate and very brief treatment to the condition and political vicissitudes of Oriental immigration.

4417. Wittke, Carl F. We who built America; the saga of the immigrant. New York, Prentice-Hall, 1939. xviii, 547 p. 40–137 JV6455.W55

A general survey of the history of immigration to the United States by ethnic groups, which is necessarily based on secondary works, but has someaugmentation from contemporary newspapers and public documents. The author, who is of German descent and has made distinguished contributions to the history of German immigration, was dean of Oberlin College when the book appeared, and has been dean of the Graduate School of Western Reserve University since 1948. It is divided into three parts: "The Colonial Period," "The Old Immigration," and "The New Immigration and Nativism." Some racial groups, such as the Welsh, Swedes, and Jews, are considered in each of the first two parts. There are also a few topical chapters: "The Immigrant Traffic" in its general conditions, in each of the first two parts; "Immigrant Utopias" such as the Harmony Society and Amana, Iowa; "Culture in Immigrant Chests," largely a roll call of individual immigrants of outstanding achievement; and "Closing the Gate," which reviews restrictionist action and sentiment from 1729 to the national-origins law of 1929.


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Chicago: "B. Immigration: General," A Guide to the Study of the United States of America in Donald H. Mugridge, Blanche P. McCrum, and Roy P. Basler, a Guide to the Study of the United States of America (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1960), Pp.553-556 554–557. Original Sources, accessed August 21, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PVZ2TWV93WF989L.

MLA: . "B. Immigration: General." A Guide to the Study of the United States of America, in Donald H. Mugridge, Blanche P. McCrum, and Roy P. Basler, a Guide to the Study of the United States of America (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1960), Pp.553-556, pp. 554–557. Original Sources. 21 Aug. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PVZ2TWV93WF989L.

Harvard: , 'B. Immigration: General' in A Guide to the Study of the United States of America. cited in , Donald H. Mugridge, Blanche P. McCrum, and Roy P. Basler, a Guide to the Study of the United States of America (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1960), Pp.553-556, pp.554–557. Original Sources, retrieved 21 August 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PVZ2TWV93WF989L.