University of Minnesota
Immigration History Research Center

Immigration History Research Center's home page.

About the IHRC and Archives

Welcome to the IHRC and the IHRC Archives, an interdisciplinary research center in the College of Liberal Arts and a special collections unit of the University Libraries at the University of Minnesota.

IHRC Entrance






Founded in 1965, the IHRC and IHRCA (IHRC/A) promote interdisciplinary research on migration, race, and ethnicity in the U.S. and the world, develop archives on immigrant and refugee experiences, especially in the United States, and support public programming and community engagement.

The IHRC works with a large group of faculty and students, international researchers, and local communities to understand migration, race, and ethnicity in the United States and around the world. It initiates interdisciplinary research projects and offers research seminars, workshops, lectures, exhibits, and conferences that are free and open to the general public. It links U.S. immigration history to contemporary issues and communities through events, community partnerships, instruction, and teaching resources.

Since the early 1960s, the IHRC Archives has created a vast archive of newspapers, oral histories, and personal papers, along with the organizational records of immigrants and refugees and the agencies created to serve them. Holdings are particularly rich on the labor migrants who came to the U.S. between 1880 and 1930s, on the displaced persons who arrived in the U.S. after World War II, and on the refugees resettled in the United States after 1975. The archives offer materials of interest to scholars of gender, ethnicity, labor, industry and technology. Researchers from Minnesota and around the world use the collections of the IHRC Archives each year and hundreds more seek reference assistance.

  • In 2013, the IHRC has launched the Immigrant Stories Project to work with recent immigrants to collect, share, and preserve their own unique stories. Using the latest digital technology, we help immigrants create digital stories – short personal videos with images, text, music, and audio – that will become part of the IHRC Archives, the Minnesota Digital Library, and the Digital Public Library of America. Sharing the experiences of today’s immigrants and refugees with the wider world, Immigrant Stories is a valuable resource for communities, researchers, and educators.  
  • The IHRC collaborates with the Institute for Global Studies to offer a special series of events called Global REM (Race, Ethnicity, and Migration) that bring local, national, and international researchers to the University of Minnesota for public events and discussions
  • Other research projects established with the IHRC Archives include:  Minnesota 2.0, which documents and understand show 1.5 and 2nd generation Mexican, Somali, and Hmong youth use social networking sites to express their emerging sense of identity and social connection – to Minnesota and the U.S., to their parents and communities, to each other, and to the homelands from which their families arrived; "Sheeko" (oral histories with Somali youth) and Digitizing Immigrant Letters, which won the 2012 Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award from the Society of American Archivists.

Short video about IHRC

"Stories Worth Telling, Stories Worth Remembering" is a 19-minute video in QuickTime movie format (72 MB). Describes IHRC's mission, collections and services--and the Center's relationship to the ethnic communities whose heritages it helps to preserve.

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