University of Minnesota
Immigration History Research Center

Immigration History Research Center's home page.

IHRC News Online April 26, 2004

This is the Immigration History Research Center's monthly newsletter. If you would like to be notified by email when each issue has been published, please contact the IHRC to sign up.

As of May 1, 2004, the IHRC website has a new address: Be sure to bookmark it!

This issue contains:

Note: Originally Headline News, IHRC News Online is the IHRC's primary communications vehicle. The News Online is posted once a month, generally at mid-month. Please send any comments or news relating to the IHRC to Editor Judy Rosenblatt.

Feature Story

Springtime brings out the researchers

The Center has had a spring semester influx of visitors from around the world and around the state, keeping the curatorial staff busy. The list below demonstrates the wide variety of investigators and subjects for which the IHRC is an important resource. The Center welcomes all of these knowledge-seekers.

From abroad:
Vitaliy Manzurenko, PhD student, University of Lviv, Ukraine, spent some time in March researching Ukrainian military insignia in the 20th century for his dissertation.

Matjaz Klemencic, professor of history, U of Maribor, Slovenia, presented a Research in Progress seminar to a roomful of attentive community members on April 7, "South Slavic Immigrants and the Breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s." He spoke about assistance to the homeland, for relief and to support political causes, organized and provided by immigrants in this country during the independence struggles of the ethnic component groups of the former Yugoslavia.

He also did additional research on Slovenes and other South Slavs in the United States, spending a week investigating materials for teaching, articles, and book chapters. He has been doing research at the IHRC periodically for the last 20 years. His latest publication, coauthored with Mitja Zagar, The Former Yugoslavia's Diverse Peoples; A Reference Sourcebook(ABC-CLIO, 2004), was researched in part at the IHRC.

Annemarie Steidl, a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the U of MN from the U of Salzburg, Austria, did research on migration from the Habsburg Monarchy for an article in a scholarly journal. She spoke on "Relationships between Continental and Transatlantic Migration in the Late Habsburg Monarchy" at a Center for Austrian Studies-sponsored seminar April 15.

Johanna Leinonen, who is attending U of MN and volunteering at the IHRC while pursuing her doctorate at the U of Turku, Finland, did research for her dissertation on the ethnic identity of Finnish-born women in multicultural marriages in the United States, 1960–2000. She is recruiting additional subjects for her study. See Events and Announcements, "Non-event news," in the Friends section of this site.

From around the United States:
Daniel Trudeau, PhD student, U of Colorado at Boulder, did research for his dissertation on how issues of immigrants' social integration have been addressed by institutions of the welfare state and voluntary agencies/charities in the Twin Cities during the last 80 years.

Sarah Snyder, a doctoral student at Georgetown U, spent a week investigating the influence of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe on American-Soviet Relations for her dissertation.

Chauncy Harris, Jr., a senior at the U of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, spent several weeks researching for his senior thesis the formation of the early Italian community around Holy Redeemer Church in St. Paul.

Photo at right: Monsignor Louis Pioletti on the steps of Holy Redeemer Church, 1966, shortly before its demolition (from the Pioletti collection at the IHRC)

Local researchers:
Andrew Urban, a U of MN graduate student working on a Master's thesis, investigated how the International Institute in San Francisco conceived of its mission to assimilate Asian immigrants, in relation to the broader movement of settlement houses that dealt primarily with European immigrants.

St. Paul resident Greg Gaffaney researched the Bily brothers, Czech American clockmakers, whose works are on display at a museum in Spillville, Iowa, for a journal article.

Among several middle and high school students doing research for History Day projects, Inver Grove Heights middle-schooler Margarita Kovtun looked into Russian immigration to the United States in the 1900s for a video presentation.

David Anderson of Stillwater researched "new" immigrants in Minnesota for a book, "You've Got to Learn to Walk on the Snow."

Return to Top

Announcements & Events

Play May 8 to benefit IHRC Finnish American Studies Fund

The Kalevala Theater Society, celebrating 10 years in Kettle River, MN, will present "Not Red—Just a Little Pink," a one-act play written and directed by Daniel Reed, as a benefit for the Immigration History Research Center's endowment fund. Music during the play is by Ted Heinonen of Duluth. The event is being facilitated by the Finnish Connection interest group of the U of MN Alumni Association and sponsored by the student group Suomalaiset (Finlanders) at the U of MN

The play tells the story of two Finnish immigrants who come to Northern Minnesota and find their paths diverging. Their friendship weathers many storms. It is set in the McCarthy Era of the 1950s.

"You'll be amazed at how much it pushes and pulls on you...whether you're Finn or not," wrote Larry Sillanpa, editor, Labor World News. The play  was performed by invitation at the 30-year appreciation dinner in Duluth for US Rep. Jim Oberstar

"Not Red—Just a Little Pink"

When: Saturday, May 8, 7 p.m.
  A reception with Finnish refreshments and music by Finn Hall Band follows the performance.
Where: Theater, Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis (East Bank, U of MN)
Directions, parking information
Tickets: Suggested donation: $20, general admission
$12, students and senior citizens with ID.
Pick up tickets at the door.
All proceeds go to the IHRC's Timo Riippa Fund for Finnish American Studies.
Make check or money order payable to U of MN Foundation (write IHRC-Riippa Fund on the memo line).
To reserve tickets, call LaVerne Reed, 218-273-6115, or Email by May 5.

"America in a Different Mirror: Re-Visioning Our Nation's Past"

talk by Ronald Takaki, professor of ethnic studies at
University of California, Berkeley, since 1972
on Wed., April 28, 2004, wine and cheese reception, 6 p.m.; talk at 7 p.m.;
book signing immediately after the lecture at 8 p.m.
at Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey Center,
301-19th Ave. S, Minneapolis (West Bank Campus)
The Immigration History Research Center is a cosponsor of this event, part of the Great Speaker Series of the U of MN Humanities Institute. Everyone is invited to attend.

TakakiRonald Takaki, a pioneer in the field of ethnic studies, is an outspoken defendant of multiculturalism and multicultural education as a teacher, writer, speaker, and frequently controversial thinker, regarded by many as the founder of modern multicultural studies. More about Professor Takaki can be found in the March News Online.

International academic conference "Crossing the Waters," part of 2004 Italian American Festival in Duluth, MN, and Palermo, Italy

U of MN Duluth and U degli Studi di Palermo, Italy, are sponsoring a conference in Duluth in conjunction with the Italian American Festival 2004, an extravaganza of theatrical and cultural events being held over several months in late 2003–spring 2004 in Duluth and Palermo.
     The international academic conference, "Crossing the Waters: Italian American Connections," will be held April 29–May 1, 2004. IHRC Director Rudolph Vecoli is one of the featured speakers.

Conference Schedule:

Thurs., April 29, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Italian Footsteps,  American Soil: The Immigrant Experience

Fri., April 30, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Italian Culture and History

Sat., May 1, 9 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Cultural Conversations 

Find more information about the conference and the entire festival, including performances and art exhibits, at the festival website.

Explore special collection resources at "First Fridays at Andersen Library" 

At "First Fridays" events, curators and archivists provide an insider's look at U of MN special collections. The free and open sessions are held noon to 1 p.m., Rm. 120 Andersen Library, 222-21st Ave. S, West Bank Campus. LIght refreshments are served; lunches are welcome. The series is made possible by a gift from Gov. and Mrs. Elmer L. Andersen in honor of Dr. Edward B. Stanford, a former University Librarian. For more information, contact Tim Johnson, or 612-624-3552.

Final session for this academic year:

May 7, 2004  Mish-Mash, Misc., Etc.: The Weird, Bizarre, and Different

Estonian-Swedish children's book illustrator to speak at Andersen Library June 17

Ilon Wikland, an artist-illustrator born in Estonia who immigrated to Sweden as a 14-yar-old refugee in 1944, will speak in Room 120 of Andersen Library, 222-21st Ave. S, Minneapolis, U of MN West Bank, on Thurs., June 17, 2004, at 7 p.m. See driving and parking directions.

Sponsored by the U of MN's Children's Literature Research Collections and cosponsored by Friends of the IHRC and the Estonian Association of Minnesota (member organization of the Friends), the award-winning children's book illustrator will discuss "Estonian Influence on My Writing and Illustrating Children's Books, including Astrid Lindgren." Wikland illustrated the majority of Lindgren's many children's books as well as several of her own and others'. She evokes scenes from her childhood in Estonia in her work, which combines imagination and reality.

A related exhibit, "Small Heroes, Great Journeys: The Illustrations of Ilon Wikland," will be at the American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis, June 16–October 3, 2004. For more information about the exhibit or Wikland, see the ASI website or contact Jan McElfish, 612-871-4907 or

Events and announcements between issues of this newsletter and items of general interest are publicized in the "Community Events & Announcements" section of the Friends of IHRC page. Changes are made frequently, so check it often. Both Twin Cities area and national items are listed. Categories and section headings have been added, to make it easier to navigate through the list. You may submit news of ethnic events to the editor for posting.

Some of the current listings (if "more" takes you to the beginning of the list, click on the appropriate subheading and scroll down to the item):

- Italian art exhibits in Duluth, part of cultural festival. ("Exhibits")

- Outdoor poster art on "coexistence" in Twin Cities May–July. ("Exhibits")

- Turkish-Armenian-Greek Film Festival April 30–May 6. ("Events")

Return to Top

IHRC Endowment Campaign: "Stories Worth Remembering"

Grant from Finlandia Foundation will help fund student internship at IHRC

A new grant of $3,000, together with funds received previously from the Finlandia Foundation National, donations from other organizations and individuals, expected additional private contributions, and matching funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, will allow the IHRC to offer the Riippa Fund/Finlandia Foundation Internship in Finnish American Studies. The recurring award for a summer or semester appointment will allow Finnish or Finnish American college students to receive invaluable practical experience and research knowledge by helping to analyze, arrange, describe, and preserve one of the world's foremost historical collections on Finnish American life. For more information, contact Curator Joel Wurl.

Make a contribution

If you appreciate the IHRC's work, make a contribution to the Annual Appeal (to help fund general day-to-day expenses) and/or to the Endowment (for investment in the long-term future of the Center). Your help is urgently needed and greatly appreciated. 

This is a good time to make a pledge. You have until July 2005 to complete payment. Follow the directions in ways you can help the campaign. Thank you for supporting the documentation, preservation, and promotion of the history of our nation's immigrant experience. 

Return to Top

Researchers and Visitors

See this month's feature story for researcher news.

Gift of zoom lens enhances microfilm-reading experience for researchers

Thanks to a generous donation of $850 from the Finnish Genealogy Group (of Minnesota), the IHRC has installed a new zoom lens on its microfilm reader/printer, making it possible to amplify newspaper and other images for easier access to information. The gift was delivered April 15 by group member and frequent researcher Duane Wiita. This gift supports the IHRC's Save America's Treasures project by aiding access to the microfilmed archives preserving the country's heritage.

Photos below: Left, Duane Wiita looks on as Sr. Asst. Curator Halyna Myroniuk tries out the new zoom, showing an enlarged image on the reader/printer screen. Right, Duane hands the gift check to Curator and Asst. Director Joel Wurl while "throwing away" his no-longer-needed magnifying glass.

Greek visitors

Yanni Chryssomallis, U of MN alumnus and renowned composer/performer known worldwide as "Yanni," will be the featured speaker at the U of MN Alumni Association's 100th Anniversary Gala Finale and Annual Celebration on Thursday, May 6, 2004. At the event, Yanni will also receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for his outstanding cultural contributions, including appreciation of ethnicity ("Ethnicity" is the title of his latest album).

In advance of Yanni's visit, his producer/manager, George Veras, president of the New York TV production and marketing firm Veras Communications, visited the campus April 13 to check on arrangements for the gala and to tour the IHRC. He was accompanied by Greek community leader and IHRC volunteer Peter Dress.

...and more Greek visitors

On Saturday, April 24, some 35 members of the Minneapolis area AHEPA and Daughters of Penelope chapters met at the Andersen Library and were given a presentation and tour by Curator and Asst. Director Joel Wurl. The meeting was arranged by Peter Dress, AHEPA Chapter 66 (Demosthenes), and Tessie Bourdamis, Daughters of Penelope Chapter 35 (Antigone). 

The IHRC welcomes the opportunity to host such gatherings of ethnic community organizations. For more information, contact Joel Wurl.

Return to Top


Vecoli to Italian conference

At the end of March 2004, Dir. Rudolph Vecoli participated in an international conference, "Re-thinking Italian Migrations: Diaspora, Transnationalism and Generations," held in Turin, Italy, with support from the Agnelli Foundation. He chaired a session on Transnational Research and presented a paper, What Is the Value of the Concept of "Whiteness" for the Study of Italian Emigration? in the session titled Generations. Many of the participants have done research at the IHRC. A writeup of the conference in the Italian language ZeroNove Magazine for March 29 was accompanied by photographs showing Vecoli with other panelists.

Necas provides perspective on Czech immigrant readers

IHRC Asst. Curator Daniel Necas, alumnus of Charles University in Prague, presented  “Publication Activities of the Czech Immigrant Communities in America: What They Read, and How It May Have Formed Their Mentality” at the April 1, 2004, meeting in the History Lecture Series sponsored by the Czech and Slovak Cultural Center of Minnesota (housed at the CSPS Hall in St. Paul).

Highly literate, 19th century immigrants from Bohemia and Moravia soon established periodicals and then publishing houses. Necas explored the vast production of printed materials (starting in 1860) that circulated in the latter half of the 19th century within the Czech American community to provide a perspective on the readership and how the items read may have had an impact on the lives of individuals and communities.

Moore presents paper at conference in Canada

On April 4, Erik Moore, IHRC digital project coordinator, participated in a session at the conference "Cultural Places and Natural Spaces: Memory, History, and Landscape," a joint meeting of the American Society for Environmental History and the National Council on Public History in Victoria, British Columbia. He presented a paper titled "Immigrants, Mines and Government Agents: Conservation and Anti-Ethnic Bias; An Environmental History of Minnesota's Iron Ore Ranges, 1900–1910." The presentation resulted from research in a combination of primary source and secondary literature from the IHRC's collections as well as the use of government documents.

IHRC featured at April FACA meeting

Finnish American Cultural Activities, Inc.(FACA), headquartered in the Twin Cities, featured information about the IHRC and particularly its Finnish American collection and current endowment campaign, at the organization's April membership meeting. Curator and Asst. Director Joel Wurl and Finnish Honorary Consul K. Marianne Wargelin shared the podium, addressing a large audience. FACA's records have been donated to the IHRC, where they are available to researchers.

New Staff

The IHRC recently welcomed three new colleagues, (from left) Jonathon Openshaw, Andrea Burns, and Holly Salmela. All are U of MN students.

Jon is a part-time undergraduate reserch assistant, working on organizing and describing the 60-box collection of records from the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), headquartered in Washington, DC. He is an Italian major in his third year at the U.

Andrea joined the staff at the end of March as a part-time project assistant through summer 2004, researching and selecting primary source materials in the Center's collections to be digitized and added to COLLAGE, the IHRC's online database resource of photographs and documents. Andrea is a PhD candidate in the History Department. 

Holly is a part-time assistant to the curators, working at assorted tasks since January and ending her IHRC tenure at the end of April. She is a junior studying anthropology.

Return to Top

Friends of the IHRC

Link here to the Friends section of the website for more information about the organization, including how to join this nonprofit support group for the IHRC (or use the drop-down menu, above).

The Friends will have a table at the U of MN Alumni Association's gala dinner (see above).

Revised & expanded Historical Atlas of Central Europe available from the friends at a 10% discount

The U of Washington Press's revised and expanded edition of the Historical Atlas of Central Europe by Prof. Paul Magocsi, in full-color, 9" x 12" paperback format is available from the Friends organization. This highly regarded atlas has added maps and 11 new chapters that focus on the newly independent countries. 

The book retails at $45.00. By ordering through the Friends, you can get it for $40.50 (plus shipping and handling), a 10% discount. Click here for complete information and order form (PDF).

Announcements of ethnic events. Click on Friends in the navigation box at the top of the page and then click on "Community Events & Announcements." This list is changed frequently, so check it often. 

Board Meeting (note change of date and time from previous meeting schedule). The  Board of Directors meets next on Thursday, May 27, 2004, in Room 308 Andersen Library. Friends members are welcome to attend board meetings. Email Judy Rosenblatt for more information (or phone 612-624-5774).

Return to Top 

About the IHRC

Find out more about the IHRC from the About section and the Welcome section. Under "Welcome," click on  "Visiting the IHRC" and then "virtual tour," an excellent, detailed introduction to the building, the IHRC offices and collections, and how to conduct research at the Center.

The IHRC welcomes volunteers to help with both curatorial and administrative tasks.

Return to Top