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Immigration History Research Center

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IHRC News Online April 2005

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.

This issue contains:

Feature Story
Researchers and Visitors
Friends of IHRC
Collection Development
Endowment Campaign
About the IHRC
Announcements, Events

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.

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. You may submit news of ethnic events or information to the editor for posting. Some current listings:

Festival of Nations is April 21-24 in St. Paul

If you missed it last month: new director of IHRC is named

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Feature Story

Rudolph J. Vecoli. Vecoli with researcher Joanna Wojdon (See item below under "Researchers and Visitors" about her new book based on research at the IHRC).

Conference May 12-14, 2005 at Andersen Library

"Immigration History and the University of Minnesota: Where We've Been, Where We're Going"-conference honors service of IHRC Dir. Rudolph J. Vecoli

A conference on the history and current direction of immigration studies and celebrating the career of Rudolph J. Vecoli, IHRC director and professor of history (who retires this July after 38 years as director), will be cosponsored by the Department of History and the IHRC on May 12-14, 2005. The conference is free of charge and open to the public.

Conference sessions will be held at Andersen Library. Films will be shown Thursday and Friday evenings. All the venues (for conference, banquet, and films/arts) are within easy walking distance of each other on the West Bank Campus. Because of graduation weekend, hotel space is very limited. If you are coming from out of town and need a place to stay, please be sure to make your reservations as soon as possible.

Jon Gjerde, professor of history at UC-Berkeley, who received his PhD in history at the U of MN in 1982, will be the opening keynote speaker Thursday evening, May 12. The evening will also include a reception, performances, and films. One of the performances will be a poetry reading by

Ibe Kaba, 7:00-7:15 p.m. Kaba is originally from Sierra Leone and now resides in Eagan, MN.

Other speakers during the conference include senior scholars and graduate students, some of whom are past or current advisees of Professor Vecoli, as well as ethnic community leaders. This landmark conference is bringing together key members of local immigrant communities and leading scholars in the fields of migration and ethnic studies. Many of the conference panels, such as the Saturday roundtable sessions, are designed to appeal to community audiences as well as scholarly participants.

In addition to the research sessions, the conference will feature immigrant arts (performance and visual) and a mini film festival (Thursday and Friday nights), which will show both contemporary and older films by and about immigrants. In doing so, the conference bridges historical and contemporary experiences as well as academic and public perspectives. Exploring such vital intersections lies at the core of the mission of the IHRC.

Retirement Banquet

A gala banquet will cap the conference Saturday evening, to be held in the atrium of the Hubert H. Humphrey Center, 301-19th Ave. S. (reception, 6 p.m.; dinner 7 p.m.). See this newsletter for brief information about the dinner, which will honor Professor Vecoli's career as well as the many individuals and organizations that have supported the IHRC through its first 40 years. Entertainment will include readings from materials in the archives and a "this is your life"-type slide show. Cost of the dinner is $30. Call Jenny Dalton at 612-625-5031 or email her at to sign up and pay by credit card.

For more details about the conference,including speakers and registration, see its webpage or contact conference assistant Andrea Burns at or 612-625-4800. Although there is no charge for the conference, registration is required because space is limited.

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Collection Development

International Institute of Minnesota, St. Paul. Supplement to records, 1975-present. Ca.65 linear feet.
This is a major addition to an earlier series of records contributed as a result of the IHRC's International Institute project of the late 1970s-early 1980s. A description of those files along with a historical summary of the Institute is available at

The new material includes administrative, programmatic, and case files from the contemporary era of refugee resettlement in Minnesota. The Institute serves as the state's largest resttlement agency and provides social assistance, citizenship education, and employment training, among other services. It also sponsors the annual Festival of Nations.

In addition to recent documentation on the many communities of newcomers to the state, the records include a full set of minutes form the Board of Directors, from the 1930s to the present. These are valuable for charting the evolution of the agency’s policies and philosophy as well as its growth and transitions.

The new records, combined with the earlier materials, make the International Institute of Minnesota collection one of the richest resources available at the IHRC concerning America’s service to and work with the foreign born. It is precisely this post-Vietnam era refugee resettlement and immigration wave that is of particular interest to students. Certainly for the state of Minnesota, this is an unparalleled primary source on the refugee, immigrant, and ethnic communities of this area. it will be greatly beneficial to students and scholars seeking to understand Minnesota’s place in the story of immigration.

Institute provides financial assistance for processing. The IHRC is grateful for financial assistance (a $5,000 contribution) from the Minnesota Institute earmarked to enable the Center to make the material accessible to researchers. With this support, the Center anticipates hiring a graduate student assistant during this summer, and perhaps beyond, to arrange the collection in a usable order and prepare a preliminary description for online access.

International Institute of New Jersey. Supplement to records, ca. 1930s-1987. 33 boxes.
As with the Minnesota collection, this supplement includes administrative and program files in addition to resettlement case work records. The most recent records, 1979-1987, provide insight into the work involved in transforming the Institute into a multi-service, statewide organization. The Institute director, Nicholas Montalto, who sent this major supplement, was the director for the IHRC International Institute project described above.

Joseph Rukavina. Ca.6 linear feet of papers and some published sources. dates?
Material pertains to Rukavina's involvement in Croatian American community life, partiularly in the Twin Cities area. Also includes material relating to various other ethnic communities, reflecting Rukavina's research interest in ethnicity in general. Considerable information relates to the Minnesota lodges of the Croatian Fraternal Union.

Collection includes printed material, event programs, organizational records, correspondence, and photographs.

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Announcements & Events

Festival of Nations: "Celebrating Ethnic Traditions" at St. Paul RiverCentre April 21-24

Presented since 1932 by the International Institute of MN, the Festival of Nations features 90 ethnic groups with dance, music, folk artisans, food, shopping bazaar, cultural exhibits, etc. See for details, or call 651-647-0191.

FEEFHS conference logoFEEFHS Conference 2005: "Dare to Discover: Exploring Central and Eastern European Ancestry" to be held in St. Paul Aug. 19-21

The Immigration History Research Center is al supporter of a conference for genealogists to be held Aug. 19-21, 2005, at the Four Points by Sheraton St. Paul-Capitol, 400 N. Hamline Ave., with over 90 presentations covering a wide variety of ethnic topics. The sponsor, FEEFHS (Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies), is a major international genealogical federation. Participating societies represent 25 different ethnic, religious, and regional interest groups. For more information, see the website of cosponsor The Germanic Genealogy Society, at

First Fridays at Andersen Library series
Talks explore special collection resources at 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 11:30 to 1 p.m.(talk begins at noon), Rm. 120 Andersen Library, 222-21st Ave. S, West Bank Campus. Light refreshments are served; lunches are welcome. The presenters remain after each presentation for conversation and questions.

The series is made possible by a gift from the late Go. and Mrs. Elmer L. Andersen in honor of Dr. Edward B. Stanford, a former University Librarian. For more information, contact Dave Klaassen at or 612-624-4377.

Remaining session for this academic year:
May 6: Beyond the Stereotype: Documenting Mothers and Motherhood

The IHRC's COLLAGE coordinator Erik Moore will be one of the presenters, focusing on Japanese American war brides and their families.

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IHRC Endowment Campaign: "Stories Worth Remembering"

SVU makes $10,000 contribution to Czech and Slovak Studies Fund. At its conference held in Florida in March, the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU) made a significant contribution to the IHRC for its Czech and Slovak American Studies Fund. SVU President Miloslav Rechcigl presented a check for $10,000 to IHRC Director Rudolph Vecoli, who addressed the group, at the conference banquet, attended by community leaders and representatives from the Czech and Slovak embassies and republics. (Photo: Dr. Vecoli [left] receives check from SVU President Rechcigl.)

Following the conference, Rechcigl wrote that he hopes that SVU's example "will be infectious to inspire other Czech and Slovak ethnic organizations to join in this important and noble endeavor" Rechcigl appealed to members of SVU and other Czech and Slovak organizations to "send in additional donations so that the Fund can grow and become an important financial resource to enable the students and scholars from CR and SR, as well as from the United States, to conduct serious research."

The SVU recently donated its records to the IHRC. Rechcigl further noted in his post-conference report, "At the same time, we appeal to various ethnic organizations to assure that their archival materials are deposited in IHRC or other comparable archival institutions and thus preserved for the future."

A new umbrella organization, Czech and Slovak American Archival Consortium, has been established, encompassing the major institutions that maintain archival materials, to coordinate the preservation of historical materials. To learn more about this, see the consortium website,

Having conducted a comprehensive survey of Czech- and Slovak-related archival materials in America as part of its campaign to preserve them and promote their study, SVU has published a directory to the locations of such materials. See the SVU website, and click on new publications for information about the directory (number 3 in the list of publications).

Latvian fellowship fund complete with major gift from Latvia

Two fellowship funds initiated within the IHRC endowment campaign have complete funding and will offer their first awards soon. Both the "Must" Graduate Fellowship in Estonian American Studies and the American Latvian Association (ALA) Graduate Fellowship in Latvian American Studies are fully endowed ($150,000 each). Funding for the ALA Fellowship was completed this month with a contribution of more than $81,000 from the Latvian government, for which the Center is very grateful. Part of the gift will also be used for the umbrella Latvian American Studies Fund. Recruitment of award recipients is under way. Students who may be interested in the fellowship awards, please contact Curator and Asst. Dir. Joel Wurl, or 612-625-0553, for more information.

Additional contributions to any of the IHRC's other fellowship funds (see fellowships and scholarships), as well as to the Center's funds for particular ethnic group studies or its general expenses, are very welcome. Matching funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities are available for contributions or pledges to the IHRC's endowment campaign fulfilled by July 2006. Get more information about the different funds at the endowment page of this website.

If you or your organization would like to endow a named fund, fellowship, scholarship, or internship, please contact the IHRC for information. If you would like a speaker and/or the IHRC's videotape about its mission for a group meeting, contact the office. Email: Phone: 612-625-4800. To purchase the videotape, see the Publications Catalog.

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). Have you considered adding a bequest to the IHRC in your will? Your help is urgently needed and greatly appreciated. Contact the office for more information.

Make a pledge or one-time contribution for the endowment (you have until July 2006 to complete payment of a pledge). 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.

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Researchers & Visitors

Researcher's history of Polish American Congress published in Poland. A book researched at IHRC on the history of the Polish American Congress has been published. Dr. Joanna Wojdon, Instytut Historyczny Uniwersytetu Wroclawskiego, has written W imieniu szesciu milionow...Kongres Polonii Amerykanskiej w latach 1944-1968, published in Poland this year by Wydawnictywo Adam Marszalek. She acknowledges the assistance of the IHRC curators and Professor Vecoli and cites many IHRC sources. (The IHRC holds the records of the PAC and related organizations and individuals.) Joanna, who spent five months at the Center doing her research in 2003, noted in a recent Email, "I also hope to write another book about the Polish American Congress, this time about the Mazewski's times." On the back cover of her new book, Wojdon is pictured outside Andersen Library, the IHRC's home. (See related photo above, with Feature Story.)

Festival film, Rebel Frontier, researched at IHRC

Rebel Frontier, a film about the 1917 Butte, Montana, miners' strikes, that was shown during the Twin Cities International Film Festival this month, was researched at the IHRC. Immigrant Finnish and Irish copper miners were involved. Producer/director Desmond Bell visited the Center April 8 to call the attention of the IHRC staff to the showings. See more about the fictionalized documentary.

Maria Acuna, a senior at UC Berkeley, spent several days in March researching the Citizens' Committee on Displaced Persons and immigration, 1917-1952, for a senior thesis.

Stacey Peterson, a U of MN graduate student, researched current immigrant/refugee students at the U for her Master's thesis.

Karen Phoenix, a PhD student at the U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, spent a week researching for her dissertation, about the YWCA and Americanization of immigrant women at home and abroad, 1880s-1939. She used the records of International Institutes.

Andrew Janco, a PhD student at the U of Chicago, did research for his dissertation on Soviet refugees in Europe after World War II.

Karlis Lisovskis, a U of MN undergraduate, researched a paper on refugees who came to the United States from Latvia after World War II. Another undergrad, Yumiko Nakagawa, investigated Hmong refugee resettlement.

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Vecoli to conference in Turkey. IHRC Dir. Rudolph Vecoli will be one of the keynote speakers at the International Cultural Studies Symposium 10th annual conference at Ege University, Faculty of Letters, Izmir, Turkey, May 4-6, 2005. The conference theme is "When 'Away' Becomes 'Home': Cultural Consequences of Migration." For complete information, see the symposium website:

Wurl lectures at UCLA April 20.

Curator and Assistant Director Joel Wurl will give a plenary lecture, "Ethnicity as Provenance: In Search of Values and Principles for Documenting the Immigrant Experience" at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, 2005, at UCLA, in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies Building, Room 111. A reception will follow the lecture. The presentation is sponsored by the UCLA Department of Information Studies and the Center for Information as Evidence (an interdisciplinary forum addressing the ways in which information objects and systems are created, used, and preserved as legal, administrative, scientific, social, cultural and historical evidence).

Address at Hennepin Technical College April 13
Joel Wurl spoke at a special event called The History of Immigration in Minnesota, hosted by the Diversity Committee of Hennepin Technical College on April 13, 2005. His talk, titled "The Immigrant Experience in Minnesota: "What's Special About This Place?" offered an overview of how immigration has shaped Minnesota's demograhic and cultural character.

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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 navigation box at the top of this newsletter).

2004 Annual Meeting Report. See the Friends Web page.

Book sale to benefit Karni Scholarship Fund

Quantities are limited! Finnish American scholarship and literature offered at half price. View/print the catalog order form.

To find out more about or to contribute to the Karni Scholarship Fund, see here.

Friends sell discounted Historical Atlas of Central Europe -Lots of information for history buffs and genealogists! Many new maps. Info in Announcements or link to the order form (PDF).

State History Day

The theme for 2005 National History Day is Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.

Minnesota's History Day will take place in Coffman Union (East Bank Campus) on Sunday, May 1, 2005. The Friends will award prizes to the outstanding junior and senior high school projects relating to immigration history. Participating students are invited to contact the Center and to visit the IHRC to use its resources for their projects.

Refer to Friends page or the July 2004 issue of the News for winners of the Friends 2004 junior and senior awards.

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

Board Meeting: The Board of Directors meets next on Saturday, May 21, 2005, in Room 308 Andersen Library. Friends members are welcome to attend board meetings. email Pres. Don Pafko,, for more information or phone 952-831-1440.

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About the IHRC

Find out more about the IHRC from the About section. 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.

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