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Immigration History Research Center

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IHRC News Online February 27, 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.

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

Contributions spearheaded by American Latvian Association
to fund graduate fellowship at IHRC

The Twin Cities area Latvian Folksong Ensemble Teiksma performs at the IHRC's celebration of the opening of Andersen Library (2000).

The IHRC is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors of the American Latvian Association in the United States, Inc., has pledged $50,000 to help establish the American Latvian Association Graduate Fellowship as part of the Latvian American Studies Fund at the Center. The ALA will also be the conduit for additional contributions for the fellowship totaling $21,000 from the American Latvian Youth Association ($1,000), the Latvian Welfare Association ($10,000), and the World Federation of Free Latvians ($10,000).  Dace Copeland, president of ALA, noted her "distinct pleasure" at announcing the pledge and added, "I look forward to working with [the IHRC] in finalizing the arrangements..." A Latvian American Fellowship for qualified graduate students has been the first goal and priority of fund raising efforts for the Latvian American Studies Fund within the IHRC endowment, and the Center is very grateful for this tremendous show of support. 

Another $1000 was received in late February, from XIV West Coast Latvian Song Festival, headquartered in San Francisco, so the momentum is continuing to build.

The IHRC is widely regarded as the nation's premier resource for the study of Latvian American history. The cornerstone of the Latvian American collection is the 200-linear-foot archives transferred from the Latvian Studies Center (Kalamazoo, MI) to the IHRC archives in 1996. It includes the records of many of the prominent organizations, including all the contributors mentioned in the opening paragraph, as well as the papers of prominent individuals. The ALA made a generous gift in 1998 that established the Latvian History Research Fund, the precursor to the Latvian American Studies Fund. 

A total of $150,000 in private gifts is needed to fully fund the ALA Graduate Fellowship. With the strong initiative celebrated here, that goal is attainable in the near future. Will you help? Contact the IHRC or see the Support section of this website for more information about the fellowship and making a contribution (including the matching funds that a contribution triggers).

As Director Vecoli wrote to ALA President Dace Copeland, "We anticipate that the Latvian American Studies Fund of the IHRC will continue to grow, and enable us to fund a Latvian American Fellowship in the near future. If the fund permits, we also aspire to sponsor conferences, seminars, grants-in-aid of research, and publications regarding the history and culture of the Latvians in the United States." 

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Announcements & Events

New Book: The Lost World of Italian American Radicals

A new book edited by Philip Cannistraro, Distinguished Professor of Italian American Studies at Queens College and the Graduate School, CUNY, and Gerald Meyer, professor emeritus of history at Hostos Community College, CUNY, is The Lost World of Italian American Radicalism; Politics, Labor, and Culture (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2003). It contains 16 essays that "restore to Italian-American history the radical experience that has long remained suppressed, but that nevertheless helped shape both the Italian-American community and the American left." 

In the labor section is an essay contributed by IHRC Director Rudolph Vecoli, "The Making and Un-Making of an Italian Working Class in the United States, 1915-1945." The other contributors include many who have done research at the IHRC.

Forthcoming: Ethnic Pride, American Patriotism: Slovaks and other New Immigrants in the Interwar Era

With permission, June Alexander used this photograph from the IHRC Slovak American Print Collection in her new book as an example of ethnic youth partaking in a quintessential American activity. It shows members of the Jednota baseball team in Braddock, PA, sponsored by Branch 35 of the First Catholic Slovak Union of America (Prva Katolicka Slovenska Jednota), 1933.

A forthcoming book by June Granatir Alexander, a U of MN PhD and "one of our own star researchers," according to her former professor, Rudolph Vecoli, presents "history...from the perspective of new Slovak and Eastern European immigrant communities". . . .[that] "saw no contradiction between being patriotic Americans and maintaining pride in their ancestry." Ethnic Pride, American Patriotism (Temple U Press, July 2004) challenges generalizations that show conflict between tradition-bound immigrants and their American-born children. Alexander teaches Russian and East European studies at the U of Cincinnati.

"New Americans" series on public television in March; follow-up forum on MN immigrants April 4

A PBS documentary mini-series from the makers of the award-winning "Hoop Dreams" will be broadcast on Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) March 29, 30, 31 at 8 p.m. (Check listings for your area.)  The documentary, "The New Americans," tells the stories of a diverse group of contemporary immigrants and refugees from Nigeria, India, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the occupied West Bank as they leave their homelands to make new lives in the United States. Amazingly, the filmmakers identified the families they wanted to follow while they were still preparing to leave their homelands, so the entire process of their emigration/immigration is documented.

The League of Women Voters of Minnesota (LWVMN) is working with TPT on a follow-up Town Hall Forum with new Minnesotans to be broadcast on TPT 17 on Sunday, April 4, at 8 p.m. The IHRC's Curator and Asst. Director Joel Wurl will provide a short history of immigration to Minnesota at the beginning of the program. 

This forum is one of the first events of a yearlong civic dialogue initiative organized in the state in conjunction with the national broadcast. Cultural and community-based organizations will sponsor facilitated conversations, community forums, and other events that will provide insight into the challenges and opportunities that immigrants and receiving communities face.

For an expanded version of this news item, go to the Friends Community Events and Announcements.

Saloutos Award to Erika Lee for book on Chinese immigrants

Erika Lee, assistant professor of history at U of MN, has won the Saloutos Prize for the best book on an immigration/ethnicity-related topic in 2003. The prize is awarded by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and is named for the late Theodore Saloutos, a renowned historian of of the Greek Americans, whose papers the IHRC holds. Lee's book, At America's Gate: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943, is reviewed in the May 16, 2003, issue of the IHRC's online newsletter. Lee is a member of the recently reconstituted Faculty Advisory Committee for the IHRC.

Ninth Annual International Women's Day Celebration to be March 6 on West Bank Campus, U of MN

International Women's Day, an official United Nations holiday celebrated worldwide, will be marked in the Twin Cities Saturday, March 6, with the ninth annual free and open event (voluntary contributions welcome). It will be held 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Mondale Hall (U of MN Law School), 229-19th Ave. S, Minneapolis. Lunch is provided. Goals are to promote understanding and tolerance in our communities, highlight advancements in women's rights and equality, encourage activism, and educate participants about human rights issues that affect girls and women everywhere. Many of the workshops feature issues pertaining to refugee and immigrant women.

Keynote speaker is Bonnie J. Campbell, a lawyer who served for four years as Iowa attorney general and then joined the Clinton Administration as one of its key officials on crime and gender-equity issues. Her topic is "Women's Voices: The Struggle for Human Rights Around the World."

Organizer of the event, which attracts hundreds of attendees each year, is Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, with the support of the Human Rights Program of the College of LIberal Arts, U of MN, and the Women's Foundation of Minnesota. More than 50 local organizations, including the IHRC, support the event and participate with information booths; sales of international jewelry, clothing, books, etc.; and participation in workshops. Dramatic and musical performances are also scheduled. The IHRC will have an information table staffed by Friends of IHRC volunteers.

For more details, including driving and parking directions, see the Minnesota Advocates Web site,

IHRC receives gift of digital camera from supporter John Lambros

The IHRC is now able to produce  21st century photographs -digital- thanks to benefactor John Lambros, who represents the AHEPA 14th District Past District Governors Club on the Friends of IHRC Board of Directors. John has been an IHRC booster for years, and his enthusiasm has helped to encourage contributions from his ethnic community to the Greek American Studies Fund of the IHRC endowment campaign. In the accompanying photograph, John Lambros (right) hands Curator and Asst. Director Joel Wurl a new Canon digital camera at the Friends Board meeting held February 21, 2004. Thank you, John.

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. After brief presentations, attendees are welcome to stay for conversation and answers to questions or to tour Andersen (visit the IHRC office suite). 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.

Remaining schedule:

March 5, 2004Women's History

April 2, 2004Emancipation

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

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:

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

- Finn Forum VII, October 2004; proposed papers due March 26.

- Sicilian Nights, play based on folktales, debuts in Minneapolis March 4.

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IHRC Endowment Campaign: "Stories Worth Remembering"

Signed poem by Garrison Keillor available as gift premium

A limited number of signed copies of the Garrison Keillor humorous poem "The Finn Who Would Not Take A Sauna," one of Keillor's most popular writings, are available to contributors of $500 or more to the Timo Riippa Fund for Finnish American Studies. The poem begins

In northeast Minnesota, what they call the Iron Range,
Where a woman is a woman, and some things never change,
Where winter lasts nine months a year, there is no spring or fall,
Where it gets so cold the mercury cannot be seen at all...

For more information, contact the IHRC.

Endowment Funds

As a result of contributions made in support of the campaign, several endowment funds have reached the threshold of money raised to become independent named funds. The IHRC salutes the contributors who have made this possible. See the Support section of  this website for the specific funds and the goals they will support, also more about how you or your organization can contribute. You may also request printed information that outlines the four general campaign goals or describes individual funds.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has granted the U of MN a prestigious matching grant for the IHRC (every $4 in donations to the Center's endowment are matched with $1 from NEH). The campaign met its second-phase goal, having raised $500,000 during the period ended July 2003 (see the feature story in the August 2003 Online News). The goal for July 2004 is another $800,000, quite a challenge!  The campaign ends July 31, 2005.

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. 

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Researchers and Visitors

Stepanka Korytova, a faculty member at the U of West Bohemia, Czech Republic, visited in January and toured the IHRC collections, particularly the Czech and Slovak collections.

Independent scholar David Maki spent several days researching folklore and community structure in Oulu and Waino, WI, for a presentation, a journal article and a book chapter.

Aysem Karahan, a PhD student at U of MN, did research on Turks in America for her dissertation and several other purposes.

Masako Hakamura, a PhD student at U of MN, investigated Japanese war brides/Japanese immigrants after World War II for her dissertation.

U of MN graduate student Maria Paz Esguerra did research on the history of Filipino Americans in the Twin Cities for a course.

Two U of MN undergrads did research for a senior thesis: Jansen Price on Russian: Nikolai Gogol and Tyler Parsons on Latino immigration in rural Minnesota.

U of MN undergrad Josephine Myers-Kuykindall researched the relationship between African Americans and African immigrants for a course and a journal article.

Visitors to IHRC welcome.  This newsletter frequently reports on visitors, sometimes from foreign lands, from university classes learning about using the resources, or from representatives of supporting organizations. Everyone is welcome to visit the IHRC, whether researcher, supporter, or the merely curious. If possible, contact the Center to inform the staff when you are coming so someone will be available to show you around. The IHRC is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You will receive a warm welcome, regardless of any wind chill outside.

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Curator and Asst. Dir. Joel Wurl met with several classes this month to introduce them to the IHRC's resources and research methods:

  • U of MN, American Studies 8240, "Gender, Race, Class, Ethnicity, and Sexuality in the United States: Research Strategies"  (Prof. Catherine Choy) on 2/3 at the IHRC
  • U of MN, General College 1422, "Writing Life Histories" (Instr. Molly Collins) on 2/19 at the IHRC
  • U of St. Thomas, History 463,  "Seminar on European Emigration," a study of 19th and 20th century European emigration and immigration to the American Midwest (Prof. Winston Chrislock) on 2/25 at St. Thomas.

IHRC presents "Bridge for American History" workshop for teachers

IHRC Curator Joel Wurl and COLLAGE Coordinator Erik Moore participated February 26 (as they did last May) in workshops for area high school social studies teachers held at Andersen Library. They engaged the teachers in curriculum-building using photographs available on the IHRC's COLLAGE database as resources for teaching immigration history. The program featured a presentation on the Jewish community of north Minneapolis by Linda Schloff, director of the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, who emphasized the importance of visual information in understanding immigration.

The "Bridge for American History" grant project is funded by the US Department of Education and includes an array of professional development opportunities for teachers. The project is administered locally by the Minneapolis and St. Paul public school systems, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the U of MN's Department of History. More information on the "Bridge" project is available at

New student employee. Holly Salmela, a U of MN junior from Dassel, MN, studying anthropology, is a part-time assistant to the IHRC curators, doing a variety of tasks. She started in January and will work until some time in May. Welcome, Holly.

New volunteer. Johanna Leinonen, a multilingual Finnish native who is a U of MN graduate student in history, has been volunteering twice a week as a library assistant since the end of January. She is helping to catalog the Finnish American print collection. Thank you, Johanna.

Graphic design volunteer needed. The IHRC is seeking a volunteer or student intern (unpaid) to help with graphic design projects during the year. Projects will include a redesign of the Center's information brochure,  work on the annual report, and design of other printed documents and promotional materials. Add to your portfolio! If you are interested in this position, please contact the Center.

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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 menu, 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 format, requires Adobe Acrobat© to download and print).

Announcements of ethnic events. Click on "Community Events & Announcements" on the pull-down Friends menu at the top of the page (or click here.). 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 Tuesday, April 13, 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).

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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.

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