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Immigration History Research Center

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IHRC News Online: Sept. - Oct. 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.

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.

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:

  • 2004–05 lecture series "Fallout from the Arab-Israeli conflict in France" at U of MN
  • South Central Minnesota Genealogy Expo will be held Sat., Oct. 23, in Mankato

Feature Stories

Director Rudolph Vecoli to retire in 2005 after 38 years leading IHRC

Professor of History and Director of the IHRC Rudolph J. Vecoli has announced his retirement, effective July 2005. He has headed the U of MN's Immigration History Research Center for 38 years, guiding it as its research collections and outreach programs have grown and it has moved from “temporary” quarters to its new home on the West Bank Campus, the Elmer L. Andersen Library.

At the time of the IHRC's inception in 1965, Vecoli served on a national advisory board guiding its development. In 1967 he took the reins, and, as his stature grew as a scholar and teacher of immigration history, particularly that of Italian Americans, so did the prominence of the IHRC as a resource for researchers from around the world for the study of immigrant and ethnic life.

Vecoli has led the development of a wide array of research initiatives, conferences and seminars, publications, exhibits, and programs for educators and the public. Among the IHRC's noted endeavors over the years:

• The 1986 conference, in which Frank Thistlethwaite participated--- and subsequently received an honorary degree from the U of MN. Selected papers were published, A CENTURY OF EUROPEAN MIGRATIONS (Urbana, Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1991), coedited by Vecoli and Suzanne Sinke.

• The 1990 conference “Documenting the Immigrant Experience,” brought historians, archivists, and documentary editors together (a first!) to develop a national strategy to gather, preserve, and make accessible documents for the study of immigration history. A report, Documenting Diversity , was distributed widely to scholars and archivists.

• Over 1993–1996, a large grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) enabled the IHRC to arrange and describe 11 collections of organizational records and personal papers that document the migration of East Europeans to the United States following World War II. As a result, scholars have full access to original sources detailing the refugees' experiences.

• The IHRC celebrated its 30 th anniversary in 1996, after two years of preparation. The celebration had five parts, all related to the theme “immigrant cultures and the performing arts”: a film series, teachers' workshop, international conference, exhibit of arts-related archival materials, and variety show, “Echoes from the Immigrant Stage.” The show, based on music, plays, and memoirs in the archives and performed by professional actors, was videotaped for future showings.

• With another NEH grant, in the late 1990s the IHRC was able to hire an archivist to process the records of immigrant service agencies, among the most useful primary resources available to researchers of 20 th century American immigration. In 2003, Gale Primary Source Microfilm produced 252 reels of records (1918–1985) from the most prominent of these agencies, Immigration and Refugee Services of America, making the extensive wide-ranging records even more accessible to researchers.

"Over the past 40 years, the Center has grown from an idea to a leading institution in the field of migration and ethnic studies,” said Vecoli. “After it had several years of precarious existence, I became convinced that we needed four components to secure the Center's future. Three have been achieved—we have built premier collections of unique primary sources, gathered a cohort of enthusiastic and devoted supporters, and acquired a permanent home that protects the collections and provides comfortable access for researchers.”

The fourth component? Vecoli continues, “The future of the Center depends on a steady, reliable source of money, i.e., an endowment.” The overall goal of the IHRC in its endowment campaign is $4 million. In t he last few years, Vecoli and other staff at the IHRC, along with University fund raisers and IHRC supporters, have devoted many hours to soliciting contributions to the endowment, which will help shield the Center from the vagaries of state budgets, University politics, and administrative whims. These funds will allow the IHRC to support an endowed chair for a professor of history/director of the Center to succeed Vecoli; provide graduate fellowships and new focused curatorial positions for specific ethnic collections; expand community outreach with educational initiatives; and promote research and scholarship.

Search for a new director
As efforts to complete fundraising for the position progress, the search is officially under way to fill the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History (see position posting at < > ; information is also available at the History Department website, <>). The new professor / IHRC director is expected to take over next summer.

Conference next spring
On May 13–14, 2005 , the History Department and IHRC will host a conference on the status of immigration history research that celebrates Professor Vecoli's career and marks his retirement.

Finn Forum VII at U of MN, Twin Cities, October 27–30, 2004

Interdisciplinary, International Conference in Finnish/Finnish-North American Studies

October 28 “ Karelian Fever in New Literature and Film: Excerpts and Conversation
with the Creators” (evening program, free and open to all)
Download the PDF file

October 30 Gala to benefit IHRC Riippa Fund for Finnish American Studies:
open to all, features musical cabaret with local performers

Now is the time to register for Finn Forum VII: Cultural Encounters: Migration, Ethnicity, and Identities, an international, interdisciplinary conference on Finnish immigration and ethnicity, to be held at the U of MN at the end of October. Some of the themes to be explored by conference participants are identity, settlement patterns, community, literature, culture, architecture, and genealogy research.

Special aspects of this event, to be held Thursday, October 28, through Saturday, the 30th (with additional features on Wednesday, October 27) include tributes to scholars who have made important contributions to the body of knowledge about Finnish emigrants and the final gala reception / musical cabaret, open to everyone. All gala proceeds will go to the Timo Riippa Fund for Finnish American Studies, to support the care and development of the IHRC's internationally acclaimed Finnish American Collection. Tours of the IHRC archives will be included in the pre-conference events on October 27.

• Feature article. Find more background on the conference in the July News, feature article.

* Conference preliminary program and details. Check out the conference program at the Finn Forum website,, where you may also register for the conference and/or the gala reception. You may also register by mail or fax (see below) or onsite.

Musical cabaret Oct. 30 benefits IHRC endowment
The conference grand finale on Saturday, October 30—a reception and musical cabaret to benefit the Center's Riippa Fund—will be a fun-filled musical evening in the atrium of the Hubert H. Humphrey Center, 301-19th Ave. S, Minneapolis (West Bank Campus), beginning at 7:00 p.m. The gala will feature performances by a variety of talented local musicians, and dancing to the music of Finn Hall Band. A buffet of Finnish hors d'oeuvres and desserts will be served. Everyone is invited to "come to the cabaret" and enjoy the food and music while you help support the IHRC endowment. Kick up your heels to the music, too!

Gala flyer. A flyer with the musicians' names and other details of the gala.

For Sale. CDs by the performers will be on sale at the gala, with part of the proceeds going to the Riippa Fund.

Books from the Michael Karni "Sampo" inventory will be on sale during the conference and gala, to benefit the Karni Scholarship (see below) within the Finnish American Studies Fund.

(Above: Popular Finnish American musical trio features Viola Turpeinen [seated], John Rosenlund, and Sylvia Polso, ca. 1930. From the William Syrjala Collection and the IHRC's online image database, COLLAGE.)

Read about the Riippa Fund for Finnish American Studies.

Registration: Conference and Gala
Online:  <>
orby mail or fax: Information Center (Finn Forum - 176665), U of MN, 20 Coffey Hall, 1420 Eckles Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108; Fax: 612-624-5359.

* Registration cost for the conference (after 9/16/04 or onsite): general, $100.00        students, $35.00.

* One-day registration (Friday evening and Saturday  daytime) for community members: $30.00.

* Closing reception and gala, benefit for IHRC's Riippa fund:  general, $30.00          students, $20.00.

Gala admission may also be paid at the door.

Hotel rooms. See Finn Forum website.

Friends of IHRC Annual Meeting to be Saturday, November 13;
"International Adventure" features buffet of delights from 'round the world

Americans All, Immigrants AllThe 27th annual meeting of the Friends of the IHRC will be held Saturday, Nov. 13, 2004, at the Andersen Library, home of the Center. The Friends want to show off the building that houses the precious ethnic collections the IHRC holds and give attendees who haven't already seen them an opportunity to see the papers, books, serials, etc., in their impressive underground storage cavern. The dinner consists of a buffet assortment of delectable dishes from many ethnic cuisines, catered by Kafe 421 of Minneapolis. A variety of desserts are being solicited from member organizations of the Friends. The evening includes entertainment and a raffle with money prizes.

Reservations are due by Friday, November 5. See the registration flyer with all of the details.

The Friends of the IHRC is a nonprofit association of inidivuals and organizations that support the Center's mission to document, preserve, and promote the history of our nation's immigrant experience. See more Friends information below. and at the Friends section.

Photo: Companion guide to a radio series highlighting contributions of various cultural groups to US society, 1939.
(From Rachel Davis DuBois papers and COLLAGE, the online image databank)

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Collection Development

Recent acquisitions:

Hoglund, A. William, professor emeritus of history. Papers and library, ca. 1930s–2004. Ca. 400 lin. ft.
In August, the IHRC received the extraordinary papers and research library of historian A. William Hoglund, widely regarded as the "dean" of Finnish American studies (emeritus professor, U of CT-Storrs). The over-400 linear feet of books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, correspondence, and research files will be described more fully in a future issue of IHRC News Online; the scope and depth of its information on the Finnish experience in America defies simple description. Professor Hoglund wil be participating in the Finn Forum conference at the U of MN at the end of October (see information above), and the donation of his collection will be recognized and highlighted at various occasions during this event.  For further information, contact Joel Wurl,, or 612-625-0553.

American Fund for Czechoslovak Refugees (New York, N.Y.) , Records, 1948–1990, 65-lin.-ft. addition to 20 lin. ft  of predominantly case files accumulated by the organization in 1948–1970)
The American Fund for Czechoslovak Refugees was formed in the United States in 1948 following the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia, to help refugees with their immediate needs and to aid in their resettlement in and adjustment to their new homes. It was founded with the help of Jan Papanek, and its first chairman was Dr. James T. Shotwell of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The AFCR established working relationships with other relief organizations, such as the International Refugee Organization, and was recognized by the US Department of Defense as a voluntary agency. It was staffed mostly by volunteers and assisted by organizations such as the Czechoslovak National Council of America. It was active in a number of states and also had offices abroad.

Records consist of organizational correspondence, meeting minutes, annual reports, and materials generated by the AFCR field offices both in the United States and in Europe.  In addition to records of the assistance provided to refugees from the former Czechoslovakia, the materials also include documentation of the AFCR resettlement work with refugees from Southeast Asia in the late 1970s and 1980s.

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Announcements & Events

IHRC Special Presentation October 12

"Southeast Asian Families in the United States:
Using a Life History Approach to Study Elders and Families"

Speaker: Daniel Detzner, Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, General College, professor of Family Social Science, and former director of the Refugee Studies Center, U of MN.
Detzner is author of Elder Voices: Southeast Asian Families in the United States (Walnut Creek, CA:  AltaMira Press, 2004).

Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2004, 5:00 p.m. in Andersen Library 120 (conference room), 222-21st AveDaniel Detzner. S,  Minneapolis (West Bank Campus). Light refreshments will be served.

Sponsored by the IHRC, made possible in part by the Friends of the IHRC. Cosponsors: U of MN Asian American Studies Program and Hmong Resource Center (a unit of the Hmong Cultural Center). Supported through a “Save America’s Treasures” grant from the US Department of the Interior, National Park Service.

From a reviewer: "Elder Voices by Daniel Detzner is a long awaited and much anticipated book that captures the vitality of spirit, resiliency, and adaptation to the severe hardships experienced in migration and living in the United States by elders from Southeast Asian families. This book is destined to be a 'classic' in the literature across a wide variety of arenas such as aging, family, refugee and immigrant, Asian American, and cross-cultural issues."

First Fridays at Andersen Library series resumes

Explore special collection resources at monthly talks  

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 presenters remain after each presentation for conversation and questions.

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 Dave Klaassen at or 612-624-4377.

Remaining sessions for this year:

November 5: Presidents and Presidential Elections

December 3: Campus Connections: Buildings and Communities Near the U

New book on Poland and Polish Americans during and after World War II

Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, who received her PhD in history from the U of MN, working as a research assistant at the IHRC while pursuing her degree, announces publication of her book The Exile Mission; The Poish Political Diaspora and Polish Americans, 1939–1956 (Athens, OH: Ohio U Press, 2004). The book is part of the press's Polish and Polish-American Studies Series. Jaroszynska-Kirchmann currently teaches history at Eastern Connecticut State U.

The book was researched in part at the IHRC. The author notes about her work at the IHRC in her Preface and Acknowledgments, "Using my archival training and experience from Poland, I processed, described, and made accessible the Polish-American manuscript collections housed at the IHRC. The very first collection I worked on was that of the American Committee for the Resettlement of Polish DP's. On the desk in front of me I had piles of yellowing [letters and photographs}. .  ..All of a sudden, I was hooked. . . .I wanted to understand what had motivated all those Poles and Polish Americans. . . . " Jaroszynska-Kirchmann thanks IHRC staff for their help, in particular Professor Vecoli, who is her "mentor and friend."

Recipient of first Michael G. Karni Scholarship for grant-in-aid of research at IHRC to be announced at Finn Forum, end of October

The IHRC will make its first award this fall of the Michael G. Karni Scholarship, established to help defray expenses of a visiting professor, lecturer, or graduate student who will use IHRC collections for at least two week's research. Preference will be given to those using the Finnish American collection, with next preference to those using the Baltic American collections (i.e., Estonian, Latvian, or Lithuanian). The deadline for applications was September 15. The award will be announced at the Finn Forum conference, to be held at the U of MN October 28–30.

The scholarship, a memorial to Mike Karni, pioneering historian, early developer of the IHRC's Finnish American collection, and publisher of Finnish American scholarship and literature who passed away in March 2002, will help researchers with up to $750 for travel and research-related expenses. Gifts from Mike's friends and family, along with other supporters of Finnish American scholarly activity, have made this fund possible.

Complete information on the Karni Scholarship

For information on a book sale to benefit the Karni Scholarship Fund, see the Friends section below.

Revised, enlarged guide to OSIA records and papers available

OSIA BookThe IHRC's new revised and enlarged guide to the lodges, leaders, and activities of the Order Sons of Italy in Americais available from the Center. OSIA is the oldest and largest Italian American fraternal organization. See the May-June issue of this newsletter for a more detailed feature story about the book.

To order, go to the IHRC online catalog or download an order form to print out.

See for more information about OSIA.

Guide to the Records of the Order Sons of Italy In America   Second Edition
Compiled by Jennifer M. Guglielmo; first edition compiled by John Andreozzi
267 pages + unpaged middle section with 53 black and white photographs
ISBN: 0-932833-16-0     Cost per book: $19.95 + $1.40 sales tax (Minnesotans) + $2.00 postage+ $3.00 handling per total order     Total:    $26.35 (MN)       $24.95 (non-MN)   Please make check payable to Univ. of MN

The Immigration and Ethnic History Society website was recently updated regarding, among other things, awards for dissertation research, best book of the year pertaining to immigration and ethnicity, and a new travel grant award for graduate students, named for the late Prof. John Higham. For application information and announcements of recent recipients, see and click on "awards." The IHRC is the fiscal agent for the Pozzetta and Saloutos awards of the IEHS.

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IHRC Endowment Campaign:

"Stories Worth Remembering"

See the August feature story for an update on fund raising during the last year.


Following are links to information on the fellowship funds that have been established within the IHRC endowment. Information has just been posted for the new American Latvian Association Fellowship. The only fellowship that has been fully funded ($150,000) is the Must Fellowship in Estonian American Studies. Your contributions to the other fellowship funds (as well as to funds for general priorities or those for particular ethnic group studies) would be very welcome.

If you or your organization would like to endow a named fund, fellowship, scholarship, or internship, please contact the IHRC for information.

American Latvian Association Graduate Fellowship in Latvian American Studies

Francis Maria Graduate Fellowship in Arab American Studies

"Hildegard and Gustav Must" Graduate Fellowship in Estonian American Studies

Maurice A. Roberts Fellowship Fund for the History of Immigration Law & Policy

UNICO National Graduate Fellowship in Italian American Studies


Michael G. Karni Scholarship for grant-in-aid of research at the IHRC

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. For more information on the endowment, link here.

Make a pledge or one-time contribution for the endowment (you have until July 2005 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

Martino Marazzi, University of Milano, who did research at the IHRC in 1997, reported by email at the end of August, "I am glad to announce that finally the American translation of my 2001 Italian book on early Italian American literature, which drew a lot on material I had read or become familiar with at IHRC, has come out. It's titled Voices of Italian America, and it's published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press."

Volodymyr Muravskyy, a scientific researcher at the Lviv Scientific Library of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and a PhD candidate in history, visited at the end of August to research the history of the organization of Ukrainian nationalists around the world between the two World Wars (1929–1934). He used documents from the collection of the Organization for the Rebirth of Ukraine (American group), and particularly the biography of Evhen Onatsky. He will do a detailed history focusing on the activities of Ukrainian immigrants in America. He has previously researched organizations in Ukraine; this is his first look at the emigrants. "The rebirth wouldn't have been possible without assistance from North American Ukrainians," he said. Besides the dissertation, he is also preparing an article and a book.

Christopher Nehls, a PhD student at the U of Virginia, spent a week in August researching for his dissertation on American nationalism between the World Wars, using primarily the records of the Order Sons of Italy in America.

Roberta Rae Palen of Virginia, MN, spent two days in September researching for a historical society photographs of boarding houses in her city and the membership lists of organizations that Finnish American miners might have joined, 1893–1930.

Joy Lintelman, a professor of history at Concordia College Moorhead (MN) and a former research assistant at the IHRC when she was attending the U of MN in the late 1980s, spent several days in September researching Swedish immigrants, particularly women, for a book.

Frequent researcher Matjaz Klemencic, professor of history at the U of Maribor, Slovenia, visited for a week in September to do research on the role of outside factors in Yugoslavia's dissolution and particularly the role of Diaspora communities.

Damien Hanson, a U of MN senior, on September 24 began several weeks of research on the economic impact of Hmong refugees on Minnesota for his senior thesis.

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• On Aug. 3–7, Curator and Asst. Director Joel Wurl participated in the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists in Boston, chairing a session entitled "Diversity of Method, Unity of Purpose." He also completed his second of three years as a member of the Society of American Archivists Council.
Wurl attended the 15th International Congress on Archives in Vienna, Austria, Aug. 22–27. His presentation:was  "Transplanted Heritage: The Legacy and Lessons of Documenting the American Immigrant Experience."  He was one of about 150 participants from North America, joining over 3,000 colleagues from all parts of the world.

• Director Rudolph Vecoli was a member of the panel addressing "Migration, Urbanization and Immigration" at a Town meeting sponsored by Twin Cities Public TV and the Minnesota International Center held on campus September 23. It was the latest in the TPT series "Small World: Population in Perspective." The event included airing of three videos that examine why people move from rural to urban areas (Haiti), results of urbanization (Bombay), and immigration (Hmong refugees in Minnesota). Two of the videos may be viewed on the TPT website,

Director Vecoli participated in the plenary session of the First Annual Italian Cultural Center Book Fair, Stone Park, IL, on September 18. He spoke about the book Rosa, the Life of an Italian Immigrant Woman. (See feature story about the book in the June 2003 News).

New volunteer. Nitza Retsinas Atz, originally from Burnsville, MN, and now living in Lauderdale with husband Rockney, enjoys volunteering and has worked for various local organizations. She currently volunteers with the James Ford Bell Museum herbarium collection as well as doing data entry for the IHRC's endowment campaign. Welcome, Nitza.

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Friends of the IHRC

Visit 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).

Book sale benefits Karni Scholarship Fund

CoverTo raise funds for the Michael Karni Scholarship Fund, the Friends of the IHRC is selling items remaining in the inventory of Michael Karni's company, Sampo Publishing, Inc. They include memoirs, scholarship, poetry (and one music videotape of the Amerikan Poijat brass band), all with Finnish American themes. They are being sold at HALF PRICE, and all the proceeds will be contributed to the scholarship fund. As a gift from the Friends to the Karni Fund, this money qualifies for matching (1:4) from the National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant.

Catalog and Order Form

Find out more about or contribute to the Karni Scholarship Fund.

Friends award State History Day prizes

Refer to Friends page or July issue of the News.

Friends sell discounted Historical Atlas of Central Europe

Info in Announcements.

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: The  Board of Directors meets next on October 16, 2004, in Room 308 Andersen Library. Board committees met over the summer. 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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