Cover: Peasants and Strangers: Italians, Rumanians, and Slovaks in an American City, 1890-1950, from Harvard University PressCover: Peasants and Strangers in E-DITION

Peasants and Strangers

Italians, Rumanians, and Slovaks in an American City, 1890-1950

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Product Details


$65.00 • €48.00

ISBN 9780674280977

Publication Date: 01/01/1975

217 pages


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Thousands of Rumanian, Italian, and Slovak peasants abandoned their familiar farms and villages for a life among strangers in a great many American cities in the 1890s and 1900s. This story of chain migration has been told before but never quite like this.

Josef Barton provides an original and fascinating account of the circumstances that forced certain peasant groups to risk the uncertainties of a long overland and longer ocean voyage and to find their way to Cleveland, Ohio. He writes about the life they left behind, the need to escape the harsh stringencies of peasant agriculture, the determination to preserve the integrity of their family life. The ethnic communities of Cleveland came into being in part as a restoration of the cultural life of the village, in part as a means of fulfilling the needs of new urban residents, and in part as a way to shape the lives of the young.

Peasants and Strangers explores the balance struck by the immigrant families as they encountered a measure of social mobility and new customs while struggling to preserve continuity and stability in family and community life. The balance differed in the Italian, Rumanian, and Slovak communities, resulting in an important consequence of immigration—the social mosaic of the modern city. Present day status and ethnicity in Cleveland are the outcome of a very complex working out of old allegiances, new possibilities, and present realities.

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