Compiled and annotated by Stephen Pitti, PH.D., Professor of History and American Studies, Yale University, and the SALEM in History staff
Bodnar, John. The Transplanted: A History of Immigrants in Urban America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985.
Canonical work challenging notion that immigrants were victimized by (and their traditional ways of life destroyed by) both their transatlantic journey and the urban, capitalistic, society they found in the United States between 1830 and 1930. Bodnar gives agency to the immigrants he studies. He argues that immigrants brought both traditions and experiences with them which helped them adjust to and shape the American society they encountered in order to better meet their needs and maintain traditions that were important. He focuses heavily on the intersection of economic and social forces both in the immigrants' nations of origin and in the United States. Capitalism, and its related patterns of social interaction and organization were not, Bodnar makes clear, unknown to the protagonists of his work. Note: Bodnar restricts this study to European immigrants and to the male experience within that group.
Dinnerstein, Leonard, Roger L. Nichols and David M. Reimers. Natives and Strangers: Blacks, Indians and Immigrants in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Emphasis on contributions of these groups to the economic development of the nation.
González, Juan. Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. New York: Penguin Press, 2000.
A very well written, and mostly accurate, overview of Latino history written for a popular audience. The author is a noted New York journalist and longtime activist in Puerto Rican circles, and he offers here a useful model for thinking about the importance of U.S. “empire” in shaping migration from elsewhere in the hemisphere to the U.S., as well as a good deal of useful information about Mexican Americans, Dominicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and others throughout the twentieth century.
Greene, Victor. For God and Country: The Rise of Polish and Lithuanian Ethnic Consciousness in America, 1860-1910. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1975.
Examines process of developing ethnic awareness and conflict between groups.
Gutiérrez, David G., editor. Between Two Worlds: Mexican Immigrants in the United States.Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1996.
A collection of ten important scholarly essays on the history of Mexican immigration to the United States that might be useful for anyone looking to place immigrants from Mexico in an account of the California Gold Rush, the early-20th century United States, or the immediate postwar period.
Handlin, Oscar. The Uprooted: The Epic Story of the Great Migrations that Made the American People. Boston: Little, Brown, 1990.
Studies European immigration and argues that the large migration was a socially disorganizing experience.
Kantowicz, Edward R. Polish-American Politics in Chicago, 1888-1940. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.
Study of the Polish community in Chicago, the largest white immigrant group in the city at the time.
Kraut, Alan, The Huddled Masses: The Immigrant in American Society, 1880-1921. Arlington Heights, Ill.: Arlan Davidson, 1986.
A good introduction to the varied pre and post-immigrant experiences of those who came to (and often left again) the United States during the second major "wave" of immigration.Includes information and explorations of European immigrants as well as those from China and Japan. Argues that many factors influenced the decision to immigrate to the United States and the shape of life once in America; emphasis is on the individual variation and experience of immigration rather than on generalizations about groups.
Levitt, Peggy. The Transnational Villagers. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.
An anthropological account of Dominicans in the Boston area which remains one of the few extended treatments of Latinos in Massachusetts. Levitt argues for the importance of transnational links back to the island, and she foregrounds an argument about social remittances as a way of making sense of immigrant priorities. Useful chapters also treat issues related to community development and religion.
Pérez, Louis A. On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture. New York: Ecco Press,1999.
A monumental history of Cubans in the United States from the mid-19th century in the 1950s. Readable, very thoroughly researched, and attentive to above all to the culture of immigrants themselves -- who more often than not lived in Florida or New York.
Sánchez Korrol, Virginia. From Colonia to Community: The History of Puerto Ricans in New York City. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.
A pioneering study of the development of the Puerto Rican community in New York prior to the 1950s which pays close attention to the urban environment, the role of women in families and institutions, the persistence of Puerto Rican culture among urban residents, and the relations between those Latino migrants and the more established African American community in Manhattan.
Thernstrom, Stephan, ed. Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1980.
Essays about the origins, migration and settlement patterns of ethnic groups in America. Includes bibliographies.
Thomas, William I. and Florian Znaniecki. The Polish Peasant in Europe and America. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984.
Examines social and cultural lives of people in Poland and America.
Yans-McLaughlin, Virginia, ed. Immigration Reconsidered: History, Sociology and Politics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Collection of essays on immigration written by historians and sociologists.
Zunz, Olivier. “American History and the Changing Meaning of Assimilitation.” Journal of American Ethnic History (1985): 53-72.