One's Own Hearth is Like Gold: A History of Helvetia, West Virginia

One's Own Hearth is Like Gold: A History of Helvetia, West Virginia

by David H. Sutton
     
 

One's Own Hearth is Like Gold is the story of a handful of Swiss immigrants who settled in the central Appalachians in the last century. The book explores the relationship among Swiss settlements in the region, focusing on the community of Helvetia, West Virginia from 1869 to the 1960s. Based on sources from Swiss and American archives, and on oral

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Overview

One's Own Hearth is Like Gold is the story of a handful of Swiss immigrants who settled in the central Appalachians in the last century. The book explores the relationship among Swiss settlements in the region, focusing on the community of Helvetia, West Virginia from 1869 to the 1960s. Based on sources from Swiss and American archives, and on oral accounts, it documents the everyday social and economic life of this tiny, ethnic village. Of particular interest for social and immigration history, are themes dealing with migration patterns, ethnic customs, farming practices, community organization, and language maintenance. Throughout, the community is related to the broader regional and national events of the day, and stands out as a unique example of immigrant life in the rural mountains.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
«David Sutton's history of Helvetia, a small Swiss village founded in the wilderness of West Virginia, is a brilliantly researched, succinct account of individual fortitude and communal purpose. It is an important contribution to the history of immigration to the United States and to the study of cultural diversity in the Appalachian region. Most remarkable is Sutton's subtle treatment of the interplay between the ideals of the Swiss settlers and the challenging environment of a mountain frontier.» (George Parkinson, Curator and Associate Professor of History, West Virginia University)
«A vivid portrait of the emergence of a Swiss settlement, drawn with impressive empathy and scholarly competence. It will delight the general reader and enrich the scholar's understanding of Swiss migration.» (Leo Schelbert, University of Illinois at Chicago)
«It's a remarkable piece of research, not merely for its documentation but for Sutton's skill in relating the ideals of the colonists to their inhospitable environment, and the changing sense of identity as, slowly, they came to feel more American than Swiss patriots.» (kh, Book People)
«Copious old photographs and documents add to the overall enjoyment of the text. Sutton's bibliography, including unpublished sources, and his six demographically oriented appendices are also outstanding. This work is an excellent example of how a local history can and should be written, and Sutton is certainly to be commended for his interest in the long-neglected German element of West Virginia.» (Christopher L. Dolmetsch, Yearbook of German-American Studies)
«...a fine example of well-researched, clearly written local history.» (Robert F. Zeidel, The Public Historian)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820412467
Publisher:
Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/01/1991
Series:
Swiss American Historical Society Publication Series, #8
Pages:
122

Meet the Author

The Author: David H. Sutton is a native of Helvetia, West Virginia. He received his Bachelors degree from Davis & Elkins College and Masters in History from West Virginia University. As an archivist and manuscripts curator, he has worked for the Washburn Norlands Foundation in Livermore Falls, Maine and for the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in Philadelphia. He currently lives with his wife, Cathy, near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

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