Pub. Date:
Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in America, 1880-1925 / Edition 1

Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in America, 1880-1925 / Edition 1

by Melissa R. Klapper
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Children are the largely neglected players in the great drama of American immigration. In one of history's most remarkable movements of people across national borders, almost twenty-five million immigrants came to the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—from Mexico, Japan, and Canada as well as the more common embarkation points of southern and eastern Europe. Many of them were children. Together with the American-born children of immigrants, they made up a significant part of turn-of-the-century U.S. society. Small Strangers recounts and interprets their varied experiences to illustrate how immigration, urbanization, and industrialization—all related processes—molded modern America. Growing up in crowded tenements, insular mill towns, rural ethnic enclaves, or middle-class homes, as they came of age they found themselves increasingly caught between Old World expectations and New World demands. The encounters of these children with ethnic heritage, American values, and mass culture helped shape the twentieth century in a United States still known symbolically around the world as a nation of immigrants.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781566637336
Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
Publication date: 04/28/2007
Series: American Childhoods Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.33(w) x 9.41(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Melissa R. Klapper teaches history at Rowan University in New Jersey and has also written Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860–1920. She lives in the Philadelphia area.

Table of Contents

Preface     xi
Acknowledgments     xvii
Childhood and Immigrants: Changing Ideas at the Turn of the Century     3
The Landscape of Early Childhood     18
At School, at Work, at Home, at Play     54
Adolescent Years     108
After the Door Closed: The Effects of Restrictive Legislation and the Depression     161
Immigrant Children and Modern America     177
Notes     183
A Note on Sources     195
Index     211

What People are Saying About This

Jonathan Zimmerman

"Klapper has written a brief gem of a book, examining immigrant children in all of their diversity, tragedy, and triumph."--(Jonathan Zimmerman, author of Whose America? Culture Wars in the Public Schools)

Roger Daniels

"Her culturally sensitive survey fills a gap in the histories of childhood and of immigration."--(Roger Daniels, author of Not Like Us)

Alice Kessler-Harris

"This small, provocative book is a gem . . . Small Strangers touches on an astonishing range of key issues...indispensable."--(Alice Kessler-Harris, author of Gendering Labor History)

Kriste Lindenmeyer

"Skillfully shows how the experiences of immigrant children highlight the dramatic shift from farm to factory...[A]n engaging synthesis."--(Dr. Kriste Lindenmeyer, author of The Greatest Generation Grows Up)

Marilyn Irvin Holt

"[A] careful blending of personal accounts with the larger social issues and reform movements of the period."--(Marilyn Irvin Holt, author of Children of the Western Plains)

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