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A.W. Auner of Philadelphia was among the most prolific printers of "broadside ballads," cheaply-produced topical songs and poems that were widely available throughout the nineteenth century. "Poor Pat Must Emigrate," published by Auner sometime in mid-century, chronicles the plight of the by-then-familiar figure of the Irish immigrant. The song…

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Item Type: Music/Song
Date: Circa 1848

Ida Van Etten was a writer and the first Secretary of the Working Women's Society of New York. In this excerpt from an article published in Forum, Van Etten defends the character of the Russian Jewish immigrants that were then arriving in New York in great numbers. Jewish working men, she maintains, are educated, temperate, and endowed with the…

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Item Type: Article/Essay
Date: 1893

This photograph by Lewis Hine was taken in a New York City tenement in 1910. Hine was a documentary photographer who frequently turned his lens to the plight of immigrants, workers, and the poor. This family group, perhaps among the approximately two and a half million Italians who arrived in New York in the years 1890-1910, lives in squalid and…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1910

This 1903 cartoon presents the different perspectives that Americans had about the large number of immigrants entering the U.S. at the beginning of the twentieth century. It appeared in Judge magazine, which used humorous illustrations and short essays to comment on current events.

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1903

This cartoon, published in the weekly humor magazineJudgearound 1890, presents a vision of what large numbers of poor immigrants, willing to work for low wages, might do to American workers and their families.

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: Circa 1890

In the early twentieth century, African Americans had plenty of reasons to leave the rural South: disfranchisement, segregation, poverty, racial violence, lack of educational opportunities, and the drudgery of farm life. As the cartoon below from The Crisis magazine shows, lynching stood out as particularly horrific and unjust. Violently…

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1920

Sadie Frowne's story is in many ways typical of the immigrant worker in New York's Lower East Side. Her story was originally published the New York Independent, a reform-minded newspaper, and later collected into the 1906 book The Lives of Undistinguished Americans as Told by Themselves. The book was remarkable in a time when most biographies or…

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1902

Thomas Bailey Aldrich was a well-known and regarded American poet of the late nineteenth century. In "Unguarded Gates," he expresses the anti-immigrant xenophobia and notions of Anglo-American superiority shared by many native-born Americans of the time. In a letter to a friend written in 1892, Aldrich explains that the poem was influenced by his…

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Item Type: Fiction/Poetry
Date: 1894

This phrase book was published in 1875 and distributed at Wells Fargo bank offices throughout the West, in cities and towns where Chinese immigrants lived and worked. Modeled on the traditional Chinese method of memorizing and reciting "sets" of information, the excerpts below reflect the challenges that Chinese immigrants faced in a new and often…

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Item Type: Book (excerpt)
Date: 1875

This phrase book was published in 1875 and distributed at Wells Fargo bank offices throughout the West, in cities and towns where Chinese immigrants lived and worked. Modeled on the traditional Chinese method of memorizing and reciting “sets” of information, the excerpts below reflect the challenges that Chinese immigrants faced in a…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1875