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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

Wong Kim Ark, a Chinese-American born in San Francisco, was required under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to acquire this Certificate of Registration before leaving the country on an 1894 trip to China so that he would be allowed back into the country. Despite this officially notarized document, U.S. customs officials at the port of San…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1894

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

In 1896 Congress passed a bill which would require all immigrants to be able to read at least 40 words in any language in order to enter the country. The bill was supported by the Immigration Restriction League. They worried that the increasing number of immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe would drive down wages and never become useful members…

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: Circa 1896

In 1896 Congress passed a bill which would require all immigrants to be able to read at least 40 words in any language in order to enter the country. The bill was supported by the Immigration Restriction League. They worried that the increasing number of immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe would drive down wages and never become useful members…

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: Circa 1896

In 1896 Congress passed a bill which would require all immigrants to be able to read at least 40 words in any language in order to enter the country. The bill was supported by the Immigration Restriction League. They worried that the increasing number of immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe would drive down wages and not be able to become…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1896

In 1896 Congress passed a bill which would require all immigrants to be able to read at least 40 words in any language in order to enter the country. The bill was supported by the Immigration Restriction League. They worried that the increasing number of immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe would drive down wages and not be able to become…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: Circa 1896

This photograph identifies the women only as Katy, Hannah, and Mary. Over half—53%—of all Irish immigrants who came to the United States were women. By comparison, only 41% of German emigrants were female. Among Southern Italians, who immigrated in a later period, women comprised a mere 21% of migrants. Most Irish women left in the…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: Circa 1896

In 1897 President Grover Cleveland vetoed legislation requiring a literacy test for would-be immigrants proposed by Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, declaring, "I cannot believe that we would be protected against these [alleged evils of unrestricted immigration] by limiting immigration to those who can read and write in any language…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1897

The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of San Francisco (commonly known as "the Six Companies") was an organization of regional- and family-based self-help societies in Chinatown. They helped to get new immigrants housing, food, and jobs. In 1876, its leaders petitioned President Ulysses S. Grant and challenged the growing political…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1898