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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Industrialization and Expansion (1877-1913) (x)

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Chart of First Generation Immigrant Women's Occupations, 1900

In 1907, Congress formed the Dillingham Commission to investigate the origins and effects of the massive wave of immigration then underway. The Commission compiled a variety of data about immigrants and their children. This chart shows the [...]

The Pay Envelope: A Role Play

In this activity students perform a role play of immigrant mothers and daughters arguing over who should get to keep the daughter's wages. This activity is used to teach with the film Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl, but can be completed [...]

"The Balloon Man"

As this photograph of a Jewish balloon man on Dupont Street shows, there were many non-Chinese peddlers in San Francisco's Chinatown. Chinatown was a popular tourist destination in the late 19th century, and many peddlers sold novelty goods to [...]

Female Garment Workers Labor in a New York City Tenement

Concentrated in New York City, the garment industry developed side by side with the sweatshop system of labor. Sweatshops employed a handful of workers, almost all of whom were immigrant Jewish or Italian women. They were supervised by contractors [...]

"Katy, Hannah and Mary"

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 [...]

"Tenement, New York City, 1910"

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 [...]

"Mulberry Bend"

Jacob Riis is best known for his 1890 work How the Other Half Lives, a journalistic account, replete with Riis's dramatic photographs, of the deplorable conditions of late-nineteenth century urban life. Although Riis, himself a Danish immigrant, was [...]

Map of Block 160, 1902

This is a map of Block 160 in New York City's Five Points neighborhood 1902. Public opinion of the Five Points neighborhood was highly negative and filled with bias. The population of New York had ballooned by the mid-nineteenth century causing a [...]

"Character of Present Immigration"

These extracts from the report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration were reprinted and circulated by the Immigration Restriction League, a Boston-based organization that favored stronger restrictions on immigration at the turn of the twentieth [...]

Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars (Excerpt)

This excerpt from Elizabeth Ewen's Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars describes the economic relationships of working-class immigrant families at the turn of the century. The female head of the family played an important economic role, often [...]

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