FROM PRAHA TO PRAGUE: ASSIMILATION AND ETHNIC IDENTITY IN AN AMERICAN FARM TOWN, PRAGUE, OKLAHOMA, 1891 - 1930 By PHILIP D. SMITH Bachelor of Arts in History Northeastern State University Tahlequah, Oklahoma 1981 Master of Arts in History
University of Tulsa Tulsa, Oklahoma 1992 Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the Oklahoma State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY May, 2010
ii FROM PRAHA TO PRAGUE: ASSIMILATION AND ETHNIC IDENTITY IN AN AMERICAN FARM TOWN, PRAGUE, OKLAHOMA, 1891 - 1930 Dissertation Approved: Dr. Ronald A. Petron Dissertation Adviser Dr. Richard Rohrs Dr. Joseph F. Byrnes
Dr. David D‟Andrea Dr. Michael Taylor Dr. A. Gordon Emslie Dean of the Graduate College iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank those whose teaching, friendship, and encouragement have
enabled me to complete this study and graduate school at Oklahoma State University. Without the help and advice of my committee, thiswork would never have reached completion. All members read and provided valuable constructive criticism to improve the study. The suggestions of Dr. Joseph Byrnes, Dr. David D‟Andrea, Dr. Richard Rohrs and Dr. Michael Taylor strengthened under-developed ideas and enhanced the overall structure of the study. I truly appreciate the many hours each spent reading and editing this work. I owe so much to my advisor that it is nearly impossible to express my gratitude without sounding maudlin. Dr. Ron Petrin guided this study while still allowing me almost total freedom in constructing my theses
and arguments. He forced me to think and rethink several propositions in the paper but never belittled or demeaned what I came to realize was faulty reasoning. For this, I thank him and extend my deepest respect. Like most professors, Dr. Petrin is extremely busy. However, he never made me feel that I was wasting his time when I visited his office or called him in the evening or during weekends, which I did frequently. I will always cherish the hours we spent together discussing immigration and ethnic issues. I would also like to thank other faculty whose teaching, scholarship, and friendship aided and encouraged me during my time at Oklahoma State University.
iv Dr. Michael Logan was the first professor I met upon entering the doctoral program. At the time, he was director of graduate studies and his easy-going manner disarmed me and lessened the anxiety of attempting such a rigorous program after many years away from school. Dr. James Cooper, Dr. James Huston, and Dr. Jason Lavery proved taskmasters in the classroom and well prepared me for the qualifying exams and for teaching on the college level. In Dr. Laura Belmonte‟s research seminar I wrote an early chapter of the work. I would like to thank her for encouraging me to continue with the study, which eventually became my dissertation. During my time at OSU, I worked one semester as a teaching assistant for Dr. Scott Rohrer. Besides