HY 204- Dr. Dorr
IMMIGRATION AND URBAN AMERICA (1870-1914)
1905 (Russia) 22 yr old locksmith, political persecution of the Jews in his area, Beryl goes to
America to make money to get his wife to America. 10 days in steerage of a boat, landed at Ellis
Island. Went through immigration process and passed, was left alone in NY, met his brother. Got
a job and an apartment, after a year, got his wife. Five children, wife died after childbirth. Beryl
had to send kids to foster home, finally got to get them back, and renamed himself Ben Lawson.
Got hurt on the job, pulled kids out of school and had to go to work. Children were American
citizens, finally made enough money to get to Harlem and then the Bronx. Never learned
English, only spoke Yiddish. Grandson became a professor at Rutgers.
26 million immigrants from 1870-1914.
First wave: northern and western Europe
second wave: southern and eastern Europe
-1/2 million Mexicans to southwest
-1/2 million Spaniards, Cubans, Bahamians to florida
-260.000 Japanese to west coast.
1910: 1/3 population foreign born, most lived in cities, cities changed in a drastic way; even rural
Americans were moving into the cities. Farmers were having a hard time because of the
machinery taking over jobs. Nashville and Atlanta were big southern cities. Looked different,
skyscrapers were being built. Streetcars made cities sprawl instead of growing upward. Suburbs
came about as well. NY was the main immigration hub.
women constitute 30-40%
The Decision to Immigrate
Political and religious persecution
-overpopulation, unemployment, and disease
-demand for unskilled labor pulls immigrants to US
- check for lice- if there was lice, hair was cut short or shaved, then cleaned with soap
- Mental Fitness-list of questions to decide what your personality is like
- Eye Exam- painful, button hooks- pulled eye open, looked for contagious disease from the
eye. Button Hooks were not sterilized.
If you passed, you are free to go to NY, if you fail, you are in detention, or even deported.
Every Ethnicity has it’s own segregated part of the city (little Italy, Chinatown, etc) There, you
could find people to help you find a job, housing, food, and friends.
All kinds of organizations helped the new immigrants. Mutual Aid societies helped provide