Joy S. Kasson (Fellow, 1996–97)
February 23, 2012
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries immigrants to America gladly gave up the hunger, poverty, and oppression of the Old World to embrace the opportunity of the New. But that opportunity came at a price. Left behind were family, friends, traditions, language, and, in some cases, even the name that told you who you were. The adopted country demanded a lot. What did assimilation mean? What strategies of assimilation were available to immigrants at that time? What of the Old World did immigrants have to jettison? What could they safely retain?