“Dear Parents, I Am Sending You My Picture, But You Probably Won’t Recognize Me”

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – That statement, written in a letter to her parents by a young Polish immigrant woman in Chicago in 1891, summarizes the essence of the immigration experience for women. Dr. Thaddeus Radzilowski, who has written on the history of Polish immigrant women, will lecture on this topic on April 27, 2017 at the Warren Civic Center Library (1 City Square, Warren, MI 48093) at 6 p.m.


The immigration experience of women paralleled, in many ways, that of their male counterparts. Yet it was distinctive in many of the challenges and opportunities it offered. Women immigrated as part of family groups, as mothers with children reuniting with husbands, joining fiancés, and as single immigrants seeking adventure and wider opportunities in the New World. America transformed them. It changed their outlook and allowed them to accomplish things that would have been impossible in the villages they left behind. They crossed the oceans alone, found employment in distant cities, chose their own marriage partners, and built homes, families, and communities without the support of female relatives. They, in turn, also transformed America. They built a new society and a new culture in urban neighborhoods in smoky industrial cities, and on remote farmsteads on the American prairies. They created a myriad of organizations, clubs, and circles, as well as neighborhood networks to replace the support systems of village and family they left behind.


The lecture will be followed by questions and discussion. The discussion will open opportunities to explore the individual and family stories of audience. It is sponsored by the Piast Institute and funded in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council.


For more information, please contact Ashley Fallon at fallon@piastinstitute.org or call the Piast Institute at (313) 733-4535.