Making of an Ethnic Middle Class

Portland Jewry over Four Generations

By William Toll

Subjects: Jewish Studies
Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture
Paperback : 9780873956109, 254 pages, June 1983
Hardcover : 9780873956093, 254 pages, June 1983

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Table of contents

List of Tables


Introduction: Social Process and Ethnic Identity, A Complex Relationship

1. Ethnicity, Mobility, and Class: The Origins of a Jewish Social Structure, 1855-1900

2. Jewish Women and Social Modernization, 1870-1930

3. Civic Activism: The Public and Private Sources of Ethnic Identity

4. The Immigrant District and the New Middle Class, 1900-1930

5. An Entrenched Middle Class and a Politicized Ethnicity, 1930-1045


A Note on Sources and Methods




The Making of an Ethnic Middle Class explains how European Jews of diverse cultural and social backgrounds coalesced over four generations into a middle-class community. By utilizing numerous oral histories to complement statistical data from public sources such as the federal manuscript censuses and public school enrollment cards, William Toll has succeeded in tracing in minute detail the contours of change. The study focuses particularly on the role of women to demonstrate how dramatic changes in the size and composition of the family and in sex roles, more than changes in the workplace, eroded European traditions.

William Toll teaches American Jewish history at the University of Oregon.