Memories of Migration

Gender, Ethnicity, and Work in the Lives of Jewish and Italian Women in New York, 1870-1924

By Kathie Friedman-Kasaba

Subjects: Jewish Studies
Series: SUNY series on Women and Work
Paperback : 9780791427620, 254 pages, February 1996
Hardcover : 9780791427613, 254 pages, February 1996

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Table of contents



Introduction Starting from Home

1. Women and International Migration: Moving Beyond Unproductive Polarizations

2. "Why Did We Have to Leave?": The Shifting Patterns of Jewish Women's Lives in Russia at the Turn of the Century

3. "Take Me to America": The Origins of Italian Women's Migration to the United States at the Turn of the Century

4. "So, We Have Crossed Half the World for This?": The Incorporation of Immigrant Wives and Mothers in New York, 1870–1924

5. "The Right to a Personality": The Experiences of Young Single Immigrant Women in New York, 1870–1924





Offers a comparative historical study of women’s migration from Russia and Italy to New York at the turn of the 20th century. Taking an interdisciplinary and global perspective, the book examines the causes and consequences of women’s migration, contrasting the adaptation experiences of Jewish and Italian women.


The migrant has been designated the central or defining figure of the 20th century. Yet, for much of this period, research and theory have centered on adult men as representative, ignoring women's part in international migration. Weaving together history, theory, and immigrant women's own words, Memories of Migration reveals women's multifaceted participation in the mass migrations from eastern and southern Europe to the United States at the turn of the century. By focusing on women's responses to Americanization organizations, coethnic community networks, and income-producing opportunities, this book provides rich insight into the sources of immigrant women's distinct fates in America.

Kathie Friedman-Kasaba is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies in the Liberal Studies Program at the University of Washington Tacoma.


"The author provides a brilliant integration of world-system, migration, race and gender literature to recast the experiences of women migrants/immigrants. This is a first-rate synthesis and pathbreaking analysis of a broad literature that will have an impact across sociology, history, demography, social work, etc. This is a major contribution to world-system and gender studies where world-system researchers have for the most part ignored women's lives and for gender researchers who have ignored global economic contexts." — Kathryn Ward, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

"The book is highly readable, comprehensive, and more importantly, lively for an introduction to the experience of immigrant women at the turn of the century. It provides both general and specific information for American and European scholars from a variety of disciplines, such as women's studies, political science, history, economics, and sociology. The feminist interpretations of the issues and problems involving the international movement of female workers is a major strength of this book." — Joyce Tang, University of Vermont