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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Farm, Field and Fireside: Immigrant Labor

A subject guide that examines the history of immigrants as farm and rural industry laborers from approximately 1890 to 1920.


Immigrants were a crucial part of the rural labor force, and farmers employed many of them for seasonal field labor and harvesting. Despite their importance to the fledgling American economy, however, the social attitudes toward the flood of immigrants arriving between 1890 and 1920 were decidedly hostile and wary. The nativist and "know-nothing" movements that arose during this time period defended suppposed American ideals through discriminatory practices toward immigrants.

This guide is a supplement to the Farm, Field, and Fireside Research Guide. It includes more information on the history of immigrants and farm labor in the Farm, Field, and Fireside Collection.  The resources listed here will help you contextualize what you see in Farm, Field and Fireside, and should also assist you in constructing more focused keyword searches.

two men and a cow

Prairie Farmer
Thursday, January 17, 1907
Page: 8