United States Immigration, 1840-1940: a Guide to Materials
in the British Library
No country in the world has received as many immigrants nor as many varied ethnic groups as the United States.
This bibliographic guide covers the period 1840-1940, during which almost 40 million immigrants entered the U.S. Initially, the majority of these immigrants were from northern Europe, in particular Ireland, Germany, Britain and Scandinavia. From the 1880s they were joined and then surpassed by southern and eastern Europeans who pushed American immigration to new heights. Chinese and Mexican immigrants also arrived in significant numbers.
For those who left their native land, poor economic conditions at home and the prospects of a better life in the United States were the greatest impetus for change. However, religious intolerance, political upheavals, and demeaning social gradations also played their part.
This guide is intended as a bibliographical tool for those seeking an introduction to this period of American immigration. It is by no means comprehensive. It should, however, provide a foundation for initial exploration as well as a platform for further research.
The guide is divided into several sections. The first covers several broad topics such as assimilation, nativism, immigrant women, and the immigrant press. The second is divided according to immigrant group. The last two sections provide a geographic breakdown, both in terms of states and regions
All of the works listed in the guide are monographs and their shelf-marks appear in parentheses at the end of each entry. The majority of works are held at the British Library at St Pancras, London. A shelf-mark prefaced by 'DSC' indicates that the work is held at the Document Supply service in Boston Spa, Yorkshire, but may be ordered for reading in London.
United States Immigration, 1840-1940 (PDF format), 476KB