icon for Home page
icon for Kid's Home page
icon for Digital Collection
icon for Activities
icon for Turns Exhibit
icon for In the Classroom
icon for Chronologies
icon for My Collection

Turns of the Centuries Exhibit > Newcomers 1880-1920
This theme in other eras: 1680-1720 | 1780-1820 | 1880-1920

Newcomers 1880-1920


Between 1880 and 1920, over 20 million immigrants entered the United States. These newcomers comprised an amazing 15% of the total population. The arrival of these newcomers evoked a complex response from the "natives" already living there. Themselves part of a nation of immigrants, many Americans reacted with anxiety and hostility to the staggering numbers of new arrivals. Many immigrants stayed in the port cities where they had debarked. Still others, however, went on to other cities and regions, including southern New England. Some took jobs in factories. Others found work as agricultural laborers. Within a generation, many had started their own businesses and had purchased farms of their own. These latest newcomers greatly affected the social as well as the economic and political landscape. Immigration almost single-handedly accounted for the tremendous growth of the Catholic Church in the United States during this period. Many American Protestants reacted to these newcomers with a mixture of anti-Catholicism and nativism. As for the American Catholic Church itself, it struggled repeatedly to assimilate new immigrant groups and cultures.

"Polonaise," by Stephen G. Maniatty (1910-1984), 1945-50

See the Digital Collection for further information.

Explore these subthemes to better understand Newcomers at this time.

New Groups

New Groups : A Nation of Immigrants

Millions of new immigrants settled in cities and towns across the United States, evoking a complex response from the "natives" already living there.


Working : Factories and Farms

Immigrants arriving in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century found work in rural farming communities as well as industrial cities.


Beliefs : American Religion and Immigration

The religious landscape of the United States changed dramatically at the turn of the twentieth century.


top of page

button for Side by Side Viewingbutton for Glossarybutton for Printing Helpbutton for How to Read Old Documents


Home | Online Collection | Things To Do | Turns Exhibit | Classroom | Chronologies | My Collection
About This Site | Site Index | Site Search | Feedback