Expanding "Digitizing Immigrant Letters"

In mid-June, Donna Gabaccia and Daniel Necas visited Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to confer with colleagues and to lay the foundation for a symposium and archivists' workshop on letter-writing during international migration. (These events will be held in Vienna in Spring 2012, with support from the University of Minnesota's Center for Austrian Studies.)

In Maribor and Ljubljana (in Slovenia), in Vienna, in Bratislava and Martin, and in Prague, they talked with researchers who have been exploring how immigrants from their respective countries maintained contacts with their families and friends in Europe, conferred with individuals who either collected or curated major collections of print and manuscript materials that document the lives of Slovenians, Czechs, Austrians, Germans, and Slovaks abroad, and consulted with students pursuing dissertations on topics related to immigration and emigration.

The trip helped to advance an ongoing IHRC research collaboration with Matjaz Klemencic and the American Studies Department at the University of Maribor.

The IHRC has especially strong collections written in the languages of the many peoples ruled by the Austro Hungarian empire in the years before 1918. It hopes to encourage collaborations among scholars and archivists that will extend its Digitizing Immigrant Letters research initiative and call attention to the rich repositories of letters awaiting scholars who are eager to compare, connect, and deepen our knowledge of the many chains of communication and migration that originated in Central Europe.