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To Be or Not To Be - An American, a Finn or a Finnish American?

Auvo Kostiainen

A central issue relating to all immigrant groups is the relocation and subsequent adjustment (or maladjustment) of the immigrant and his children to a new society. These questions have always occupied the attention of the host society's government, economic interests, political groupings, and individual members.

The following essay will examine certain questions concerning to Finnish Americans that have become important from the standpoint of societal adjustment. One problem area is the general upbringing of the younger generation. Will they become the preservers of the old heritage? Of what value is the language of the old country for the descendants of the immigrant generation? Should they be able to speak it or should they rather be encouraged to speak the dominant language of society? How is the immigrant to deal with giving up his or her former citizenship? Would naturalization mean a rejection of all bonds to the homeland, and what other values might also disappear in the process?

Will the Young People Become American?

Already quite early in their history, all active Finnish American organizations directed their attention to ache growing younger generation, for whom they wanted to arrange appropriate educational programs. Thus the churches, temperance societies, cooperative associations, workers' organizations, the nationalistic-minded Knights of Kaleva as well as many smaller groups, looked after the welfare of the young people.

It was quite common for Finnish congregations to organize Sunday Schools and maintain a variety of group activities for the young. In them, the activities were carried on only in the Finnish language for a long time and through them children became familiar with the Finnish heritage as well as religious principles. Thus Salomon Ilmonen, the Finnish American historian and pastor, explained that Sunday Schools among the immigrants provided not only a Christian education, but also aided in the instruction of Finnish reading ability among the older children and promoted its maintenance. Ilmonen was an admirer of American Sunday Schools. Another admirer was Pastor Merijärvi who felt that Finnish Sunday Schools clearly lagged behind their American counterparts in the ability to generate interest among the children. For that reason the American Sunday Schools were to serve as models because the Finnish counterparts sorely lacked "the power of attraction".1

The largest Finnish American church body, the Suomi (i.e. Finland) Synod, ran Suomi College in Hancock, Michigan. From the standpoint of the preservation of Finnishness, its significance has been quite important. The college began operating in 1896 and offered students a curriculum of general education for university study. However, Finnish language and culture occupied a central place in its curriculum, particularly in its early years. For a long time Finnish remained the language of instruction and only when music and economic courses began to be taught and as the young people Americanized did the use of English begin to spread. The mind set at the college is reflected in an ad from 1929 which urged Finnish American parents to send their children to "the Finns' own school" whose objective was to awaken in the young people a love for the land of their fathers and for the beautiful Finnish tongue.2

The Suomi Synod's negative attitude toward the use of English gradually changed from the 1930s onward, a change that was forced by sheer circumstance as membership figures began to decline noticeably. With the increase in English usage, the drop-off leveled out and the figures began to rise as the second generation Finnish Americans began to participate in church activities. In a similar way Suomi College also began to feel the pressure of Americanization and began to gradually shift over to English language instruction. Nevertheless, over the years the college has sought to maintain a special place for the Finnish heritage and language, and as a result, they still had a notable place at the college in the 1980s.

The temperance movement was the earliest form of Finnish American organizational life. From its earliest days it devoted a great deal of attention to the young, although, primary consideration was given to persuading the young people to be temperate. The ideological aspect of the educational work thus became central in the movement's attitude toward the young people and it was this objective that the teachers of young people (or actually children) aimed at. The question of assimilation to American society inevitably came up when the Finnish temperance societies considered the questions of national policy and compared positions of American political parties toward the issues of temperance.

Ideology can also be seen in the activities of the nationalist-minded Knights of Kaleva and in their attitudes toward young people. Their ideological position was always heavily Finnish spirited and directed toward respecting and preserving the Finnish heritage. Celebrations were held in honor of Kalevala Day and young people were taught to become acquainted with the culture of the old country. The activity among the youth has, on the whole, been rather narrow in its scope, and there is no reason to believe that the Kalevans have been particularly effective in slowing assimilation. On the contrary, Finnishness to them seems to have been more of an avocation. Still, it must be kept in mind that the organization has always been small and elite, so that its possibilities of influencing the larger immigrant community has been relatively limited.

Finnish Americans are also known for their pioneering work with consumer cooperatives. Many of the early cooperators sought to raise their children with the cooperative philosophy. Although the numerous cooperative ventures of the Finnish immigrants were strongly Finnish centered, non-Finnish members soon joined their ranks. The cooperative members probably had nothing against this development as long as language did not become a problem. The cooperative philosophy, of course, set no nationalistic restrictions and for that reason we can consider it as a factor contributing to assimilation - despite the heavily Finnish character of the movement. In later years, the membership became increasingly non-Finnish, even though the second generation played an active part in many cooperative ventures.

In many communities, there was a great deal of overlap between those active in the Finnish American workers' movement and the members of cooperative societies. Perhaps the labor movement made the most intentional effort at assimilating the young people into the host society. This somewhat surprising fact can be explained by the internationalist ideological foundation of the workers' movement. In practice, the assimilative ideal can be seen in how the movement encouraged the establishment of young people's organization which became very active. In addition to young people's organizations, Sunday and summer schools (or camps) became common. Similar activity was also maintained by the cooperative movement.3

As this activity was undertaken, it was assumed that English would become the primary language and that the organizations would eventually join their American counterparts. Already at the end of the 1920s, an English language section for young people and children began to appear in certain Finnish language North American working class newspapers, such as Työmies (The Workingman) and Industdalisti (The Industrialist). This, of course, implied that children could only read English or also that the immigrant generation wanted to accustom the second generation to the use of English.

F. J. Syrjälä, a Finnish American social democratic leader from the beginning of 1900s, summarized the understanding of his group toward the education of the second generation when he wrote:

Despite its internationalism, socialism in this country must find a uniquely American interpretation. The social psychology of the Finnish, German, or Russian peoples can never, as such, succeed with the American working class. Only an American interpretation and approach to activity, be it in whatever form, can carry forward humanity's noble philosophy and program in this country. The younger generation, that which has been born, grown up, attended school, and experienced life here cannot be expected to carry on the Finnish workers' movement.4

Syrjälä went on to note that families obviously had their unique internal relationships, but it was not unusual for parents from the immigrant generation not to understand the language of their children, since the everyday language of the children in Finnish families was almost exclusively English. In Syrjälä's opinion the school and society had a much greater influence than the "Finnish national spirit and customs" of the home, so that, in effect, the parents and children lived in different worlds. According to Syrjälä it was sad to observe the many cases where the children did not fully understand their parents nor the parents their children. "The one group belongs with the Finns, the other with the Americans."5

Although Syrjälä's perception of the gap between the parents and children does not necessarily hold true for all of North America, there is probably a lot of truth to it. In part, the gap was caused by the fact that American society did not approve of the leftist philosophy and activity of the parents, but generally condemned them. As a result, the children came to feel ashamed of the activities of their parents and to reject their elders. Today, after several decades since the peak of Finnish immigrant radicalism, the situation has actually reversed itself. Radicalism has become a subject of study for many third and fourth generation researchers, many of whom are proud of their grandparent's political activity.

The working class movement thus supported in principle the assimilation of the young into the host society and especially into the "American labor movement". The clearest position was undoubtedly taken by the Finnish American Communists. Before the 1919 split, the Socialists had strongly emphasized the assimilation of young people within their local chapters into American society. In the 1920s the Communist led Finnish Socialist Federation urged second generation Finns to cooperate in mutual endeavors with the American Communist movement. The Federation's 1924 convention declared that special attention should be given to this issue and it promised financial and other support to the young peoples' organizations (which were chapters of the Young Communist League). Among other things, the convention required that the young people's clubs should use English as their language if at all possible.6

Relatively many second generation Finns were drawn into Communist activity, although pressures from the outside must have acted to impede these activities. The Finns made up almost half of the membership in the American Communist movement at the beginning of the 1920s. Although recruits from among young people were few in number, the Finns were well represented in the Young Communist League. There are, for example, membership figures for the League for 1929 which indicate that around a third of its members (a total of actually only 2300) were Finnish Americans. Only the Jews made up a slightly larger group than the Finns.7

This situation in the Communist youth organization was similar to Finnish participation in the Party itself, except that the number of Finns in the Communist Party was larger. In both, the Jews generally held the leadership positions. The Finns were not largely represented in leadership positions on a national level, although they played an important part in regional activities. The incorporation of the young into the movement succeeded relatively well, since several of the second generation Finnish Americans became leaders in the American Communist Party, an example of which is the perennial presidential candidate, Gus Hall. In addition, Finns of the second generation and subsequent generations have moved into leadership roles in the trade unions in large numbers. This reflects the tradition of involvement in trade unionism in Finland, where the degree of organization has generally been relatively higher than among American workers.8

Individual differences of opinion on the question of assimilation were discernable among the various factions of the organized workers' movement. The Finns formed an important part of the syndicalist-oriented Industrial Workers of the World well into the 1920s, when it finally began to lose its influence among the Finnish Americans. Douglas Ollila believes that assimilation among Finnish IWW supporters occurred at a rapid pace because "the IWW was a thoroughly American organization".9 The situation was probably not this clear-cut. The Finnish American supporters of the IWW were obviously Finnish in their outlook and the organization's members included workers from many other immigrant groups, although the leadership was generally in the hands of those with English speaking skills. The Duluth based Work People's College (Työväen Opisto), which was sympathetic to Finnish American radicals and internally tied to them from 1917 onward, emphasized ever stronger ties to the English speaking community during the interwar period. Assimilation was evident in its curriculum.10 Yet at the same time, the IWW, like the Social Democrats, also maintained ethnic social and cultural activities which tended to promote separation.11

The IWW gradually lost the support of Finnish American workers' at large and eventually withered into an organization made up of a small segment of the Finnish American labor movement. A somewhat similar kind of change in support also occurred among the Social Democrats. During World War II Finnish Social Democrats decided to withdraw from the Socialist Party of America and avoided all political parties in order to await the formation of a "truly politically influential workers' movement".12 In a way, the Social Democrats thus preserved in its purest form the heritage of "hall socialism"13 when they decided to concentrate on the formation of their own ethnic political organization.

Among the working class groups, the Communists have perhaps assimilated the fastest. In the 1920s and later, a large part of their membership, who remained loyal to the Communist movement, became members of the American Communist Party. They were integrated into the Party particularly in the 1940s, although to a certain degree their hall activities and 'cultural life continued.14 And as already indicated, the second generation Finnish American Communists have most visibly risen to positions of leadership in the Party.

When we examine the upbringing of Finnish immigrant children, we can see that the language question formed the key problem, and the attitude toward the language question quite clearly reveals the positions of various groups. It might be argued that of the large institutions, the church opposed assimilation, but eventually had to give in out of necessity on questions relating to the upbringing of the young. As a consequence, the church's position evolved from solid resistence into a strong stand sympathetic to assimilation. The other extreme was represented by members of the workers' movement, whose ideological position was clearly proassimilationist. In practice, however, it was not this simple. For example, it was extremely difficult to keep children and the young within the workers' organizations. As far as the assimilation of the young was concerned, the most important factor was the pressure exerted by the host society, in which the institution of the school played the key role.

The Problem of Naturalization

Generally, when the Finnish immigrant came to North America, he planned to return home after a year or so, or several years at the most. His intention was to earn enough money to buy a suitable farm in the old country. About a fourth of the Finnish immigrants actually returned permanently to Finland. Reasons for return undoubtedly included a general inability to adjust to the new society; a limited degree of success; and the realization that America was not the kind of gold mine that they had expected.

For those who settled permanently in the United States, the question of acquiring citizenship soon became a primary concern. In order to become established in society and to participate in elections, an immigrant needed naturalization papers. The consensus opinion has been that Finnish Americans were comparatively reluctant to seek citizenship. For example, of the adult foreign-born males in the United States in 1919, just under a half (45.6 %) were citizens. Among the Finns the figure was 30.6 %. In 1920 the corresponding figures had risen to 47.8 % and 39.2 % respectively.15 Although there was a noticeable rise among the Finns, they were stlll clearly below the national average.

The adoption of a new language generally presents obstacles to assimilation. In the case of the Finns, the great dissimilarity between English and Finnish presented especially serious difficulties for Finnish immigrants, although, naturally, there were individual differences in language learning skills and in motivational reasons for learning the new language. The situation was perhaps slightly easier for Finland Swedes. In order to acquire citizenship, the individual had to master the language of the land. In the 1800s the requirements for acquiring citizenship were quite relaxed, but the government gradually tightened them, especially after the Chinese became undesired immigrants. The law of 1906 remained in effect until the early 1940s. After this, the law had been changed and the language requirement made more strict.

In giving instructions of hopeful applicants, the 1919 Siirtokansan Kalenteri (The Immigrant Almanac) described the four step process of applying for naturalization. "Leaving the first papers" meant that the individual indicated a desire to become a citizen. The article pointed out that this step did not require fluency in the English language. "Getting the second papers" occurred at least 2 years after step one and consisted of applying for actual citizenship. In practice, this took place in front of witnesses and before a naturalization examiner "who questioned the applicant in English". After this, if the applicant was accepted, he or she swore allegiance to the United States.l6 The English language examination mentioned in the article no doubt frightened off many applicants, although in actual fact it probably was not very demanding.

The government arranged courses in the immigrant communities where applicants prepared for naturalization. Likewise, the immigrants themselves established courses for the same purposes. John Wargelin notes in his book The Americanization of the Finns that the Finns were quite enthusiastic about naturalization, particularly around World War I, when the Finns established organizations and groups that sought to further this goal.l7 These organizations mentioned by Wargelin sought to promote loyalty to America and to uphold the Finnish reputation, groups with which he was sympathetic.

In the face of general assimilation and the pressure to speak English, the language skills of the immigrants gradually increased. Thus, according to the 1930 census, nearly 90 % of Finnish immigrants aged 10 or older spoke English. Those unable to speak the language were generally rural "farm women", who had very few contacts with the larger American community. It nevertheless must be noted that the language skills of the aforementioned 90 % were probably quite rudimentary.

Finnish American working class organizations were quite active on the naturalization front. The issue was first officially brought up at the 1909 annual convention of the Finnish Socialist Federation, where the delegates approved a resolution stipulating that every chapter should establish a "naturalization committee", which would assist the members (and apparently all Finns who sought help) to become citizens. This resolution was initiated by a certain A. Pekkola, who asked the convention to require that every member of the organization should seek United States citizenship.18 These "naturalization committees" came into being in many localities and it is possible to follow their development. However, the endeavor did not quite work out as planned. For example, the committee at the Gardner, Massachusetts Finnish Socialist Chapter, with a membership of several hundred, complained of the passivity among its members as it noted that during the first half of 1917, one member had gotten his naturalization papers, five had submitted their second applications, and seven had applied for their "first papers".

The work of the committee has been quite difficult because the applicants are not motivated. The members of the committee have had to visit each applicant at home to persuade them to get their papers. Hopefully during this year the members of chapter will become more enthusiastic about the matter and will begin. applying for their citizenship papers, which is the duty of every true socialist.l9

The Gardner Chapter apparently succeeded in motivating their members, because after two years the situation had changed. With the committee's help, 12 individuals had submitted their second papers, of which 11 had been examined by Fitchburg's "high court". Of these, six received their citizenship and five had to go back to be reexamined. The committee noted that the examination process required a higher level of language skills than before.20

In the winter of 1925 an active "naturalization committee" in Superior, Wisconsin held three different classes. The participants in these self-help courses, however, soon dwindled to half the original number. English was studied in separate classes designated for those with language abilities of "a little" and "none". In addition, members could take classes in American history and civil government. The committee said that it had gotten its instructional materials almost in their entirety from the public school system. In the spring of 1925 the group of applicants in Superior then attended general courses in the city's high school. The committee report also noted in closing that there appeared to be enough interest for acquiring citizenship, if only there were enough teachers.21

Despite the courses and the information they provided to immigrants about the laws and regulations of the United States, there seems to have been considerable uncertainly about the status of the immigrant. This became apparent at the time of the first World War, when hundreds, perhaps thousands, of young Finnish men fled through the northern forests into Canada in order to avoid military duty in the United States. On the other hand, a large number of Finnish leftists (especially the supporters of the syndicalist IWW) were arrested, because they were not familiar with their military obligations or refused to participate.22

In time, ever greater numbers of people acquired their citizenship papers. A number of factors contributed to this, among them, the acquisition of language skills, educational efforts, and perhaps most important, the pressure that the government exerted on immigrants and particularly the radicals, which was connected with the prevailing restrictions on immigration. With the arrival of these restrictions in the 1920s, many immigrants already in the United States became uncertain about their own status. The requirement for 100 % Americanism culminated in the Red Raids carried out by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, when thousands of radicals, most of them immigrants, were arrested throughout the country and many were deported. Canada also saw a similar development, although it never went to the extreme as in the U.S.23

According to historian A. William Hoglund, Finnish American Socialists sought to get their citizenship papers as soon as possible.24 Although we might regard this view with caution, Hoglund examines the situation on the basis of the strong "naturalization work" which was carried out in the workers' organizations. Despite the level of activity in this endeavor, it did not however lead to noticeable results when compared with other Finnish American organizations.

When we compare the Finns with other immigrant groups at the turn of the century, we find that overall they were fairly active in the Americanization movement, despite evidence which seems to point to the contrary. This becomes apparent from a government report of a commission investigating immigration in 1910, which noted that of Finnish adult males who had been in the United States over 10 years, the rate of naturalization was 65.7 %. The corresponding figure for all immigrant groups was 56.9 %. When the Finns were compared with other recently arrived nationalities, their activity in naturalization work was especially noticeable.25

Many never sought United States citizenship at all and others waited for several decades before applying.26 This reticence was probably connected with sentimental ties to the old country - with a desire to remain Finnish, and perhaps with a hope of returning to Finland someday. On the other hand, there was the language problem, which certainly prevented many from seeking citizenship altogether. In different parts of the United States there were actually isolated Finnish ethnic communities where the language was preserved for several decades and English was not needed. Among the radicals there were some, who despite instructions, did not want to identify with American capitalism and refused to seek citizenship. One manifestation of frustration with capitalists was the large scale migration in the 1930s of Finnish Americans and Finnish Canadians, who left the "world of decaying capitalism" to help establish the "Republic of Work" in the Soviet Union. However, a large number of these migrants were apparently already United States or Canadian citizens.27

Language Preservation and the Assimilation Process

Along with certain other ethnic groups, the Finnish immigrants in North America have been known for their deep-seated desire to secure a good education for their children. The drawback to this objective, of course, has been the possibility that the children would become separated from their parents or at least from their cultural roots.

Many ethnic groups have had their own, usually relatively small, institutions of learning. The most notable center of learning for Finns has been Suomi College in Hancock, Michigan. Within American society, the government supported public school system has played a significant assimilative role, since schools in the United States have naturally taught subjects like "American" laws, statutes, customs, and culture. The job of the teachers - whether they were Finns, Germans, or Anglo-Saxons - was to teach in English. Even in the 1920s the schools strongly emphasized "Americanization", but since that time the American school system has developed programs based on the pluralistic Canadian model that recognizes ethnic differences.

The heritage of the "old country" passed on to the young people primarily through the efforts of the immigrants themselves. At least with the immigrant generation, the language spoken at home was usually Finnish. But as F. J. Syrjälä has noted, the Finnish learned at home during the pre-school period was often forgotten during the "Americanizing", English-language school years. This occurred rather systematically in situations, where the parents themselves were already of the second or third generation and where Finnish seldom appeared any longer as the language in the home.

Assimilation, of course, occurred at different rates depending on the work place, locality, the degree of organized Finnish activity within the community, and generally on the individual's contacts with other Finns. The more Finnish contacts there were, the more probable was the slowing of the assimilative process. The Finnish American labor movement is actually in a category all its own in this regard, since it always took a clear and strong position in favor of assimilation, but, as we have already seen, the acquiring of citizenship within its ranks did not proceed with any particular speed. Nevertheless, as a phenomenon it needs to be noted.

On the other hand, in studying the language question, which has been one of the determining factors in assimilation, we also find a faster acceptance of English within the labor movement. The same is true of political contacts with English language organizations, which pressed for a speedy participation by the Finnish American labor movement. The church groups were also forced into organizational contacts with non-Finns after the need for the assimilation of the young people was recognized. In addition, the decrease in immigration to the United States caused church leaders to explore new ways of preserving and stabilizing membership figures.

Much research has been devoted over the last several decades to the language of Finnish Americans and it has even been viewed as an indicator of assimilation. It is naturally easy to find examples from the linguistic field of how Finnish became increasingly influenced by English. The same, of course, is also true of other immigrant languages that were predominant within a given locality or region. The immigrant generation was able to at least speak "Finglish" and thus demonstrate their ability to adopt the ways of the new society. Especially common were terms relating to everyday work situations such as "lumperjäkki" (lumberjack), "mainari" (miner), "paasi" (boss), etc. In addition, Finglish words such as "kitsi" (kitchen) also came into general use in the home.28

According to Hannele Jönsson-Korhola, the language of the immigrant generation was typified by the use of isolated words which, in one form or another, had been loaned from English. The Finnish of the second generation was characterized by the use of intruding English phrases and a subsequent deterioration of proper Finnish. In the third generation the ability to speak Finnish was weak, if existent at all. Finnish speaking ability was limited to phrases or individual words.29

The possibilities for Finnish language preservation have naturally differed from region to region. The more Finns there have been in an area, the more likely it is that the language was been retained. In some small and isolated rural communities the Finnish language has even passed on relatively intact to the younger generation.

It has been estimated that about half of the Finnish immigrants to North America were not officially affiliated with any organization and did not participate in ethnic activities. The contacts that these inactive Finns had to the rest of the Finnish community probably depended on the conditions within the community. The "inactive" Finns no doubt participated in general celebrations at Christmas or Midsummer, or otherwise maintained their ties to other Finns. This being the case, they were not entirely isolated from contact with Finns. We can nevertheless assume that it was easier for these Finns to assimilate into American society, than for those who were actively involved in Finnish organizational life.

In examining the assimilation of an individual, there are thus numerous levels at work, which are very difficult to differentiate with any degree of specificity. We can differentiate the influences of the "old country" and "new country" as well as the individual's personal characteristics. These would have included one's language learning abilities, preferences, homesickness and nostalgia, as well as the question of where the individual wanted to live and work. If conditions in America became altogether intolerable, it was always possible to return to Finland, and to jump off the "immigrant treadmill". But, there were also many who would have returned to Finland if they had been able to afford it. And, on the other hand, what possibilities for success would a cottager's descendant have had in Finland? His first task would have been to find work and shelter to secure his livelihood.

Thus, the factors involved in the assimilation process are quite complex. The question involves not just the influence of the so-called American or Anglo-Saxon culture, but also the encounter of several ethnic cultures. The following may be a telling example. A Finnish immigrant settled in the neighborhood of an Italian American community and married a spouse of Serbian descent. The children thus grew up with the traditions of two "old countries", or variations of those traditions. Carrying the traditions of the old as well as the new world, these descendants of immigrants lived their lives as "Americans", ever less able to speak the languages of their forebearers.

1 Cf. S. Ilmonen, Amerikan suomalaisten sivistyshistoria. Johtavia aatteita, harrastuksia, yhteispyrintöjä ja tapahtumia siirtokansan keskuudessa. Edellinen osa. Hancock, Mich. 1930, pp. 151-153; and M.E.M. (Merijärvi), "Kiinnytkö sunnuntaikoulutyöhön?" In Kirkollinen Kalenteri 1916, pp. 85-87.

2 Arja Pilli, "Amerikansuomalaisten kirkollinen toiminta". In Suomen siirtolaisuuden historia osa II. Aatteellinen toiminta. Eds. Auvo Kostiainen & Arja Pilli, Turun yliopiston historian laitos, julkaisuja 12. (The Department of History, University of Turku, Publication 12) Turku 1983, p. 25.

3 Cf. Kolmannen Amerikan Suomalaisen Sosialistijärjestön Edustajakokouksen Pöytäkirja. Kokous pidetty Hancockissa, Mich. 23-30 p Elok., 1909. Ed. F. J. Syrjälä. Fitchburg, Mass. n.d. (Proceedings 1909), p. 245, as well as "Kolmannen Amerikan Suomalaisen Sosialistijärjestön Edustajakokouksen Pöytäkirja. Kokous pidetty Hancockissa, Mich. 23-30 p. Elok., 1909". Ed. F. J. Syrjälä. Fitchburg, Mass. n.d. (Proceedings 1912), p. 310.

4 F .J. Syrjälä, Historia-aiheita Ameriikan Suomalaisesta Työväenliikkeestä. Fitchburg, Mass. n.d., pp. 219-220.

5 Ibid., pp. 220-21.

6 See "Workers' Partyn Suomalaisen järjestön Maaliskuun 3, 4. 5 ja 6 päivinä 1924, pidetyn Edustajakokouksen Pöytäkirja". In Työmies, April 3, 1924.

7 Hyne's Exhibit No. 16 D (The Results of National Registration), July-August, 1929, of the Young C.L., of the U.S. America. In Investigation of Communist Propaganda. Hearings Before a Special Committee to Investigate Communist Activities in the United States of the House of Representative. Seventy-First Congress. Second Session. Part 5, Vol. 4. Washington, D.C. 1930, p. 805.

8 At the beginning of the 1910s nearly a third of the Finnish Socialist Federation's members were in trade unions. See Proceedings 1912, p. 54. For the Communists it was estimated that in 1924 ca. 32 % of the members were organized, while the corresponding numbers for Communists in Finland were somewhat lower, ca. 22 %. "Suomalaisen Sosialistijärjestön ed. kokouksen pöytäkirja". In Työmies, April 8, 1923, and The Fourth National Convention of the Workers (Communist Party of America). Chicago, Ill., n.d., pp. 40-41. The figures are noticeably large compared to the participation of all American workers in trade unions. For example, in 1930 there were 29.4 million workers in non-agricultural trades. Of these only 11.6 % or 3.4 million were organized into unions. See Historical Statistics of the United States, colonial Times to 1970. Bicentennial edition. Part I. Washington, D.C. 1975, p. 178. Cf. Peter Kivistö. Immigrant Socialists in the United States. The Case of Finns and the Left. London and Toronto 1984, especially pp. 184-86.

9 Douglas J. Ollila, Jr., "Defects in the Melting Pot: Finnish-American Response to Loyalty Issue 1917-1920". In Turun Historiallinen Arkisto XXV. Turku 1971, p. 411.

10 Concerning the program and spirit of the school, see, for example, Auvo Kostiainen, "Work People's College: An American Immigrant Institution". In Scandinavian Journal of History 5/1980, esp. pp. 307-309.

11 A clear picture of this can be gained by following the news from Finnish localities in the Industrialisti. In addition, The Turku University History Department's collections, for example, contain the archives of certain Finnish American syndicalist organizations.

12 Elis Sulkanen, Amerikansuomalaisen työväenliikkeen historia. Fitchburg, Mass. 1951, especially p. 254.

13 "Haali" comes from the word "hall," i.e. a meeting place. These were the centers of activity for the Finnish American labor movement.

14 See Auvo Kostiainen, "Amerikansuomalaisen kuva. Työttömyystyönä tallennettua Minnesotan suomalaisten historiaa". In Turun Historiallinen Arkisto 31. Vammala 1976, pp. 230-31.

15 A. William Hoglund, Finnish Immigrants in America. 1880-1920. Binghamton, NY 1960, pp. 112-14.

16 See directions for Finnish Americans on acquiring citizenship in "Asioita, jotka jokaisen tulisi tuntea". In Siirtokansan kalenteri 1919 (Duluth, MN 1918), esp. pp. 54-57.

17 John Wargelin, The Americanization of the Finns. Hancock, Mich. 1924, pp. 171-172. Cf. also Ollila 1976, passim.

18 Proceedings 1909, p. 247.

19 The Report of the Citizenship Committee, from early 1917. The Gardner, Massachusetts Finnish Soc. Branch Archives. Dept. of History, General History, Univ. of Turku, TYYH/S/m/8/56.

20 See the Report of the Citizenship Committee's activities for the beginning of 1919. Ibid; See also Reports of the Immigration Commission, Vol. 1. Abstracts of Reports of the Immigration Commission. (Arno Repr.) New York 1970, pp. 485-87.

21 The Report of the evening schools and work for citizenchip (comp. Arvid Nelson 24.4.1925). Walter Salmi Collection. Dept. of History, General History, Univ. of Turku, TYYH/S/a/XVIIL

22 See especially Ollila 1976, pp. 398-99 and Wargelin 1924, p. 171.

23 On this development in general see William Preston, Jr., Aliens and Dissenters. Federal Suppression of Radicals, 1903-1933. Foreword by Oscar Handlin. (Harper Torchbook ed.) New York 1966, pp. 208-37. For the Canadian experience see Arja Pilli, "Finnish-Canadian Radicalism and the Government of Canada from the First World War to the Depression". In Finnish Diaspora I: Canada, South America, Africa, Australia and Sweden. Ed. Michael G. Karni. Toronto, Ont. 1981, pp. 19-32, which also points to reader related literature on the subject.

24 Hoglund 1960, pp. 113-14.

25 Cf. the statistical analysis in Auvo Kostiainen, "For or Against Americanization? The Case of the Finnish Immigrant Radical". In American Labor and Immigration History, 1877-1920s: Recent European Research. Ed. Dirk Hoerder. Urbana, Chicago & London 1983, pp. 268-69.

26 Ibid.

27 Cf Reino Kero, Neuvosto-Karjalaa rakentamassa. Pohjois-Amerikan suomalaiset tekniikan tuojina 1930-luvun Neuvosto-Karjalassa. Historiallisia Tutkimuksia 122. Ekenäs 1983, for example, pp. 62-63 and 205-09.

28 Cf. Kivisto 1984, pp. 178-79.

29 Hannele Jönsson-Korhola, "Amerikansuomen sammumisesta". In Ulkosuomalaisia. Kalevalaseuran vuosikirja 62 (1982). Eds. Pekka Laaksonen and Pertti Virtaranta. Jyväskylä 1982, p. 50.

Published in Turun historiallinen arkisto 46(1990) = Institute of History, General History, Publication Nr 11 (1990), p. 109-125.

© Auvo Kostiainen

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