Many individuals and institutions, too numerous to mention, facilitated this study. Special mention needs to be made of the generosity of the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy at the University at Buffalo (SUNY), which has provided me with funds to sustain my research and a forum for the presentation of my ideas before extraordinarily intelligent and helpful colleagues, and of the help of Jane Morris, who skillfully and patiently edited the manuscript. I also acknowledge the assistance of the Publication Subvention Fund of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Buffalo (SUNY).
I would also like to thank Professor Charlotte Erickson, a much valued friend from whom I have learned more than I ever can explain about immigrants and their letters and, through our own correspondence, about letter-writing itself. The original inspiration for this study came with my first reading of Erickson’s fine collection and analysis of British immigrant letters, Invisible Immigrants: The Adaptation of English and Scottish Immigrants in Nineteenth-Century America. Erickson succeeded in making these immigrants anything but invisible. She revealed the worlds within worlds that could be found in their letters, and suggested the world-making functions of correspondence.
Finally, I note the assistance of the Deputy Keeper of the Records, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in granting permission to use letters in the collections of that repository.
Portions of this book were previously published as:
“The Immigrant Letter between Positivism and Populism: The Uses of Immigrant Personal Correspondence in Twentieth-Century American Scholarship,” Journal of American Ethnic History 16 (Summer 1997): 3–34.
”Ethnic Identification and the Project of Individual Identity: The Life of Mary Ann Wodrow Archbald (1768–1840) of Little Cumbrae Island,