Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Slovaks on the Hudson: Most Holy Trinity Church, Yonkers, & the Slovak Catholics of the Archdiocese of New York, 1894-2000

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Slovaks on the Hudson: Most Holy Trinity Church, Yonkers, & the Slovak Catholics of the Archdiocese of New York, 1894-2000

Article excerpt

Slovaks on the Hudson: Most Holy Trinity Church, Yonkers, & the Slovak Catholics of the Archdiocese of New York, 1894-2000. By Thomas J. Shelley. (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press. 2002. Pp. xv, 273.)

Over the past several decades, regional or local studies of Slovaks in the United States have increasingly replaced previous broad examinations. Thomas J. Shelley, a professor of historical theology at Fordham University, follows this trend. His interest in Most Holy Trinity appears to stem from the fact he was the temporary administrator of the church in 1993.

The volume begins on a proper footing in the preface when the author rightly points out that among the Slavs in the U.S. only the Poles outnumbered the Slovaks over the past century, "but the Slovak presence in this country has been largely unnoticed and unstudied" (p. xii). he is also correct when he states that Yonkers can be considered a microcosm of occurrences in large, industrial urban centers teeming with immigrants from East and Southeast Europe.

With its impressive title, and quite descriptive subtitle, one would expect to discover a detailed history of Roman Catholic Slovaks in Yonkers, revolving around their national church, Most Holy Trinity. Unfortunately, despite its preface and lofty title, the author fails to fulfill that promise. Rather than focusing on the Slovaks, as Shelley states in his preface, the book is more of a history of Yonkers and its people with an overview of Roman Catholicism in this city and the surrounding areas. For example, the first two chapters, out of a total of ten, cover background information with scant attention paid to Slovaks. The remaining chapters contain, at most, half of their information on the Slovaks. …

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