The Slovene-American Press
JOSEPH D. DWYER
The Slovene people, one of the numerous Slavic nationalities, are a part of the South Slavic group. 1 Their homeland at the northeastern corner of the Adriatic Sea forms a small triangle wedged in between the Croatians, Italians, and Austrians. They have always been a relatively small national group, even today numbering somewhat less than 2 million persons. Presently they inhabit the territory of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia within the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. In addition, the Slovenes are found as a minority group in adjacent areas of Italy and Austria.
Most Slovenes who migrated to the United States came either before 1918, when Slovene lands were a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or between 1918 and 1925, when they formed a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, later called the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
The earliest Slovenes to reach North America arrived at the beginning of the nineteenth century. They were few in number (perhaps only a dozen or two) and consisted of missionaries, explorers, and merchants. There are only minimal traces left to document the presence of most of them. Certain of the missionaries, for example Reverend Friedrich (Frederik) Baraga (who eventually became bishop of Upper Michigan), Reverend Francis X. Pierz, and their followers, such as Reverend Joseph Buh, have left contributions which are more widely known. These pioneers were followed in the second half of the nineteenth century by small groups of settlers, primarily farmers, who found their way to Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Minnesota; some were also attracted to the early industries around Chicago. With the development of industry generally, and iron and coal mining specifically, the pattern began to change. At first the Slovene settlers already in the United States began moving from farms to mining and industrial centers. An example of this was the movement of Slovene farmers as a group from the area around St. Stephen in central Minnesota to the Mesabi iron range in the far north of the state in the early 1890s. Similar movements took place in Pennsylvania and other states. Before long, the news of employment opportunities spread back to the homeland, setting in motion a relatively large flow