America the Great: Footprints on the Sands of Time
Papa describes the Longfellow girls as "Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra, and Edith with golden hair. It's from one of his most famous poems, The Children's Hour. Papa affectionately wrote about the nightly antics of his daughters: Between the dark and the daylight, When the night is beginning to lower, Comes a pause in the day's occupations, That is known as the Children's Hour. Departure of Hiawatha, ca.
The famous artist, Albert Bierstadt, painted this little scene of Hiawatha's Departure for Papa's honorary dinner in London. Have you heard "The Song of Hiawatha? Papa knew Indians in Maine, read the work of the folklore author Mr. Schoolcraft, and wove his own legends. Hiawatha sold over 50, copies in five years. Do you hear the rhythm and repetition in these lines?
It's a daytime retreat for the family. The sunshine and floral patterns on the carpet make it a cheerful room. Here we play games, look at pictures through a stereoscope, write letters, and talk by the fire. Mother's journal reads, "I wonder if these old walls ever looked upon happier faces or through them down into happier hearts.
Papa spent many years in Europe and bought more than books. Come back in December to see the Parlor decorated for Christmas. Evergreens embellish the fireplace wall and our family tree will have homemade ornaments. Eastman Johnson painted this portrait of the first two Longfellow children, Charley and Erny. Papa calls his son, Erny, the "castle builder. Mother kept records of her "chicks" in a journal titled, Chronicles of the Children of Castle Craigie. In she described Erny, "a little past two years-he is now an angelic little child, with soft light hair, and large beautiful, brown eyes, of most tender and dreamy expression" He promises to be the poet, Charley the man of action.
Erny is a budding artist. His portraits of the family and sketches of Cambridge are only the beginning of an artistic career. One summer in Newport, when Erny was ten, he watched an artist at work. He borrowed some paints and brushes and created his first picture in oils of a sailboat in a rough sea.
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Before Charley or Erny were born, or even before Henry was married, he wrote a poem that spoke to people's hearts at a time when many labored in the mills and factories of America. A Psalm of Life made him famous. You can imagine people sitting in their parlors, perhaps not as elegant as this one, reading the poem by candlelight after a long work day. Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem.
A Psalm of Life - Wikipedia
Neighborhood scholars, world travelers, friends, and family receive a warm welcome here. Tucked away here next to the stairs is the sculpture of the "Father of Our Country". This bust of George Washington stands about the same height as the General. It was elevated so people could see how Washington stood over six feet tall.
It has a very special meaning to us since the General lived here at the start of the American Revolution! The Commander-in-Chief of the newly formed Continental Army used this house as headquarters when he planned the siege of Boston. Imagine the meetings with his generals and Indian allies. Papa described Washington in this excerpt from To A Child.
Once, ah, once within these walls, One whom memory oft recalls, The Father of his Country, dwelt. And yonder meadows broad and damp The fires of the besieging camp Encircled with a burning belt. Look up the "broad hall stairs" to the old Dutch clock made around Its rhythmic ticking gives company to the big house.
Papa wrote "the silver chimes will lull you to sleep at night. Here's one of my favorite pictures of Papa, painted by Erny. Many days we love to surprise Papa while he's deep in thought writing. He may be standing at his desk by the window or writing on his rosewood lap desk by the fire. Either way, if we enter through "three doors left unguarded" and rob him of his time, he may call us "banditti. Papa enjoys talking politics and poetry. On the walls of the room is a series of portraits of his charming, witty, intelligent friends. Papa described Cornelius Conway Felton, his first friend in Cambridge, as "perfectly happy - just like a child with both hands full of flowers.
Here's a photograph of Papa with our little terrier, Trap. He would follow Papa around everywhere and often run away from him! Trap loved to join the men's discussion group, known as the Dante Club, in the study. Imagine Trap falling asleep when Papa read in a deep murmur. Papa sits like a king within his castle walls. Do you recognize this poem, The Village Blacksmith? Under the spreading chestnut tree The village smithy stands; The smithy, a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands; And the muscles of his brawny arms Are strong as iron bands.
Dexter Pratt worked just down Brattle Street as a neighborhood smithy. Unfortunately, many trees lining Brattle Street, including the spreading chestnut, were cut down to make the street wider. Children heard that Mr. Longfellow was upset and so they saved their dimes to have a chair made from the "spreading chestnut tree. Yes, the magnificent "ebon throne. Papa often gives children an autographed copy of the poem, From My Arm Chair. The chair is carved with designs of horse-chestnut leaves and blossoms and the seat rail is engraved with lines from the poem.
In the future I see everyone visiting Dexter Pratt's historic home, as a new kind of shop - a bakery. The cookies are delicious! Nearby chestnut trees are growing again. Why does Papa work so hard at his career? Because poetry is his passion and he wants to touch the hearts of everyone. He says that poetry can "charm, strengthen, and teach. But it can hardly be a chore if he calls the study his "palace of song.
What is your favorite song today? Many people ask where Papa finds ideas for his poems. He is inspired by everyday life. As you know, his own and the neighborhood children provided the ideas for The Children's Hour, The Castle Builder, Children , and many other poems. He welcomes the company of little ones in our home. He keeps an "emergency supply" of chocolate in his desk for visiting children. Papa encourages the girls to bring their dolls along to play - not their best ones - but those they can really play with. And Papa loves American history.
His grandfather, Peleg Wadsworth, was a general in Washington's army. The amazing adventure of Peleg's capture by the British and his narrow escape from prison during the Revolution was told again and again to his relatives. For generations the dramatic story has fired the family's imagination with patriotism and courage. Ideas also come from the daily news. The Wreck of the Hesperus was sparked by a disastrous shipwreck near Boston.
Slavery, a divisive national issue leading to the Civil War, inspired seven poems. Papa was a strong anti-slavery advocate along with his close friend, Charles Sumner. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Cambridge, ca. Papa writes from the heart. Here's a photo of him capturing an idea with his scratchy, quill pen. But sometimes the ideas just don't come. This happened in No poems came to mind.
In the style of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales , imaginary travelers share fascinating stories for entertainment. Listen, my children, and you shall hear Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; Hardly a man is now alive Who remembers that famous day and year? The majority of those leaving were either young bachelors or young married men who could not support their families. Rumors reached their ears of work opportunities in the far distant England, Scotland, and America. The more daring ones began to leave believing on returning home with some earnings to rescue their families from disastrous living conditions and famine.
The railroad building boom started in Western Europe in the late s. By , it arrived in Lithuania as means of connecting Russia with Germany St. Once completed, the railroad provided some young men a daring capability of breaking away from their landlocked land and somehow reaching England and Scotland. Indeed, England and Scotland were undergoing industrial revolution.
There were opportunities for menial laborers in coalmines and in iron and steel industries, particularly in Scotland. Rumors also spread that even better job opportunities were available in America. Some expected, upon earning enough money, to pay their way to that distant land. In the meantime, those who began to establish themselves in Scotland, urged in letters to their kinfolks at home to leave their homeland.
While a few hundreds of newcomers remained in Scotland, thousands, upon earning sufficient funds for the ship fare, embarked on the voyage to their dreamland America. By mass exodus began to take shape also from Lithuania. For nearly the next couple decades, their journey to America was in sail ships. It would take from a month and a half up to three and sometimes four months to cross the Atlantic Ocean depending on the season and weather conditions.
Inasmuch as most Lithuanian travelers could barely pay the lowest class fare, they would be accommodated in the forward and aft parts of ships used for cargo transport. Ship owners converted those spaces to sleeping quarters by crowding low cost travelers onto double bunked wall mounted wooden shelves with no cushions or any kind of body covering. The spaces were usually in total darkness as there were no windows and no ventilation. The fore-and-aft parts of the ship are subject to highest amount pitching and heaving, particularly, when traversing oceans.
In rougher seas, most individuals in those ship locations experienced serious motion sickness. Food was handed out once a day. Typically, it consisted of several large crackers, a piece of meat, a couple of raw potatoes, several spoonfuls of rice, a cup of ground oats, and a quart and a half of water. Cooking and preparation of meals was an individual responsibility.
Dysentery, infections and inability to handle motion sickness usually began to take a toll in the second week of being on the high seas. Voyage conditions improved gradually as steam ships began to replace sail ships in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. It needs to be noted, that the first Lithuanian economic immigrants to America were from Lithuania minor, the Gumbine area south west of Lithuania proper governed at that time by Germany.
They arrived through the ports of Galveston and Indianola, Tx. Being Lutheran and knowing German, they fairly quickly established rapport with the nearby German Lutheran church and over the next century submerged into their neighboring community. Further details are scarce, but a number of still standing gravestones with inscribed Lithuanian names in a nearby Lithuanian named cemetery, attest to their former presence. Most were not even certain of their national origin, since the regions they lived in were known only as a North-West province of Russia, and not as Lithuania.
Exhausted from long voyage, the new arrivals in Boston and New York, not knowing English, were confused before the immigration officials. With their names and birthplaces difficult to understand, the immigration officials would record them in Polonized or Russianized versions and their country of origin either as Russia or the governorship of Warsaw or Poland, as a province of Russia.
To make matters worse, the Catholic faith in churches the newly arrived immigrants found acceptance, was delivered in the Polish language. They and their newly born baptized infants were signed in the parish books as Poles with polonized names. As a result, several generations of U. Confused, and bewildered, not speaking English, they wandered through the streets being jeered and openly scorned by local residents as if they had arrived from another planet.
Their first worries were search for work and shelter. In as much as they were Catholics, most have sought temporary shelters around already established Polish parishes and neighborhoods. Most of the areas they walked through were hostile.
“Footprints on the sands of time”
They were looked down even by the Catholics, particularly the Irish, calling them scum of the earth Polaks, Slavs, Hunkies and Greenhorns. Fortunately, the industrial revolution was underway. Beckoning for cheap labor were railroads and brickyards in New York, coal mines and steel mills in Pennsylvania, textile factories and metal works in New England, and a few years later the slaughterhouses in Chicago.
Some, stayed behind in the neighborhoods of ports of entry as menial laborers in road and railroad construction, freight loaders, in textile factories, as farm hands, etc. They found work in railroad construction and in the coalmines. Farther North in the Luzerne County, in towns such as Wyoming, Scranton, Pittston, Plymouth and others, the Lithuanians began to arrive for work in the coalmines a couple years later. By the end of the first decade in s there were well over , Lithuanians in the state of Pennsylvania. First steps in the Pennsylvania coal mining region and beyond 17,18, Life in the coalmines is vividly portrayed in VilNews.
The press complained about the coal mining counties being afflicted by a new, mixed population. As the newcomers passed through the town, speaking in their native tongues or broken English, they soon became the blunt of jokes and despise. Children were abused and tormented, contacts with young adults avoided.
Most Lithuanian male immigrants were unmarried. Because of poverty, they were forced to live in small huts or shacks, built from scrap lumber and tin sheeting on the hillsides near the mines. Others would crowd into cheap make-believe living quarters such as stables and barns converted into dormitories. Sometimes a half a dozen or more men would rent an abandoned store. For a few dollars per month, they slept on bunks or mattresses arranged along the walls.
The United States census files for Shenandoah reflect the prevalence of such a lodging system within the Lithuanian community. Families, to make ends meet, picked huckleberries in the mountains and grew cabbage, potatoes, and other vegetables in their tiny plots of land right next to the house.
If financially able, they kept some livestock. Because it was difficult to save enough money to purchase a stove, rye bread was baked in community owned large outdoor ovens. Even with limited earnings, miners were beginning to raise families and looking for ways to educate their children. They strove to assure that the next generation would not have to follow their footsteps into the bowels of the earth, where mining was one of the most, if not the most, dangerous occupation. Death in the mines was a frequent occurrence.
In alone, 41 Lithuanian miners perished in the Shenandoah coal mines and in , 23 Lithuanians lost their lives in Cherry, Illinois coal mines. If not crushed to death, most coal miners ended up with severe health problems in the long run. Whistles would blow whenever a mine explosion occurred. Wives and children would wait in fear until the names of the victims were circulated. Then, there was silence. Life was difficult, death tragic. Peaceful protests over pay and working conditions resulted on September 10, in a wholesale shooting of striking coal miners, known as the Lattimer massacre.
Of 19 killed, five were Lithuanian protesters, and some 20 or more wounded by deputies of the local sheriff. Those who could break away from the mines, ventured farther west looking for work in the steel mills of Pittsburgh, at slaughterhouses in Chicago, as farm hands, salt miners and wood choppers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and some as far away as the fields in Nebraska.
Young women began to arrive several years later. Some to join their husbands, others to marry their inviters, or to take jobs as housemaids, cooks, seamstresses, etc. As a result, numerous small tightly knit ethnic clusters began to grow into sizeable settlements.
Footprints on the Sands of Time
Soon thereafter, thousands of new Lithuanian immigrants spread into Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and particularly Chicago. After about , the Chicago area with more job opportunities began to rival Pennsylvania as the main concentration of Lithuanian immigrants. Conservative estimates place the number of Lithuanians in the United States by at about ,, including immigrants and native-born. Coming into their own. Being mostly on their own and not finding much in common with other ethnic groups, a handful of immigrants of similar background and interests, started forming self-help groups based either on social or religious needs.
While the minority of Lithuanian Protestants turned for help to their Lutheran German churches, the Lithuanian Catholics either gravitated in the beginning toward existing Polish parishes or found common interest to form joint parishes with newly arrived Polish immigrants. Such association was quite understandable. Lithuanians had grown up in a Church that was mostly Polish spoken. Many Lithuanians understood Polish and some even could say their prayers better in that language than in their native tongue. At the same time, they had only vague consciousness of their own ethnicity as evidenced in immigration and census records.
When Polish-Lithuanian quarrels erupted over who had the final word in the parish, the resolution of the dispute often shifted to the county courthouse. But they quickly learned that the courthouse was the best way to ascertain their rights. By engaging in and winning some of the disputes, the Lithuanian immigrants began to gain confidence in self-perception and ability to ascertain their rights. As the number of Lithuanian settlements increased, lay people, interested in covering their spiritual needs in own native language, started organizing pure Lithuanian parishes.
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Committees were formed, a parish patron chosen, fund drives conducted, and land for a place of worship purchased. Within the next several years, more churches were build by parishioners, without involving local bishops, such as in Ansonia and Bridgeport, Ct. Only upon their completion, they approached the local bishop to appoint a resident priest. But all encountered two vexing problems: Handing over the property to the bishop was bewildering to them.
Emerging Lithuanian socialists and freethinkers taunted their fellow countrymen for giving away their hard-earned real estate to the Irish bishop. They stressed the importance of their ethnic roots and social needs over religious beliefs. Several parishes in Pennsylvania became a battleground among pastors, people, and church superiors. Pastor-parishioner tensions, in the early years spilled over into courts. Several disputes lasted for months and even years, such as St. George parish in Shenandoah, Pa. George church in Chicago. Their lengthy litigation is evidenced in hundreds of court recorded pages.
As confrontations became widely known and unsolvable, some lay insurgents, similar to their Polish neighbors, struck out independently and build National Catholic churches without any affiliation to the local bishop. Such breakaways took place around in Shenandoah, Dubois, Harrisburg in Pennsylvania, Dorrisville in Illinois, and a decade later in the Town of Lake and Bridgeport sections of Chicago[21,22] and in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
It was done all within the framework and protection of civil law. A study of this phenomenon shows that there were at least 15 Lithuanian independent parishes of varying life spans, but none survived, over the long run In spite of these diversions, there were 21 exclusively Lithuanian Roman Catholic parishes by with resident Lithuanian priests. Coalescing and maturing in Lithuaniness. In taking initiatives in their religious life and invoking the aid of civil law, the Lithuanian immigrants were acting more American than they realized.
Religious separatists were not the only ones who sensed an ally in the arm of legal power. Two central figures Mykolas Mockus and Anthony Bimba circulated in Lithuanian communities advocating socialism and belittling religious believers. Mockus mocked religious beliefs wherever he traveled. In contrast, Bimba was a committed Marxist who linked religion and capitalism as enemies of labor. Mockus was arrested in New England for blasphemy in However, he soon escaped to Mexico for a five-year self-imposed exile.
On return to the Chicago area, he eventually faded from the public eye and died in Oak Forest, Illinois, in Bimba was arrested six years later and his trial took place in Brockton, Ma. One of the two feuding church factions, capitalizing on a typical Bimba speech, filed charges of blasphemy and sedition. He appealed the verdict to Superior Court in Plymouth, Ma. Recourse to the court system against Mockus and Bimba showed that the immigrants understood, appreciated, and used the legal system of their adopted country. Beside constant attention to religious creed or hostility to it, another facet of American life that was appreciated by the Lithuanians, was freedom of the printed word.
Some of the immigrants would use the press not only to bolster their national identity, but also to promote or attack religion, propagate socialism, freethinking, and later communism. Upon experiencing their first steps of freedom, but for lack of knowledge in English, even the most uneducated Lithuanian immigrants wanted to know with more certainty what was happening around them, what was going in their home country.
As a result, many individuals wanted and began to learn how to read and write, particularly in the language that they could understand the issues that concerned them. Within a short time, several of the more gifted ones began to print single pages of prayer songs and news items. Rudimentary Lithuanian American journalism started around Gradually they expanded by including news about poor working conditions, abuses at the workplaces, discrimination by their Irish and Anglo-Saxon neighbors as well as discords with their Polish oriented Catholic church hierarchy. The first Lithuanian newspaper in the U.
It was edited and published by Mykolas Tvarauskas. It became one of the longest running Lithuanian language newspapers in America. Subsequently, publications informing about local events became widespread, but most, initiated by inexperienced enthusiasts, were short lived. The socialist Keleivis —79 in Boston, Naujienos, and first socialist and then communist Vilnis — in Chicago developed over the years into long time large volume newspapers, until their ideology based membership dwindled away after WWII.
Only around , upon arrival of Rev. Aleksandras Burba and his pointed concern about lack of Lithuanian language Catholic press, the church began to react. Examples of the first publications were the weekly Valtis with Sunday Scripture readings by Rev. Burba, and a weekly Rytas by Rev. Antanas Milukas bought it in and continued its publication as a monthly journal in Shenandoah, Pa.
The publication continued for 43 years and included offerings to their readers of hundreds of booklets, almanacs, and chronicles. Milukas and his sister Jule Pranaityte are known to have been at the time the largest publishers of literature in Lithuanian language amounting to some different book titles with a total volume of about , copies. Several priests at other Lithuanian parishes bought and operated print shops to provide prayer books and devotional literature. The Lithuanian Roman Catholic Priests Association was established in primarily for the publication of Lithuanian Catholi c newspapers and literature.
It subsequently relocated to Chicago in In , it became a daily and is continuing in as a three times a week issue under Marian Fathers sponsorship. Darbininkas began publication as a weekly in the eastern region in P Saurusaitis of Waterbury, Ct. Lithuanian language publications in America in the second decade of flourished to unprecedented heights far exceeding in quantity and variety anything that was available anywhere in the world.
A bibliography, published in Kaunas in 26 , lists as of the end of the s, descriptions of as many as publications in Chicago alone. Publications in other settlements included 48 in New York City, 47 in Brooklyn, 44 in Boston, 21 in Cleveland, and in Pennsylvania. While most Lithuanians over many centuries were oriented towards working as farm hands, laborers and simple craftsmen in their native country, a handful, upon arriving in America, became entrepreneurial bent. Slowly, as more definable, stable Lithuanian American communities began to take shape, the more enterprising individuals ventured within their own communities to establish small scale businesses and services of their own.
Upon formation of first purely Lithuanian Catholic parishes, some young idealistic priests, seeing the plight and despair of their kinfolks in alcohol soaked saloons, began to seek ways of improving their lives. The New England pioneer priest, Rev. When initially there was little interest, he took on to set up cooperative ventures with his own funds. He set up a bakery and a shoe store. In the early s, Rev. Simonas Pautienius in Mahanoy City, Pa. In later years, he also organized the Shenandoah Trust Company to aid parishioners and other fellow Lithuanians to more easily obtain loans.
Aleksandras Skripkauskas established with other entrepreneurial individuals in Chicago a very successful clothing and furniture cooperative. Juozas Lietuvninkas of St. Alphonsus in Baltimore, acted as private bankers, holding large sums of money for their parishioners. A number of pastors frequently secured loans from individuals and societies to build churches and rectories. Petras Abromaitis of Shenandoah bought in , several thousand acres of land near the Morattico River in Virginia, hoping to create a farm based settlement of some 15, fellow Lithuanians.
He intended to build a church and a monastery and establish a secluded Lithuanian community. Abromaitis found only a few takers. The project never took off. In one other instance, a real estate speculator tried to lure Lithuanian immigrants from urban Chicago to settle in the prairies of Arkansas. As a whole, the Lithuanians were far more successful in establishing and operating financial institutions than getting involved in commercial and business activities.
Nevertheless, by , the Lithuanians in Chicago had more businesses and various types of commercial as well as professional ventures, than those existing in war torn Lithuania. Searching for self-esteem and diversity. Many detested the attitude of the Anglo-Saxon and Irish populations of treating them as Polaks and Slavs.
Furthermore, continuous disputes with Poles on language use in Lithuanian religious matters, hurt them deeply. Slowly, it precipitated resistance and search for their own national identity by better understanding their past and the value of their native language and customs. The disputes and determined interest to stand on their own caused the church going members to search for Lithuanian speaking priests for their parishes and to form their own self-help organizations.
These activities expanded into self-education circles, interest in organizing and participating in Lithuanian cultural events, developing their own small scale commercial support activities, formation of Lithuanian schools, and later-on attempting to influence U. In addition to these processes, some of the Lithuanian emigrants seeing many wrongs that they and their kinfolks were subjected to in public life and at their work places, began to turn towards radicalism fostered initially by socialist ideology and later by communist propaganda.
He urged them to strife for self-respect, underscoring the power of their great national heritage. Sliupas saw the Polonized holy mass imposed on them by a faction the Catholic Church dominated by Polish hierarchy as one of the greatest barriers to revive in Lithuanians their ethnic consciousness and pride in their nationality. He urged the Lithuanians to build churches separate from the Poles and to conduct services in their own language. In a nearly parallel path, a young priest, Aleksandras Burba, arrived from Lithuania in He came to Shenandoah, Pa.
Within a year, Burba became the leader of the Lithuanian oriented clergy in America, a powerful voice and a catalyst for many priests and their parishioners urging them to break away from the Poles, to express their faith in their native tongue, and to feel pride in being Lithuanian. The bellringers for awakening Lithuanian consciousness in America. Sliupas was born in Lithuania in , in a family of enlightened farmers.
While there, he engaged in anti-Czarist activities agitating for a free Lithuanian language press. Under threat of arrest, he left for the University of St. Petersburg to complete his education, and then to Switzerland, again to avoid arrest by the police. He fled to America in Arriving penniless and without knowledge of English, he toiled as a farmhand north of New York City and became acquainted with other Lithuanian immigrants working in the area. He realized that these simple, uneducated people were abused and losing their Lithuanian identity.
Sliupas was fired up in his desire to help these people retain their heritage and pride. As one of the first brightest, energetic and well educated new immigrants to appear in the midst of a still forming Lithuanian life in America, Sliupas was admired and looked up as their leader. He urged Lithuanians to break away from the dominating Polish church, to unite in pure Lithuanian communities through friendship and helping each other, and not being afraid to display their ethnic identity.
In his first public patriotic speech in , in New York City, he urged his fellow countrymen to distance themselves from the Poles.
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For dissidents of the polonized parish in New York City, he helped write the bylaws for creating the first purely Lithuanian Catholic church. But such ideas soon irritated the Poles. Under pressure, Sliupas was dismissed by Tvarauskas, but not for long. Its first issue appeared in By this act, the Lithuanian people were deprived of their language and most of their land.
He accused the Poles and their organizations of injustice to Lithuanians, but exempted the Polish Socialist Party, because of its support of Lithuanian separatism. Sliupas moved to Shenandoah, Pa. This did not help his paper to increase readership. Its publication was discontinued in when the printing press was seized by the creditors. Upon arrival of Rev. While in medical studies, Sliupas became involved with the Baltimore Lithuanians.
In a large gathering on December 22, , he urged his listeners to seek freedom and assert self-identity through education and enlightenment, He proposed and received support to establish the Lithuanian Education Society. Before graduation, a new arrival from Lithuania, Rev. Pautienis, attacked Sliupas and his Education Society as a nest of atheists. He was not understood or appreciated by many of his initial supporters. Its purpose was to change the thinking and attitudes of the people, and to motivate them to seek freedom and enlightenment as well as to support independence for Lithuania.
The young doctor envisioned a bright tomorrow for Lithuania in which truth and justice would prevail in domestic and international relations. Sliupas succeeded on August 15, in persuading most Lithuanian American societies to unite in one joint organization: In a powerful address, Sliupas invited all Lithuanians of good will to join the Federation.
Not satisfied with the Federation of all Lithuanians in America, Rev. At a convention of the Lithuanian Alliance at Plymouth, Pa. But the compromise failed ten years later. The latter became in time the largest Lithuanian cultural and insurance organization in America with over 20, members at its peak. Sliupas interest in Socialism, embedded during his early student days at Moscow, surfaced in at the occasion of the Lattimer Massacre, in which unarmed coalminers were shot during a peaceful demonstration.
In a fiery speech, he urged Lithuanians to fight these injustices by forming a Lithuanian Socialist Branch. It adopted a platform calling through enlightenment to free people from religious prejudice and political and material slavery. It stated that morale and ethic consciousness do not come from religion, but from necessity and experience. It supported the politics of the Socialists, demanding freedom of speech and assembly, and equality and justice to all humanity including material equality for Lithuanians in America.
Sliupas was disillusioned somewhat when Lithuanians were not invited to the World Socialist Congress at Hague in However, within a short time due to disagreements over finances, poor communications and lack of information on what Socialism promoted, the group disbanded.
Disillusioned with socialists, Sliupas joined in a newly formed Lithuanian American Patriots organization. He became its leading speaker, promoter, and fund-raiser. While successfully practicing his medical profession in Shenandoah, Pa. Rather he worked to pull out of ruts the lives of his many kinfolks. Those who understood, hailed him as a symbol of hope, a restorer of Lithuanian consciousness in America, and a fighter for freedom for Lithuania.
Those who opposed his ideas, labeled him a fanatic, freethinker-atheist, and intolerant of other opinions. On April 24, , he traveled to San Francisco, sailed across the Pacific, then by train through Siberia and again by boat across the Baltic sea to Stockholm. There, as the only Lithuanian American, he attended the October Conference of a number of patriots from Lithuania searching for ways to free their homeland after WWI ends.
Sliupas affirmed the loyalty and support of Lithuanians in America in the quest for independence by Lithuanian people. The main agenda called for complete independence for Lithuania and its participation at the forthcoming Peace Conference. Sliupas among the ten committee members. As soon as news of Lithuania having declared independence on February 18, , reached Sliupas, he rushed to Washington, D. In response to the speech by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of August 23, , in which the senator formulated the goal of the United States to make the post-war world safe for democracy, Sliupas presented him a memorandum requesting U.
The memorandum was printed in the Congressional Record of August 29, Sliupas returned to reside in Lithuania in Reverend Burba the leader of Lithuanian Catholics 31, Many of the arriving young priests were already infected with Lithuaniness. Aleksandras Burba — saw the devastating impact of Polishness on the Lithuanians. With Sliupas encouragement, he became one of the most important leaders in galvanizing the Lithuanian minded clergy to seek separation from Polish influence. Burba arrived in America in June He was assigned duties as pastor of a mixed Lithuanian-Polish St.
This angered the Polish parishioners. They locked him out of his rectory. On October 24, , a split between the two nationalities became permanent. Instead of one parish, there were henceforth to be two. Not only did the Lithuanians secede, but they also elected Rev. As soon as news of Lithuania having declared its independence on February 18, reached Sliupas, he rushed to Washington, D. Burba sparks Lithuanian Catholics to break away from Polish influence 31, The first person to come to the assistance of Rev.
Burba and giving him the needed courage, was Father W. Donahue, the pastor of St. Vincent parish in Plymouth, Pa. He invited him to conduct services in St. There, on October 27, , the Lithuanians held the first church service in their native tongue. Together with his Lithuanian parishioners, Burba bought a parcel of land in Plymouth, Pa. In fiery sermons and by publishing a weekly journal Valtis The Rowboat , that included the Sunday Gospel as well as brief news items about nearby Lithuanian immigrant settlements, he developed a large following.
Burba travelled widely to numerous Lithuanian settlements in the Northeast spreading the radical notion that Lithuanians needed to separate from the Poles and rediscover their national consciousness. Initially, he tried to do this jointly with freethinker Sliupas, but soon realized that the rise in Lithuanian nationalism needed to be framed within the Roman Catholic church. Differences in opinion caused a split in their cooperation.
Burba died in Plymouth, Pa. Breaking away from poverty and ignorance. The newly arriving Lithuanian immigrants were like uprooted seedlings that were blown across seas and oceans and deposited in a murky sea of strange and rather unfriendly shores, but on a fertile soil. Perhaps for the first time, they became aware of real loneliness, their beggar-like helplessness without any base that would give them a feeling of being part of existing social and human structures.
The only thing they could cling to was vague knowledge of religious commonality with similarly destitute kinfolks who spoke in their native tongue.
It was a powerful drive to find something they could associate with. For most, it was the Polonized faction of the Roman Catholic Church. It provided a basis for starting groups in which they could share their fears, needs and experiences. In time, these developed into a variety of fraternal groups and associations. Once formed, they would discover their commonality in heritage, customs and culture. Their organizations were mostly gender oriented. They would select saints names for male sounding organizations, e. Casimir, Joseph, John the Baptist, Vincent, etc.
When immigrant women began to arrive, they started forming their own societies naming them by saints of their own gender, like Holy Mary, St. Still later, some groups, under secular and nationalistic influence, chose to identify their associations by names of their honored medieval Lithuanian heroes, such as Vytautas, Algirdas, Gediminas. The acclimation of Lithuanians of other than Catholic faiths took a slightly different path.
Lithuanian Protestants turned to Lutheran neighbors at their German churches. In contrast, those coming from Lithuania minor were absorbed within a couple generations into German parishes and disappeared. Lithuanian Jews Litwaks tended to band together through synagogues to their Yiddish communities in which common spoken Yiddish served as a unifying bridge.
While not having much in common and rapport with the mainstream Lithuanians in America, they were often quite fond of declaring themselves as Litwaks. While most of the first waves of Lithuanian immigrants tended to flock to the Pensylvania anthracite region, a significant shift began to take place at the turn to the twentieth century. A reasonably good indicator of concentration of Lithuanians is the distribution of dates of launching new parishes as compiled by A. Only five parishes were west of Pennsylvania. While by , the formation of new parishes in Pennsylvania was still considerable, their total numbers were exceeded by the sum of parishes in New England, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Wisconsin, and as far away as Nebraska.
The setting, in which immigrants experienced their new found life and existence in the Chicago stockyards, is well depicted in the novel titled The Jungle, written by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair — The novel, in a dramatic and deeply moving story about the life of Lithuanian immigrants, exposed brutal conditions in the Chicago slaughterhouses at the turn of the nineteenth century. It brought into sharp moral focus the appalling odds against which immigrants and other working people struggled for their share of the American dream.
In vivid scenes, it described the often hostile and exploiting environment that the host society provided for the likes of Lithuanians and their fellow immigrants from Eastern Europe. As a barely known minority, Lithuanians were seldom a specific target for hostility in the slaughterhouse environment. Besides having a place to work and a roof over their heads, they had no choice but to endure the abuse. They carried on with their heads raised while sheltering their fears and hopes in affiliation either within some existing religious based or socialist oriented organizations. Yet, their thirst for recognition as being part of an ethnic community went unfulfilled for a number of years until the concept of their homeland became clear.
The novel, denounced by the conservative press as an un-American libel on the meatpacking industry, was championed by more progressive thinkers, including then President Theodore Roosevelt. Both Burba and Sliupas believed that organized self-help and education were the primary tools out of the quagmire that their Lithuanian brethren were in. With evangelical zest, they urged the Lithuanians to revive their national consciousness and build their future through enlightment and self-esteem.
Most Lithuanian immigrants clustered for a number of years in ghetto type closely knit communities. They were forced to do so to secure shelter and economic survival, as well being driven into isolation by nearly hostile external world around them. Yet, this isolated environment provided opportunities to interact between their own kinfolks. In some instances it was boozing with friends in local saloons, in others as members of their own Polonized Catholic church.
The latter, after group activities began to develop, started asking why their faith could not be expressed in their own language. It led to the establishment of Lithuanian language based religious clubs, social circles, associations, and societies interested in self-education opportunities. Many of the formalized organizations, however insignificant, required that their officers know how to read and write. It promoted interest in self education, because those knowing to read and write were held in great esteem and were looked upon to lead. A few more ambitious individuals, after becoming better versed in English and realizing the value of education, began to enroll in the higher American education system.
By late , a number of Lithuanians are known to have been enrolled at the St. Some of these institutions also began offering Lithuanian-language courses. It was a birth place for numerous Lithuanian student organizations, particularly important in the development of a first generation of Lithuanian oriented intelectuals.
Kucas estimates some Lithuanians graduating from this university. Organizing education of Lithuanian American children. Primary education of most Lithuanian immigrant children before the end of s were mostly in the hands of parish organists. Where available, the children were also taught by nuns and priests, unfortunately many of them were Polonized.
While most parents spoke in a highly distorted Americanized Lithuanian tongue, they had difficulty tolerating their children being taught in Polish. To provide primary education in Lithuanian, Rev. Abromaitis of Mahonoy City. Milukas noted in one of his articles that to support Lithuanian language instructions, a total of 37 teachers arrived from Lithuania in the — time frame.
Olekas established in , a private Lithuanian school in Chicago. It probably was one of the longest lasting Lithuanian school in America, closing its doors in Olekas teaching methodology was simple -it is easier for students to learn the English grammar, if they are proficient in Lithuanian grammar. By a number of Lithuanian settlements were providing part time educational opportunities either on Saturday or Sundays in reading and writing, conversational English, social skills, preparations for citizenship examination, etc. In , Bishop J.
Casimir for the development of nun-teachers for Lithuanian parish schools , and to care for Lithuanian orphans. Within couple of years, the Institute graduated the first teachers. More proficient ones were sent to help start grammar schools at other Lithuanian parishes in the region, while others remained for training newly arriving aspirants. In , the Sisters of St. Casimir moved to Chicago into a newly-built mother-house at the corner of West 67th and South Rockwell Streets. The relocated Institute began to provide trained Lithuanian language sisters-teachers for the growing system of Lithuanian parish schools in the Chicago region.
By there were 17 professional teacher-nuns, 25 novices , and 25 postulants and aspirants working in the Lithuanian parish school system. Ten of the 24 schools included also lay teachers. Records of indicate 27 Lithuanian parish schools operating in the U. Drive to self-sufficiency 41, 42, 43, Lithuanian immigrants, because of their meager economic status, required only the most basic goods to survive.
Small Lithuanian owned storekeepers began to spring up to serve their fellow countrymen basic needs. By knowing not only Lithuanian, but also Russian, Polish and other Slavic languages of their other neighbors, some expanded to serve also their needs. As Lithuanian settlements began to evolve into more defined communities, need for broader local services provided incentives for more people to develop new skills, such as bakers, butchers, plumbers, notaries, travel agents, funeral homes, etc. More educated ones began offering professional services in healing arts, law, banking, etc.
Cooperative merchandizing movement began to evolve as means to engage the entire community in common projects. The pioneer among the Lithuanians in America was Rev. He was one of the foremost oriented promoters of socially based self-help activities among Lithuanian immigrants. Casimir Benefit Society opened a bakery, a shoe selling and a grocery store. The enterprise proved to be very popular and accomplished a great deal of good will.
Between and , when immigrants from Lithuania began being recorded, the U. By , among Lithuanian Americans were 40 physicians, 10 lawyers, 25 newspaper editors and publishers, priests, 30 bankers and financial professionals, 3, grocery stores, 2, saloons, over a hundred tailor shop owners, and about 10, various kinds of craftsmen and semi skilled workers. Inasmuch as the bulk of Lithuanian immigrants were little or not conversant in English, they were essentially prevented from moving away from districts in which they had a job and felt at home.
Even those, finding somewhat more distant jobs, wound up living within or in close vicinity of a nearby Lithuanian community. Their strength was manifested through tightly knit numerous religious, fraternal, cultural, educational, and social organizations. Concurrently, more than ever, they also looked for ways to help their homeland gain support for freedom. Lithuanians formed in the first volunteer military type guard unit with the aim of helping their homeland, when the time came, to fight the Russians.
Within several years there were 14 such units in the United States. The guards would stage parades in city streets, with individuals dressed in elaborate military outfits, such as horse riding hussars accompanied by marching orchestras and cheer leaders. Reaching out within and beyond U. They rallied numerous times in many U. Upon mini revolution in Russia in , which provided some civil liberties to its citizens and eliminated the prohibition of Latin script in Lithuania, delegates from Lithuanian organizations in the United States convened in , in Philadelphia for the first politically oriented meeting.
After lengthy discussions, a resolution was adopted to coordinate political activities between their various organizations. Delegates from primarily, but not exclusively socialistically oriented organizations convened. The Congress created a Relief Fund for Lithuanian victims of war in Europe, drafted demands to establish autonomy for Lithuania, and created a rescue fund for Lithuania.
However, the meeting also ended up in serious disagreements, with several parties splitting away on ideological basis. They met subsequently in New York City, and gave birth to the nativist homeland political faction. Inasmuch as there was considerable initial disagreement on where to hold the Congress and who would dominate it, the mid-west faction led by activists mostly of right wing ideological orientation, held a concurrent political Congress in Chicago.
Among numerous resolutions, the Congress issued demands for: Political autonomy for Lithuania, 2. Separation of the Suvalkai region from the governate of Warsaw and its return to Lithuania, 3. Support the Latvians in their search for autonomy also with an offer to establish a loose federation with Lithuania, 4. Inclusion of Lithuania in any future European peace negotiations. As the war progressed and Russia was beginning to disintegrate, representatives of Lithuanian organizations from various parts of the world, convened on June , in Lausanne, Switzerland and adopted resolutions demanding complete freedom for Lithuania.
Such a meeting took place on November 1, President Wilson promised to look into the matter in more depth. With apparent understanding of the plight of Lithuanians in their own war torn occupied country, he proclaimed the day of the meeting as the Lithuanian Day in America. On that day, all Americans were encouraged to contribute to victims of the war in Lithuania. It was presented to President Wilson by Rev. J Zilius and dr. Bielskis and its copies distributed to all in Washington based European ambassadors. As WWI was approaching its end, American Lithuanians began a very close watch on political events in and financial needs of their homeland.
With 1, delegates participating, it drew considerable attention of the press, the diplomatic corps, and the Wilson administration. The Congress in its resolution asked the U. In addition, it asked President Wilson to support attendance of a delegate from the still unrecognized Lithuania at the forthcoming Peace Conference.
The New York press praised the Lithuanian Americans for demanding freedom for its homeland. The Associated Press and the United Press dispatched long worded telegrams of the event to its press clients all over the world. Indeed, the LAC effort created a deep and nationwide impression on the American public about Lithuania and its righteous thrust for independence. He arranged a meeting on May 3, , with President Wilson . Reminding that some 70, American Lithuanians are participating as soldiers in U.
Fay to study this issue and provide him with a recommendation. The resulting document covering Lithuania and Latvia issues, known as Inquiry, was included in the research-information section of the Paris Peace Conference Transactions. The Paris Peace Conference 50, 51, 52, The Peace Conference in Paris started on Jan 18, It was attended by eight prominent American Lithuanians as observers.
It was subsequently published in , copies by the U. Unfortunately, due to many cross purpose interests and the heavy influence of France on keeping a powerful Poland as an eastern buffer state and hoping that the White Russians will prevail over the Bolshevik revolutionaries, independence for the Baltic States was not addressed in the treaty of Versailles of June 28, The treaty, was subsequently rejected by the U.
Senate as infringing on U. In spite of these disappointing developments, LAC did not give up. It delegated in , B. Lithuanian Americans began to sharply differentiate along ideological lines in latter part of , precipitated primarily by dr. Sliupas along the lines of socialism and subsequently, by Rev. Burba promoting Catholic based society. While both groups were Lithuanian oriented, the third pure patriotically minded faction started emerging only about 30 years later. The Lithuanian Socialist Federation of America.
Arrival of Sliupas in and his vigorous promotion of socialism began the consolidation of dispersed Lithuanian worker movements. The Lattimer massacre escallated this trend to a higher level of consciousness. Sirvydas arriving from Lithuania in , called for creation of a Lithuanian Socialist party. It was responded in by a convention of Lithuanian socialists chapters in Newark, N.
However, in the following decade, the Federation experienced a series of factional struggles. Disagreements led a number of patrioticaly and anarchist oriented elements to leave the organization. Nevertheless, LSFA grew from a membership of about in to by It developed also a sizeable cultural activity starting to publish Lithuanian language newspapers, promoting formation of choirs, drama groups, literary clubs and libraries.
Frequent discussion circles involved educating the workers to understand principles of socialism and supporting policies of the U. Socialist party, fighting the influence of clergy, working towards the socialist revolution, opposing U. The Lithuanian Roman Catholic Federation 55, Sensing the benefits of their inter-cooperation, Rev. Varnagiris of Plymouth, Pa. Over the next decade the Association expanded to include parishes in Chicago, IL.
The initial purpose was to help their respective parishioners in need during unemployment, providing Catholic literature, and mostly facilitating the formation of new Lithuanian parishes. Finally, seeing the benefits of such cooperation, the Catholic leaders decided to form a nation-wide organization. They met in April , in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Its purpose was stated to promote support and coordination of activities of Lithuanian parishes and their parishioner societies. This first Congress was organized by Reverends V.
Kaupas of the Scranton, Pa. Kaulakis of Philadelphia, Pa. Kaupas of Chicago, IL stressed the need to expand the 24 Lithuanian school system, to embed patriotism and moral values in children of Lithuanian immigrants, and to strengthen their Catholic faith. It decided to provide further financial support to the Congregation of Sisters of St Casimir for the development of increased numbers of nun-teachers and to establish a fund for developing Lithuanian language schoolbooks.
It also established a national budget to help Lithuanian American Catholics in distress, and set-up loan stipends for college studies including support of needy students from Lithuania at some European universities. Items of discussion included help to victims of war, developing demands for political autonomy for Lithuania and Latvia, establishment of an Information Bureau in Washington, and inclusion of delegates from Lithuania at the next Peace conference.
The funds supported a series of LRCF activities. It sent in , its emissaries Rev. Bielskis to war torn Lithuania to assess the needs there and to explore with local activists on developing joint strategies for gaining freedom for Lithuania. Lithuanian Nativists Federation Nativists-Sandara As early as ,. Sirvydas, Sliupas and Petrauskas were contemplating of organizing a patriotic Lithuanian Party that would fill the gap between Catholic and Socialist factions. It would need to focus on promoting restoration of Lithuania within it ethnic boundaries and fostering patriotism as a magnet for return to the homeland by its war dispersed people.
Kibortas, found broad public support and by To facilitate the publication of its three newspapers Vienybe Lietuvininku, Ateitis, and Lietuva including books and pamphlets, the Federation acquired the Boston base Lithuanian publisher Ateitis. Major Alliances for beneficial purposes 55, 58, The first all encompassing organization, the Alliance of All Lithuanians in America, was started by Sliupas in It was intended to unify the activities of all beneficial associations for the purpose of providing help for its members in sickness and death.
The Sliupas organization, due to lack of membership, disappeared within the next two years. The LAA continued as an organization encompassing all Lithuanians. However, during the next dozen years, differences between church goers and those enthralled with socialistic-freethinker convictions kept resurfacing. The former would encompass members with more conservative religious affiliation while the latter would include more liberal minded Catholics, members oriented toward nationalism, and those supporting socialistic views.
In contrast, the LAA operations during the first decade of the s were in turmoil due to disputes between the nationalists and socialists. The latter were highly influenced by Marxism, but disillusioned by unsuccessful revolution in Russia in Only by the end of the first decade, the troubling differences subsided and the LAA started to grow again. By , both organizations had memberships of about 10, each. Both fraternal organizations grew in membership and wealth as their chapters opened up in more sizable settlements in America.
The Alliances provided life, accidental injury and limited sickness insurance for their members. Both participated with financial aid to Lithuanian public events and offered loans for Lithuanian home buyers and business. One of the largest and most notable LAA sponsored event was the commemoration parade in downtown Chicago in , celebrating the years anniversary of Lithuanias conclusively defeating the Teutonic Order at Zalgiris in The concert was interspersed by fiery speeches by dignitaries of the State of Illinois and prominent Lithuanian activists demanding freedom for Lithuania.
Significant nation-wide societies, associations and personalities. During the first two decades of the s a number of specific purpose organizations emerged to cover many segmented society needs such as: About one half of active Lithuanian Americans were not directly affiliated with religious organizations. They participated in less centrally organized groups, societies and associations focusing on socialistic, atheistic, educational, cultural, professional, tradecraft, ideological and nationalistic issues devoid of any religious character.
Army nurse, a position that was entrusted up to that time only to male medics. A group of American Lithuanian troopers, on the way to China to quell the Boxer Rebellion 62 , are known to have participated in the American-Philippines war in Inasmuch Lithuanian language newspapers were banned in Russia, the American Lithuanians gladly gave away those newspapers to their kinfolks from Lithuania.
Most of them were called into service even though many hardly understood English and in great part were illiterate.