Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Poles in Wisconsin (Wisconsin Historical Society Press), by Susan Gibson Mikos
The Poles came with the second wave of European immigrants to Wisconsin, but the thrifty, hardworking arrivals soon built neighborhoods, churches and left a deep impression on many parts of the state, especially Milwaukee. Susan Gibson Mikos tells their story succinctly, yet with many well chosen details, in Poles in Wisconsin. Since Germans and Scandinavians had already claimed most Badger farmland and most Polish immigrants were from rural backgrounds, they became a deep pool of unskilled labor for Milwaukee's booming factories in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Soon enough, they moved into public offices and entrepreneurial pursuits. As Milwaukee historian John Gurda writes in his introduction, the history of Polish Americans, like many groups who came to the state, is “a chronicle of family” that built “communities of remembrance” in the New World.