The Social Museum Collection

Races

Races

Although Francis Greenwood Peabody acknowledged the commonly held belief that immigration threatened the traditions and ideals of American culture, the representation of this topic in the Social Museum supports a vision of self-sufficiency for the foreign-born at the same time that it promotes assimilation. The path of immigration is reflected in picturesque scenes of life in Amsterdam’s Jewish quarter, followed by a series of images from Ellis Island’s Immigrant Station, which conveys the threat of deportation, the requirements for admittance, and attempts at Americanization. Another set of documents outline daily life and work at the Baron de Hirsch Agricultural and Industrial School in Woodbine, New Jersey, which provided practical training to immigrant Jews and was the first school in the United States to offer secondary education in agriculture.

Institutional efforts toward the care and education of Native Americans and African Americans are also represented in this category. Virginia’s Hampton Normal and Industrial School emphasized industrial and manual training as a means of self-support, but the ultimate goal was to build character and confidence. “The mind shall be made intelligent for the service of the race, the hand shall be trained to bear a part in the progressive movement of the trades, the heart shall be quickened and inspired” [1], wrote Peabody, a lifelong supporter of Hampton and member of its board for forty-six years.


1. Francis Greenwood Peabody, “Hampton and the New Education,” Southern Workman 39 (January 1910): 48.