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History of Immigration-Period of residence in the United States of foreign-born employees and members of their households-Racial classification of employees at the present time-Text Tables 10 to 20 and General Tables 8 to 9].
HISTORY OF IMMIGRATION.
Data showing in detail the history of immigration to the leather tanning and finishing industry in the States of Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and in the country as a whole, is, unfortunately, unavailable. The racial composition of the working force at the census periods of 1880, 1890, and 1900 is, however, indicated by the reports of the Census Office. From the census figures it is possible to determine, in a general way, the movement of immigrant labor to the industry.
The following table classifies the employees of the leather tanning and finishing industry in 1880, by country of birth:
TABLE 10.-Number of leather workers in the United States and in selected States, by country of birth, 1880.
[Compiled from United States Census Report, 1880, Population.]
In 1880 the total number of leather tanning and finishing employees in the United States was 29,842. There were 563 employees in Delaware, 7,356 in Massachusetts, 6,020 in Pennsylvania, and 1,133 in Wisconsin. Of the total number of employees in the United States, 16,193, or more than one-half, were native-born. Persons of Irish and German birth, in the order mentioned, had the largest representation among the foreign-born. It will be noted that the proportion of employees of native birth was smaller in Massachusetts than in either Pennsylvania or Delaware, and much smaller in Wisconsin than in any of the other States for which figures are given. In Wisconsin less than one-third of all the employees were native-born. In Massachusetts the Irish and in Wisconsin the Germans had a much larger representation than persons of any of the other races. In Pennsyl
vania there was a slightly larger number of German than of Irish employees. While the census classification did not include the figures for natives of any of the countries of southern or eastern Europe, it is clear from the returns for "Other countries" that persons from these countries were not employed in this industry to any extent in 1880.
The next table presented shows the composition of the working force in 1890. In this table workers are classified by general nativity and by country of birth.
TABLE 11.-Number of leather workers in the United States and in selected States, by general nativity and country of birth, 1890.
[Compiled from United States Census Report, 1890, Occupations.]
In the ten years between 1880 and 1890 the total number of persons employed in the leather tanning and finishing industry in the United States increased by about one-third. There were, in 1890, 39,332 employees in the country as a whole-1,008 in Delaware, 8,923 in Massachusetts, 7,169 in Pennsylvania, and 1,940 in Wisconsin. Of the employees reported for the country as a whole, 10,539 were native whites of native parents, 8,986 were native whites of foreign parents, 18,669 were foreign whites, and 1,138 were colored. It will be noted that the proportion of foreign-born employees had not increased considerably since the census of 1880. The proportion of foreign-born employees was largest in Wisconsin, second largest in Massachusetts, and smallest in Delaware. Among the foreign-born persons of Irish and German birth were, as in the preceding census, present in the largest numbers. A very large proportion of the foreign-born employees in Massachusetts were of Irish birth and a very large proportion of those in Wisconsin were of German birth. In Pennsylvania persons of German birth were at this census, present in much larger number than persons of Irish birth. None of the countries of southern or eastern Europe are included in the census classification, and the proportion of employees reported under “Other countries" is very small.
The next table presented shows the racial classification of the employees of the leather tanning and finishing industry for 1900.
TABLE 12.-Number of leather workers in the United States and in selected States, by general nativity and country of birth of parents, 1900.
In the above table employees are classified by general nativity and by country of birth of parents, instead of by general nativity and country of birth, as in the preceding table. There were, in 1900, 42,684 employees of the industry in the United States, 1,737 in Delaware, 7,327 in Massachusetts, 8,691 in Pennsylvania, and 3,784 in Wisconsin. Of the employees in the country as a whole, 19,909 were foreign-born whites, 11,226 were native whites of foreign parents, 10,435 were native whites of native parents, and 1,114 were colored. It will be noted that the proportion of foreign-born employees was about the same as at the two preceding censuses. The proportion of foreign-born employees was larger in Wisconsin and Massachusetts than in Pennsylvania or Delaware. Among the employees of foreign parentage those having one or both parents born in Ireland had, by far, the largest representation. Persons of Polish, German, British, Austro-Hungarian, Scandinavian, and Canadian parentage were present in considerable numbers. There was also a considerable proportion of employees whose parents were born in Russia, Italy, and in countries not specified.
From the above series of tables, it is apparent that immigrants from the countries of southern and eastern Europe did not begin to find employment in the leather tanning and finishing industry until some time in the decade 1890-1900. In 1900 there was a considerable proportion of recent immigrants employed in the industry.
The racial movements to the industry may be best presented by setting forth the history of immigration to the more important divisions of the industry in representative leather-manufacturing localities. This is briefly done in the following pages.
The history of immigration to the leather-tanning industry in western Pennsylvania may be best understood by reviewing, briefly, the history of immigration to several representative tanneries located in the northwestern part of the State, which may be designated consecutively by numbers.
Tannery No. 1 began operations in 1867 with a force composed almost entirely of Irish, the remainder being a few Americans, Swedes, and Swiss. At present 60 men-a normal force-are employed, distributed among the various races, as follows: Swedes 32, Swiss 11, Poles 6, Slovaks 5, Irish 3, Italians 2, English 1. From the beginning the Swedes and Swiss increased in numbers, while the Americans have been entirely displaced and the Irish practically so. The Poles and Slovaks were first employed in 1903, but have made little headway in this tannery, as will be noted from the present racial composition of the force. The two Italians and one Englishman mentioned above have only been employed at the tannery for a very short time.
Tannery No. 2 was established in 1871, and like tannery No. 1, its first employees were Irish, Swedes, and Swiss, and a few Americans, the Irish largely predominating. This tannery employs 240 men, and the per cent of each race represented at present is as follows: Italians 40, Swedes 20, Poles 15, Swiss 10, Macedonians 10, Belgians, Germans, and Irish 5. Twenty years ago the Swedes constituted almost the entire force. It was not until 1897 that the Poles were employed. They were followed in 1901 by the Italians, who have since gained rapidly in numbers. The Belgians were first employed in 1902 and the Macedonians in 1905-6.
Tannery No. 3, employing about 130 men, was established in 1867, and its first employees were Irish, Swedes, a few Germans and Danes, together with a few Americans. At present the force is composed of 2 Americans, one an engineer, the other a carpenter; 25 Swedes; 20 Poles; and the remainder Slovaks. The Irish and the few Germans and Danes have all been displaced. The Poles entered this tannery in 1885 and the Slovaks in 1887.
Tannery No. 4, employing a force of 80 men, was started with Irish and Swede employees in 1897. At the present time the following races are represented: Slovaks and Poles (mostly Slovaks) 48, Swedes 12, French 12, Macedonians 7, and Irish 1. The Slovaks and Poles were first employed in 1890, the French in 1908, and the Macedonians within the last two years. At this tannery the Irish were displaced by the Swedes, who, in turn, are being displaced by the other races above mentioned.
Tannery No. 5, although employing only 60 men, has been in operation since 1860, its first employees being Irish, Germans, and a few Swedes. As in other plants, the Irish and Germans were displaced by the Swedes. In recent years the number of Swedes has gradually decreased, and they have been supplanted by the Slovaks, Poles, and Italians, mostly Slovaks and Poles, in this particular tannery. The races employed at present are represented as follows: Slovaks 40, Poles 12, Swedes 7, and Italians 1. The Slovaks were employed here as early as 1885, while the Poles were not employed until 1892. The one representative of the Italian race was employed in