Immigration and Migration
Early settlement in Cleveland and the Western Reserve is documented extensively through the personal papers of early settlers, survey maps, newspapers, and the records of early businesses. These early settlers were followed by waves of immigration that included German farmers, Irish workers, and Jewish communities.
Between the Civil War and World War I, Cleveland experienced an influx of immigration from Europe, particularly Jews, Poles, Italians, Slovaks, Russians, Slovenians, and Hungarians, and these communities are documented through photographs, ethnic newspapers, personal papers, and business records.
As America entered World War I, Cleveland’s industrial base attracted African American workers from the South, resulting in the tripling of the black population during the Great Migration. The history of the African American community in Cleveland and northeast Ohio is documented comprehensively through both published and unpublished sources.
Between the Great Depression and the 1950s, Cleveland’s Ukrainian, Hungarian, Hispanic, and Jewish communities experienced an influx of immigrants, and these patterns are well documented in the collection.
During the 1960s through today, Cleveland’s educational and healthcare base has attracted immigrants from China, India, Korea, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines, and the historical society has begun to document the history of these groups. Cleveland has one of the largest systems in the United States to settle and support refugees from all over the world, and this effort is documented as well.