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>Below please find some pictures of the Castle Garden greeting facility for immigrants in New York. Harper’s Magazine printed most of these pictures giving readers a glimpse of new cultures that would re-create the woof and weft of the fabric of a fledgling nation trying to re-define itself and align itself with the changing times. At the same time, these foreigners wanted to assimilate themselves into the new, aggressive American society; and they did, by going to school, learning the English language, and working hard in a country that was going places.

Harpers 1871

The Harpers Weekly article that accompanied these picture claimed that a person’s nationality could be determined by their dress.

“It is curious to see such a heterogeneous crowd land. The Swedes are usually distinguished by their tanned-leather breeches and waistcoats, and their peculiar before mentioned exhalations; you can not miss the Irishman with his napless hat, worn coat, and corduroy trousers; the Englishman you know by his Scotch cap, clay pipe, and paper collar. The Teuton you detect at once by his long-shirted, dark blue woolen coat, high necked and brass-buttoned vest, and flat military cap or gray beaver. Indeed, one of the officers told me that he could tell exactly what part of Germany each individual came from his dress alone, and I believe he could. Then there are the Bohemians (the genuine ones) with their many-colored scarfs and glaring jackets for the women, and natty military caps for almost all the men; the French in their blue linen blouses; and finally the Norwegians ;in their curious national dress, consisting of a gray woolen stiff-necked jacket, which covers only about one-third of their back, whine in front it slopes down to a greater length, and is profusely ornamented with huge silver buttons set so close together that they overlap each. Their breeches, of dark woolen stuff, there from reach nearly up to their neck behind, only a small strip of jacket with an enormous still collar between. You can not properly say a Norwegian in a pair of breeches, but a pair of breeches with a Norwegian in them. This, of course, only applies to the farmers from
the interior parts of the country, the “Dalkeller” and “Troensere, ” etc.”


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