University of Delaware Library

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Henry M. Snyder

Notes on Americanization



Manuscript Collection Number: 97, item 149
Extent: 2 vols
Content: Lecture notes
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: Sally W. Donatello, June 2001

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Table of Contents

Introductory Note

The flood of immigrants to the Unites States at the end of the nineteenth century gave rise to interest in national identity; the idea of the “melting pot” was replaced by a focus on “Americanization.” By the second decade of the twentieth century, especially after the first World War, nationalism was a prevalent theme in cultural, social, and educational programs throughout the country. Americanization promoted the values of liberty, democracy, and equal opportunity by making the new immigrants feel they belonged in their adopted country.

In 1918 Henry M. Snyder, a resident of Wilmington, Delaware, attended a course developed by the New York-based Americanization Institute, in preparation for a course he intended to offer in Wilmington.

The Henry M. Snyder Notes on Americanization consists of two bound volumes of lecture notes taken from a six-week course at the Americanization Institute. The lecture course spanned the dates November 12 - December 21, 1918. These notes are handwritten by Snyder from lectures delivered by fourteen guest speakers.

Snyder, who lived at 909 Gilpin Avenue in Wilmington, Delaware, attended the course, which was held Tuesdays through Saturdays. It was probably taught in New York City, but also could have been taught in Wilmington. The lectures stressed the use of evening schools and the teaching of English to adult immigrants as basics to the success of the Americanization curriculum.

Volume one begins with an explanation about the purpose of this course. Snyder wrote, “To develop in Wilmington a corps of teachers who are not only trained in the best methods of teaching adult immigrants English and citizenship, but who are also equipped with an understanding of the national and local importance of Americanization in its fundamental meaning. To create in the community generally as well as in teachers and workers, a sympathetic knowledge of racial background which shall direct and guide all Americanization work.”

The fourteen lecturers were Francis A. Keller, Special Advisor to the Federal Commissioner of Education and Assistant to the Chairman of Immigration Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of the USA; Raymond Moley, Director of Americanization, Ohio State Defense Council; Dr. Nathan Peyser, Director Educational Alliance of New York City; William C. Smith, Supervisor of Immigrant Education, New York State; Mary De G. Trenhohn, Head Worker East Side House Settlement, New York City; Elizabeth Read, New York lawyer; Dr. Angelo Patri, Principal of Public School 45, New York City; Dr. John Grier Hibben, President, Princeton University; Alexander Massell, Principal, Evening School 51, New York City; H.H. Goldberger, Teachers’ College, Columbia University; A.W. Castle, Assistant Superintendent of Public Schools, Cleveland, Ohio; Arthur W. Dunn, Specialist in Community Civics, Federal Bureau of Education; Margaret Maguire, Principal McCall School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Harriet P. Dow, formerly social worker, New Jersey Zinc Company.

Laid into volume one is a three-page notice about New York’s laws on immigrant education. This pamphlet was probably a handout from William C. Smith, whose name appears on the notice and was one of the lecturers.

In volume two some of the pages are cut out. In the back of the notebook is a series of three separate notes: “Suggestions on Methods taken from the New York City Syllabus for Teaching of English to Foreigners,” “The Fields of Americanization,” and “The Great Experiment—Americanization,” by Franklin K. Sane.

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