Although most Hungarians who emigrated to the United States arrived between 1890 and the start of World War I in 1914, the most significant Hungarian immigration took place during the 1930’s. The spread of fascism and Nazism in Europe forced thousands of highly educated scientists, scholars, artists, and musicians to leave Hungary and Central Europe to find safe haven in America.
Although Hungarian presence in North America reaches back to 1583, when
The next significant wave of Hungarian immigrants were the turn-of-the-century “economic immigrants.” These were mostly peasants and unskilled workers who came in huge numbers, primarily as guest workers, to work in
The mass European immigration that occurred during the four decades before the outbreak of World War I came to an end in 1914. Although it resumed at a slower pace after the war, the federal immigration quota laws of 1921, 1924, and 1927 put an end to this immigration, especially for those from southern and eastern Europe. This decline of immigration was furthered by the collapse of the stock market in 1929 and the resulting Great Depression. Consequently, fewer than thirty thousand Hungarians immigrated to the United States during the 1920’s.
The next wave of immigrants, known as the “Great Intellectual Immigration,” appeared during the 1930’s, in consequence of
The next three decades saw a trickle of continuous immigration of about 60,000 immigrants who escaped from Eastern Europe. The collapse of
By the early twenty-first century, the immigrant churches, fraternals, newspapers, and other institutions of immigrant life were in the process of disappearing. Few of the new Hungarian immigrants have shown an inclination to support the traditional institutions that were important to their predecessors. Given this reality, and the unlikelihood that there would be another major immigration from Hungary, it seemed only a question of a few years before all of these institutions would vanish. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 1.4 million Americans claimed full or primary Hungarian descent. Of these, 118,000 (8.4 percent) still used Hungarian as a language of communication within their families. By contrast, 1.8 million claimed Hungarian ancestry in 1980, and 180,000 were still speaking Hungarian at home).
Fermi, Laura. Illustrious Immigrants: The Intellectual Migration from Europe, 1930-1941. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969. The wife of Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi, who built the first experimental nuclear reactor, Laura Fermi provides an intimate internal view of those whom she calls Europe’s “illustrious immigrants,” who include such prominent Hungarians as Leo Szilárd, Eugene Wigner, and Edward Teller. Lengyel, Emil. Americans from Hungary. 1948. Reprint. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1974. Written by a prominent Hungarian American journalist, this volume is the earliest English-language synthesis of Hungarian American history and draws heavily on earlier Hungarian-language publications. Puskás, Julianna. Ties That Bind, Ties That Divide: One Hundred Years of Hungarian Experience in the United States. Translated by Zora Ludwig. New York: Holmes & Meier, 2000. Scholarly, statistics-filled synthesis of Hungarian American history by a native Hungarian scholar who devoted much of her life to researching “economic” emigrants to the United States of the early twentieth century. Volume says little about post-World War II political immigrants. Széplaki, Joseph. Hungarians in America, 1583-1974: A Chronology and Fact Book. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana, 1975. Short but useful summary of Hungarian American history by a librarian who was not a professional historian. Várdy, Steven Béla. Historical Dictionary of Hungary. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1997. First comprehensive encyclopedic work on Hungarian history in English. _______. The Hungarian Americans. Rev. ed. Safety Harbor, Fla.: Simon Publications, 2001. The first English-language synthesis of Hungarian American history by a trained Hungarian American historian. _______. The Hungarian Americans: The Hungarian Experience in North America. New York: Chelsea House, 1989. Short, heavily illustrated work. Based to a large degree on the first edition of the work but also includes the Canadian Hungarian Americans. Contains an introductory essay by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. _______. Magyarok az òjvilágban. Budapest: Magyar Nyelv és Kultúra Nemzetkšzi Társasága, 2000. This 840-page book on Hungarians in the New World, published by the International Association of Hungarian Language and Culture, is the largest synthesis of Hungarian American history yet published. Although still not available in English, this Hungarian edition contains a thirty-five-page English summary.
Czech and Slovakian immigrants
European revolutions of 1848
Yugoslav state immigrants