The IHRC and IHRC Archives: 1965 to Present

Recovering Humanity

When the Immigration History Research Center was five years old, Director Rudolph J. Vecoli heralded the establishment of the center and what was then called the “Immigrant Archives” collections at the University of Minnesota. The IHRC’s purpose is simple, yet profound: “to recover the full-bodied humanity of immigrants” and to explain the impact of immigration upon the United States.

What Does it Mean to be American

Fifty years later, the need to continue to document, preserve, and study immigration in the past and present remains vitally important. In the last half-century, immigrants have helped change the face of America. In 2011, the immigrant population in the country was at a historic high of 40.4 million people, or around 13 percent of the total US population. They are settling in places that have traditionally welcomed immigrants like New York City, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles, as well as in other cities and areas where such large-scale immigration is new: Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Las Vegas. Immigrants and their children are changing what it means to be American.

Preserving History for Future Generations

In 2015, the IHRC and IHRC Archives celebrated their 50th anniversary. Much has changed since the IHRC and IHRC Archives were located in a warehouse on Berry Street in Saint Paul. We have a new building and we use new technologies and methodologies. Both the nature of immigration and immigration scholarship has changed, however, much has stayed the same. We continue to work with immigrant and refugee communities to preserve their histories for future generations. We continue to host national and international researchers to share and discuss their research with us. We organize lectures, workshops, symposia, exhibits, and conferences. We teach students, teachers, and community members about immigration in the past and present.

As immigration continues to be one of the most significant national and international issues of our time, we’re ready to continue our important work for the next 50 years.