Czech Genealogy: More awesome facts and figures from “Harvard Encyclopedia”. This time we focus on occupations of the early Czechs in America.
If you have been following our recent articles, you know we first provided a brief review of the “Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups” and followed up with our first ‘facts and figures’ post, which focused on Czech immigration to the United States. The author of the Czech section, Karen Johnson Freeze, has done a wonderful job compiling a broad array of useful insights and data on Czechs in America.
Today we are going to continue to bring you a few of what we believe to be the more interesting of the facts and figures on the topic of Occupations thanks to Ms. Freeze.
In 1900 nearly 130,000 Czech men and women contributed as highly skilled labor. Only 14% of the foreign-born men and an even lesser 8% of second-generation men worked in unskilled laborers and these were mostly in New York and Cleveland.
In the three main cities (Chicago, Cleveland, and New York) two-thirds of Czech workers were in manufacturing and mechanical jobs, especially in the tobacco and garment industries.
In 1865 in New York City some 95% of Czech wage earners (both men and women) worked in cigar factories or did piecework at home, who usually were women and children.
In 1920, cigarmaking was no longer a Czech trade, but almost half of all the pearl buttons in the United States were made in Czech shops.
In Ohio, with more Czechs than New York, 12% of the foreign-born and 9% of second-generation wage earners worked in the iron/steel industry.
In Chicago the both men and women gravitated to the garment industry, with 13% of foreign-born men, 9% of second-generation men, and a whopping 33% of women.
In 1924, Czechs controlled 15 state and federal banks in Chicago.
While only about 2% of the Czech workforce across the United States were in professional occupations, this 2% were a huge source of Czech leadership, with over half of these Czechs being located in the three main cities of Chicago, Cleveland, and New York.
In 1900, of 979 immigrant Czech male professionals recorded, nearly 1/3 were in musicians or music teachers, with the remainder being doctors, electricians, teachers, lawyers, journalists, artists, actors, and clergymen.
About 55% of all Czech immigrant workers were in agriculture while an amazing 80% owned their own farms. The Bohemians it was said “could make crops grow where no one else could” and were recruited to occupy frontier homesteads or to take over abandon farms in the South.
Farming was the characteristic way of making a life in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Wisconsin.
By 1940 the foreign-born Czechs constituted only 31% of Czech Americans.
While in 1910 some 33% of Czechs were farmers, by 1940 it was down to 18%.
By 1970 there were only about 1,000 first-generation Czechs who were farming (2%), 7,800 second-generation farmers (5%), and 9,400 subsequent generation farmers (9%). At the same time (1970) white-collar jobs were held by 44% of first generation of employed Czechs, 46% of the second, and 50% of later generations.
Tomorrow we will begin some more fabulous facts and figures relating to Religion and Free Thought.
Onward To Our Past®