Rudolph J. Vecoli, Scholar of Immigration, Is Dead at 81

Historians in the News

Rudolph J. Vecoli, an Italian-American historian whose searching chronicles of the American immigrant experience gave a new view of what immigrants kept and left behind, died on June 17 in St. Louis Park, Minn. He was 81 and lived in St. Paul.

The cause was complications of leukemia, said his daughter, Lisa.

As director for many years of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota and in numerous scholarly articles and books, including “The People of New Jersey” (1965), and “A Century of American Immigration, 1884 to 1984,” Mr. Vecoli argued against the notion that immigrants to the United States left their cultures behind and did their best to blend into mainstream American society. Rather, he wrote, they clung tenaciously to their traditions and developed strategies to retain their heritage and resist pressures to embrace the American social and economic system.

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