LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 23, No.2 - Summer 1977
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
Copyright © 1977 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
Algirdas M. Budreckis, The Lithuanians in America 1651-1975, Oceana Publications, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., 1976, 174 pages.
This compilation is a welcome piece to the practically bare cupboard of material in English about Lithuanians in the New World. Subtitled "Chronology & Fact Book" the book contains a bibliography and index buttressing the three parts: Chronology, pp. 1-67, Documents, pp. 68-149, Appendices pp. 150-163.
The chronology furnishes explanatory paragraphs spanning some 150 episodes such as participation in the Revolutionary War, significant parish foundations, newspapers, books, business enterprises, national alliance beginnings and later conflicts. This segment of the Budreckis' work gives a flavor of immigrant life and its continuity.
The second section is a series of excerpts from 29 documents of colonial times to the present, some translated from Lithuanian while others appear in the original English all accurately identified. Topics include Alexander Curtius, first Lithuanian teacher in America; Kosciusko's will; first immigrants of Pennsylvania; advice to those returning to the homeland. Fourteen of the papers pertain to World War II and its aftermath. For the first time, the English reader has access to portions of some otherwise unavailable Lithuanian fonts.
The appendices blend together statistical data from of a variety of sources touching on immigrant, population, their crafts and professions; contemporary publications and national organizations with addresses.
Apart from Encyclopedia Lituanica and Kučas' history of U.S. Lithuanians, students have been frustrated in finding books in English. Budreckis has provided an almanac which will serve as a reference tool. Unhappily this pioneer venture is marred by some errors indicating haste in publication. Spelling mistakes include: p. 3, Carrol instead of Carroll; p. 8, Tvardauskas for Tvarauskas; p. 10, Mahamoy for Mahanoy; p. 32, concived for conceived. An Omission is found on p. 155 re: Connecticut; in several places in the chronology the dates do not match the accompanying paragraph. Annoyingly Lithuanian orthographical markings are left out.
Factual errors appear as follows:
p. 4 gives 1834 as the foundation date of St. Joseph, Waterbury, rather than 1894.
p. 7 identifies the Waterbury colony from 1879. This claim is insupportable. An inspection of city directories from 1869 and the registers of Sacraments in the territorial parishes patronized by Lithuanians shows no evidence of a settlement, with only isolated Lithuanian names in these records. The earliest reference to a settlement is suggested by the "Kostiuska" society in 1884.
p. 8 gives 1885 as the inaugural date of the above mentioned fraternity, but a Waterburyite Jakubas Segevičius wrote in Šliupas' Unija telling of sixteen members at a meeting in the fall of 1884.
p. 9 The Hazelton and Freeland parishes in their origins should correctly be labelled "mixed" Polish-Lithuanian rather than outright Lithuanian. Under 1889, one observes that Burba first labored briefly, at Shenandoah where from the outset he was unsuccessful. It was at Plymouth that he was the first pastor and formed a prish.
p. 12 In place of Rev. (Juozas) Žilinskas, one must insert John.
p. 14 Reference to Rev. Anthony (Antanas) Varnagiris should be to Vincent
p. 15 omits the critical fact that Keleivis was Catholic in tone at the start, and only in the late 1907 season switched to a socialist viewpoint under Michaelsonas.
p. 18 Žilinskas needs to be further identified since by 1920 both John and Thomas had returned to Lithuania.
p. 19 The date of 1913 for the Temperance League is wrong. Fr. Saurusaitis formed the alliance of temperance chapters at Waterbury Sept. 22, 1909. It was incorporated at Hartford July 22, 1915.
p. 27 reads as if the orphanage were still in existence under the Sisters of Jesus Crucified, although it has been defunct for a number of years.
p. 29 The title of "king" for Vytautas is difficult to defend. He never received the crown from the pope, and so according to the practice of the times was not recognized under such a name.
Since this Budreckis volume purports to be a basic sourcebook, it is necessary to point out these flaws in an otherwise admirable undertaking. One looks forward to a larger version of such a work so badly needed. Budreckis is quite capable of giving us such a reference.
Rev. William Wolkovich (Valkavičius)