Sunday, January 20, 2013

Woman's Glory, The Kitchen

The title was "Woman's Glory, The Kitchen," (which says volumes about women's aspirations in a certain era) but there was also "Kuche Kochen," and "Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans," titles of cookbooks published mid 20th century to instruct "modern homemakers" how to prepare the ethnic dishes their mothers had made. And there were compilations of recipes published by church groups, ladies societies and fraternal organizations in an effort to preserve an ethnic culture that was vanishing as immigrants assimilated. 
But these old books offer much more than kitchen tips and recipes. Inside Woman's Glory, one would find several recipes for potica, a description of the region in which that version originated, information about the person submitting the recipe and lodge events. The German-Russian cookbook, Kuche Kochen, has an entire chapter devoted to blini, along with instructions for preserving food for the winter, customs in the author's village in Russia and prayers said before and after meals.  Published in the 1940s, "Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans"  contained insights into Polish culture as well as instructions for cooking Polish favorites. There are many vintage ethnic cookbooks, but the best ones offer a glimpse into the immigrant culture and way of life even as it was disappearing.  

Published by the Slovenian Women's Union of America

Available from the Polish Art Center

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Immigrants who settled in Globeville from the 1880s to the 1920s were mostly farmers from Eastern Europe and Russia with little education, few urban skills and no knowledge of the English language. Working in the smelters, railroads and meat packing plants made newcomers realize that better jobs and a better life came to those who could speak English and were American citizens. 
To become an American citizen a person had to be of "good moral character, have the ability to read, write, speak, and understand English, and have knowledge of the fundamentals of U.S. history and government," (also required today).
The first step was the easiest since the immigrant's sponsor (perhaps Maximilian Malich or John Wolf) would vouch for his "good moral character." But how could anyone learn to read and write English while working 12 hour days, six days a week? Schools, lodges and some churches came to the rescue. Principal Matthew Eagleton instituted night classes in English at Garden Place School, the "Slavonian" Lodge, St. Jacob's Croatian Society also held English-language lessons for members, and (after 1916) Denver's Opportunity School. As children learned English in school, they taught their parents, and, by the 1920s, there were radio programs, movies at Globeville's Cozy Theatre and baseball. Once the language was mastered, the study of U.S. history and government could be tackled with the aid of pamphlets containing the questions likely to be asked, such as ""Name the original 13 colonies, How can the president prevent a bill from becoming a law? What is the term of office of a U.S. Representative?" (The Questionnaire shown below was prepared for a Volga-German congregation in Nebraska during the 1900s).
Today's immigrants face the same challenges: a new language, different culture, unfamiliar customs, separation from family and little time to learn English and the fundamentals of U.S. history. There are classes nearby at El Centro San Juan Diego, Trevista Elementary School, Emily Griffith Opportunity School and Holy Rosary Parish Center.
Clases de Ingles: Las Clases de Inglés reinician el día lunes 14 de enero de 10:00 a.m a 12:00 p.m. en el Centro Parroquial. ¡Te esperamos!
Holy Rosary Church
Emily Griffith Opportunity School

Used with written permission from John Werner

English learner at Holy Rosary Parish Center

ESL class at Holy Rosary 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Globeville's Police Station and Town Hall

Police Officers H. Cornell, J. Lindsey, George Bosner and J. Malone strike a serious pose for the photographer in front of the former town hall building, recently remodeled as a police substation and renamed "Globeville No 1." The article in September's Denver Republican explains that, after Globeville's annexation to Denver in 1903, "it becomes necessary to establish at least one substation auxiliary to headquarters. The station the old city hall remodeled...and contains two cells where prisoners ...are confined until they are tried in police court." If the city were anticipating how busy the substation would become, it wasn't apparent in the upbeat article.
On July 1, 1903 the Mill and Smeltermens' Union at both the Globe and Grant Smelters went on strike, part of a wave of labor disturbances across the state demanding higher pay, shorter hours, better working conditions and recognition for the union. (The eight-hour day had been signed into law by the Colorado legislature in 1902, but was not enforced). The union brought in its superstars, co-leaders Charles Moyer and Bill Haywood, who spoke at the town hall in Elyria, giving rousing speeches and urging members to strike. What began as an orderly protest soon disintegrated into a mob with strikers beating watchmen, superintendents and men who wished to remain on the job. The walkout idled 775 men, a significant number in the small town, and the violence destroyed the public's view of the union. Management obtained an injunction prohibiting picketing and two weeks later reopened the Globe works with twenty-five non-union men, protected by the Denver police. ASARCO then announced that it would close the obsolete Grant Smelter permanently, eliminating 475 jobs. By the end of November, many unionists had exhausted their resources and reapplied for their jobs at the Globe plant, which employed only 300.
The remaining strikers were desperate. On November 29, about 100 women and 50 men held a meeting at Max Malich’s saloon and determined to take action, attacking and beating a wagonload of non-union men returning from work. Several men were hospitalized and 18 people were arrested and jailed, 14 of them women. (whether or not all 18 were confined to the two cells in the Globeville station is unclear)
The union had more resources than the workers and by the end of 1903, most employees had gone back to work, after first pledging they had severed their connection with the union. 
Old maps show the former town hall and jail on Elgin Place, east of Washington Street - now occupied by small businesses. 

Scratchy photo from the Denver Republican, September 1903

® Photo 2012 by Mary Lou Egan