Telling the stories of an overlooked immigrant Latvian community
This project, a work in progress, documents the religious experience and cultural production of Latvian Baptist immigrants to North America before World War II. The primary goal is to research the periodicals and other publications generated by these immigrants.
The nexus of the Latvian Baptist communities in North America was Philadelphia, and in particular West Philadelphia.
As a first phase, this project is documenting the individuals who lived in West Philadelphia, several of whom were the editors, writers, and poets whose work appeared in Latvian Baptist publications of the period.
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Using the form below, visitors to this site may search for items, persons, and other keywords associated with the community.
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Do you have information about or artifacts related to the early Latvian Baptists in America? Contact Andris Straumanis and help build this documentary project.
A photographic montage, created by Andrew R. Dravneek (Andrejs Dravnieks) of New York, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Philadelphia Latvian Baptist Church. The congregation, which grew from the merger of two Latvian Baptist groups active in Philadelphia since the 1890s, was formally founded in 1900. The top two and the bottom three rows consist of images from the history of America and Philadelphia, according to a report by Dravneek in the July 15, 1930, issue of Kristīga Balss, a Baptist periodical published in Latvia. The third and fourth rows consist of images from the Philadelphia congregation. In the middle of the third row is the Rev. John Daugmanis; directly below his portrait is an image of Deacon Peter Gertz next to the Rev. Daugmanis.
A rare artifact — a photographic postcard showing all members of the Philadelphia Latvian Baptist Youth Society (Filadelfijas latviešu baptistu jauniešu biedrība) in 1916 — provides a gateway to creating a portrait of the immigrant religious community. Using the names of the 72 individuals pictured on the postcard, the research has attempted to locate them primarily in the 1910 and 1920 U.S. census data, as well as — in the case of males — in draft registration cards from 1917.