The digital history project "Latvian Baptists in America, 1890-1940" is an effort to document a specific ethnic community. The Baptists represented a small yet active and influential part of the Latvian immigrant experience in the United States. One specific focus of the research project is the periodicals and other publications created by these immigrants, who have in large part been ignored by historians of the Latvian immigrant experience.

Latvian Baptists settled in a number of urban centers — Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and Philadelphia — as well as formed a few agricultural "colonies." By far the most active Latvian Baptist community was the one in West Philadelphia, where between 100 and 200 persons lived within a few city blocks of their meeting house, the First Lettish Baptist Church of Philadelphia at the corner of Ogden and Preston streets. It was this community that was largely responsible for the early publications created for Latvian Baptists in North America.

"Latvian Baptists in America, 1890-1940" begins with the Philadelphia community, but also will explore its connections to the immigrants in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Sussex County, Virginia, as well as to the other Latvian Baptist centers in the United States. In addition, the project is interested in interactions with Latvian Baptists in Brazil and in the homeland.

The project welcomes contributions from the community, especially descendants of the early Latvian Baptist settlers who can tell the stories of and provide evidence about their ancestors. Potential contributors are advised to review the digital standards set for the project. Also helpful for researching family history is a brief discussion about names.

The researcher, Andris Straumanis, is an associate professor of journalism in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. The project began as an assignment in a course in digital public humanities at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

The exhibit is built using the Omeka content management system. Map visualization is created through CartoDB.

Questions or comments may be directed to andris.straumanis@uwrf.edu.