A visit to the Keene State College archives revealed a lot about different migrant and immigrant groups that came to New Hampshire that I had no idea even existed in New Hampshire. These groups that I was personally unaware of were the Finnish, Vietnamese and the Lebanese migrant and immigrant groups. The groups that I was aware of are the Scots-Irish, Irish, French Canadian, German, and the Hispanic communities. It was an eye opener on what groups have lived in New Hampshire that I never even heard of. On this initial visit to the archives none of the books focused on Keene, New Hampshire, but rather on Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city. However there was one noticeable exception to that, and that was the Finnish community of Newport, New Hampshire.
A book called The Finns in Newport, NH by Olli Turpeinen discusses the Finnish community that formed in Newport. The Finns did not settle in New Hampshire largest city of Manchester, despite it being the center of New Hampshire immigration. This was because of other ethnic groups such as the Irish and French Canadians already living in the city. They moved to Newport in the 1880’s because of the various job opportunities that were closed off to them. Finns went to Newport for employment in a town that was willing to hire them. The community continued to grow into the twentieth century, and immigration and migration continued throughout New Hampshire.
Manchester, New Hampshire was the top immigration destination for many arriving in the state. As stated earlier numerous migrant and immigrant groups made their home in Manchester. Another group that was fascinating was the Lebanese community. This group arrived in the early 20th century, and managed to open several small businesses according to Thaddeus M. Piotrowski’s The Lebanese Community of Manchester. At the moment I don’t know much more about this community but, I’m interested in doing a project either on the Lebanese in Manchester or the Finns in Newport. It was interesting to explore the archives as I truly discovered communities I did not know existed. All information came from the books The Finns in Newport, NH Olli Turpeinen and Thaddeus M. Piotrowski’s The Lebanese Community of Manchester.