Explanation of Maps

Density map 1890- 1910

This map depicts the relative density of “American” references in European responsa literature during the years 1890- 1910. Although no distinction is made between the various contexts in which America was being referred to, the geographical distribution has an internal logic. The central focus of this distribution is the territory connecting Congressional Poland and Ukraine. Two smaller centers are north-east Hungary and Lithuania. This distribution does not coincide with the demographic distribution of European Jewry or the geographical distribution of immigrants to America, thus requiring a new hypothesis explaining its source.

Density map 1910- 1930

This map depicts the relative density of “American” references in European responsa literature during the years 1910- 1930. Many changes are apparent compared to the previous map. The focal point of the distribution had moved to Hungary with slight trickling towards Poland and west Ukraine. In addition, the distribution was much less decentralized than the previous one and focuses on relatively limited geographical regions, despite the large amount of references during these years. This map reinforces the conclusion that American references were not the result of a large Jewish population or a large amount of immigrants, due to incompatible spatial distributions. On the other hand, this spatial change coincided with changes in the structure and the geography of the European Chassidic society.

Runaway maps

These maps depict all the references to America in context of individuals that fled from some reason or other. The fleeing was usually related to marital relations, a husband or wife that secularized in America, but other stories exist, such as debtors and messengers who disappeared. The first map depicts the references during the years 1890- 1910 and reflects both the relative multiplicity of references in this context (25% of the total references of America) and the wide distribution across the whole of east-Europe. The second map depicts the references during the years 1910- 1930 and reflects both the decrease in frequency (12.5% of total references) and the centralization of all references to the regions of Hungary and Poland.

“Runaway” connotations reflect an image of America as a wild west, where marginal elements in the orthodox society escape. Therefore, the reduction of these references reflects a strengthening of the “legitimacy” of America as a target of immigration.

A map of jewish migration from Europe to USA 1910-1930