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Emma Nielson's May Snowstorm Account, 1888

Emma Nielson Student Exercise Book Page: Letter to Cousin about collecting buttons

Emma Nielson Student Exercise Book Page: Letter to Cousin about collecting buttons

Other, LHS_Neilson_Buttons
 
Document Description
Page from Emma Nielson's student journal, May 12, 1888.
 
Transcription
Lansingburgh, NY May 12, 1888
Dear Cousin,
The snow is falling very fast today and the snow is very deep. There is not many to school today. This morning there were nine children in my class and eleven in the other class. This afternoon there is five scholars in my class and eleven in the other. We have just had our spelling. I am perfect in all my lessons today. One week last month I was sick and could not come to school the whole week. I am saving buttons and have got 133. I began saving Tuesday May the 6. I hope you will write to me soon.
From your cousin,
Emma Nielson
 
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Historical Context
Prior to the opening of Ellis Island in 1892, most immigrants into the United States came through Castle Garden. Castle Garden functioned as the first immigration center for the United States from 1855 until 1890. Peter Nielson came through Castle Garden as an immigrant from Denmark in 1870. He made his way through New York and settled in Lansingburgh. He was a tailor and eventually owned his own dry goods store. Along with his wife Martena, he raised five children including Emma.
The story of American immigration is complex and diverse. It is a story best told through multiple perspectives using the evidence left by those who experienced it. Emma Nielson was the daughter of immigrants from Denmark. Her parents immigrated to the United States in 1870 and Emma was born in 1876. The story of the Nielson family is not unlike many immigrants from the Northwestern European countries. However, when compared to the experiences of immigrants from Southeastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America, the Nielson story is vastly different. A close look at the Nielson experience shows the relative ease in which this family immigrated and established a new life in the United States. Emma's student journal provides a glimpse into everyday life in Lansingburgh, New York. Her account of the Blizzard of 1888 shows a young girl's perspective regarding an extraordinary event.
 
 
Essential Question
What was life like for the child of an immigrant?
 
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Describe Emma Nielson's life based on this document.