Mexican-Americans in Milwaukee, 1930

The Mexicans of the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Social worker Agnes Fenton visited Mexican families in Milwaukee on a weekly basis for much of 1929 when the city, by her estimate, was home to about 4,000 Mexican-Americans. In this somewhat rambling report she combines personal observations and reflections with long quotations from other writers about Mexico and Mexicans. Those excerpts and Fenton's own prose exhibit the paternalism and condescension with which most white observers approached Spanish-speaking Americans at the time; the author candidly admits that she was not fluent in Spanish and was mistrusted by many of her informants. Despite its obvious flaws, we present her report here because it is widely cited and difficult to find on paper. Its most useful sections, for Wisconsin history, are parts IV-V (pages 18-30) which discuss Mexican immigration to the U.S. in the 1910s and 1920s and give many personal details about Wisconsin's early Hispanic immigrants.

Related Topics: Wisconsin's Response to 20th-century change
20th-Century Immigration
Creator: Fenton, Agnes M.
Pub Data: Milwaukee, Wis.: Y.W.C.A., International Institute, 1930; digitized from a Wisconsin Historical Society Library microfilm copy of a mimeographed original housed at the Milwaukee Public Library.
Citation: Fenton, Agnes M. The Mexicans of the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Wis.: Y.W.C.A., International Institute, 1930). Online facsimile at:; Visited on: 8/2/2021