In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries millions of Europeans left their homes to form immigrant communities in the United States. Much of the literature about those immigrant communities focuses upon problems such as their ecomonic [economic] hardships, prejudices against them, and their difficulties adjusting to an unfamiliar environment. It is equally important, however, to study the strengths of these communities, their rich internal life, and the institutions that expressed and sustained that life. One of the most significant and least studied of these institutions was the foreign language, or ethnic, theater.

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