Leisure pursuits in ethnic Milwaukee, 1830--1930

Paul-Thomas Ferguson, Marquette University


This study examines leisure activities in Milwaukee between 1830 and 1930. Throughout this period, immigrant communities, American leisure patterns, and urban geography combined to create a vibrant and ever-changing culture. Studying leisure in a strongly-ethnic city, this work focuses on three major themes. First, urban geography influenced the depth of ethnic identity and the forms of American leisure in cities like Milwaukee, both through the establishment of deeply ethnic neighborhoods and, later, with the rise of public institutions and spaces which enticed people away from ethnocentric residential areas. Second, ethnicity influenced the evolution of urban geography and the character of American leisure, particularly through concentrated ethnic neighborhoods which led to the establishment of leisure organizations and destinations aimed at specific nationalities. Third, trends in American leisure influenced both urban geography and the rate of assimilation of ethnic groups, as evidenced by both the evolution of leisure space and the declining influence of ethnic pastimes. In short, the study of Milwaukee leisure is inextricably tied to the studies of both urban geography and ethnicity and speaks to general trends found in many American cities.

Recommended Citation

Ferguson, Paul-Thomas, "Leisure pursuits in ethnic Milwaukee, 1830--1930" (2005). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3201920.