Romanians in America - 1922
SOURCE: Romanii in America (1922) 200 page report published by the Romanian legation (Washington, DC) and recently offered as a reprint by the US Library of Congress

Parts summarized by Dan Dimancescu

NOTE: In 1922, Prince Anton Bibescu, then Minister of the Romanian Legation in Washington, launched a study to document Romania’s presence in the United States. Authored by Serban Drutzu, the research was carried out by two staff people including Dimitri Dem. Dimancescu, then a freshly minted young diplomat and coincidentally the father of the author of this summary of parts of the report.

....Referencing varied sources, the study reached an estimate of 230,000 Romanians living in the United States in 1920:
....110,000 were Romanian citizens,
....70,000 were Jewish Romanians who had attained US citizenship,
....50,000 were ethnic Romanians who emigrated from Transylvania then under Austro-Hungarian rule. These same individuals were quick to claim Romanian citizenship documentation after Transylvania was absorbed into ‘Greater Romania’ by the terms of the post-WW-I Treaty of Trianon in 1920.
....During the same quarter century, 57,800 returned, more than one-half in the post WW-I wave of the country’s enlargement into Greater Romania and rapid economic growth as oil, gold and wheat became major exports fueling rapid and large investments in infrastructure and industry. In 1919 as few as 60 returned; in 1920 and 1921, 30,000 returned.
....The peak in-migration period were the years 1906-07 and again 1913-1914 when a total of 30,500 and 37,500 emigrated from Romania respectively. Most were farmers and predominantly from Transylvania and the Banat; others from Dobrogea. About 10% arrived with higher education skills or professions. The primary motive, other than constrained opportunity to advance or buy property under Imperial rule over Transylvania, they sought the ‘American dream’ of higher income. At the time, wages for men were paid at a rate of $20-25 per week in industrial (machine tools, agricultural machinery, railroad engines, steel-works, or mining jobs); women were $12 to 18 per week and many found employment as domestics. This was equivalent to about $200-250 or $120 to 180 in present-day purchasing power. Room and board in lodgings in those days cost $4 to $5 per week.
....As the accompanying map indicates, the main destination were nine states: New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, New jersey, Indiana, Minnesota and California.
....By the 1920s, New York City counted 38,000 citizens of Romanian origin of whom 90% were Jewish. The study made special mention that most arrived penniless. Four-out-of-ten became merchants. Many others found their way into the garment industry. Of the overall total of 70,000 Jewish Romanians in America, twenty per cent arrived as professionals in medicine or dentistry, law, engineering or architecture. Their principal parent organization in 1920 was The United Roumanian Jews of America based in New York with 12,000 members.
....The study noted in particular special qualities of ethnic-Romanian. They "did not object to hard physical work and lacked any self-pretense.” And it added, “few were interested in joining the burgeoning union movement.” The earliest Romanian social organization was the Uniunea Societatilor de Ajutor si Cultura din America (The Social Union for Assistance and Culture in America) that represented 120 local organizations in various American cities. Of those, thirty-two were in Ohio, seventeen in Pennsylvania, eleven in Indiana, and five in Illinois. The Social Union published a newspaper entitled AMERICA: The Only Roumanian Daily News. Forty churches were established of which 24 were Orthodox and 16 Greco-Catholic. A student group of 20 in Pittsburgh (Carnegie Tech and Univ of Pittsburgh) established the first Association of Romanian University Students in America.

Afterword: The U.S. 2000 Census counted 367,310 Americans with first ancestry Romanian and 518,653 with Romanian ancestry. There is also a significant number of persons of Romanian Jewish ancestry estimated at about 250,000.

Photos early 1900s - Ellis Island portraits were made by Augustus Francis Sherman (1865-1925)

Photos early 1900s - Ellis Island portraits of Romanian immigrants made by Augustus Francis Sherman (1865-1925)

Map and data of Romanian 'nationals' from Romanii in America (1922)