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How Wales moulded modern America

09 March 2010

The Cambria Philharmonic Band in 1890The Cambria Philharmonic Band in 1890

Welsh historian Dr Bill Jones of the School of History and Archaeology will be undertaking a short lecture tour highlighting the role of the Welsh in the industrial, cultural and social development of America.

The prestigious lecture tour of the Unites States will take place between 11 and 27 March will include lectures by Dr Jones at Harvard University, Campbell University, the Great Plains Welsh Heritage Centre, Nebraska and the Scranton Anthracite Museum, Pennsylvania. His stop in Scranton will also see the launch of a special exhibition based largely on his research findings on Welsh migration.

Dr Jones, an expert in nineteenth and early twentieth century Welsh emigration and Welsh communities outside Wales, and Co-Director of Cardiff Centre for Welsh American Studies, will be visiting these academic and heritage institutions to reveal how Wales helped mould modern America.

Dr Jones said: "I am particularly looking forward to speaking at Scranton because the area was formerly an important coal, iron and steel making centre, so it is unsurprising that it attracted migrants and expertise from the Welsh coalfields and became the largest Welsh community in the USA in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The history of the Welsh in Scranton was the subject of my first book, Walesin America: Scranton and the Welsh 1860-1920.

Also on display at the Scranton Museum will be a touring exhibition on the Welsh in America organised by New York office of the Welsh Assembly Government, to which Dr Jones contributed.

During his visit to the U.S. Dr Jones will be giving papers on his recent research into Welsh American letters at the Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University and at Campbell University, North Carolina. He will be speaking about the Welsh American writer and women’s rights campaigner Margaret Evans Roberts (1833-1921) at Great Plains Welsh Heritage Centre, Wymore, Nebraska. He will also address meetings of the St. David’s Welsh Society of Nebraska and St. David’s Welsh Society of Minneapolis at which he will talk informally about various aspects of his research into emigration from Wales.

Professor Peter Coss, Head of the School of History and Archaeology, commented "Bill Jones is a remarkable and prolific historian. An engaging and charismatic speaker, he is a fantastic ambassador both for the School of History and Archaeology and the University. His research reveals the dramatic role that Welsh communities played in moulding modern America, as such it has great significance for reinforcing long-standing cultural and collaborative links between Cardiff University and Wales, more broadly, and academic schools, heritage institutions and communities across the United States."

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