The Irish did it. The Polish did it. Even educated Swedes did it. Every ethnic group that immigrated to the United States over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries kept in contact with their loved ones back home by writing and receiving copious amounts of letters. As the historian David A. Gerber reminds us, letters from people desperate to keep in contact with family and friends were an important part of immigrant life and the biggest source of written documents by immigrants that historians possess. Yet if you only went by the books and articles that have been published since William I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki compiled their magisterial The Polish Peasant in Europe and America (1918–20), you would be forgiven if you believed that, in a great departure from all immigrant groups, none of the millions of Mexicans who...

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