Traveling with Twain

In Search of America's Identity

Immigration Stories

America has long been described as a nation of immigrants. President Obama chooses to call himself the son of a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya. One thread of this “Traveling with Twain in Search of America’s Identity” project tells the story of a representative immigrant family in America, the Ghigliones, beginning with the arrival in 1869 of seamstress Maria Strada Ghiglione and in 1872 of indentured macaroni maker Angelo Francesco Ghiglione. The project participants also are interviewing Americans about their attitudes toward current immigrants to the United States.

Posts in Immigration Stories

Looking in Seattle for a Dynamited Garage and Finding a Twain-Type Mississippi River Story

Alyssa Karas, Dan Tham and I piled into the backseat of John Ghiglione’s white, 2002 Saturn for the drive to the Seattle home and famous-for-a-day garage of his father, Dr. August J. Ghiglione, who served as … Read more >>

What Julie Pham learned managing a Vietnamese newspaper in the Pacific Northwest

One day, an elderly Vietnamese man walked into the office of Người Việt Tây Bắc. He wanted to place a classified ad in the largest and oldest newspaper for Vietnamese immigrants in Washington. Julie Pham, 33, … Read more >>

From the Mekong to the Mississippi

On the fortieth anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, Vietnamese immigrants and their children gathered alongside Vietnam War veterans to reflect on the dramatic events that forever changed both of their destinies—the siege of South Vietnam’s … Read more >>

Alameda Ghigliones demonstrate the immigrant entrepreneurial spirit with produce business, trucking company

After a day in Calaveras County, home to the world-famous frog-jumping contest inspired by Mark Twain’s story, we drive west to the island of Alameda, California, to interview Frank Ghiglione, who has his own frog-jumping story. … Read more >>

Miss Kim’s journey from Vietnamese village to American capital city

When the doctors couldn’t completely remove the large and painful cyst on her son Kent’s lower back, Chung Kim Do, who insists that we call her Miss Kim, took matters into her own hands. Miss Kim, … Read more >>