(Queens, New York, United States) – Queens College in New York announced last month that its Hellenic American Project, or HAP, has officially opened its doors. Nicholas Alexia, the project’s director, is also a sociology professor at Queen’s College. The project, which can be found in the Rosenthal Library on campus, consists of an archive of digital documents and other materials that are readily available to anyone who wants to research the history and lives of Greek-Americans living throughout the United States.
Queens County has one of the highest concentrations of Greek-Americans living in the United States, and there are also 1500 students of Greek descent who are attending Queens University. They currently have the largest Greek-American population of any university in the United States.
There are many elements that make up the Hellenic American Project. These include audio files with oral histories, archives from different communities, photos, journals, magazines, newspapers, and books. One of the highlights of HAP, though, is certainly the oral history archives. There are interviews from members of the Greek community ranging from business owners, residents of Astoria, civic leaders, and students.
Another thing the project talks about is the waves of immigration that occurred in the United States. Although Greek immigration to the United States has been documented since the 1600’s, the first major wave didn’t happen until much later. The first major wave began in 1880 and lasted for the next 40 years. Greeks came to the United States fairly consistently after that, until the numbers started to taper off in the early 1980’s, shortly after Greece officially entered the European Union.
The project’s historians, Theordore Saloutos, Alice Scourby, and Charles Moskos have been diligently collecting as many of their stories as they could. Alexiou, HAP’s director, said that his, “goal has been to carry the work forward and capture the lives and experiences of the second major wave of immigrants who came in about 1960 to 1980.”