Slovene Americans

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Slovene Americans
Ameriški Slovenci
Total population
Regions with significant populations
California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin
American English, Slovene
Roman Catholic, Lutheran
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History of Slovenia
Map showing the population of Slovenes in the United States by State according to the American Community Survey 2010

Slovene Americans or Slovenian Americans are Americans of full or partial Slovene or Slovenian ancestry. Slovenes mostly immigrated to America during the Slovene mass emigration period from the 1880s to World War I.


The first Slovenes in the United States were missionary priests.[2] Two of the earliest such missionaries were Fr. Anton Kappus and Fr. Frederick Baraga (Gobetz, 2009). In the 1730s some Slovenes settled in small farming communities in Georgia.[2] There were a few Slovene soldiers who fought in the American Revolution.[2] Slovene priests built some of the first churches and schools in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and neighboring parts of Canada.[2] Many of these early immigrants were bilingual Slovene-German speakers (Shipman, 1912). Until the 1880s there was a small number of Slovene immigrants to the United States.

Between 1880 and World War I, the largest numbers of Slovenes immigrated to America. Most of these came between 1905 and 1913, although the exact number is impossible to determine because Slovenes were often classified as Austrians, Italians, Croats, or under other, broader labels, such as Slavonic or Slavic.[2] These later arrivals migrated to the industrial cities or to mining towns in the Upper Midwest, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Two later periods of increased immigration to the United States were the years immediately after World War I (1919–1923) and World War II (1949–1956) (Susel, 1980). Most Slovene immigrants to the United States were of the Catholic faith; however, a minority practiced the Lutheran faith (Susel, 1980). The Cleveland metropolitan area is home to the largest population of Slovenians in the world outside of Slovenia.[3]



The Slovene population in the United States has been historically concentrated in the Great Lakes and Northeastern United States including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota; as well as Colorado. According to the 2000 census, the five states with the largest Slovene populations were:

These five states are followed, in descending order, by Colorado, Michigan, Florida, New York, Texas, Indiana, Washington, Kansas, Maryland, West Virginia and Utah, again according to the 2000 census. The state with the smallest Slovene American population is North Dakota (107). There is no American state without Slovene descendants among its population.


The 1910 census reported 183,431 persons of Slovene mother tongue, 123,631 "foreign-born" and 59,800 born in America. These numbers are clearly an underestimate of the actual Slovene population since descendants of earlier settlers often no longer knew Slovene. In the 2000 US Census, 176,691 Americans declared that they were of Slovene origin (of those, 738 have attained a Ph.D.). Some Slovenes coming from the Austro-Hungarian Empire avoided anti-Slavic prejudice by identifying themselves as Austrians.[2] Many others were recorded as Slav, Slavic, Slavish, or Slavonian. The true number of Americans of Slovene descent is probably between 200,000 and 300,000;[5] if persons with only one-quarter or one-eighth Slovene ancestry are counted, the number could be as high as 500,000.[6]

Fraternal, Benevolent, Social, and Cultural organizations[edit]

A number of fraternal organizations, benevolent societies, social groups, and cultural organizations have been founded by Slovene immigrants and their descendents in the United States.[2][7] These organizations allowed members to preserve old traditions as well as to provide insurance against illness and death.[8] This was especially important because other insurance companies at the time discriminated against immigrants or in some cases defrauded them.[9] A number of mergers and name changes took place during the 20th Century,[10] so the history of Slovene fraternalism in the United States is difficult to trace. The major extant Slovene fraternal, benevolent, and cultural organizations in the United States are:

Slovenian National Home in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Slovenski Narodni Dom (Slovenian National Home), Cleveland; founded in 1914.[12]
  • Napredne Slovenke Amerike (Progressive Slovene Women of America) (PSWA), founded in 1934.
  • Slovenska ženska zveza Amerike, founded in Chicago in 1926, became Slovenian Women's Union of America (SWUA), and then Slovenian Union of America (SUA).[13]
  • Slovenian Catholic Center, also known as Slovenian Cultural Center, Lemont, IL[14]
  • Slovenian Cultural Society Triglav, Norway, WI; founded in 1952.[15]
  • National Cleveland-style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland[16]
  • American Slovenian Club of Fairport Harbor, Fairport Harbor, OH[17]
  • Slovene Home for the Aged, Cleveland[18]
  • Slovenian Museum and Archives, Cleveland[19]
  • Slovenska Pristava, Harpersfield, OH; Slovenian Catholic recreation and retreat center[20]
  • Slovenian National Home, Chisholm, MN (closed)

For a longer discussion of the history of Slovene fraternalism in the United States, see the following article: Fraternal Benefit Societies and Slovene Immigrants in the USA.

The Slovenian Genealogy Society, International [21] helps members trace their Slovene roots.

Slovene Churches and Choirs in the United States[edit]

  • St. Vitus's Church, Cleveland, congregation founded in 1894, building constructed in 1932; home of the Slovenian Choir 'LIRA' founded by Monsignor Ponikvar in 1925.[22]
  • St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church, Cleveland; home of the Slovenian Choir 'Iliirija'.
  • St. Cyril Roman Catholic Church, New York (East Village, Manhattan); founded in 1914.[23]
  • Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, Kansas City, Kansas, Founded in 1908.
  • Resurrection Roman Catholic Church, Eveleth, Minnesota.
  • Slovenian Catholic Mission-Slovensko Versko Središče, Lemont, IL[14]
  • Slovenian Chapel of Our Lady of Brezje, in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC; a Slovenian National Marian Shrine founded in 1971.[24]
  • Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Fairfield, CT
  • The Singing Slovenes, Duluth, MN; founded in 1980.[25]
  • Ely Slovenian Chorus, Ely, MN; founded in 1969 by Mary Hutar, final performance in 2009.[26]
  • Fantye na vasi (Boys from the Village), Cleveland; men's a cappella choir founded in 1977.[27]
  • Zarja Singing Society, Cleveland; Founded in 1916.[28]
  • St. Vitus Youth Choir, Cleveland[22]
  • St. Stephen Catholic Church, St. Stephen, Minnesota, founded 1871. Current church built 1903.
  • St. Stephen's Men's Choir. Directors: Peter Horne, Math Kosel, and Ben Omann. St. Stephen, Minnesota; founded by three Omann brothers in the 1860s.

Slovene Schools in the United States[edit]

  • St. Vitus Child Slovenian Language School, Cleveland[29]
  • St. Mary Slovenian Language School, Cleveland[30]
  • Slomškova slovenska šola / Slomšek Slovenian School, Lemont, IL[31]
  • St. Stephen School, St. Stephen, Minnesota, was a public school, but from the late 1880 to the 1950s was predominately Slovenian and only spoke Slovenian until the early 1920s.

Slovene Folkloric Dance Groups in the United States[edit]

  • Folklorna Skupina Kres, Cleveland; founded in 1954.[32]
  • LIPA Folkloric Dance Group, Lemont, IL[33]

Slovene Athletic Clubs in the United States[edit]

  • Chicago Slovenian Sports Klub, Chicago; founded in 1982[34][35]


The first newspaper established by Slovene Americans was Amerikanski Slovenec (American Slovene), which was published in Chicago beginning in 1891 and had a pioneer role of unifying Slovene Americans. The following list includes current and former Slovene American publications.

Current Publications

  • Prosveta (The Enlightenment), newspaper of the SNPJ-Slovene National Benefit Society[36]
  • Glas Adz (Our Voice), is published semi-monthly by American Mutual Life Association[37]

Former Publications[38]

  • Amerikanski Slovenec (American Slovene), official publication of the American Slovenian Catholic Union, Chicago, Cleveland, Tower, MN, Joliet, IL
  • Ameriska Domovina (American Home), Cleveland; title varies: Nova Domovina, Clevelandska Amerika
  • Bodocnost (The Future), Milwaukee; Weekly
  • Clevelandska Amerika (Cleveland's America), Cleveland; Semi-weekly
  • Coloradske Novice (Colorado News), Pueblo, CO; Weekly.
  • Coloradsko Solnce (Colorado Sun), Denver, CO. Weekly.
  • Delavec (Worker), Detroit, MI (also published in Chicago, IL, and Milwaukee, WI). Weekly.
  • Delavska Slovenija, (Workingmen's Slovenia), Milwaukee; Weekly.
  • Edinost (Unity), Chicago; title changes to Amerikanski Slovenec in 1925
  • Edinost (Unity), Pittsburgh; Weekly.
  • Enakopravnost (Equality), Cleveland; Daily.
  • Glas Naroda (The People's Voice), New York; Three times a week.
  • Glas Svobode (The Voice of Liberty), Chicago; Weekly.
  • Glas Svobode (The Voice of Liberty), Pueblo, CO; Weekly.
  • Glasilo K.S.K. Jednote (The Voice of K.S.K. Union), Chicago; Weekly.
  • Glasilo SNPJ (The Voice of SNPJ), organ of the Slovene National Benefit Society, superseded by Prosveta, Chicago; Monthly, weekly.
  • Glasnik (The Herald), previously titled Glasnik od Gorenjega Jezera, Calumet, MI; Weekly.
  • Jugoslovenski Gospodar (Yugoslav Proprietor), Chicago; Semi-monthly.
  • Jugoslovenski Obzor (Jugoslav Observer), Milwaukee; Weekly.
  • Komar (Mosquito), New York; Semi-monthly
  • Mir (Peace), Pueblo, CO; Weekly.
  • Moskito (Mosquito), Cleveland; Weekly.
  • Napredek (Progress), Cleveland; Weekly.
  • Naprej (Forward), Pittsburgh; Semi-monthly.
  • Narod (The People), Pittsburgh; Weekly.
  • Narodna Beseda (National Word), Cleveland; Monthly.
  • Narodni Vestnik (National Herald), Duluth, MN. Weekly.
  • Nas Dom (Our Home), New York; Weekly.
  • New Era (previously Nova Doba), Cleveland; Bi-weekly.
  • Nova Domovina (New Homeland), Cleveland; Weekly, Semi-weekly, Daily.
  • Proletarec (The Proletarian), Chicago; Weekly, Monthly.
  • Pueblske Novice (Pueblo News), Pueblo, CO; Monthly.
  • Resnica (The Truth), Houghton, MI; Irregular.
  • Slebodni Orel (Free Eagle), New York; Weekly.
  • Sloga (Unity), Cleveland; Weekly.
  • Slovan (The Slav), Pueblo, CO; Monthly.
  • Slovenija (Slovenia), Milwaukee; Weekly.
  • Slovenske Novice (Slovenian News), successor to Glasnik, Calumet, MI; Weekly.
  • Slovenski Narod (The Slovenian People), title varies: Slovenski Narod v Ameriki, New York; previously published in Pueblo, CO; Daily, Weekly, Semi-weekly.
  • Slovenski Svet (Slovenian World), Washington, DC; Weekly.
  • Slovensko-Hrvatske Novine (Slovenian-Croatian News), Calumet, MI; Weekly.
  • Svoboda (Liberty), Chicago; Weekly.
  • Vestnik (The Herald), title varies Vestnik in Nas Dom, Milwaukee; Weekly.
  • Zora (The Dawn), Chicago; Weekly.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder - Results". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Slovenian Americans,
  3. ^ "Slovenian National Home - Cleveland Historical". Cleveland Historical. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  4. ^ Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder - Results". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Slovenia". Slavic Heritage Coalition. Archived from the original on 2 March 2007.
  7. ^ "Fraternal Organizations". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Page Not Found". KSKJ Life. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  9. ^ "A Brief History of WSA Fraternal Life". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2010-08-14.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Slovenian National Home of Indianapolis - Home of the Slovenian Festival". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Slovenian National Home". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  13. ^ "About SUA". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  14. ^ a b "ABOUT US". Slovenian Catholic Center. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Slovenian Cultural Society Triglav". Slovenian Cultural Society Triglav. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  16. ^ "About". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  17. ^ "AmericanSlovenianClubFairportHarbor". AmericanSlovenianClubFairportHarbor. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Slovene Home for the Aged". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  19. ^ "Slovenian Museum and Archives". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Home - Slovenska Pristava". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-04-06. Retrieved 2007-05-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ a b "Choirs - St. Vitus Church - Cleveland, OH". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  23. ^ "After 95 Years, Slovenians Still Find Refuge at St. Cyril's Church". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  24. ^ "The National Shrine Mary Help of Christians at Brezje - Marija Pomagaj Brezje". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  25. ^ "The Singing Slovenes -". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  26. ^ "Slovenia's old time music". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  27. ^ "Fantje na vasi - Slovenian men's a cappella chorus". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  28. ^ "Zarja Singing Society". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  29. ^ "Slovenian Kurentovanje winter carnival, language school dinner at St. Vitus, set for weekend on Cleveland's East Side". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  30. ^ "Slovenian Schools". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  32. ^ "Kres: Slovenian Cultural Dance Group". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  33. ^ "LIPA Folklore Dance Group". Slovenian Catholic Center. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  34. ^ "Slovenian Sports Klub". Slovenian Catholic Center. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  35. ^ "Chicago Slovenian Sports Klub". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  36. ^ "Young Adult Life - SNPJ Membership Benefits - SNPJ". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  37. ^ "OUR VOICE - American Mutual Life Association Newspaper - AMLA". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  38. ^ "Slovene American Periodicals · University of Minnesota Libraries". Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  • Gobetz, E. 2009. Selected Slovenian Trailblazers in America. Slovenian American Times. Vol. 1. Issue 5, Page 12. 23 March 2009.
  • Shipman, A. 1912. The Slavs in America. In: The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • Susel, R.M. 1980. Slovenes. pp. 939–942 in: Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups.

External links[edit]