OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

OAH Distinguished Lectureship program 40 years 1981-2021

Suzanne M. Sinke

Portrait of Suzanne M. Sinke

Suzanne M. Sinke is an associate professor of history at Florida State University, where her teaching blends comparisons of gender and migration among different countries. She is the author of Dutch Immigrant Women in the U.S., 1880-1920 (2002) and a coeditor of A Century of European Migrations (1991) and Letters Across Borders (2006). Her current research includes two projects: one relates marriage to international migration in the U.S. context, from "bride ships" to matchmaking websites, and the other examines the letters of a family of refugees from Austria during World War II.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

Examines a series of examples across U.S. history of people who gained citizenship, who sought unsuccessfully to gain it, and who experienced a limited version of citizenship in law or practice. This interweaves issues of gender and race with national origins and immigration status. Against the backdrop of the dreamers of today it asks who was dreaming of citizenship in the past?
Members of the Hasterlik family fled Vienna when Hitler came to power. They dispersed to Switzerland, the U.S., England, and Kenya. Their correspondence demonstrated both the desire to retain ties and the reality of hiding information. Topics from contracting polio to undergoing domestic abuse to facing anti-Semitic attacks all stayed out of the texts, at least for a time. In this family story worthy of cinematic treatment, the letters remind us why historians must investigate our sources carefully.