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Marjorie Roth - Immigrant Stories

Margorie Roth was born Marija Strukel in Krasnja, Slovenia, and immigrated with her family to the United States as a small child in 1933. The family eventually made its way to Springfield, Illinois, where Marjorie soon mastered English and adapted to life in American. She began her career as a beautician in 1959, and married Arthur Roth, a military veteran, in 1974. She began playing a button box, a traditional Slovenian instrument, when she received one as a gift on her sixtieth birthday.

Interview Links

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Immigration to the United States

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Adjusting to America, marriage and playing a button box

Transcript

Photos

Caption

This is a formal picture of Teresjia at age 20 taken in Austria before WWI.

Where:

Austria

When:

before WWI

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Blass Strukel at age 20 in a Yugoslavian Army uniform in post WWI Yugoslavia. Military service was required after the establishment of Yugoslavia following the Treaty of Versailles. He served in a cavalry unit with ethnic Croatian and Serbian soldiers.

Where:

Yugoslavia

When:

Age 20

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A cottage in Krašnja, Slovenia, where Marge lived. Uncle Frank, (Maria’s brother) lived on one side and Marge, her mother, sister, brother, and grandmother lived on the other side. The children slept in one bed. Vegetables are growing in the front yard.

Where:

Krašnja, Slovenia

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

The village of Krašnja, Slovenia was located in the foothills of the Austrian Alps. The village of 100 people had one Catholic church, one cemetery, one tavern and restaurant, and one school. The church spire is the tallest structure in the village.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Krašnja, Slovenia

Caption

Marge's grandmother,Teresjia Orazem, is gathering wheat in a field near Krašnja in traditional long skirt and head scarf called a babushka. Teresjia is about 60 years old in this photo, circa mid 1930s.

Where:

Krašnja

When:

Circa mid 1930s

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

Marge’s family posed for a family passport picture, May 13, 1933. From the left are Marjorie, Josephine, Maria, and Frank. They traveled on the RMS Majestic, through Ellis Island then to Chicago to meet their father after a long separation.

Where:

Slovenia

When:

May 13, 1933

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marjorie and the Strukel family came to the United States on the RMS Majestic in 1933. The ship was one of the largest passenger liners in the world at the time.

Where:

RMS Majestic

When:

1933

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

The family’s first home in Springfield was bought in 1938. Pictured from the left are Frank, Blass, Marjorie, Maria, and Josephine. It is a Slovenian tradition for young girls to wear wine colored dresses and hold fresh flowers for formal pictures.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

Circa 1938

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marge and Josephine pose with teenage friends in Springfield, IL in 1943. From the left are Josephine, Barbara, Marge, and Ruth.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

1943

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Maria and Blass Strukel, Marge’s parents, are sitting in their backyard in Springfield, IL in the 1950’s.

Where:

Springfield, IL

When:

1950’s

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marge, second from the right in back, is shown attending a beauty school in Springfield, IL circa 1959. Marge, a beautician for over 50 years, ran her own beauty shop before retiring at age 82.

Where:

Springfield, IL

When:

Circa 1959

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marge and Arthur are shown in a wedding picture in 1974. They were married at the National Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention, Conrad Hilton Hotel, Chicago, IL.

Where:

Chicago, IL

When:

1974

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Arthur Roth served the Illinois State Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars from 1977 to 1978. Arthur was a soldier in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Circa 1977

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Arthur Roth is shown relaxing at a Veterans of Foreign Wars Chicago convention in 1978.

Where:

Chicago, Illinois

When:

1978

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

This custom made Slovenian button box accordion was given to Marge by her husband, Arthur on her 60th birthday, a replica of her father’s button box which he had to sell in 1938. Art located the original and bought it for Marge as a sentimental gift.

Where:

Unknown

When:

60th birthday

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marge and Arthur Roth are photographed together at a Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Chicago in 1985.

Where:

Chicago, Illinois

When:

1985

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marge and Josephine participate in the Illinois State Fair 4th of July parade in 1986 with the Polish American Club. In the background is the Illinois State Capitol building.

Where:

Illinois State Capitol building

When:

1986

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marge plays her button box in their front yard in Springfield, IL, circa 1988. Self taught, Marjorie became proficient in learning music from Slovenia, Poland, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Lithuania, Austria and the US.

Where:

Springfield, IL

When:

Circa 1988

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Fourteen Button Box players gathered in St. Louis and posed for a group photo at the 1988 Labor Day picnic in Auburn, IL. Marge is wearing a Slovenian hat in the last row. The group played traditional polka music together in what they called “jamming”.

Where:

Auburn, IL

When:

Labor Day, 1988

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marge and Dorie Ushman are pictured with the Chuck Ushman Orchestra in the early 1990’s. They participated in many performances in the Springfield, IL area and nearby region.

Where:

Springfield, IL area

When:

Circa 1990's

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marge is shown with her sister, Josephine Sneckus, and a friend who sewed Slovenian hats and dresses to wear for ‘Slovenian Stroller’ performances.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Unknown

Caption

Marge and Josephine are entertaining at the Labor Day Picnic . 2001. Josephine is holding her highly decorated stump fiddle and Marge is playing her Slovenian button box. Both are dressed in handmade Slovenian hats and dresses.

Where:

Labor Day Picnic in Auburn, Il

When:

2001

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marge and Josephine, the ‘Slovenian Strollers’ demonstrate a polka step during a dance at the Auburn Labor Day picnic in 2001. They are dressed in their traditional Slovenian hats and dresses.

Where:

Auburn Labor Day picnic

When:

2001

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Marjorie Roth is pictured playing her button box in 2013. Beside her is a picture of the custom made instrument given to her by her husband.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

2013

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

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