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Gypsy American (Romani) History, Life & Values

(see also Anti-Gypsyism & European Romani (Gypsy) History, Life & Values)

On the Web  •  In the Library  •  CD & Audio  •  Film & Video Search


“Gypsy Americans” are those who self-identify both as “Gypsies” & as “Americans,” perhaps 100,000 people distributed throughout the 50 states. The term “Gypsy” is thought by some to be derogatory; & as such it is avoided by some Gypsy Americans & others in deference to "Roma" or "Romany." This website employs "Gypsy" to refer to the various traveller peoples settled in the New World, & "Roma" to refer to the various Gypsy communities of Europe. Gypsy Americans today are a proud people who live rich, nuanced, widely varied & productive lifestyles, engaged with non-Gypsies in economic relationships that on close inspection reveal a complex symbiosis well-saturated in shades of local color. While maintaining separate identities to varying degrees, Gypsy Americans express a specific amalgamated identity & a shared sense of unity.

On the Web: Articles

Wayfaring Stranger: The Black Dutch, Germany Gypsies or Chicanere & their Relation to the Melungeon. Linda Griggs (4/00).

Cross-Cultural Medicine: A Decade Later. Anne Sutherland, Western Journal of Medicine (9/92).

On the Web: Specialized Sites

American Roma (Gypsy) & Travellers.

Gypsies of the Americas.

Gypsy Lore Society.

Gypsy Ministry (interview with Gypsy American Lutheran pastor Larry Merino, links to audiotapes)

"Gypsies" in the US (Smithsonian Institution).

Patrin (Romany culture & history).

Pinky's Window on Changing Gypsy American Everyday Life & Values. Guest book, with ongoing conversations between Gypsy American youths, will shatter preconceptions

Roma History.

Romani Archives & Documentation Center (U. of Texas).

Roma Scholars.

Rom News Society.

Travellers' Rest. Irish Travellers in the US.

In the Library: Articles

Bercovici, Konrad. "The American Gypsy" Century Magazine 1103, 4 (1922): 507-519.

Brown, Irving. 1929. "Gypsies, American," in Encyclopedia Brittanica (14th ed.; London, 1929), vol. 11,p. 42.

Hancock, Ian. "Gypsies in Texas," Roma (Chandigarh) 1,1 (1974):36-47.

__________. "Gypsies," in S. Thernstrom (ed.) Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups (Cambridge MA: Harvard, 1979), p. 440-445.

__________. "Gypsies" & "Travelers" in C.R. Wilson & W. Ferris (eds.) Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. (Chapel Hill: U. of North Carolina, 1989), p. 432 & 33.
Miller, Carol J. "American Rom & the ideology of defilement," in F. Rehfisch (ed.) Gypsies, Tinkers & Other Travellers (NY: Academic. 1975), pp. 41-54.

Salloway, J. "Medical care utilization among urban Gypsies," Urban Anthropology 2,1 (1973):113-126.

Salo, Matt. "The Gypsy niche in North America: Some perspectives on the exploitation of social Environments," in Aparna Rao (ed.) The Other Nomads: Peripatetics in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Koln: Bohlau, 1987), pp. 89-109.

Sutherland, A. "The body as a social symbol among the Rom," in J. Blacking (ed.) The Anthropology of the Body (NY: Academic, 1977).

Thomas, James D. 1985. "Gypsies & American medical care," Annals of Internal Medicine 102 (1985):842-845.

In the Library: Non-Fiction Books

Brown, Irving. Gypsy Fires in America (NY: Harper, 1924).

Denham, Diana. Gypsies in Social Space (Palo Alto: Ragusan, 1981). Seattle.

Gropper, Rena C. Gypsies in the City: Culture Patterns & Survival (Princeton NJ: Darwin, 1975).

Hancock, Ian. We Are the Romani People (Hatfield: U. of Hertfordshire, 2002). Invaluable modern introduction to history & culture.

Kenrick, Donald. Historical Dictionary of the Gypsies (Romanies) (Lanham MD: Scarecrow, 1998).

Lockwood, William O. & Sheila Salo. Gypsies & Travellers in North America: An Annotated Bibliography (Cheverly MD: Gypsy Lore Society, 1994).

Maas, Peter. King of the Gypsies (NY: Viking, 1975). Purveys stereotypes.

Mayall, David. Gypsy Identities (London: Routledge, 2004).

McLaughlin, John B. Gypsy Lifestyles (Lexington MA: Lexington, 1980). Purveys stereotypes.

Nemeth, David. The Gypsy-American (Lewiston NY: Edward Mellen, 2002). Los Angeles, Kansas City & Ohio.

Salo, Matt. The American Kalderas: Gypsies in the New World (Hackettstown NJ: Gypsy Lore Society, 1981).

Sutherland, Anne. Gypsies: The Hidden Americans (NY: Free Press, 1975).

Sway, Marlene. Familiar Strangers: Gypsy Life in America (Urbana: U. Illinois, 1988).

Tong, Diana (ed.) Gypsies: An Interdisciplinary Reader (NY, 1998). Purveys some stereotypes.

Turner-Stastny, Gabrielle. The Gypsy in Northwest America (Olympia: Washington State Bicentennial Commission, 1977).

Weyrauch, Walter (ed.) Gypsy Law: Romani Legal Traditions & Culture (Berkeley: U. of California, 2001).

Wilson, Robert C. Gypsies (NY: Bantam, 1989). Purveys stereotypes

In the Library: Fiction

Brown, Irving. Romany Road (NY: Harrison Smith/Robert Haas, 1932).

Lee, Ronald. Goddam Gypsy: An Autobiographical Novel (Montreal: Tundra, 1971).

Nickels, George. The Gypsy Season (Port Washington NY: Ashley, 1982). Memoir of family exploits in Chicago & elsewhere.

Putnam, Vii. Hard Hearts are for Cabbages (NY: Crown, 1959).

Williamson, Thames. Gypsy Down the Lane (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1926).

In the Library: For Young Readers

Acton, Thomas. Gypsies (London: MacDonald Phoebus, 1981).

Nelson, Audrey. The Day the Gypsies Came to Town (Milwaukee WI, 1983).

In the Library: Poetry

In the Library: Drama

In the Library: Photography

CD & Audio

Film & Video

"Alex & the Gypsy" [1976], dir. John Korty, 100m. In video stores. Purveys derogatory image.

"American Gypsy: A Stranger in Everybody's Land" [1999], dir. Jasmine Dellal, 80m. From Little Dust Productions.

"Angelo My Love" [1983], dir. Robert Duval, 113m. In video stores.

"Gypsies: the Other Americans" [1975], dir. Eric Metzgar & Penelope Willens. From Triton Films. Documentary on Gypsy Americans in Los Angeles.

"King of the Gypsies" [1978], dir. Frank Pierson, 112m. In video stores. Set in New York, purveys derogatory image.

"Traveller" [1997], dir. Jack Green, 101m. Irish Travellers in US.

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