Brokers of Culture examines the interactions among multiple ethnic groups in the American West and a group of nearly four hundred Italian Jesuits who emigrated to the United States after 1848 in the wake of the Italian unification movement. The first wave of exiles taught in Jesuit colleges on the East Coast, where they played a major role in reforming American seminary education. From their eastern base, the dispersed clerics moved to the frontier, shaping the evolution of culture in eleven western states. The Jesuits' most powerful source of influence was their western colleges, which adhered to educational traditions brought from Europe while simultaneously meeting the needs of an ethnically mixed and mobile frontier population.
Gerald McKevitt is Ignacio Ellacuria SJ Professor of Jesuit Studies at Santa Clara University. He is author of The University of Santa Clara: A History, 1851-1977 (Stanford University Press, 1979).