Introduction

In these pages, you will see a selection of photographs from The George Phillos Photograph Collection placed alongside other photographs and objects from the National Hellenic Museum’s collection. The Phillos photographs, largely taken between 1910-1930, provide a unique, candid record of life as experienced by a Greek American immigrant in the early twentieth century. This period was important in American history--and, consequently, in the Greek American story.

Large scale Greek immigration to the United States began around 1880, quickly increasing in the following decades. Between 1900 and 1920, more than 350,000 Greeks arrived in America's cities. These new arrivals laid the foundations of the Greek American community. Through military service, entrepreneurship, and community involvement, these early Greek immigrants followed a now familiar path, building a life in their new country and becoming Americans.

George Phillos’s photographs document this path, along with images of adventure and fun--including the Century of Progress International Exhibition (commonly known as the Chicago’s World’s Fair).

As you look at these images, consider how they resemble (or don’t!) the photographs in your family’s history and the pictures we take today.

Introduction