Prologue of translated edition

Prologue of translated edition

My greatest pride of Valencians a Nova York: el cas de la Marina Alta (1912-1920) is the host of further studies, literary adaptations and illustrative documentaries that it has instigated, ever since it was first published in Catalan in 2012. That original version uncovered this extraordinary migration phenomenon, which had been passed down, by word of mouth, from generation to generation, but had not been studied nor written about in any previous publications. The research behind the original version allowed me to describe the sociological, economic and anthropological aspects of this migration and to estimate its magnitude. I found, as already mentioned, that approximately 10,000 Valencians from la Marina Alta had emigrated to New York between 1912 and 1920. In addition, I discovered that this massive temporary, or circular, migration not only led to emigration from other Valencian counties during the same time period, but also to other waves in the 1940s and 1960s. Therefore, I concluded my book by claiming that many other stories of the Valencian emigrants could be written, and that further studies could look into emigration from other Valencian counties and during other times. In other words, I hoped that my book could serve to begin to unveil the history of the Valencians to New York.

To my surprise, soon after the publication of the Catalan version, a number of other books were published on remarkable emigrants of specific towns of la Marina Alta. In 2013, Vicent Ortuño brought to light the biographies of exceptional emigrants from Ondara in Fent les Amèriques: Ondara 1912-1920, and Jovi Lozano wrote about Trini Reyes, the famous Broadway dancer, in D’Ondara a Broadway: L’excepcionalitat de Trini Reyes. In 2014, the following year, Josep Doménech and Vicent Ortuño gave homage to Valerià Gil, the forgotten opera singer, from Pamis in Valerià Gil: La Veu de Pamis a Amèrica.

Furthermore, academic studies on the emigrants of other Valencian towns and counties have been published. For example, Enric Morrió wrote an article about the emigrants of Benilloba, a town of el Comtat county, in Alberri 2014. And, Maria José García Hernandorena reconstructed biographies of emigrants of la Marina Alta and la Ribera Alta from 1920 to 1934, which she presented as a Master’s thesis at the University of Valencia in 2014 and that she has pursued further for her upcoming Doctoral thesis.

Valencians a Nova York has also inspired literary adaptations, for example, Joaquin Espinós’ prize winning novel, Material Fotogràfic (2015), tells the story of the tremendous changes in the lives of three 18 year old men, due to their emigration from a rural Valencian town to the United States in 1918. Similarly, Elvira Cambrils’ short story,“Empar Cots Tamarit” (2016), portrays how a young single Valencian woman, aboard a transatlantic ship and on Ellis Island, struggles and, finally, manages to enter the U.S.

However, the most outstanding aftermath of Valencians a Nova York has been the four- part series documentary, “Del Montgó a Manhattan”, based on the Valencian emigration, revealed in this book, but that covers from the beginnings of the XXth century to present day. Juli Esteve and his company, InfoTV, continued the search for emigrants and were able to corroborate that, in fact, 10,000 Valencians from la Marina Alta emigrated to the U.S. between 1912 and 1920, and that nearly 5000 emigrated from other Valencian counties. In addition, they made use of the information found in this book to gather many more documents and to interview countless other emigrants and their descendants, in Spain and in the U.S.. The result is an impressive audio-visual representation of the story of the Valencians to New York.

Consequently, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have continued to shed further light on Valencian emigration to New York. And with regard to this English version, I would like to thank my son, Àngel Prats Morell, for revising the translation. He, just as many of our ancestors a century ago, has emigrated from Orba, our town of la Marina Alta in Alicante Spain, to New York to find more opportunities. Thus, history repeats itself and the story of Valencians to New York continues.

Teresa Morell
Author and translator
May, 2017

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