Collection Description

Culture Name

Serbian Americans

Culture Description

Serbian Americans are an ethnic minority in the United States. They live mostly in the industrial and mining centers of the United States Midwest and Great Lakes region, as well as in California. Serbian Americans today are represented in most American occupations. Among Serbian Americans the single most meaningful institution and the most important center of community life has always been the Serbian Orthodox Church. They continue to regard the celebration of the patriline patron saint, the slava, as a uniquely Serbian ritual and of equal importance to Easter and Christmas.


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North America --Regional, Ethnic and Diaspora Cultures


United States

OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in this eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The North American Serbs file consists of ten English language documents dealing with a wide range of ethnographic topics. Cultural assimilation and adaptation to mainline American society, as well as the maintenance of Serbian ethnic identity are discussed to some extent in nearly all the works in this file, but are given special attention in Padgett 1989 no. 1, Simic 1983, no. 6, Padgett 1980, no. 7, and Matejec 1980, no. 3. An excellent study of the Serbian American community in the San Francisco Bay Area for the period of 1918-1980s, is found in Vucinich 1983, no.10. This document discusses Serbian immigration to the area, the culture history of the region, socio-political organization, literary activities, and the effects of the European "wars of liberation" on the Serbian American population. Brkich's work 1980, no. 2, describes the origin, development, activities, and significance of various Serbian organizations in the United States, with particular emphasis on the Serbian Mutual Aid Societies. The three publications in this file by Simic, one of the leading authorities on the Serbs, deal with the concept of aging in Serbian American society (Simic 1978, no. 4), the institution of SLAVA or "baptismal glorification" (Simic 1989, no. 5), and the Serbian family (Simic 1983, no. 6). The study by Vrga 1975, no. 8, presents an in-depth analysis of the various factors promoting ethno-religious factionalism in the Serbian Orthodox Church in America in the early 1960s. Gakovich 1992, no. 9, presents a bibliography of documents on Serbian life in the United States and Canada up to 1990. His work also contains a list of Serbian newspapers and periodicals which are active or no longer active in the field of publication for the period of 1869-1990. This document also contains a directory of Serbian churches and monasteries in the United States and Canada. The time coverage for this file extends from the late nineteenth century to the 1980s. For more detailed information on the contents of the individual works in this file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

The culture summary was written by Andrei Simic in October, 1996. The synopsis and indexing notes were prepared by John Beierle in October, 1996.

Overview by

John Beierle

DRUSTVO -- mutual aid societies -- categories 575, 456

Greek-Russian-Slavonic Orthodox Church and Benevolent Society -- categories 794, 747

KOLOS -- voluntary organizations closely associated with Serbian Orthodox parishes -- categories 575, 794

KUMSTVO -- godparenthood -- category 608

lodges -- mutual benefit societies -- categories 575, 456

PORODICA -- the nuclear family -- category 594

sojourners -- immigrants who plan only a temporary residence in the United States -- category 167

SOKOL -- an athletic club -- categories 529, 575

VAMILIJA -- the "clan" -- categories 613, 614

ZADRUGA -- the extended family -- categories 596, 592

Indexing Notes by

John Beierle

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