Immigrant and Entrepreneur examines the life of German immigrant and successful businessman Caspar Wistar. Wistar arrived in Philadelphia in 1717 with nearly no money; at the time of his death in 1752, his wealth outstripped that of the contemporary elite more than threefold. Through this in-depth look at an immigrant's path to achieving the American Dream, Beiler reevaluates the modern understanding of the entrepreneurial ideal and the immigrant experience in the colonial era.
The book follows Wistar's life from his family's German influences to the potential reasons behind his desire to emigrate and the networks he used to establish himself as a wealthy entrepreneur once he reached his adopted home. Beiler draws from Wistar's compelling story to examine the greater processes at work in the Atlantic world of the eighteenth century. Wistar's success exemplifies how European influence, patterns of adaptation, and an innovative cultivation of networks helped integrate immigrants into colonial America and the Atlantic world.
Rosalind Beiler is Associate Professor of History at the University of Central Florida.
Contents List of Maps and Illustrations List of Tables Preface and Acknowledgments Abbreviations Introduction Part I: Wistar's Palatine World 1. Men in the Middle: Foresters and Hunters in the Early Modern Palatinate 2. Individual Pursuits Versus the Common Good: The Constraints of Village Life in Waldhilsbach 3. Contested Identities: Religious Affiliation and Diversity in the Palatinate 4. Leaving Home: The Decision to Emigrate Part II: Wistar's American World 5. Establishing Professional and Family Connections: New Beginnings in Pennsylvania 6. Securing a Legacy: Wistar's Pennsylvania Land Speculation 7. Webs of Influence: Transatlantic Trade and Patronage 8. Creative Adaptations: The United Glass Company and Wistarburg, New Jersey Conclusion Appendixes 1. Genealogy of Andreas Wuster 2. Genealogy of Hans Caspar Wuster 3. Genealogy of Caspar Wistar Selected Bibliography Index