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Andrew Kier Wise, Ph.D.: Before Buffalo

December 14 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Before Buffalo: Boris Reinstein’s American Experience in South Dakota (1882-1884)

Based on original research, this presentation will explain the significance of Boris Isaevich Reinstein’s two years in America (1882-1884), long before he became a prominent figure in Buffalo. Boris (1866-1947) was born in the Belarusian city of Mogilev, but spent most of his youth in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. After the deadly pogroms of 1881-1882, Boris and his family joined thousands of other Russian Jews who emigrated to America. The Reinsteins settled in the Dakota Territory, where the Am Olam (“Eternal People”) movement established the Cremieux agricultural colony near the frontier town of Mitchell. Although the South Dakota colony failed, Boris gained a year of experience working in a local pharmacy. Returning to Russia in 1884, Boris became active in radical populist “People’s Will” cells in Rostov-on-Don and Yekatorinograd. Like many other radical youth of his generation, Boris would gradually transition from populism to Marxism. Boris completed his transition to Marxism and became a leading activist in the Socialist Labor Party during his years living in Buffalo (1892-1917) with his wife (Anna Mogilova Reinstein, a physician) and two children – Nadina (b. 1888 in Zurich, Switzerland) and Victor (b. 1894 in Buffalo, NY). Boris returned to Russia in 1917 and took part in revolutionary activities. He joined the Bolshevik Party in 1918 and played a key role in the Communist International.

Andrew Kier Wise, Ph.D. is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Polish Studies at Daemen College (Amherst, NY). He teaches courses in World and European History. His publications on the history of Poland and Russia include monographs, book chapters and several articles. His current projects deal with the immigrant experience in Buffalo, including a monograph on the labor activism of Buffalo residents Boris and Anna Reinstein (in collaboration with Dr. Penny Messinger), as well as research on Dr. Francis E. Fronczak’s role as Commissioner of Public Health  for the City of Buffalo. In winter/spring 2018, Dr. Wise taught  several courses in Central and Eastern European history at the Institute of History, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.  In May-June 2019, he taught a course on environmental history at the American Studies Center, University of Warsaw. He also currently serves as President of the Western New York chapter of the Kosciuszko Foundation.

Free Zoom Event. Registration Required



December 14
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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Katie Wzontek


Buffalo, NY
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