"Gypsies" in the United States
The Romnichels, or English Gypsies, began to come to the
United States from England in 1850. Their arrival
coincided with an increase in the demand for draft horses in agriculture
and then in urbanization, and many Romnichels worked as horse-traders. After
the rapid decline in the horse trade following the First World War, most
Romnichels relied on previously secondary enterprises, "basket-making,"
including the manufacture and sale of rustic furniture, and fortune-telling.
Horse and mule trading continued to some extent in southern states where
poverty and terrain slowed the adoption of tractor power (Salo and Salo
Buttsville, New Jersey, Romnichel Woman, c. 1940. Carlos de Wendler-Funaro
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History Archives Center