A Bill for Evelyn Wilbraham

Somewhat paradoxically, the object of most significance to my Anglo-Brazilian family when we moved to the United States was a United States Bill of Congress. This Bill gave my American great grandmother back her citizenship. Married to my British great grandfather, she had been denaturalized for swearing allegiance to the United Kingdom to do secretarial work for MI6 during World War II. She was able to regain her citizenship only because her father had been been Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts’ college roommate. Justice Roberts successfully pushed for Congress to re-naturalize her. While in most cases, it is the objects people bring from their home countries that are the most valuable to them as they start their new lives in the United States, it meant more to me to have this object that gave me roots in a country that was so foreign to me, as I figured out how to navigate life in America. This document gave me a complex understanding of my relation to this country from the start of my life here. No matter how foreign I ever feel, this Bill of Congress serves as a reminder that I am not entirely out of place. It also helps me remember that every immigrant and their family have their own unique immigrant experience and I should not let any generalized conceptions of what constitutes an immigrant experience prevent me from seeing this. 

Place(s): London, Philadelphia, Washington D.C.
Year: 1927

– Marina Wilbraham

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child