"Gypsies" in the United States
The Romnichel


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 1982).




Buttsville, New Jersey, Romnichel Woman, c. 1940. Carlos de Wendler-Funaro Collection,
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History Archives Center