The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Works Progress Administration of Illinois. The purpose of the project was to translate and classify selected news articles that appeared in the foreign language press from 1855 to 1938. The project consists of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities of Chicago.

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  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- May 05, 1863
    The German Society

    The general meeting of the German Society of Chicago was held in the German House, May 3, 1863, with President Heinrich Greenbaum presiding.

    The report of Agent Schlund was read and adopted, and the matter relating to the Reform School was referred to a committee which will endeavor to persuade the executive board of the Reform School to act in line with Mr. Schlund's suggestion.

    The financial report was adopted as read. Election of officers took place with the following result: president, Heinrich Gindele; treasurer, Karl Vergho; secretary, Conrad C. Diehl. Butz and Schneider were appointed to inform the above of their election. The following rules were adopted:

    1) The newly elected officers may not refuse to serve.

    2

    2) Minimum membership fee shall be two dollars. [Translator's note: The secretary does not state whether this sum is the annual or monthly fee.]

    3) Anyone who pays fifty cents or more shall be permitted to speak and vote in the general meetings for the period of one year.

    4) The salary of the agent shall be three hundred dollars per year.

    Heinrich Greenbaum, President.

    Report of the Agent of the German Society of Chicago for April and May, 1862

    April May
    Secured employment for 93 85
    Secured railroad passes for poor 3 1
    Secured railroad passes for wounded soldiers 3 1
    Found baggage for 11 2
    3
    April May
    Located relatives for 5 3
    Families allotted food 7 5
    Assisted in financial matters 8 6
    Found lodgings for families 6 2
    Secured medical aid and medicines for 7 5
    Soldiers' families supported 6 6
    Assisted immigrants to proceed on their journey 4 1
    Corresponded for 120 98
    Referred to county for aid 5 2
    Total 281 219
    Total for April and May 500

    My activity as agent of the German Society of Chicago was interrupted by the President's call for the organization of volunteer state militia. In my spare time I have devoted myself to helping needy immigrants and 4countrymen without remuneration from the Society, until the Conscription Act was passed; but now my term of service has expired.

    The German public of Chicago, a city where fifty thousand Teutons live, should pay more attention to immigration which is the cause of the great and rapid development of the city.

    While Americans annually spend large sums of money for benevolent purposes, as for instance, for orphan homes, homes for the friendless, and homes for the aged, the German Society of Chicago, which has become a refuge for helpless immigrants and needy German citizens, ought not fall asleep; for the German Society of Chicago is the only German organization which aids needy Germans without respect to origin or creed

    If our German citizens would cease helping every beggar and bum who comes to their door or approaches them in the streets, especially in the winter, and would donate corn, flour, meat, potatoes, etc., no Chicago family 5that is worthy of support would have to go hungry.

    The German Society has done much to increase the school attendance of poor children by exercising a "moral" compulsion--by giving shoes and clothing to those poor pupils who attend school regularly.

    We take great pleasure in commending the work done in the Juvenile Home, where German children were always heartily welcomed and well cared for.

    The Home of the Friendless is maintained for the benefit of children of dissolute or criminally inclined parents, or children who are in danger of entering upon a life of crime, and it has proved to be very effective. However the Home of the Friendless is not a suitable place for the children of poor but law-abiding parents; these children should be placed in more pleasant and less dangerous surroundings, so that they are not estranged from their parents and do not fall prey to greedy employers.

    6

    The Home for Workers is in its infancy. It is the most pleasant and most necessary of all branches of charity; for who is more deserving among the needy than the man or woman who is diligent and faithful and would like to work but is prevented from doing so by age and physical disability, and would rather starve than become an inmate of a poorhouse?

    In the Reform School there are proportionately few German boys; and the majority of them have been placed there because of youthful carelessness or indifference on the part of their parents, who either send their boys out to gather old iron and other junk, or permit them to loiter idly about the streets and alleys. In time the lads meet bad companions and finally are confined to reform schools, where they come into contact with confirmed and hardened offenders, and as a result the boys are totally demoralized.

    I hope that the German Society of Chicago endeavors to have juvenile delinquents classified, so that light offenders, first offenders, or those who do not participate in evil deeds, but just accompany the offenders, are not 7placed on the same level with, treated as, and confined with, real criminals, thieves, robbers, murderers, etc., but are kept separate from the latter.

    The inmates of the Reform School should be classified in the following manner: 1) Non-participating observer; 2) Seduced; 3) Corrigible; 4) Incorrigible.

    As in Germany, the societies "for the protection of German emigrants" are expanding their activity, so we also should take greater precautions to protect immigrants in our country.

    In conclusion I wish to emphasize that if the German Society of Chicago is not more alert, the thieves and confidence men in New York and other ports will have a gay time; for the German Society of Chicago and the St. Louis Immigrant Society have done more to prevent swindling than any other organization in the United States. The German Society of Chicago may justly be proud of the fact that it has exposed several attempts to defraud innocent people of large sums of money and valuable property, and has also succeeded 8in locating much valuable baggage.

    If the German immigrants who come to Chicago are left without a source of information or material aid, the city will not only lose its wide-spread reputation for the assistance rendered immigrants, but also will soon be deprived of the valuable services of these people.

    The Chicago Turnverein and the Chicago Arbeiterverein have done much for charitable purposes; however, the great majority of the members of these organizations are of the laboring class; many of them are members of the German Society of Chicago, and their zeal is commendable. Yet it is desirable that those who have wealth--home owners, businessmen, and professional men--take a greater and more active interest in benevolence. And they really are obligated, for they avail themselves of the services of the Society when they need help in their offices, stores, or homes.

    I wish to thank our president, Mr. Heinrich Greenbaum for the valuable 9aid he has given me in my work. He was always willing to assist me whenever difficulties presented themselves, though at times it was necessary that he neglect his business in order to comply with my request.

    I have always tried to be just toward everybody; if I appeared to be unsympathetic in some instances it was only because I wished to discourage people who are not worthy of assistance. There are a great number of beggars who journey from city to city; they are very successful in arousing the sympathy of the public, much more so than worthy applicants for aid. They manage to lead the existence which appeals to them by carefully avoiding any flagrant offense against the laws pertaining to vagrancy. When I refuse to feed or house these lazy persons, they slander the German Society of Chicago. And the public, not knowing that these professional beggars have been driven from some neighboring city by the civil authorities, believes their stories about about inhuman treatment.

    .......[The next paragraph of this article contains a repetition of previously 10expressed thoughts.]

    Respectfully,

    F. Schlund, Agent.

    ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT

    Receipts for 1862 and 1863 $652.07
    Disbursements for 1862 and 1863 246.50
    Balance $405.57

    Heinrich Greenbaum, President.

    May 2, 1863.

    The general meeting of the German Society of Chicago was held in the German House, May 3, 1863, with President Heinrich Greenbaum presiding. The report of Agent Schlund was read ...

    German
    III B 2, III G, III D, II E 3, II E 2, II D 3, II D 5, II D 4, II D 7, II D 8, I B 3 b, I D 1 a, II D 10

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  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- October 16, 1867
    Premiums on Arson (Editorial)

    The recommendation which the grand jury made to the recorder yesterday contained a severe criticism of the methods used by so-called fire insurance companies. If the statements of the grand jury are true, these corporations should really be called stock companies for the promotion of incendiarism. No stranger can spend more than a few days in this city without unwittingly applying the not very flattering, but true words, "confounded nest of incendiarists" to the metropolis of the West. And no resident of Chicago is so blind and so ignorant that he does not know that eight, or even nine, of ten fires are started intentionally. Unfortunately, it is seldom possible to prove this, since no crime can be concealed as easily as arson; but we are morally convinced that arson exists whenever the amount of insurance is more than double the amount of damage or the actual value of the property.

    2

    The grand jury hit the nail on the head when it stated that the real cause of this evil, which is becoming more unbearable every day, lies in the fact that "insurance companies, in their greed for money, often insure property for as much as ten times its real value, a risk which is certainly not in agreement with sound business principles". The companies are actually levying high premiums on arson. The assumption that it is in their own interest to reject bad risks does not apply. Free competition becomes an inane, foolish, wild chase, a steeplechase, in which a few broken ribs or a broken neck do not count. Impertinent, "high-powered" agents talk the owners of tinderbox shacks into buying a thousand-dollar policy, although their dwelling, or rather their hut, is not worth, at the most, no more than three hundred dollars. Is it a wonder that many succumb to the temptation to do the company out of the money it is so anxious to get rid of?

    The public is not only interested in removing this evil, it has also the right, yea the duty, to do so. And the greater the evil, the more radical and severe 3the remedy must be. If the insurance companies themselves do not take the necessary steps to prevent these "wholesale fires," then the legislature ought to take a hand in the matter and enact a law which provides:

    1. That no house may be insured for more than three fourths its actual value.

    2. That no policy is valid unless the County Board, co-operating with the assessor's office, has testified that the first provision has been complied with.

    Perhaps a more thorough method would be to permit insurance not to exceed in amount the assessed value of the property. That procedure should be effective in reducing the number of fires by at least ninety per cent.

    The recommendation which the grand jury made to the recorder yesterday contained a severe criticism of the methods used by so-called fire insurance companies. If the statements of the grand ...

    German
    II E 3, I F 3, II E 2
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- May 09, 1871
    [The Administration of Justice]

    Republican writers have had to say terrible things about "Cabinettsjustiz" (justice dealt out arbitrarily by a king) in despotic countries. That a prince, according to his whim and pleasure, may stop all persecution of a criminal, or may persecute an innocent man, is justly regarded as the blackest blemish of the absolute monarchy. "Cabinettsjustiz" in this sense, however, has completely disappeared from the civilized nations of Europe, that is to say, from all except Russia and Turkey. The privilege of pardoning a criminal is also much less abused than in the United States. In Europe, of ten sentences at least nine are executed; in the United States hardly three...

    Here in our democracy we have the exact counterpart to "Cabinettsjustiz". Through the juries the people indulge their most arbitrary whims in the administration of justice. Every year sees hundreds, yes thousands of sentences that are a complete travesty of justice....But if the customary jury acquittals are already a blot on American judicial procedure - what expression would be strong enough to characterize the boundless impudence that the Chicago Grand Jury has just exhibited? After a short, secret session this Grand Jury has decided not to indict the young Leonard who slew his brother-in-law Scanland a few weeks ago, and the State-Attorney has been forced to set Leonard free.........

    2

    If in this case the Grand Jury had consisted of bums and ne'er-do-wells of the type that makes a dollar and a half in civil suits, the conclusions one would have to draw would not be so embarrassing. But the list shows that the jurors almost without exception were respectable, some of them wealthy business men belonging to the best circles of society. If such men are capable of condoning so unprovocated a killing as that of Scanland - because they did not like the nose, or the complexion of the victim, then that indicates so complete a degeneration of ethics and morality that the worst has to be feared for the development of our society. In that case people may shout themselves hoarse with enthusiasm about our"free political institutions" - freedom is only a euphemistic name for anarchy. The first condition for right prevailing in a country is the living consciousness of right in the people. Where that is lacking, the whole freedom is not worth a phony nickel.

    ("ist fur die Katz")

    Republican writers have had to say terrible things about "Cabinettsjustiz" (justice dealt out arbitrarily by a king) in despotic countries. That a prince, according to his whim and pleasure, may ...

    German
    II E 3, I H, I F 3
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- August 16, 1872
    The German Society and the Immigrants.

    The German Society is endeavoring as much as possible to protect the arriving immigrant against too heavy expenses and extortions. For that purpose, the president of the of the society, Mr. Geo. Schneider, with Mr. A. C. Hesing went yesterday to the bureau of police and had a long conversation with Messrs. Talcott and Klokke. They asked to have policemen stationed at railway stations to be on the look-out for immigrants. They also asked that their agents be granted the privileges of special policemen.

    They asked Mr. Parmelee to forbid his agents to solicit the patronage of immigrants. Mr. Parmelee is the owner of the omnibus wagons stationed at the railway stations. Too often a family of immigrants had to pay from five dollars to six dollars to be brought to their hotel just a few blocks away, since the price in the Parmelee bus is fifty cents per person. In justice it must be said that Mr. Parmelee knew nothing about that, and he gave his agents strictest orders, forbidding them to solicit the patronage of immigrants.

    The German Society is endeavoring as much as possible to protect the arriving immigrant against too heavy expenses and extortions. For that purpose, the president of the of the society, ...

    German
    III G, IV, II E 3, II D 10
  • Skandinaven -- October 23, 1872
    [Wealthy Burglar Caught]

    Sunday, at 2 o'clock in the morning, our countryman, Doctor Carlemann, residing at 166 N. Curtis St., was disturbed in his sleep by the barking of his dog. The doctor went to the front door and found a man trying to break in. He grabbed the man's arm and held him until the police arrived. The burglar, however, attempted twice to shoot the doctor, but missed.

    The burglar was taken to the station and identified as Mr. William Keller, a well-to-do man, owner of several tug-boats. Keller's gun was found. Keller was released on $500 bond for attempted murder. Let the citizens get together next time Mr. Keller attempts burglarizing and handle the case. The police do not seem to take any interest in murder cases. As usual, politics!

    Sunday, at 2 o'clock in the morning, our countryman, Doctor Carlemann, residing at 166 N. Curtis St., was disturbed in his sleep by the barking of his dog. The doctor ...

    Norwegian
    II E 3, I F 6
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- October 28, 1872
    Open Letter to the Committee of Twenty-Five.

    Gentlemen:

    The aim of our organization was to diminish the number of crimes in our city, and to assure the quick and certain punishment of criminals. To this end we already have agreed on the following measures:

    1. The improvement of our police and its numerical increase.

    2. A change in our Jury system which prevents the majority of the intelligent public from functioning as Jurors, and leaves, in cases of murder, the decision on punishment to the Jury.

    3. A change in the appeal procedure...

    4. Restriction of the pardoning power of the Governor.

    5. Changes in the criminal law concerning burglars and other 2criminals.

    6. A grant of the County Commissioners for extradition proceedings.

    While we were occupied with this important reformatory work,... a new movement was started and that on the initiative of gentlemen who have found the cure for all evils to which flesh is heir, in the enforced closing of all drinking parlors from Saturday evening to Monday morning.

    I am firmly convinced that their attitude is impractical and not fitting, contrary to the system of good government, and injurious to the spirit of our free institutions...

    Your Committee possesses the confidence of the public, and has the power to prevent the laudable tendency of an important and humane part of the public to improve the social tone and to create more complete security of life and property. Protect them from being misled into the bed of fanaticism and intolerance.

    3

    I therefore recommend that the Committee immediately and urgently petition the Aldermanic Council to change the Sunday law, in order to save the people the trouble, the anger, possibly the danger, of electing the new City Council, only with reference to this question.

    If I do not represent the views of the majority of your Committee on this question, I do not feel in my place as its Chairman, and in such a case I am presenting my resignation.

    Yours truly,

    Henry Greenebaum.

    Gentlemen: The aim of our organization was to diminish the number of crimes in our city, and to assure the quick and certain punishment of criminals. To this end we ...

    German
    II E 3, I H, IV
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- November 23, 1872
    Immigration

    This communication is due to an event I witnessed last Sunday. As I have been for three years an agent of a German Society, which has had, as its purpose, the protection of immigrants, I believe that I am speaking with some authority on this subject.

    When the Evening Post, claims that immigrants are received in as friendly a manner, here, as in any city of the Union, then this newspaper tells an outright lie. I wish to give just one concrete example. Last Sunday, shortly before 11 A. M. I boarded the Milwaukee train. There were some fifty six immigrants. Each of them had been cheated out of .50 cents or more by an agent of Parmelee and Company. If an immigrant had no American money, the agent would do him the favor of accepting a 5 mark coin instead, (which is worth .80 cents) 2The agent proceeds as follows: Fifteen minutes before the arrival of the train in Chicago he says to the immigrants something about "checks" and "tickets," and then simply requests .50 cents from each. The immigrants, who do not understand English, believe the agents to be railroad officials and pay without protest. For that they receive an ommibus ticket which they almost never use. Not one of the immigrants on my train made use of it.

    This communication is due to an event I witnessed last Sunday. As I have been for three years an agent of a German Society, which has had, as its purpose, ...

    German
    III G, II E 3, II D 10
  • Skandinaven -- December 04, 1872
    Norwegian Police Officer Shot

    A Norwegian police officer, Johnson, was arresting a group of gangsters at Kinzie and Canal St. He was shot in the head, but held one of the gang until help arrived. Johnson is a brave, honest young Norwegian, and everybody hopes he will recover. A committee has been formed to try to get the would-be murderer. The public is getting tired of gangsters.

    A Norwegian police officer, Johnson, was arresting a group of gangsters at Kinzie and Canal St. He was shot in the head, but held one of the gang until help ...

    Norwegian
    II E 3
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- May 18, 1874
    Young American.

    The concept connected with the name young American is not a very pleasant one. The term young America connotes youth which has outgrown its parents and which resents parental authority as an infringement upon its independence. Young America begins to blossom at the age of ten, to loaf at the age of thirteen and to become obnoxious at the age of fifteen. That is in regard to the boys. Young America among the girls is not any better. At the age of twelve she has a "beau" and at fifteen the miss starts her moonlight walks and her love affairs. Young America is bad, but not half as bad as "young German America".

    It cannot be denied that in many German homes the children grow up without any supervision and that boys and girls become loafers of the worst type. What a correspondent recently said, that here boys loaf in the saloons till past midnight is only half of the truth. He, who wishes to go on North Avenue on a Sunday afternoon, can see there clusters of boys at the street corners, who make the most indecent remarks concerning the passers by, who on evenings run around with girls just as young as they and who being work shy would not recoil from crimes. For this we have the word of the oldest and most experience policemen, who assert that no Irish street boy is as bad as a German boy.

    The concept connected with the name young American is not a very pleasant one. The term young America connotes youth which has outgrown its parents and which resents parental authority ...

    German
    I B 3 b, III G, III A, II E 3, I B 3 c
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- January 01, 1875
    The Press as an Educator (Editorial)

    The press is the real "people's high school" of America. The ill-ordered quantity of mechanical knowledge which is imparted to the children in our English schools merely furnishes the tools which the pupils later use to read, understand, and study newspapers. And the American press has assumed a much wider sphere of activity than, for instance, German newspapers. The latter confine themselves chiefly to dry, sober politics and relegate those national and social events which we consider to be the most interesting news, to some inconspicuous column. The English-American newspapers, however, follow an altogether different policy. They strive to accommodate all tastes, to serve their readers with news from every phase of life, social, political, and national, to print any news that will interest a part of their subscribers, even though that news consists of the most despicable defamation, or of the darkest sides of social life.

    2

    The result is that while American newspapers contain an extraordinarily large volume of interesting and useful articles, and surpass the entire European press in this respect (even that of England), they are also a veritable pit for the offal and filth of public life. All manner of infamous deeds, crimes, villainy, and blackguardisms are described not only in detail, but also with a certain amount of sensual pleasure which completely nullifies the only real value which such articles could possibly have, namely, to serve as a warning and a deterrent.

    However, it is just descriptions of this sort that prove so attractive to people who are only mechanically and superficially educated, and thus lack moral or spiritual stability. It is no exaggeration to state that the English-American press in general is nothing but a school of crime and vice. That is true even of our daily press, the so-called political newspapers, but it is true in a much higher degree of those revolting "belletristic" publications that are issued by the hundreds in America and specialize in hideous murder stories and obscene pictures. This vulgar trash is displayed everywhere, 3especially in small bookstores which are located near schools, and always so that pictures of the most shameful obscenity or of the most hideous murders are plainly visible; and if you ask the storekeeper, he will tell you that half-grown boys and girls are his best customers. Nobody can estimate how many criminal and vicious acts have their origin in this salacious trash. In 1848 old Thadden Triglaff was called a half-witted man because he said: "Freedom of the press--yes! But let us always erect a gallows beside it!"--but there is nothing foolish about this utterance, if one applies it to the criminal press of America. Death on the gallows would not be too severe a punishment for the rogues who use "art and literature" to lead young boys and girls into a life of crime and vice.

    That the large dailies, too, and among them even those that claim they are especially decent, are diligently co-operating to spoil the literary taste of the public and to deaden all sense of shame and morality in our people, is evident from a merely superficial view of the headlines of the stories of crime and vice that they relate. Occasional unctuous remarks by the editor 4are no antidote against the rotten, poisonous stories which are told in a manner that appeals to the sensual side of man. These dull remarks call to our mind the words of Mephistopheles, "I shall sing to her a moral song, the more certainly to deceive her".

    We offer some of the headings, that appear in large letters over articles that were published in three of our local English morning newspapers on the last day of the year 1874, as a sample of objectionable items, and as a proof of our statements. First we shall quote from the Times, which is the chief offender, and then from the Tribune, which, unfortunately, has done everything possible to ape the Times--because the appetite of the English-American reading public is already so spoiled, that nothing save spicy food can satisfy it:

    Gallows Fruit

    A Murderous Pair Dropped from the Hangman's Tree

    John W. Goodman Pays the Penalty of the Worst of His Bad Deeds

    5

    His Last Words: "This is all Justly Done, I Committed the Crime".

    John Murphy's Sudden Death from the Tight Rope in Carson, Nevada

    A Wife's Mysterious Disappearance

    The Husband Arrested for Murder

    Duel in Pennsylvania--Fatal Results.

    Two Fools Fight over a Jug of Whiskey and Both Receive Fatal Wounds.

    Diabolical Attempt to Murder an Entire Family in Iowa

    A Row and a Butchery at a House-Warming in Minnesota

    Miscellaneous Criminal Record.

    6

    Tribune

    Dead Sea Fruit

    Mr. John Goodman, of Ottawa, Ohio, Being the Choicest Specimen.

    He was Suspended Yesterday on a Gallows for an Example

    A Major Criminal in Massachusetts--The Champion Sinner

    Murder, Robbery, Theft, Incest, and the Rest of the Cataloge.

    The Inter-ocean is somewhat more conservative. Following are a few of its headlines:

    Mosaic Law

    7

    Two Murders Pay the Awful Price of their Bloody Crimes

    Goodman Hanged at Ottawa, Ohio, for Killing John Haywood and Wife

    Execution of John Murphy, at Carson, Nevada, for the Murder of J. R. McCallum.

    And the publications quoted are among the decent "political" newspapers, and they would not deem it a compliment to be placed on the same levels with the Koelnische Zeitung or the Augsburgische Allgemeine Zeitung....

    The press is the real "people's high school" of America. The ill-ordered quantity of mechanical knowledge which is imparted to the children in our English schools merely furnishes the tools ...

    German
    II B 2 d 1, II E 3