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.

Read more about this historic project.

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  • Svornost -- February 12, 1879
    [Factory Taken Over by Bohemians]

    The factory for the manufacture of furniture known under the name of Matuska, Craig and Co. will from now on be a Bohemian enterprise. We are informed that a Bohemian company was organized to take over and manage this factory.

    The new company had already been incorporated at Springfield under the name "Matuska Furniture Company, Capital $50,000.00. We wish this new Bohemian enterprise much success.

    The factory for the manufacture of furniture known under the name of Matuska, Craig and Co. will from now on be a Bohemian enterprise. We are informed that a Bohemian ...

    II A 2
  • Svornost -- February 21, 1881
    Bohemian Inventors

    Four patents were issued last week to Bohemians by the United States paten office in Washington, D. C. :-

    F. Holub of Chicago for an attachment to be used on wagons

    A. H. Soukup and I. Soukup (brothers) of Chicago a foot-stool.

    J. Svaba, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a shipping container, and

    E. Puchta, of Washington, Mo., a table.

    Four patents were issued last week to Bohemians by the United States paten office in Washington, D. C. :- F. Holub of Chicago for an attachment to be used on ...

    II A 2
  • Svornost -- March 04, 1881
    A Bohemian Pioneer

    Vaclav Rezanka, one of the first Bohemian pioneers, and one of the founders of present day Bohemian social circles in Chicago, who loyalty preserved and fought on the hereditary fields of our people here in this land beyond the seas, died this morning about 3:00 o'clock in the midst of his loving family.

    Vaclav Rezanka, arrived in America in the year 1853 and lived in Chicago since 1861. He was a co-founder of the "Slovanske Lipy" (Slovak Basswood) and when this organization ceased to exist, being replaced by the present "Tel. Jed. Sokol" (Gymanstic Union Sokol), he became a member of the latter. Last summer he paid a visit to the land of his birth, returning late in the fall bringing with him a brother who had been engaged in the ladies tailoring business in Pisek, Bohemia. Shortly after his return to Chicago his health began to fail and he died this morning at the age of 62 years, 6 months, 4 days.


    Mr. Rezanka was a tailor by trade, and through his industry his economy and his honorable dealing, he was able to establish for himself here in his own building on Canal St., and was highly respected by all with whom he came in contact. He leaves behind a widow and several children. In the deceased we lose a citizen, a model father and genuine patriot, and he is accompanied by our grateful remembrance of him far beyond the grave. The funeral services will be held next Sunday.

    Vaclav Rezanka, one of the first Bohemian pioneers, and one of the founders of present day Bohemian social circles in Chicago, who loyalty preserved and fought on the hereditary fields ...

    IV, II A 2, II B 3
  • Svornost -- June 11, 1881
    Bohemian Patents

    Among others there were issued, during the week ending June 7th, by the United States, Patent Office in Washington, patents to two Bohemians covering their inventions. H. Holub with his partner, C.S. Lock of Chicago obtained three patents, two of which were for nails used in shoeing horses and one for a rail bending machine.

    Also Mr. J.F. Svab of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, obtained a patent on a can for the transportation of milk.

    Among others there were issued, during the week ending June 7th, by the United States, Patent Office in Washington, patents to two Bohemians covering their inventions. H. Holub with his ...

    II A 2
  • Svornost -- June 11, 1881
    New Buildings by Bohemians

    The Bohemian Building Contractor, Aug. Loula, writes to us that since he last reported on building activities, he has taken out thirteen building permits, for buildings of various kinds, some of which are nearing completion and seven of which are just now being started. For the greater part they are being built for Bohemians. In addition to these he is building several smaller wooden buildings, to be used as temporary homes such as are now appearing between Throop St. and Western Avenue. In some sections there have appeared entire villages of wooden frame houses of late. The section around Oakley and 20th St. is surprising as there are at least twenty-three such new buildings in one group and already additions are being built on to them.

    It is surprising that with such notable building activity going on, many families, particularly Immigrants, are living in low wooden shacks, having no conveniences whatever. Inquiries for dwellings continue to increase.

    Mr. Loula says that he has in his employ from fifty to sixty men, all Bohemians with the exception of two Germans, working as bricklayers, carpenters and cabinet makers.


    The buildings he now has in course of construction will be valued at about $29,500.00.

    The Bohemian Building Contractor, Aug. Loula, writes to us that since he last reported on building activities, he has taken out thirteen building permits, for buildings of various kinds, some ...

    II A 2, III A, I C
  • Svornost -- October 24, 1882
    Building Activity Among the Bohemians.

    The Bohemians of Chicago are very mindful to possess their own dwellings and houses and like last year they are building this year almost in series their own buildings and homes.

    The well-known architect, Mr. August Loula, obtained on the 19th of this month, fifteen permits for new buildings, part of them he has already started to build; the others will be started very soon. Mr. Loula supplies us with some interesting data concerning the building activity among the Bohemians in Chicago. He says, "I have built this year 38 new houses of different dimensions at a total cost of $103,700. The majority of our countrymen settled in the neighborhood between Throop street and Ashland avenue on account of cheaper real estate. The houses built there are very attractive brick structures, mostly two-stories with a basement and a comfortable layout. Again it is shown that the Bohemians excel in this regard over all other nationalities. In a majority of cases the loan societies 2play an important part in this enterprise; however it would be more advantageous if they would stop the opening of new companies, at least in this neighborhood in opposition to the existing ones."

    The Bohemians of Chicago are very mindful to possess their own dwellings and houses and like last year they are building this year almost in series their own buildings and ...

    II A 2, III A
  • Svornost -- March 27, 1883
    The Loan Association and Their Pioneers - the Bohemians.

    The Sunday's Tribune brings much information of the loan associations founded in Chicago and prospering successfully until now. In the first lines of the correspondence the Tribune states that the Bohemians are pioneers in these associations and writes verbatim:

    "In the last nine years there were founded in Chicago more than twenty loan associations. None of them was struck by any misfortune or disaster, and the continuity of the success of these associations is so well known that new ones are still being organized.

    "The Bohemian citizens in Chicago are the first to prove the usefulness of this mutual aid and cooperation. One of the Tribune's reporters was yesterday informed by Vaclav Kaspar, an intelligent and well to do Bohemian who has been living in Chicago over twenty years, that there are in our city fifteen "Bohemian Loan Associations." The first of these associations was founded nine years ago and exists until now under the name "The Chicago Bohemian Building and Loan Association, No. 1."


    Its capital amounted to $250,000, however, there were sold shares for only $150,000. All the shares were redeemed and the first series put on the market four years ago. The second series is right now in progress and represents a capital of $250,000. This will be redeemed in eight months. The second association of the same kind was founded by the Bohemians and denominated with No. 2. Its shares are limited to $250,000, and of this amount $230,000 is already redeemed. After this, followed the organization of associations No. 3 and 4. As it seems, those four associations are the most wealthy ones among the Bohemian Building and Loan Associations." All associations founded later reduced the amount of invested capital and grew popular and so as to be easily distinguished called themselves by well known Bohemian names. The last founded association is "Tabor," which name is extremely popular among all Bohemians; it is four months in existence. Its limited capital amounts to $500,000 and $200,000 are already secured.

    Mr. Kaspar further furnished the following data: In the last nine years the Bohemians have erected over 600 buildings, in all cases subsidized by the Bohemian Building and Loan Associations, which are operating with a deposited amount of money close to $2,700,000. All of them are honestly and expertly managed.


    There are in Chicago over 35,000 Bohemians and all have a great tendency to buy real estate and to build a little house, to be able to call it their own homestead. Our main idea in the loan association is to help each other, consequently we lent the money to our members. The success of the loan association is based on economic and honest management; we don't pay high salaries, and every member of the committee supervises the regularity of the deeds and inspects, that not a single dollar is wasted and that sufficient security is given for the loaned money. These loan associations have increased in membership over the whole City of Chicago. Germans and Irishmen started to organize them after our model and there exists even an English loan association called "The Garden City Equitable Loan and Building Association." "In my opinion," says Mr. Kaspar, "all those associations must achieve a desirable success if they are managed cautiously and carefully. The money should not be wasted on expensive printing, for magnificent offices, for high salaries, and the money should be loaned only to such people who offer a sufficient and sure security. The Bohemians are a very economical people and their loan associations operate well and profitably for their members, because they are managed with experience, economy, and skill."


    This article in the Tribune will certainly concern the local financial circles because many of our countrymen have withdrawn their substantial savings from the local banks.

    It is worthwhile to mention that the founder of the first loan association was Mr. Bobacek who came to Chicago from Cincinnati ten years ago and persuaded the three Novak brothers, Joseph, Francis, and Anthony, to found a loan association in Chicago, modeled on the same kind of institutions operated by the Germans in Cincinnati. They all four organized an association and the first secretary of it was Alexander Purer, at present a notary public and real estate and insurance agent.

    Lately there were dissolved three "Bohemian Building and Loan Associations:" Ceskylev, Vlastimil, and Slovan, principally on account of insufficient number of members.

    The Sunday's Tribune brings much information of the loan associations founded in Chicago and prospering successfully until now. In the first lines of the correspondence the Tribune states that the ...

    II A 2, IV
  • Svornost -- October 18, 1883
    Foundation of the Bohemian Saloon-Keepers Association

    Yesterday there was held in the "Vorwaerts" Hall a meeting of the Bohemian saloon-keepers under the chairmanship of Vil. Rust. Among the others was State Secretary, Time, and a secretary of the saloon-keepers district union. This meeting is especially significant to us Bohemians, because there was discussed the idea of founding the Independent Association of the Bohemian West Side Saloon-Keepers, the majority of whom were members of the West Side Union, but they had intended for a long time to found an independent Bohemian Union. In yesterday's meeting there was shown an ardent desire to fulfill this idea. It was discussed whether it would be possible for the independent Bohemian Union to join the state organization. The decision was that the Bohemian saloon-keepers must organize, elect a delegate to the district management and, at the same time, appoint a representative. - The present Bohemians went during the deliberation to the adjoining separate room for a private discussion and where they decided to organize the "Bohemian Saloon-Keepers Association" as quickly as possible. Thirteen of them signed the charter petition. Then it was resolved to join the state organization, to conduct all business transactions in the Bohemian language, and to agitate to gain members from all parts of the city. -


    The special constitutional meeting was appointed for a week from tomorrow in the hall of the Bohemian English school on 18th Street.

    Yesterday there was held in the "Vorwaerts" Hall a meeting of the Bohemian saloon-keepers under the chairmanship of Vil. Rust. Among the others was State Secretary, Time, and a secretary ...

    II A 2, III A
  • Chicago Tribune -- March 07, 1886
    Manners and Customs of the Bohemian Portion of the City's Population. They Are Industrious, Thrifty and Generally of a Most Peaceable Disposition. a Community That Is Rapidly Growing Rich by the Efforts of its Individuals.

    There is probably no more interesting and progressive section of Chicago's foreign population than that inhabited by the Bohemians. Some years ago there was a decided prejudice against them on the part of American workingmen and capitalists. They took a very active part in the strikes and riots here some eight years ago, and they established a Socialistic propaganda which was far from being popular. They so far succeeded in carrying their ideas into effect that they were the ringleaders of the strikes, and they elected four of their nominees - not all of them Bohemians, however, to the Chicago Common Council. One of the most active among them at the time was Belohradsky, who is now living in Texas. Another so-called leader was Leo Meilbeck, Alderman and 2legislator, who afterwards committed suicide while acting as Public Library attendant. Frank Stauber and J. J. Altpeter were also elected to the council as representatives of the German and Bohemian Socialistic elements, as was Christian Meier. It is only fair to say, however, about Stauber and Altpeter that there have been few more conscientious councilmen than they. But as before stated, the Bohemians lost caste about the time alluded to on account of their Socialistic tendencies and "striking" propensities. When they first came to America they were willing to work for almost anything. They would underbid the Irish and German and American workingmen, and naturally evoked considerable hostility against themselves as a result. They were to suffer for this, and were, in fact, looked down on as outcaste, and not entitled to much sympathy. When they took to striking and communism they were cursed up hill and down dale by employers and employees. Latterly all this has changed, and in the lumber and furniture manufacturing regions, where they are now employed, they are looked upon as some of the thriftiest members of the community, useful citizens, capable and efficient workingmen and large contributors to the wealth and growth of Chicago.


    The first Bohemian Immigrants.

    The first Bohemian immigration to Chicago began about the year 1848 - "the year of revolution". The Czechs rose in rebellion against the Austrian authorities, with whom they have never been on good terms, but were speedily suppressed by the Emperor and his army. Those who were prominent in the rebellion had to flee the country. Most of them came to America, some of them settling in Montreal, where they engaged largely in the cigar-making business. The Bohemian emigration was at first about the rate of 6,000 per year. In 1878, 1879 and 1880 it reached probably 10,000 per annum. It has fallen off again to 6,000. Most of those who came here were farmers, farm laborers, workers in wood, or weavers - usually carpet and cotton weavers. Those of them who located in Chicago settled down in the lumber region of the Sixth and Eighth wards. Some settled in the hardwood region of the Fourteenth Ward. F. B. Zdrubek, editor of the Bohemian daily paper the Svornost, estimates the Bohemian population of Chicago now at 40,000 at least. He estimates the entire Bohemians of America at 20,000. Outside of this city 4they are located in Nebraska, Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin on farms. Of the 40,000 in Chicago 26,000 are in the Sixth Ward, 9,000 in the Seventh and Eighth Wards, along Canal Street and Blue Island avenue principally, and about 5,000 are in the Fourteenth Ward.

    Lumber Workers and Furniture Men.

    They readily find employment in the lumber yards and furniture factories. The lumber merchants say they are steady, faithful workingmen. They are constant, but they do not rush matters. The ordinary pay is about 15 cents per hour, though they get as high as 20 cents. They have practically driven out Irish and German lumbermen. The latter will not work by the hour. They work by the piece - by contract - and are not satisfied unless they make from 40 to 50 cents per hour. At Harvey's, where the foreman, John Kallal, is a Bohemian, very few of the Bohemians are employed. The same is true of Hatch and Keith's. At Beidler's Germans seem to have preference. But as a rule the Bohemians have the call. Many of them are excellent cabinetmakers and upholsterers. They make from 535 to 40 cents per hour at this trade. They are nearly always at work - always driving at something. Their wives and the members of their families are also employed washing for families, tailoring, etc. Any person who goes into the Bohemian district will encounter some Bohemian man or woman in every block loaded down with bundles of pantaloons or vests on the way to some down-town clothing house. The housewife usually employs four or five girls at this work. The girls make from $5, to $6. per week, and their employers make a handsome profit. The practice which prevailed in Bohemian regions some time ago, of sending the women around to pick up shavings and kindling wood is fast dying out. The women's time is more valuable now-a-days and begging is unknown among them. The Italians appear to have a monopoly of that. The "dagos" can be even encountered in the Bohemian quarter plying their vocation.

    Getting Rich.

    People so hard working and so thrifty as the Bohemians cannot but prosper. The Bohemian quarter in the Sixth Ward is certainly a credit to their industry and zeal. There is not a more cleanly or better built workingmen's section in 6Chicago. The district west of Halsted to Lawndale, south of Sixteenth to Twenty-second Street, is built up with comfortable three-story brick dwellings and stores, nearly all of them owned by the Bohemians. The buildings occupy nearly the entire length of the lot. They are all neat and substantial, although there is some degree of sameness in the plan of building. Portions of some are frame structures pushed back on the lot and built up in front. All are neatly painted and have a wholesome and healthy appearance. Along Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-first, Centre Avenue, Throop Street, Ashland Avenue, Blue Island, Wood Street, Hoyne Avenue, the structures are very fine; the stores are especially substantially built and commodious, and would reflect credit on any part of Chicago. From a sanitary point they are all right too, though perhaps there is too much crowding. Nearly every floor has three families. This is not always conducive to morality, it is claimed. The Bohemians, as is well known, are very fond of soups. The odor from that article of food is not always the most pleasant. But, on the whole, there is little cause of complaint nowadays. Being so very frugal they do not buy the best cuts of meat, but they buy good cuts. Mr. Curran of Curran and Delany, who do an extensive trade with the Czechs, 7says they always buy good but not the best meats, and they are excellent at paying. They always come to time with their bills. They are good customers and not in the least clannish. Very many of them are in the butcher line themselves, and though there are some in the saloon line, there are not many. The editors of the Svornost say there are only about fifty in the "Cesky vinopalna line" (Bohemian distillery). There are almost as many in the drug store business. Quite a number are also in the carpet-weaving and clothing trades. Nearly all of them are making money. It is estimated that at least 60 per cent of the Bohemians are property owners. They have twelve building societies, with an average membership to each society of 700, and Mr. Cermak, one of the editors of the Svornost says that the weekly receipts from each society varies from $600 to $900. Besides, there are a number of men who are not members of those societies who are large property owners; William Kaspar is reported to be worth $100,000. John Kallal is a member of the firm of T. W. Harvey and Company. Dr. Kadlec of the Public Library Board; Frank Fucik, the West Town Clerk; John Matuska of Matuaka and Craig, the furniture dealers; and several others well-to-do. The editor of Svornost publishes besides the daily, two weekly papers, the Amerikan Mondays and the Prilcha Duchu Casu Sundays. Besides, he publishes quite a number of books and 8pamphlets, and his establishment on South Canal Street is well stocked. He employs about fifteen typesetters. Nearly all of the Bohemians can read and write their own language. Their public school system in the old country is conducted almost entirely by the priests. In this country the priests try to control the education, but the liberal thinkers' society - the C. S. P. S. (Czecho-slovak Benevolent Society) - which has a membership of 2,000 in this city, stoutly opposes. The C. S. P. S. by the way, has a magnificent hall and school in the Eighteenth Street. The organization is condemned by the church, but it flourishes. The editor of the Svornost seems to be the leading spirit in it. Liberal thought has been a phase of Bohemian public life since the time of John Huss. The attendance at the Catholic schools - there are three of them - is quite large. They are taught by the sisters. The children in attendance are all neatly and comfortably clad. They seem to run to bright colors. Every one wears a bright red hood, strong, thick-soled shoes, and a comfortable calico dress with abundance of petticoats. The Bohemian attendance at the public schools is also quite large, especially at the Throop, Longfellow and Garfield 9schools. Few, however, remain to complete the Grammar School course. The young women nearly all marry early. There is a disposition among the boys to be somewhat wild. This is especially the case with those of them who get to have a contempt for their parents and their parents' country. There are three Bohemian Catholic churches, one in the Fifth Ward, one in the Sixth Ward and one in the Eighth. Nearly all the women attend church while not more than half the men do so. John Kallal, already alluded to, is the leading Catholic layman. There are three theatres and about a dozen Bohemian halls. There is usually theatrical entertainment every night, and there is sure to be a dance every Saturday. At these dances some of the young Bohemians are apt to be boisterous, but as a rule they are well conducted, and there is little trouble.

    Habits and Mode of Life.

    There is an impression abroad that the Bohemians are slovenly in their habits. This is not the case. On the contrary they are clean and tidy as a rule. The 10women especially are very cleanly. They get on very well with their neighbors. Since Sadowa there has been some feeling between them and the Germans, but it is dying out. They take very kindly to the Poles. The Irish do not play them fair in politics, they say, and there is a tendency among them to be more self assertive. They like Cullerton because he attends to ward improvements, but they are down on Lawler for many reasons, though Frank appointed a leading Bohemian sub-Postmaster of the Southwest district. The leaders among them say that they will demand a better representation among the political parties in the future. They have a sort of natural penchant for politics. They manage to secure representation in all the principal offices in town. They claim from 6,000 to 7,000 votes, though this is probably an exaggerated estimate. They claim a population of but 40,00 altogether, and as they have abnormally large families, and, as many of them neglect to take out naturalization papers, 6,000 or 7,000 is too high an estimate. They have very nearly a majority, however, in the Sixth Ward. Hitherto they have acted with the Democrats, but the leading ones among them, with the exception of Kallal, Schlessinger and Nikodeun, say they are tired of the Democratic party, particularly of the Harrisonian branch 11of it. They assert that they have been victimized by the contractors in street-paving jobs, and, rightly or wrongly, they hold administration responsible therefor. They also complain of the espionage of the police. As a usual thing the Bohemians are orderly and law-abiding - they are, as stated before, a little boisterous at their society meetings when they indulge too freely in beer, which they too often do, and the policemen are too apt to use their clubs on them. There is a general impression, too, that the women are so desirous of getting rich that they do not know the difference between "mine and thine" very frequently. This is pronounced a gross slander, however, by the Bohemians themselves, who complain that the police treat them harshly, spread false reports about them and allow young toughs to break into their amusement halls, where the aforesaid toughs insult the women. This is especially the case at the Bohemian Hall on Taylor Street, near Canal, and frequent fights result as a consequence. In the Sixth Ward places of entertainment the Bohemians are amply able to take care of themselves.


    The Loafers Among Them.

    It is very noticeable that they do not loaf about saloons to any great extent. The present is a very dull time in the lumber region, and many hundred men are idle there, but in the Bohemian saloons in the vicinity very few men are to be found. They devote much of their time now-a-days to improving their buildings, constructing sidewalks, and clearing away rubbish or assisting their industrious wives. They are seldom found idle. Two young men met on Twenty-second Street last Thursday were asked why they were not at work. "No work to do", they replied. No house - no work now". They went on to explain as best they could that they had been in search of work.

    Besides the religious, anti-religious and building societies, the Bohemians have also several gymnastic societies. They practice nearly every night. They are very athletic fellows although they are not quick. For persons who are such skilled tailors they display very poor taste in dressing. The men's clothing is generally speaking, coarse and badly fitting, the pantaloons bag at the knees 13and are many inches too short, while the shoes are coarse and heavy. They are a healthy race, though there is considerable mortality among the children in summer, very likely due to overcrowding and the neglect of other sanitary regulations. Though they have prospered in Chicago there is a general tendency among those who have ready cash or who can dispose of their property, to leave here and go to live on farms. Their papers here are filled with advertisements of farms for sale in Nebraska, Dakota, Texas, and parts of Wisconsin, and there are a couple of farm agencies here doing a big business. For this and other reasons it is not likely that the Bohemian population of Chicago will increase to any great extent in the future, though they are a prolific race, and many of those who go to farming return in a few years. The Bohemian quarter of the Sixth Ward is now nearly built up. The Scandinavians are crowding in on them west of Ashland Avenue, in what is called the Stockholm region. The lumber business there is not expanding. Much of it is likely to go to South Chicago, and the furniture factories are already crowded. As small traders they do not make much headway, their trade being confined mostly to people of their own nationality. The extension of the tracks of the West Division Railway Company 14on West Nineteenth Street, will open up some new territory, but not a great amount. The building societies of the region have practically done their work. Very few dwellings are going up now. Nearly all are three and four story store buildings of a very substantial character. The Bohemian are not the only buildings, however. The Germans and the Hebrews are doing more than their share.

    Religious Opinion

    It is curious that, though there are very many Bohemian Jews in this city the relation between them and the Bohemian Christians appear to be far from cordial; and the Catholic Bohemians and the liberal thinkers appear to cordially hate each other. The liberal thinkers seem to be the most prosperous, and also to be the better educated. They seem to have a decided preference for Voltaire, Huxley, Darwin and two or three of their own writers. Their literature is not extensive. The women have two or three societies of their own, and, strange as it may seem in women, the societies are not of a religious character. It is a mistake though, to suppose that the Bohemians as a whole are not religious people. Of the 40,000 15who live here more than two-thirds attend church some time or other. The average Sunday attendance at the church at the corner of Allport Avenue and Eighteenth Street is about 6,000. Twice that number of different persons attend during the year. The attendance at the DeKoven church numbers about 4,000 on the average, and the attendance at the Portland Avenue Church in the Fifth Ward is about 2,500. The Bohemians of the Fourteenth Ward attend the Polish church. The pastors pay great attention to the societies belonging to the church, and devote their entire energies to keeping them intact. Among no foreign nationality is there such pronounced hostility to formal religion, and it requires all the zeal of the clergymen to combat this.

    Mr. Frank Fucik, a well-known Bohemian of the Seventh Ward, said yesterday, in relation to the building societies and other matters: "The district between Halsted Street and Ashland Avenue is now almost built up, and the Bohemians are beginning to build in the district between Ashland and Western Avenues. The Scandinavians are also building in there, but west of the lime kiln on Hoyne Avenue and thereabouts the Bohemians seem to have it all to themselves.


    Value of Their Property

    "What is the value of their property? I heard it estimated at $20,000,000, but that is an exaggeration, perhaps. They own at least $16,000,000 worth of property in Chicago. They seldom send money to the old country, except for the purpose of assisting relatives to come out. What they earn they keep here. It is a mistake to think that the Bohemians are only common laborers and wood-shovers. They are blacksmiths, watchmakers, and wood-turners, etc. Those along Canal Street, Canalport Avenue and Blue Island Avenue work at various mechanical trades. They work at the manufacture of American cutlery to a very large extent, and they are all steady, sober, active men. They have frequently been slandered because they have not been understood."

    "To whom do the house-owners rent"? "To people of all nationalities - generally to their own countrymen though. They usually get $7 or $8 for three rooms. A good proportion of the rent goes for a time to pay interest. The death rate is as low in the Bohemian quarter as in any other portion of the city.


    Their homes look as neat and as clean. They appear clean themselves, and I dont think there is the least ground for prejudice against them now."

    Mr. Chatfield of the firm of Street, Chatfield and Keep, lumber dealers, who traveled through Bohemia, said that in their native country the Bohemians appear to be industrious, frugal, hard-working people. Like the Irish they did not like their form of government. There have been frequent uprisings. They seemed to be of considerable political and intellectual force in their native country. He considered them a very valuable portion of the population. He had heard few things derogatory to them.

    A three days' sojourn in their midst was convincing as to their thrift, their industry, their cleanly habits, their generally high moral character, their saving habits and their intellectual advancement. They usually make good citizens; they have aided more than any other class of the population in building up the best portion of the southwestern district of the city; they have done their part by their labor in adding to the material prosperity of the 18city in adding to its taxable value. They are excellent members of society, and they and their children have done and will no doubt continue to do their full duty towards the great city which they have chosen for their future home.

    There is probably no more interesting and progressive section of Chicago's foreign population than that inhabited by the Bohemians. Some years ago there was a decided prejudice against them on ...

    I D 1 b, II A 2, IV, II D 1, III C, I C, I F 1, I K
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- January 25, 1892
    The Bohemians in Chicago

    The Bohemians constitute a larger percentage of the population than is generally estimated... The first Bohemian immigrants arrived in Chicago in 1853. Several families undertook the long journey from New York to Chicago. Then erected log-houses upon the prairie which is now the North Side, and soon many of their countrymen followed their example. Among the first immigrants were Mathias Barcal, the father of Police-lieutenant Barcal, and J. Padeckcy...He is the founder of the Bohemian Athletic Clubs. Dr. Valenta was the first Bohemian physician and J. Fischer the first one to open a store.

    In 1860 the Bohemian colony in Chicago consisted of approximately 1,000 members. The first thing they organized was a rifle club. The sharpshooters participated in the war (Civil War) and were recognized as courageous fighters, particular in the battles at Mission-Ridge, Tunnel 2Hill, Bussetrost, etc. The commander of the Bohemian battalion, Major Michalozcy, was killed in the last mentioned battle.

    Considerable difficulties were experienced in getting a Bohemian newspaper established on a self-paying basis. Finally in 1870 the Nova Doba (New Era) seemed to be successful, but the Chicago Fire destroyed the undertaking.

    The Svornost (Unity) was organized in 1874 and became the leading newspaper among the Bohemians in the course of time. Besides the above paper two others, the Chicagske Listy, and the Denni Hlasatel, have now a large number of readers. There is also a large Bohemian library in Chicago.

    The scattered Bohemian colonies united in due time and settled in the territory between Canal, Ewing, Forquer, Taylor, and De Koven streets, 3where they build two gymnasiums, and a theater. The district located west of Halsted, and south of 16th street is now an exclusive Bohemian colony. Not less than 15,000 Bohemians own real-estate property there, and some of the buildings have a value of about $50,000.

    Other Bohemian colonies are located west of Ashland avenue, west of Douglas Park, and at Humboldt Park. Some of the schools in these territories are attended almost exclusively by Bohemian children. Likewise do we find Bohemian settlements in Town Lake, and on South Halsted street.

    There are not less than 300 Bohemian clubs in Chicago, and their social activities have reached the climax. The total Bohemian population is estimated at 60,000. The first representative of the Bohemians at the School Board was A. Kraus; his successor, Dr. Jirka, is also a Bohemian. L. W. Kadlec represented the Bohemians as an official of the Public 4Library, and his successor, W. Kaspar, became a financier. J. Kravolec is a member of the West Park Board.

    The Bohemians are represented at the present by the Republican Chott in the Congress of the State, by the Alderman, F. Dvorak in the City Council, and by Stepina at the County Board.

    They also possess a Bohemian brewery valued at $300,000 and a Bohemian cemetery in Irving Park which is valued at $200,000. They have erected a beautiful monument upon this cemetery in honor of their countrymen who lost their lives in the Civil War.

    The Bohemians constitute a larger percentage of the population than is generally estimated... The first Bohemian immigrants arrived in Chicago in 1853. Several families undertook the long journey from New ...

    III A, II B 2 d 1, I A 1 a, II A 1, II A 2, II B 3, I F 4, III D, II C, I G