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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  • Chicago Tribune -- February 05, 1880
    The Dragon and the Sun

    Regarding the eclipse the reporter found a vast variety of opinions among the Chinamen he interviewed. One man, a clever merchant, said that the cause of the dark space on the Sun was because the Moon was behind it. He tried hard to make the reporter comprehend this theory for some time, and than suddenly seized a piece of smoked glass from a friend's hand and said: "Alle same this, no smokee, see through; smokee, no see through. Sabe?" After considerable study of the object, and further smoked glass demonstration, the reporter was made to understand that in the Chinaman's opinion the Sun is a hole through which a glowing light shines down upon the world and that at that time the Moon had slid in behind the Sun in some irregular manner and this obscured a portion of the light by blocking up a portion of the hole.

    The Chinese listeners to this explanation all grunted their assent, and the reporter moved on to approach a group of lower and more ignorant Chinese.

    2

    Here, for a wonder, the Chinamen were found with their eyes wide open. This proved that the eclipse was a matter of stupendous wonder for them. One Chinaman then explained that the Sun and Moon were having a quarrel, and the evident conclusion was that the Sun had got the worst of it and came off with a black eye.

    The reporter carried a small piece of smoked glass with him. One amazed Chinaman looked hard and long at the reporter's use of the glass, and then asked to have it. He was given it, and after viewing the Sun with it a moment, delightedly passed ot to a friend who clapped it to his eye, with the smoked side toward him.

    Regarding the eclipse the reporter found a vast variety of opinions among the Chinamen he interviewed. One man, a clever merchant, said that the cause of the dark space on ...

    Chinese
    V B
  • Chicago Tribune -- February 12, 1880
    The Celestials

    The Chinese residents for the time being sated with the festivities of the New-Year which have been occupying their attention for the past few days, have settled down to business, but live joyously in the anticipation of the pleasures which are to be enjoyed next Sunday.

    The earlier part of the day is to be devoted to social calls, and in the evening a grand gathering is to take place at a point not yet determined upon. Every mail brings to the residences of the various Chinamen envelopes containing the visiting cards of their friends in New York. Philadelphia, and other Eastern points, and from places in California and elsewhere. These, together with those distributed by local callers, will be carefully hoarded until the New-Year week has passed away, when they will be posted conspicuously upon the walls to serve as an indication of the number of friends possessed by the occupant of the place.

    2

    In this matter the Chinese take great pride, and the American lady whose door is besieged with callers from early in the morning until late at night on January 1st.,is not more an object of envy or admiration in her own set than is the Mongolian whose mementoes of similar attention palpably out-number the collections made by his fellow-countrymen.

    The Chinese residents for the time being sated with the festivities of the New-Year which have been occupying their attention for the past few days, have settled down to business, ...

    Chinese
    III B 3 a, V B
  • Chicago Tribune -- January 20, 1890
    Gleeful Celestials Chicago Chinamen Celebrate Their New-Year's Festival

    The Chinese New-Year celebration began last night about dusk. At 3 A.M. it had reached the stage of joyous riot, when a Chinaman begins to have fun. Clark Street south of Van Buren was crowded with happy Chinamen, and more happy Chinamen were bobbing in front of the pictures of the Joss in the Hip Lung store, Bow Wow Fung's, Sam Moy's, and other pleasant resorts, where Chicago Chinamen gather to smoke and have a good time. All the shops were lit, red paper signs hung in the windows, friendly parties of Chinamen were tossing off cups of rice gin, while up-stairs, over the Hip Lung store, a Chinese orchestra was playing for the pleasure of twenty or thirty privileged Chinamen, and a policeman from the Harrison Street station.

    Ex-Lieut. Bowler Honored

    Yesterday morning was spent in preparing for the big Jollification. In the back rooms of the stores paintings of the Joss were hung over little tables on which lay the sticks of incense to be burned later in his honor. The Chicago artist's 2idea of the Chinese Joss resembled ex-Lieut. James Bowler of the Desplaines Street Station. It represents the Joss as a tall man with a fierce eye, a pale-cold face and a dark mustache and goatee. The walls of the shops were papered with pictures of scenes in Chinaland and pictures of the Emperor. Cigar-dealer Sam Moy's portrait of the Emperor made the big man look like a native of County Mayo. "Who painted that picture for you Sam, my lad?" asked Sergt. Dan Hogan of the cigar-dealer. "Mike Casey, down here on Clark Street," replied Sam Moy with a grin. "I thought so," remarked Sergt. Hogan. "By my troth, the Emperor must have been too busy to give him a sitting and sent a proxy from Archer Road!"

    Money in Sam's Purse

    Sam Moy was not offended at this criticism of his decorations. It was a pretty hardthing to offend Sam Moy, or any other Chinese merchant, yesterday. When Sam Moy arose yesterday morning his shop was crowded with customers and the customers all had their pocketbooks out. They had come to settle up their accounts with Sam Moy. On New-Year's every Chinaman must pay his "chit"; if he doesn't do it before 4 P.M. he is disgraced. His friends do not speak to him on the street. Chinese boys peg bricks at him. Chinese women hoot at him from the windows. When 3he dies he goes to a place where he will meet Americans and others. So there was a constant stream of Chinamen entering Sam Moy's all day yesterday, and Sam Moy's face wore a smile of supreme content. When a customer entered he bowed to Sam Moy and said, "Kunghi." Sam Moy bowed to the customer and replied, "Kunghi," which means: "I am your everlasing servant. I humbly bow myself at your feet. I offer you my sincerest wishes for a happy year. May the moon love you. May your head mingle with the stars. May peace and prosperity be yours." The customer paid his bill and Sam Moy handed him a cup of gin and a five-cent cigar. Another customer came in a little while later. The same salutations were exchanged, and he, too, sat down to a cup of gin and a cigar. By nightfall the place was overcrowded. In the little stalls back of the shop half a dozen Chinamen were "hitting the pipe," and in a back room fifteen or twenty were gambling. A feast was set for 6 P.M. This was the menu as at other places: Bird's Nest Soup, Shark's Fin Soup, Fried Flat Fish, Roast Chicken, Roast Pig, Roast Duck, Roast Pigeon, Rice Gin, "Medicine" Wine, Oranges. At 10 P.M. the diners were getting warmed up to the festivities. Rice Gin had been poured in till the little Chinaman who sat next to Sam Moy carried a load that was picturesque and beautiful to behold. The conversation took the form of dialogues. One of the Chinamen yelled across the table to another Chinaman, "Happy New Year." "Happy New Year," replied the other Chinaman. "Good luck 4and prosperity to you." "Peace and happiness to you." "May you eat the skin of the roasted pig." "May wealth attend your ventures." "May your windows be unbroken." "May your fines be suspended." Whenever one of the Chinamen expressed a particularly noble sentiment all the other Chinamen applauded by hammering their dishes with the cups and bowling up some more. Like many other nationalities at midnight nearly every Chinaman in Chicago was a large and ornate drunk, and the New-Year's celebration was humming.

    The incense sticks were burned before the pictures of ex-Lieut. Bowler, the orchestras were tuning up and the Chinamen were starting out on their calls. Each Chinaman carried two bundles of red sheets of rice paper. On each of the sheets of one bundle his name was written or engraved in Chinese characters. On each of the sheets of the other bundle a New Year's greeting was written. Every caller was treated to a bowl of gin and a cigar, the latter being carefully placed in his pocket. Before he left he handed to the host one of the red sheets. From midnight on to daylight all Chinatown was drunk and happy. The orchestre, consisting of a fiddle that plays only one note, a horn that plays another, and two drums that just make a noise, got to work about 3 P.M.

    5

    The two Moy boys, who run the Hip Lung store, threw open the doors leading to the lodgings on the top floors and a great many Chinamen climbed up-stairs to pay their respects to Mrs. Quing Kee. Mrs Quing Kee is a stout German woman. She received their homage with complacency and sent Mr. Quing Kee across the street to fill the "growler." "I can't dring dot rice-chin," she said. "I lige beer better. Quing go ofer by Lawler's, unt get dree pints."

    The Chinese New-Year celebration begins when the moon enters Aquarius and continues till the richest Chinamen in town thinks he has had enough. The merchants of Chicago will keep open house for ten days. The term of rejoicing grows less as the social scale is descended, and some laundrymen, who haven't much money, only keep it up for a day. The solid men of China celebrate sometimes for twenty days.

    The Chinese New-Year celebration began last night about dusk. At 3 A.M. it had reached the stage of joyous riot, when a Chinaman begins to have fun. Clark Street south ...

    Chinese
    III B 3 a, V B
  • Chicago Tribune -- February 02, 1890
    Shaved by the Heathen

    HOW THE CHINESE OF CHICAGO ARE MADE UP SUNDAY

    INSIDE OF A "TONSORIAL FLAYED" ON CLARK STREET

    ONE MAN DOES ALL THE WORK

    HIS RAZOR RESEMBLES A MEAT AX

    THE CUSTOMER STRETCHED AND FLAYED AS A PART OF THE PROCESS

    THE CELESTIAL SHAMPOO

    THE BARBER IS ALSO A CHIROPODIST

    A HALF HOUR FOR FACH CUSTOMER

    2

    Perhaps to no alien has been given so much newspaper space as to the China-man. Column after column has been written about his New Year entertainments, funerals, and gambling-dens, but as yet nothing has appeared that would throw light upon the Chinese tonsorial parlor.

    According to history the ancient Chinese, like the inhabitants of most Eastern countries, wore long hair, but Tartar conquerors, though allowing them to retain their laws and religion, compelled then to shave the head and face as a badge of servitude, allowing no man under 40 years of age to grow either a beard or mustache, a small tuft of hair at the crown of the head being all that was permitted to flourish. However the feelings of the Tartars were so respectful to the dead that they never extended this order to a house of mourning. Time eventually healed the sorrow and humiliation wrought by this despotic edict, so that finally the custom was adopted by the entire Chinese Empire, and now its origin is nearly obliterated. Thousands of barbers perambulate the streets in China, twanging a pair of long iron tweezers to indicate that they are at leisure.

    3

    In Canton alone there are more than 8,000 of these wanderers who are all under the strictest surveillance, a severe penalty being inflicted to any one who practices the art without license. But here in Chicago it is quite different.

    THEY SHAVE ON SUNDAY

    A Tribune reporter learned from a laundryman that Sunday was the day they shave, and accordingly he set out last Sunday for the laundry in the basement of No. 315 South Clark Street. It was about 10 o'clock in the morning when he reached the place, and quite a number of Mongolians were collected round a table smoking pipes that savored of onions. The reporter, after saluting the proprietor of the establishment, seated himself at the stove, and about a half hour after,the door was opened and another Chinaman entered, carrying a curiously shaped box under his arm, which he deposited in a back room. Presently he reappeared with his hat and coat removed and his sleeves rolled up, apparently ready for business. Shortly after,he reentered the room accompanied by one of the smokers. The reporter followed.

    4

    First the barber beat the body of the "patient" with his hands (the same as in the "movement cure"). Then the arms and legs were stretched by violent jerks, giving the reporter the impression that they were being dislocated, and finally the barber pulled the man's arms and pushed his head in the opposite direction, making the latter grunt. Then the "patient's" fingers were cracked, and after a repetition of the "movement cure", the instruments, which are made of slip horn, were brought into use. The earspoon preceded a syringe, which was followed by several small instruments being turned about, one after another, under the eye-lids, which of course made the tears flow freely. Then the face was gone over with a pair of tweezers, with which any straggling hairs that might have been overlooked during the shaving were pulled out.

    The performance did not last more than half an hour, and was brought to a close by the "patient's" toe and finger nails being pared. Although a great many Chinamen shave their own faces there are eighty-three barbers in Chicago who are making more money than than average laundryman, and who work only on Sunday.

    HOW THE CHINESE OF CHICAGO ARE MADE UP SUNDAY INSIDE OF A "TONSORIAL FLAYED" ON CLARK STREET ONE MAN DOES ALL THE WORK HIS RAZOR RESEMBLES A MEAT AX THE ...

    Chinese
    V B
  • Chicago Tribune -- August 10, 1891
    Feast Dead Chinamen

    Fourteen carriages containing four Chinamen each rolled into the entrance of Rosehill Cemetery at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon, and a little later three street car loads of former residents of the Celestial Empire arrived and joined their countrymen. At first the cemetery officials wondered what their visit meant but later on were informed that the Chinamen had come to feed their dead.

    Little time was lost getting to the plot of ground belonging to the Chinese and almost instantly Hip Lung, their wealthy leader, was surrounded by his friends and after a few words in his native tongue the entire party was engaged in placing all kind of edibles upon the grave. Meats, breads, vegetables, and queer dishes, familiar only to these strange people, were scattered in profusion. While it was all going on a large caldron containing consecrated paper made of an imported punk that had been prepared by the chief religion officer of China, produced a dense smoke, as it was arranged to burn slowly.

    2

    The strange gesticulations and seemingly funny antics cut by the officiating people were extremely interesting to the few white people present. Many thought the pigtails were dedicating their new monument and in order to learn whether of not this had been done Hip Lung was questioned. "It is not a dedication of the monument", said he. It is our custom of feeding the dead. We will not dedicate the monument until next Sunday. We feed our dead today, tonight we feed some of our living - the laundry men".

    In the evening there was a feast at Hip Lung's store 323 South Clark Street. The sidewalk was crowded with Chinese from every part of Chicago, all awaiting the sound of the gong - the tocsin of feast. At 7:30 P. M. the large dining hall on the second floor of Lung's building was ablaze, and the Laundrymen of Chicago enjoyed a banquet such as was never seen or tasted here before. It was given because a nephew had been born to Hip Lung.

    Fourteen carriages containing four Chinamen each rolled into the entrance of Rosehill Cemetery at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon, and a little later three street car loads of former residents of ...

    Chinese
    I B 4, V B
  • Chicago Tribune -- January 30, 1892
    Celebration of Chinese New Year's

    Incense was burned, wine was drunk, and peans were sung in honor of the great Chinese Joss by hundreds of his Chicago worshippers yesterday. It was their New Year's day, the anniversary of the ascension to the throne of the present ruler of the Chinese Empire, and every one of the hundreds of Mongolians in Chicago was out in holiday attire. All work was suspended, and the scores of dingy, dark basement laundries were lit up for the first time in a year. The walls and windows were decorated with bright colored papers inscribed with words of praise to Joss and the Emperor. In most cases temporary altars were erected, and thanks offerings of flesh and fruit were burned with myrrh and frankincense and aloes, according to a custom said to have been established a thousand years before the Christian era.

    The center of pagan worship in Chicago was on Clark Street, near Harrison. Hundreds of Americans flocked thither to see the display at Hip Lung Hotel and the Bow Wo Fung drug store.

    The Chinese grocery which occupies the first floor was cleared of all merchandise, and the place was fitted up to represent a Joss house. From the ceiling were hung numerous highly-colored rice paper banners. In the rear and above the image of 2Joss were thirteen of them, inscribed in gilt with the thirteen Chinese classics, the work of Kien-loong, an Emperor of great wisdom, who has rested in his grave hundreds of years. Along the north wall were the five virtues handed down by Confucius. They are benevolence, righteousness, propriety, knowledge, and faith. Beneath a portrait of Confucius were the words he is said to have uttered on his deathbed: "The great mountain is broken. The strong beam is thrown down, and the wise man is decayed."

    On a large table in front of the image of Joss were the bronze vessels in which sweet smelling spices were burning. Artistically arranged about these were offerings of Chinese sweet meats, chicken, and roast pig. In a comfortable room on the second floor was Mrs. May Chung Hoy, wife of one of the three brothers who own the hotel. On her lap was little May Fook Kan, who was christened with pagan pomp and ceremony several months ago. Her costume differed little from that of her husband. Her blouse was of heavy, light blue silk with pink sleeves, and her limbs were incased in wide legged trousers of purple silk. Gold rings at least six inches in circumference adorned her ears, and around her neck was a heavy gold band. Her hair was combed straight back from her forehead and wound in an odd coil at the back of her head. The coil could scarcely be seen for the gold and turquoise 3ornaments which adorned her. The chubby legs and arms of the son of May Chung Hoy were loaded with gold bracelets, and on his head was a quaint silk cap covered with metal ornaments, which jingled every time the baby moved. His dress was of light purple silk, with long flowing sleeves.

    In the evening a banquet was served; all of Chinese preparation. During the banquet a Chinese orchestra composed of thirteen pieces played.

    Incense was burned, wine was drunk, and peans were sung in honor of the great Chinese Joss by hundreds of his Chicago worshippers yesterday. It was their New Year's day, ...

    Chinese
    I B 4, V B