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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  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- July 12, 1871
    [American Literacy]

    Some decades ago the Frenchman Tocqueville, the famed author of the book Democracy in America said:"In no country of the world are there so few ignoramuses and so few scholars as in the United States, and in no country are there so many ignoramuses and so many scholars as in Germany. Even though in the formulation of this apothegm the ignorance of the French regarding everything German, and the French addiction to clever antithesis and sparkling paradox may have been active, yet it must be confessed that one might still find a kernel of truth in it. The American moves from early youth on in conditions that awaken the mind; he reads newspapers and many books; he listens to orators and public lectures. One has built here veritable altars to common sense.

    Not so the Germans. The idealistic tendency that is, one might say, inborn to them, carries them all too often away from reality; their shying away from public life has been overcome only in the last few years; the German newspapers are mostly to be thanked for having brought that about. The growth of the latter(in this city particularly of the Staats Zeitung) bears witness to the fact that the German-Americans slowly begin to assimilate 2the good and beautiful things of the native Americans. One thing, however, of which the Americans have cause to be proud, the Germans in this country have not yet imitated...

    The Germans in this city who count among their fellow citizens men who would do honor to the biggest and best educated cities in the German homeland, should take the initiative in the building of a big, German public library. It is true, essays in this direction have been made before; years and years ago a German reading association existed in this city, and the Workers Association had a library that though it contained only fiction, enjoyed a large and faithful circle of readers.

    Perhaps, it was that the struggle for existence at that time-15 or 20 years ago- was not favorable for literary tendencies; or that the divisions among the Germans that now, happily, have largely been overcome, made a big united enterprise impossible, - at any rate the reading association had to auction off its books to pay its rent, (and the library of the Worker's Association that was burned some time ago has not yet been able to attain again its initial achievements.)

    3

    A committee of eminent, energetic and well educated Germans should be formed...That the plan would succeed we do not doubt in view of the unity and intelligence of the Germans here. Such a library would not only have a splendid influence on the Germans but on the Americans, too. To mention only one thing, one could force the American libraries, to keep also Sundays open for the reading public. In that way more would be done to stop the loitering around, shooting and public disorder than is accomplished by the police...How many German youths who now sit on Sundays mostly in the beerhall would not be happy to spend this time instead in a library with studies and pleasure-reading...

    (Footnote: This article is probably a reader's contribution).

    Some decades ago the Frenchman Tocqueville, the famed author of the book Democracy in America said:"In no country of the world are there so few ignoramuses and so few scholars ...

    German
    II B 2 a, II B 2 d 1, II B 2 d 3, V A 2, I C
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- September 03, 1872
    The German Theater and the German Public

    The constant complaint of the German theater that it has not been supported by the public, is answered with: "Give us a theater that will present good performances, and we shall support it." Of late, the German theater in Chicago has been showing some improvement. The play "Karlsschuler," produced by Louis Kindt, if not perfect, has nevertheless given the public a great deal of satisfaction.

    And not that the actors could be any better. How can anyone expect an actor to do his best when he is continually interrupted by a noisy audience indulging in drinking and smoking; when in the midst of a scene there suddenly resounds the crying of a baby; when there is an interruption in the act because two rough fellows are fighting, as was the case last Saturday evening in the Turnhalle Vorwärts.

    2

    We maintain our assertion that good plays are possible, but to make them so both the actors and public must cooperate. We are glad that Mr. Kindt intends to put a stop to abuses. No smoking will be allowed, waiters will not be allowed to wait on the public during the play, and children under six years of age will not be admitted.

    Last Sunday two important English newspapers, the Inter-Ocean and the Times, were represented at Turnhalle Vorwärts. Reporters from these papers had come to write about the amusements of the Germans, and their German colleagues had to use all their influence to prevent them from telling the truth. We can say that last Sunday's play represented a new epoch.

    The constant complaint of the German theater that it has not been supported by the public, is answered with: "Give us a theater that will present good performances, and we ...

    German
    II A 3 d 1, I C, V A 2
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- August 26, 1878
    The First Cannstadter Festival ("Cannstadt" - City in Germany )

    Again the Swabians swore last Saturday evening when rain started to come down heavily. Yesterday morning bright and early the first Cannstadter public festival in Chicago began. The festival is still a new thing here, but has already in the old fatherland a string of sixty ancestors, and is also as "blueblooded" as could be desired. Its creator was King William who in 1818, for the first time, introduced in Cannstadt on the Neckar (river) an agricultural exhibition combined with a public festival.

    Here in America, Cannstadter public festivals existed only in New York and Philadelphia. Chicago steps in today as the third city.

    Yesterday morning the procession assembled at the Haymarket Square and went from there to Ogden's Grove. About five thousand people were assembled.

    2

    At four o'clock Mr. Demmler introduced Mr. William Rapp, who said, - "Rugged are you Swabians, awkward, stubborn, stiff-necked, but there does not exist a warmer hearted people, and not a more beautiful and lovelier land than yours." Such expressions I have heard quite often from North Germans, who, as American citizens have visited and seen the Swabian people.

    Let us look back gratefully to our old Swabian ancestors. Natives of the Palatinate and the Swabians were the first Germans who jointly in great numbers migrated to America and maintained their German nationality. They did this expecially in the first decades of the last century, to evade the oppression of their native princes and the misery caused by the French conquering Army. They originated the Palatinate and Swabian settlements in New York and in Pennsylvania, and their descendants have remained German until this very day.

    Among these Palatinate and Swabian immigrants at the beginning of the last century none were greater or more powerful than the Swabian, Johann Konrad 3Weiser, formerly the Mayor of Grossaspach, Wurtemberg (Germany). Bravely he fought with his immigrant German fellowmen against the English greed for land. He led them stubbornly from the Hudson to the Schoharic and Mohawk, where Palatinate and Swabian diligence created a great garden out of the wilderness. Fearing neither prison nor violence, Weiser travelled from New York to London to represent the rights of his German-American fellowmen before the King. The energy of his last years he devoted to Germanism in Pennsylvania, where he died, well advanced in years and highly honored in the German Berks district.

    Worthy of his father was Weiser's son, Konrad, born in Swabia. He was not as strong a man as his father, but finer and well-groomed, being the most profound and honest judge of Indiana....

    The true German blood of these descendants of South German immigrants flowed during the American War for Independence through the Palatinate hero, Herckheimer near Oriskany, and in many other battles.....

    Again the Swabians swore last Saturday evening when rain started to come down heavily. Yesterday morning bright and early the first Cannstadter public festival in Chicago began. The festival is ...

    German
    V A 1, II B 1 c 3, V A 2, III A, III H, I J
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- September 20, 1878
    Forty-Eighters and Seventy-Three'ers

    The Illinois Staats-Zeitung recalls, under the above title, the "Storm and Stress" period, the Forty-Eighters, when they arrived from Germany in this country. It says just as those fanatics and idealists of that epoch slowly became practical Democratic, Republican, Americans, so the same will happen in the near future to those Seventy-Three'ers. With this outlook we understand the world reformers who, subsequently, the great crash of 1873 drove by and by from Europe, especially from Germany, to America.

    First and foremost, Germany is lacking in the knowledge of our native conditions. There is in spite of all theories about freedom no understanding what the same means in a real republic. With all freedom theories in France and Germany, the state always acts the principal part, as chief guardian. Of the individual freedom of every one, as prevailing here, Europe has no idea.

    Also the immigrants of 1848 did not have this understanding and likewise went through long experiences to get through to a clearer standpoint.

    But many thousands of them however lived through the practical, political school, which later most of the immigrants lacked. They had during a 2comparatively free epoch, tried out themselves in German's political life, as in meetings of the senate, meetings of the chambers, in the German Parliament, or in the arms-struggle for the country's unification and freedom. Before all things they strove for reform and not for a revolution in the social field, as indicated by the title of that German newspaper in New York, which the Illinois Staats Zeitung has mentioned as the organ of that movement.

    To take everything into consideration, the Forty-Eighters went through a more severe political school. They were more adapted for Americ's political freedom without which no fundamental solution of any social question is possible, than the later newcomers from Germany, whose political experiences and aspirations were gathered entirely under the absolute military and police-whip period. To those Seventy-Three'ers, bare of any free political training, possibly will find it harder, to develop as quickly, because they have not learned to appreciate the free political foundation, upon which the social reform has to be built. They too will sooner or later come to this standpoint. And in the interest of the country and for their own benefit it is to be wished that they will develop quickly and with the same success from European fugitives, whose outlook might be still troubled by the memory of a police state's misery, into real, free Americans.

    The Illinois Staats-Zeitung recalls, under the above title, the "Storm and Stress" period, the Forty-Eighters, when they arrived from Germany in this country. It says just as those fanatics and ...

    German
    III C, V A 2, III A
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- March 03, 1879
    Anton Buscher

    Anton Buscher, the wood carver, died after a long illness at his home on May Street. The deceased was born in Gamburg, Grand Dutchy of Baden, in 1825. He showed great talent for wood carving during his early youth and eventually this craft became his life's work. Coming to America, twenty-four years ago, he stayed in New York three years and then settled in Chicago, where he lived for the last twenty-one years. Within a short time he became well known as an expert wood carver and builder of altars, and there is hardly a Catholic church in the country which cannot show some of his work. His most imposing production is the main altar of the Jesuit Church of Chicago. Mr. Buscher's life was dedicated to his art. He associated with few people but was highly esteemed by those who knew him.

    He is survived by his widow and four children; the oldest, a son, is studying at the Academy of Art, in Munich, Germany.

    The funeral will be held at St. Francis Church, tomorrow, at nine o'clock 2in the morning.

    His personal friend of long standing, Reverend Caluelage, will officiate at the services.

    Anton Buscher, the wood carver, died after a long illness at his home on May Street. The deceased was born in Gamburg, Grand Dutchy of Baden, in 1825. He showed ...

    German
    II A 3 a, V A 2
  • Chicagoer Arbeiter Zeitung -- July 09, 1884
    The Founding of a Platt-German National Society

    Mr. Edward Cook, the publisher of the Platt-German Newspaper, was intrumental in bringing to Chicago the convention of all the Platt-Germans of America, with the purpose of founding a National Society. Eleven societies were represented by their delegates numbering altogether 37. The convention was in session yesterday for the second successive day, when the name for the newly founded society was chosen, which will be known henceforth as "The Central Society of the Platt Germans of the United States of North America."

    The purpose of this society is: 1. "To unite all the Platt German Societies of the United States into one big brotherhood; 2. To defend personal freedom at all times, seeing to it that the German element is fully recognized and, to further and cultivate the Platt German Language; 3. In adverse times to help and assist one another and finally the founding of a general life insurance.

    Every Platt German Society, regardless of a burial club can join the Central 2Society with a poll tax of 10 cents annually. The family of a deceased member will receive $500.

    Mr. Edward Cook, the publisher of the Platt-German Newspaper, was intrumental in bringing to Chicago the convention of all the Platt-Germans of America, with the purpose of founding a National ...

    German
    III B 4, V A 2
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- February 28, 1890
    The Germans Are the Most Frugal

    An official of one of the local savings banks submitted some interesting statistical figures, several days ago, which are herewith appended. Savings banks have been founded for the purpose of giving the poorer classes of the population an opportunity to obtain a safe depository for their funds. Of all the nationalities which comprise our regular customers, the Germans are represented by the largest number. Young Germans, who have only a small income, know how to save and bring these small sums consistently to our banks. Aside from this, they excel other nationalities by the fact, that almost all who have business relations with us, are able to read and write. There are German servant girls here, who often save $2,000 and more from their meager wages; they accomplish this in a few years.

    2

    The Germans also make the largest deposits. A young German brings not less than $20 or $25 to the bank but if he is in business, then his deposits are $200 at the least and they are very often much larger. Next to the Germans, I would consider the descendants of the Irish, hence, the Irish-Americans, as very frugal.....The average age, when men form the saving habit, is the 25th year, but especially amongst the Germans, this inclination very often manifests itself when they are much younger.

    An official of one of the local savings banks submitted some interesting statistical figures, several days ago, which are herewith appended. Savings banks have been founded for the purpose of ...

    German
    V A 2, I B 3 c, I C
  • Abendpost -- December 19, 1890
    [German Influence on the American National Character]

    The German immigrants are preserving, even in their new surroundings and changed living conditions, their characteristics, which have been inherited and intensified through the slow flow of a stabilized economic system in their old country. They carry this element of stability into the hasty flow of American developments, which otherwise would block safe progress. Furthermore, German honesty cannot be underestimated as a powerful counterweight in American politics, which have spoiled more or less our present generation in this country.

    Finally, the achievements of German science, art and education, brought over through German immigration, are representing a valuable contribution towards the intellectual life of this nation.

    The German immigrants are preserving, even in their new surroundings and changed living conditions, their characteristics, which have been inherited and intensified through the slow flow of a stabilized economic ...

    German
    III A, V A 2, I F 4
  • Chicago Tribune -- January 10, 1892
    [A German Smoker]

    Farragut club members and guests enjoyed a raucher last evening, which,following a custom of the German students of Hiedelberg, consisting of long pipes and smoke consumers at the chimney end, and a varied entertainment. Cal Wagner and Prof. R. G. Allen formed the professional talent, and the J. O. S. Mandolin and Guitar club furnished excellent music. The entertainment Committee Consisted of Eugene Flagg: Chas. F. Eiken, and C. N. Sherwood.

    Farragut club members and guests enjoyed a raucher last evening, which,following a custom of the German students of Hiedelberg, consisting of long pipes and smoke consumers at the chimney end, ...

    German
    V A 2
  • Abendpost -- January 22, 1898
    The Undesirable and uneducated ( an Editorial on Immigration.)

    The entire evidence for those who favor the "Lodge-bill" is based on these two sentences. 1.) Immigrants who are not educated are undesirable; 2.) Undesirable Immigrants are those who are not educated. And for each of these two sentences, its defenders have no proof. We are the last who would belittle a good school-education. In the first instance, the required proof of education (the evidence that one can read or write) is not an assurance, that one has been properly tutored, that one can think independently and reach sensible (logical) conclusions. Secondly, a school education, even the best, is not the primary cause why immigration has always been necessary, in former years as well as to-day. Where is the state in the Union, who would not prefer 100,000 strong fisted, healthy farmers, who know how to cut timber, pull stumps and convert the wilderness into tillable farms, to a similar number or even one tenth of this sum, of writers, bookkeepers, schoolteachers, lawyers or other literary and cultured individuals? Is there anywhere a city or state in this country where there is a dearth of store or office help, or any other kind of work 2where the knowledge of reading and writing are of most importance? Are not these the labors to which the native youth rushes? The efforts, which are regarded as "genteel" where no exertion of the body is needed, where the young man(or Mr. Boy)can take good care of his hands, manicure his fingernails and where his clothes enable him to play the "dude." Do the United States suffer from an insufficient supply of "Clerks" and"Bookkeepers", stenographers and typewriting artists or do we need people with muscular arms and strong fists, who are able and willing, to perform the arduous, disagreeable and dangerous labors, which the mass of the indigenous Americans shuns? Do we need more agents, "office-sitters" and desk-ink blotters or more people who know how to handle a pick and shovel? Who, in the future is to extract the coal from the dark recesses of the earth, or build railroad enbankments in the torrid heat of the sun, dig canals, pave the streets and remove the dirt , if the dispised, "ignorant" foreigners who always did this work, are not allowed to come to our shores? Their presence which is greatly to be appreciated made it possible for the native American to select the more pleasant, easier, the better and more profitable callings. Somebody must do this manual work. If they are not performed by the immigrants, 3then they must be done by the natives, and the American laborers will have to retreat, while heretofore they rode onward and upward on the banks of the ignorant foreigners, who always held the lowest jobs. For such dirty work which has always been done by the despised "Huns and Dagos" and others of their ilk but which the native and the better educated and skilled immigrant laborers disdain to do, for such work, it is surely not absolutely necessary to have that school education, without which no one is to be given admission. It is plain nonsense, that the unschooled immigrant is undesirable, merely, because he is not educated.

    The second sentence is not any better, which describes the undesirable immigrants as uneducated. We know of no more undesirable workers than those who shy away from honest work, the lazy and the vermin who "with the aid of their smartness" live at the expense of others, the cheaters, counterfeiters, thieves and other crooks of all sorts. And these, as a rule are not recruited from the ignorant class. To the contrary the higher their degree of education the more dangerous they become to the community.

    4

    The mass of the immigrant always consisted of honest, capable, and willing workers, regardless of their school-learning. There is no evidence to prove why the immigration of the next century should not be as useful to this land as it has been during the past hundred years. There is no reason for a legal restriction, since experience has shown, that immigration controls itself, whenever our conditions make an influx of labor unprofitable. If the gentlemen Lodge and Associates really have such great fear of the people who lack schooling, then above all things, they ought to fight the ignorance in their own country where a rich field is available.

    The largest is there, where the native American is least affected by immigration.

    The entire evidence for those who favor the "Lodge-bill" is based on these two sentences. 1.) Immigrants who are not educated are undesirable; 2.) Undesirable Immigrants are those who are ...

    German
    III G, III B 1, V A 2, I C