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.

Filter by Date

  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- August 22, 1873
    The Lazzarones from Chicago

    The poor boys and girls who have suddenly been transplanted from their sunny homeland "far down South" into our rough climate, and have to secure through begging and singing a sum sufficient to save them from punishment on their return home, have become recently an object of public attention.

    A reporter from the Staats Zeitung went yesterday to interview the Italian Consul, Mr. Cella, an educated and friendly gentleman. Here is what Mr. Cella had to say: "In my opinion most of the reports concerning the Italian musician street children are exaggerated. My compatriots and I feel deeply the degradation of the life of these children. It is true that these children must bring home a certain sum every evening to escape 2punishment; it is also true that this roaming about causes the moral ruin of these children; but it is not true that there are here from 400 to 500 children, who depend on their "padrone" and belong to him. The total number of Italian inhabitants here does not exceed 4,000. The number of children musicians, according to my estimate, runs from 125 to 150, and most of them are under the supervision, not of a padrone, but of their parents.

    "To my mind," concluded Mr. Cella, "the only way to stop this practice is to have a city ordinance passed forbidding begging by playing music." Mr. Cella's plan seems very sensible to us. But we do not consider it a mitigating circumstance even if the "slaveholders" are not strangers but the parents of the children. We hope that the Italians will put an end to taking advantage of these children.

    C. Hoffmann

    The poor boys and girls who have suddenly been transplanted from their sunny homeland "far down South" into our rough climate, and have to secure through begging and singing a ...

    Italian
    I B 3 c, I B 3 b, I H
  • L'italia -- July 23, 1892
    An Indecent Spectacle

    Walking through the district bounded by Canal, Halsted, Van Buren and Taylor streets, one is offered the shameful spectacle of Italian women with bodice open and breasts exposed, nursing their babies. Neither drunkards' obscene remarks nor the sarcasm of pedestrians serve to awaken in them a feeling of shame for their immodest behavior.

    We appeal to those, whom these women look up to, and hope that they can convince them that nursing babies on the street is not a nice thing to do. Furthermore it gives the Americans another point on which to jeer the Italian.

    Walking through the district bounded by Canal, Halsted, Van Buren and Taylor streets, one is offered the shameful spectacle of Italian women with bodice open and breasts exposed, nursing their ...

    Italian
    III A, I B 3 b, I C
  • L'italia -- September 16, 1893
    [A Dishonored Colony]

    "Italians are wicked and cowards" a statement made by two of our prominent co-nationals, E. Ronga and J. E. Garibaldi.

    Citizens of the Italian Colony are being dishonored by American citizens for not cooperating with the Board of Education in sending their children to school. This ignoble characteristic lowers our social position in Chicago into a very unfavorable light in comparison with Americans. We should send our children to school, and make them good American citizens. We, therefore have asked the cooperation of all Italian Societies in bettering our social standing among Americans.

    A letter was sent to the Board of Education stating:

    2

    Chicago, Illinois

    September 12, 1893

    To the Board of Education of the

    Chicago Public Schools:

    September 3, A. D. 1893, at the Gazzolo Hall in a regular meeting of the Committee of the United Italian Societies composed of the presidents and two delegates from each of the following societies: C. Colombo, Umberto I, Court Italian, Court Gen. Garibaldi, Court Liguria, Trinacria Siciliana, Stella d'Italia, Court Assunta, Aquila Abruszzi, Red 'Italia, Legiene Garibaldi, Victtorio Emanuele, Aiutanti Mosaicisti, Margherita di Savoia, San Michele Arcangelo, Genova Carrallena, Agricola di Rieighano, and Court Asppromente.

    Said committee of the United Italian Societies, having in view the welfare

    3

    and bettering of the Italian children of Chicago who are kept out of school by their parents and deprived of the essential elements of an education, passed unanimously the following resolutions:

    Whereas: A certain Oscar Durante has been for some years past in the employ of the Board of Education in the capacity of Truant Officer, and is at present an applicant for the same position for the ensuing year.

    Whereas: The said Oscar Durante was elected to said office only because he was considered to be one of the prominent and most deserving individuals of the Italian Colony of Chicago, and the one to shower the most favors upon the said Italian Colony.

    Whereas: If the said Oscar Durante is re-elected to the same position, he 4would offer no more advantages to the Italian children than he gave last year, for during that time he never attended to duties properly.

    Resolved: To notify the Board of Education that said Oscar Durante does not deserve the position of Truant Officer, and to give full force and effect to the above resolution the Committee through its chairman appointed a Sub-Committee to wait on the Board of Education, consisting of the following persons: J. G. Garibaldi, Paul Dasso, Dr. C. Volini, Dr. G. Ronga, G. D. Raggio, R. Puccini, G. Cozzi, F. De Rosa, V. Giannatiempo. E. Libinati, V. Ginocchio.

    Dr. G. Ronga, Secretary; John G. Garibaldi, Chairman Timbro.

    Societa Italiane Unite, Feste Colombiane.

    October 12, 1893, Chicago.

    5

    "Traitors."

    Statement made by Oscar Durante.

    The infamy brought upon us by these two men, Garibaldi and Ronga, is beyond any doubt the most disgraceful under which our Colony has labored and furthermore these two prominent men, as we call them, should be branded with a red hot iron as traitors to our Colony. They took advantage of the good deeds of our societies which are always trying to help the Italians and with the ignorance of others, misled them into committing a prejudice so vulgar and treacherous to our Colony.

    Garibaldi and Ronga thought, by scandalizing us and by taking away the bread we have honestly earned for four years, would ruin us, but whether in defeat or victory, we will still be honest and loyal to our public.

    We advise our public to scorn them and spit in their face, which is the way gentlemen treat such villainous traitors.

    6

    Friends and enemies judge for yourselves the unworthy character of these two men.

    It is to be regretted that these two men hold such honorable positions as president and secretary of the Columbian Exposition, which they do not deserve.

    And to the Board of Education, I send you my sincere apologies if I have caused any trouble, because all this was only a fraud on the part of these two men who have a personal revenge on me.

    And to our Colony, let us hope that the disgrace brought upon us by these two men will soon vanish, and let us all cooperate in being good American citizens.

    "Italians are wicked and cowards" a statement made by two of our prominent co-nationals, E. Ronga and J. E. Garibaldi. Citizens of the Italian Colony are being dishonored by American ...

    Italian
    I A 1 a, II B 1 c 3, I B 3 b, III B 2, II D 1, IV
  • L'italia -- July 21, 1894
    To the Inter-Ocean. the Italians Have Done Their Duty

    Our esteemed confrere the Inter-Ocean in one of its recent issues, published a long article entitled "Bagging Beggars," the illustrations of which we have been able to reproduce in our present issue, thanks to the kind permission of that valuable paper.

    The said article is concerned exclusively with the Italian padones, beggars, rag-pickers, newsboys, organ-grinders, etc.

    Once in a while the American press at large feels it necessary to publish articles of such a nature as the one we refer to. Of course the intentions that prompt them are honest; they aim to stir the public opinion and stimulate the proper authorities to take the proper steps that may lead to the abatement of such a nuisance. Therefore as Italians who have the honor of our nationality at heart, we thank the good American press in general and the Inter-Ocean in particular.

    2

    But in the meantime we have to blame in the most positive and emphatic way, the good American press in general and the Inter-Ocean in particular for their failure editorially to spur the proper authorities to apply the municipal ordinances and the State Laws which were enacted just for the abatement of the deplored nuisances.

    We Italian aliens, as they call us, generally look with intense stupor and amazement upon the fact that laws and ordinances are left a dead letter while the people and the press loudly denounce those nuisances which would be stamped out with the enforcement of said laws and ordinances. The Italians in Chicago, contrary to what the president of the Local Humane Society has said, have done their best to suppress those evils. At this point it is not improper to mention that the Italians here have promoted and seconded the movement in favor of the Compulsory Educational Law. The late Charles Kozminski consented to be their mouthpiece in the Board of Education. That sterling man brought their grievances before the Board with regard to the fact that swarms of Italian children were allowed to grow wild on the public 3streets, and this was the "parva-favilla," that ignited the fire-works of the Compulsory Education, which has now ended like any fire-works display, leaving everything in darkness as before.

    The Italians have also been instrumental in pushing through the City Council the ordinances against the filthy rag-pickers and professional beggars. Four years ago they held a mass meeting and collected from among themselves nearly $400 for this purpose. At that meeting a committee composed of fourteen Italians was appointed and charged to do the lobby work. A prominent lawyer was engaged to direct the work legally, and the desired ordinances were passed.

    But they were enforced a week or a trifle over that, and then were dropped because the rag-pickers were voters and consequently, under the protection of their ward politicians. Furthermore, the Italians have morally and materially helped Miss Jane Addams and Miss Helen Starr, the founders of that unique institution of Chicago, Hull House, and the above mentioned noble 4ladies can testify to this effect.

    The Italians have done many other things in this respect, and whenever called upon they never refused to work in sympathy with the community.

    Even at the present time it seems that a movement is on foot again for the suppression of the lamented nuisances, as Count Marazzi, acting counsul of H. M. the king of Italy, in Chicago, has been called upon by certain parties who have asked him to cooperate for the above mentioned purpose.

    Naturally the Consul has applied to his countrymen of Chicago, but we think that the latter are unable to do anything else, unless the laws and ordinances promoted by them, are applied and fully enforced.

    Our esteemed confrere the Inter-Ocean in one of its recent issues, published a long article entitled "Bagging Beggars," the illustrations of which we have been able to reproduce in our ...

    Italian
    I M, I A 1 a, I B 3 b, II D 6, I F 3, I F 6, III H, I C
  • L'italia -- August 04, 1894
    Italian Boys under Arrest

    Our friend, Chas. G. Brune writes to us from Savanna, Ill.:

    "Friday morning, Frank Kerney, town marshall and a good friend of the Italians in this town, called me to the town lock-up to see two Italians, brothers, who had been picked up on the streets without a shirt to their backs.

    In answer to my question they told me they were from Chicago, that they lived with their parents at 702 Indiana St. and their names were Pasquale and Raffaele Caraccia, ten and six years of age respectively. Their parents had given them an organ and sent them out to play and beg from town to town. Everything had gone fairly well until they arrived in Dubuque, Iowa, where they were set upon by a gang of older boys who smashed the organ and stripped their shirts off their backs and in that condition they were driven out of town.

    2

    Because of their appearance, they could not convince trainmen of their desperate need, and so they had taken to walking back to Chicago.

    I bought them some much needed clothing and the town marshall paid their way to Chicago and by new I hope that they are safely at home with their family."

    When will Italian parents stop making such a disgraceful show of themselves for the American's amusement and condemnation?

    Our friend, Chas. G. Brune writes to us from Savanna, Ill.: "Friday morning, Frank Kerney, town marshall and a good friend of the Italians in this town, called me to ...

    Italian
    I B 3 b, I B 3 c
  • L'italia -- November 25, 1899
    [Night Schools]

    We willingly publish the following, promising that all our interest is in the support of our compatriots, and, through Mr. Capparelli's encouragement, to preserve with ardor and careful activity the duty that has shown itself in procuring the principles acquired from his distinguished honesty.

    Chicago, Illinois

    November 22, 1899

    Mr. Ettore Durante

    I would be very grateful, indeed, if you would announce in your esteemed paper that evening classes have commenced at the Dore School, W. Harrison St. near S. Halsted St., and at the Garfield School, Johnson near 14th St., since Nov. 6, for all Italians who are interested to learn the English language.

    2

    It would be impossible for me to reveal all the benefit they would receive through such an education.

    The superintendents of different schools complain that of all the children who do not attend school regularly, the majority are Italians. Knowing that the Italian Colony in Chicago, depends a great deal on their childrens education, for the future, I am sure the parents will realize how much it really means, if you used some of your available influence in your periodical.

    There are laws here that constrain and oppose truancy, but there are come individuals who do not agree with the means used to enforce these laws, although as a truant officer, I believe it best to resort to persuasive methods. I am sure you will publish this in your paper, and I do hope it will produce the required effect, or also I will be compelled to enforce the law with legal methods. I thank you and remain respectfully yours,

    Francesco Capparelli

    Truant Officer

    Board of Education

    We willingly publish the following, promising that all our interest is in the support of our compatriots, and, through Mr. Capparelli's encouragement, to preserve with ardor and careful activity the ...

    Italian
    I A 1 a, I C, II B 2 d 1, I B 3 b, I A 3, III A
  • L'italia -- January 19, 1901
    An Irresponsible Father

    Because Luigia Messina and her three children, according to her story, had not brought home enough money to satisfy her husband, who, in eleven years of idleness had lived off the earnings of his wife and children, he threw them out of their home. The Hanson Street Police, at which station Mrs. Messina found shelter, are looking for the husband, and hope that the mother and daughter will testify as to his unfatherly acts.

    Because Luigia Messina and her three children, according to her story, had not brought home enough money to satisfy her husband, who, in eleven years of idleness had lived off ...

    Italian
    I B 3 c, I B 3 b
  • L'italia -- May 24, 1902
    [The Italian and the Public Schools]

    We regret that we are forced to admit the existence of a contrary attitude towards education on the part of Italian parents, especially those of the south of Italy, an attitude that is a hold-over from the old country where illiteracy is so pronounced, that in any discussion of that subject the Italian is the most outstanding that comes to mind - and to keep themselves on that level of ignorance, many southern Italian parents willingly use means that if brought to light could mean imprisonment.

    For this reason, the Board of Education is using more coercive means against parents who falsely swear their children to be older than they really are. We condemn the notaries public who allow themselves to become a party to such transactions and we will not accept any of that business.

    We regret that we are forced to admit the existence of a contrary attitude towards education on the part of Italian parents, especially those of the south of Italy, an ...

    Italian
    I A 1 a, I B 3 b, V A 1
  • L'italia -- May 21, 1904
    A Dirty Family

    In the Juvenile Court, Natale Izzo and his wife were ordered by Judge Duvne to keep off the streets with their organ for thirty days, and to give their home and persons a thorough cleansing. According to the Hull House Social Worker, who haled the couple before the Judge, the Home is in a deplorably filthy-condition, and the four children are left to run wild, while the parents walk the streets earning a living with a hand-organ.

    The accused had no word to say in defense of their behaviour, but the sixteen-year old daughter, Mary, who follow the parents in their travels about the city, declared that although it was not altogether pleasant to pick up money tossed down by kind listeners, still she did not bewail her lot.

    The presence of Annie Carlo, known as the 'Queen of Little Italy', who spoke to the Judge in their defense, failed to sway him in his decision.

    The Judge also decreed that the children, for thirty days, be cared for by relatives or in a public institution.

    In the Juvenile Court, Natale Izzo and his wife were ordered by Judge Duvne to keep off the streets with their organ for thirty days, and to give their home ...

    Italian
    I B 3 c, I B 3 b, II D 6
  • L'italia -- December 10, 1904
    Italian Parents Fined

    Several Italian parents were fined by Judge Hurley for allowing their children to be absent from school.

    School Inspector, F. S. Capparelli, has been carrying on a campaign against this practice. He discovered that parents were sending their children out on the streets with organ-grinders for whom they begged coins from kindly disposed pedestrians.

    Several Italian parents were fined by Judge Hurley for allowing their children to be absent from school. School Inspector, F. S. Capparelli, has been carrying on a campaign against this ...

    Italian
    I B 3 b, I A 1 a, I B 3 c