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

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  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- March 07, 1892
    The Italians

    Chicago's Italian population is estimated at 15,000 to 20,000. This appears to be a low estimate in view of the fact that about 500,000 Italians have immigrated to the United States. The thousands of railroad and mine workers, undoubtedly, constitute a large portion of the number.

    In our city the Italian population lived in rather secluded colonies until this day. The largest settlement is located at Ewing, Taylor, Halsted Streets, and Blue Island Avenue. But we also find a large Italian element on South Clark Street between the viaduct and Harrison Street, and also on Clark Street and Archer Avenue, West Van Buren, Robey, Throop Streets and Hoyne Avenue, and elsewhere.

    The first Italian immigrants arrived about 1845 on the shores of Lake Michigan. During the following ten years very few new-comers appeared. Among the first 2settlers were Antonio Repetto, Antonio Raggio, J. Raggio, L. Arado, Frank Gazzolo, Dominich Botto and J. G. Cella. The last mentioned are supposed to be the richest Italians in this city.

    Giovanni L. Cella was the first Italian consul, and his appointment took place on July 6, 1868.

    Italians who succeed in the struggle for existence, soon become Americanized and good citizens. But we also find here as well as in other large cities a number of specific types of the street. Peddling of fruits on street corners in largely in the hands of Italians.

    The organ-grinders, passing through our streets begging, the ash-box investigators, male and female, the Italian street-cleaners and diggers are familiar to all. However, the great majority of the Italians occupy an honorable position among the population of the city.

    3

    During recent years the Italians have obtained citizenship in real large numbers, and many of them are striving earnestly to overcome a certain prejudice against their nationality due, undoubtedly, to some street types, and they have been rewarded with splendid success.

    The average Italian is very economical, and with grinding frugality he saves his earnings in order to purchase his own home. The overwhelming majority of the Italians have succeeded through tireless efforts to become wealthy or at least to live in moderate circumstances.

    The Italians are strongly inclined to be social. Their many social clubs also give evidence to what extent they treasure the memory of their old fatherland. Many of the Italian organizations bear the names of Italian cities or provinces. The oldest society is the "Unione e Frattellenza" (Unity and Brotherhood). Well known are the Italian Sharpshooters with their colorful uniforms. There are many other clubs as the Garibaldi, Victor Emanuel, Margherita de Savoy, Christophoro Columbo, Carabinieri, Italia, etc. There are also a number of fraternal organizations 4and one of the strongest is the Italian Catholic Fraternity of Foresters.

    Three Italian papers are published in Chicago, L'Italia, L'America, and Il Fiecanaso. The first two are published weekly, and the third is an illustrated monthly magazine.

    Four large, beautiful halls serve as gathering places for their festivities. Music and dramatic art is cultivated among them with genuine Italian enthusiasm.

    The largest of the Italian churches is the one located on Illinois and Franklin Streets, and is the center of religious activities among the Italian population.

    It is obvious that the land of the fine arts has worthy representatives in this youthful metropolis. One of them is V. Carpi, Director of Music of the Chicago Conservatory. A musician of outstanding ability is A. A. Jannotta. His music academy is located in the Auditorium Building. Francis Emilio Timponi, an orchestra director, was famous already in the old country. Known as well as 5liked are the mandolin orchestras of Valisi and Tomaso. Of journalists, speakers, physicians and professors, we mention the following: Dr. G. Ronga, C. Sentile, O. Durante, Giovanni Almagia, E. Alfieri, Dr. C. Volini, Dr. Nicola Re, Dr. A. Lagoria, Dr. A. Mauro, Professor G. Mantellini, A. De Mateis, P. Bellivio, and D. A. Dasso.

    Chicago's Italian population is estimated at 15,000 to 20,000. This appears to be a low estimate in view of the fact that about 500,000 Italians have immigrated to the United ...

    Italian
    III G, II B 2 d 1, II B 2 d 2, II A 3 b, III B 2, II A 1, II A 2, II D 1, III A, III C, IV
  • L'italia -- March 17, 1894
    The People from a Town in Italy Called Arizi Are Founding a Society

    In Chicago there are 50 people from Arizi Province Basilicata Italy. A society was founded and called Arizis Society of Mutuo Soccorso (Arizi Society for Mutual Assistance.) The honorary president is Peter La Lava. The rest of the Colony are wishing this society and its members loads of success.

    In Chicago there are 50 people from Arizi Province Basilicata Italy. A society was founded and called Arizis Society of Mutuo Soccorso (Arizi Society for Mutual Assistance.) The honorary president ...

    Italian
    II D 1, V A 1, III G
  • L'italia -- July 14, 1894
    [Let Us Enter the Political Arena]

    The Italian Colony of today possesses such forceful elements that willing or unwilling it is constrained to enter the political arena.

    Thirty years ago the Colony was a nonentity, not by reasons of the number of its members but because of their moral standing. Today, however, conditions are very much changed, and our Colony presents to the observer two indisputable facts: an American or Americanized generation on the one hand, and on the other, a continuous immigration of intelligent elements.

    The young people who came here in childhood, or who have been born on American soil, may understand the respective dialects of their parents, but very few of them are familiar with the Italian language. They speak English, to which they have become accustomed, either through the necessity of 2companionship or by reasons of instructions received at school.

    Intelligent immigrants, anxious to learn the new language, study the customs of the people with whom they come into daily contact; for they have quite another end in view than that of those who came here in childhood. With the former, days count for years, and although they rarely become masters of the language, they easily adapt themselves to American life which they render more vigorous by the contribution of their European thought, the result of education, the basis of which is formed by the principles of right taught to the world for centuries by those great civilizers - the Greeks and the Romans.

    The Italians born in America, Americanized youth and the new intelligent immigrants are the three factors that draw the Italian Colony into politics 3which, must be considered as the logical expression of acquired civil rights. Non-participation in politics means the renunciation of human liberty, and hence the annulment of personal civil right.

    Now, Italo-Americans and intelligent immigrants, do not intend to renounce their rights, to annul their civil entity, to concur with inactivity in the moral suicide of the Italian Colony. Desiring to unite with the other Colonies which form the nation, they resolve to show the power of their public right, by entering the political arena. But it is necessary that they should have an exact idea of the struggle in which they are to take part. The thought of individual advantage, as a principle of nature is correct, however it must be in accord with the general welfare of the Colony, which should always be preferred.

    The Italian Colony of today possesses such forceful elements that willing or unwilling it is constrained to enter the political arena. Thirty years ago the Colony was a nonentity, not ...

    Italian
    I F 4, III A, III G, I C
  • L'italia -- September 10, 1898
    Italians in Chicago

    Mr. John E. Fitzgerald, Superintendent of the School Census, states that Chicago numbers 1,851,588 inhabitants.

    The precise number of Italians living in this city is reported to be 23,061, and they are divided as follows:

    On the North Side, 4,112; South Side, 4,434; West Side, 14,151.

    Of these, 12,585 were born in Italy and 10,348 in America. The remainder, 125 have only one parent, of Italian-birth. The 19th Ward contains the largest number of Italians - 8,322.

    The City of Chicago has altogether 25 different nationalities: The Germans lead with 490,542, and the smallest is the Mexicans, with 152 people.

    Mr. John E. Fitzgerald, Superintendent of the School Census, states that Chicago numbers 1,851,588 inhabitants. The precise number of Italians living in this city is reported to be 23,061, and ...

    Italian
    III G, I C
  • L'italia -- May 07, 1904
    [A New Society]

    For the purpose of raising the moral and intellectual level of the Italian Colony, interested Italians have met and formed the Mutual Benefit Society of Progressive Youths. Some of the leaders in this movement are Antonio David, Ignazio Cesare, and Umberto Barvia.

    The Society hopes to hold classes in commercial subjects, and also to assist newly-arrived colonists to acquaint themselves with the English language and American customs.

    For the purpose of raising the moral and intellectual level of the Italian Colony, interested Italians have met and formed the Mutual Benefit Society of Progressive Youths. Some of the ...

    Italian
    II D 1, II B 2 f, I A 3, III A, III E, III G
  • La Parola dei Socialisti -- March 20, 1908
    Employment Agencies

    In some stylish restaurant in Chicago, New York, or elsewhere, with large diamonds on his fingers and in his cravat, a self-satisfied Italian may often be seen. He is the same Italian whom you saw a year ago shining shoes for passers-by or washing signs or selling trinkets on crowded street-corners. "Well! Where has"X"made his money? He looked like a beggar a year ago!" "Don't you know? He has sent some thousands of men into the country!" Briefly, "to send men into the country" means in America to make money, -- to make money with little risk and less labor.

    It is an easy business. One opens a small office like a shop in some part of the city frequented by Italians; the windows are trimmed with dignified legends in Italian and English, preferably crowned by flags or coats-of-arms; posters are stuck up requesting 1000 shovelers, 300 carpenters, 200 hod-carriers, etc. Then, at the counter, one awaits the prey at leisure. He has previously corresponded with some company that is building a railroad line, a bridge, a tunnel, or an aqueduct and wants laborers shipped to some distant solitary place, to be supervised by slave-driving bosses, far from the surveillance of the law.

    2

    There is no dearth of victims to exploit. Italians want to work, want to save, want to send money to Italy so that their dear ones may join them in America. The agencies promise steady work in the country, where it costs little to live, and where there is less of opportunity to spend money. Our poor countrymen usually congregate at the agencies in groups of five, six, ten, twenty, or fifty, forming the so-called "ghenga". They feel the need of mutual advice, assistance, and protection. The owner of the agency and his clerk welcome them in the friendliest, most fatherly manner, He makes them believe that he has rejected two or three, hundred Slavs or Greeks in order to reserve the good jobs for Italians. And what fine jobs! Two dollars a day, nine hours of light, easy work, the purest air, distilled water, free board, Italian boss, low cost of living, - an Eldorado! They must decide quickly, for few vacancies are left, and they must be filled by this evening or to-morrow morning.

    The cost will be small, $8 to $12 for the trip plus the customary fee of $5, known as "bossatura". The applicants confer in a corner of the agency. The have been unemployed for so long a time, it seems such an opportunity!

    3

    To raise the money, some suggest selling watches or overcoats or taking a collection. Their spokesman announces to the agent that all are ready to leave. From now on the agent becomes the gang's most humble servant. For their convenience he has the baggage of the newly-enrolled laborers brought to the agency. He explains to them the route of the journey; he buys their railroad tickets, accompanies them personally to the station and to their cars, and sometimes even goes with them or sends some one else, to the location. His earnings have not been meager. A gang of 12 men, who pay as "bossatura" $5 each, yields $60; $2 discount on each railroad ticket makes $24 more; $2 paid for each worker by the hiring company makes another $24; -- a total of $108!

    The "Via Crucis"begins on the location. This is a swamp many miles away from any habitation. The "free" board is prepared and served in a wooden shed or in an old railroad car owned by the boss or by the company. If they want the job, the men must eat and sleep there, paying what is demanded. The meals are prepared of stuff which hogs would scorn to eat. The beds consist of a handful of damp and stinking straw. The "purest air" usually means the deadly miasma of swamp-land, where 4mosquitoes absorb what little blood has been left by the bosses and the employment agents. The "light, easy work" consists of ten or eleven hours of shoveling under a broiling sun or tunneling the bowels of a mountain. The "Italian boss" turns out to be a Turkish, Russian, or Irish slave-driver who does not understand the men and is not understood by them, who begrudges them even the time that it takes to blow a nose, and who easily reaches the point of kicking and sometimes even of shooting.

    After a few days of torture the men begin to consider means of escape, or sometimes they agree upon some form of mutiny. But since the agent has prepaid the transportation charges, and the company must withhold that money from their wages, the men are in debt; they must pay, and therefore they must continue to work, willy-nilly. Besides, all habitations are far away, and the police will always stand by the bosses, without admitting any protest or defense on the part of the men, who run the risk of being jailed if they stop working.

    Here are some real and hypothetical cases. A laborer is hired to leave New York or Chicago for a job location in the North; instead, he is shipped south. Last year eight Italians hired in Chicago, 5ostensibly for a job in the State of Washington, were sent on a sail-boat, under pretext of haste, to fish off the banks of Newfoundland, in polar temperature, with roasted fish as their only food. Exhausted with labor and privations, they were unable for a month and a half to regain their liberty.

    Last summer a gang of twenty-four men was shipped by a well-known New York agency, ostensibly to work on a new railroad project in Texas. The agent who accompanied them set them to work at hoeing on a desolate plain where there were no roads or habitations and disappeared in the following night. Theses unfortunates wandered for weeks and finally, nearly dead of hunger and privations, were transported to New Orleans through the agency of the Italian consul. The railroad project was a false invention of the agent's devised for the sake of his commission and the discount on the railroad fare!

    Four months ago six Italians were shipped to Oregon by a Chicago agency for a job which, according to the contract, should have earned $1.75 for a nine-hour day. Instead, these men received $7 a week for working ten hours a day. After vainly 6protesting they quit the job but were arrested on the charge of threatening violence, and $500 bail was set for each.

    You will always find an employment agent waiting for the arrival of a steamer or a train which carries immigrants. These newcomers are his favorite dish, for they are so naively amenable to deceit and exploitation!

    In some stylish restaurant in Chicago, New York, or elsewhere, with large diamonds on his fingers and in his cravat, a self-satisfied Italian may often be seen. He is the ...

    Italian
    II D 8, I D 2 c, II A 2, III A, III G, III H, I H, I C
  • L'italia -- October 10, 1908
    [Movement to Have Location of Columbus Statue Changed]

    The vulgar demonstration of last Sunday, for the purpose of honoring Columbus and also to make known to Chicago the work of art that has been solidly planted in South Chicago, in spite of the efforts of the Knights of Columbus, has inspired the Chicago Tribune to an editorial which appeared in last Wednesday's issue, and which we are translating in the I'talia. But the Tribune, after justly reproving the one-hundred-fifty or so Italians, as not being examples of the Italian Colony as a whole, with which we are in agreement, goes on to make some inexact and inopportune statements. The article follows:

    The Italian Societies ask Mayor Busse to use his influence to have the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain now standing isolated in South Chicago, set free from uncongenial and sordid surroundings. They would like to have him set up in some pleasant public place, preferably Lincoln Park, where the Italians could go occasionally and pay their respects to a man who did so much for them. They are all agreed, that if he did not discover America, 2they would not today be flourishing citizens of this free and independent republic. They would be working hard for a poor living in overcrowded Italy.

    Now there is a way in which the Italian societies get the whole souled support of Mayor Busse in this matter of the banished Columbus. They have come to Chicago as the result of his great discovery, many bad as well as many good Italians. The former give their fellow-countrymen and the public, infinite trouble. If the good Italians shall organize and give the police appreciative assistance in running down, bringing to justice, or driving out of town, their "Black Hand" nationals, they will benefit themselves and the community, and show themselves worthy compatriots of that great man "Christopher Columbus." If they were to do that and they can do it, they would have a right to demand the triumphant return of Columbus from his unsuitable quarters in South Chicago.

    He would willingly spend the winter there, though the weather and neighborhood 3were disagreeable, if he knew that his countrymen were doing their best for the honor of Italy by exterminating the Italian kidnappers, blackmailers, and dynamiters of Chicago.

    The harsh words of Chicago's greatest newspaper were not sufficient to close the mouth or stay the pen of the Italian Chevalier, Dr. Camillo Violini, who is always ready to defend the Italians. He has replied with the following article, which appeared in Wednesday's issue of the Tribune:

    Italians Feel At Home Here: But in order to be fair to everybody, I will call the attention of your readers, if you will allow me, to a few facts that it might be well to remember if we really have the welfare of this great city at heart. First of all, it is useless for me to remark that the Italian people are not the only people that ought to be grateful to Columbus for his great discovery; perhaps people of different nationalities would be laboring under great or greater difficulties for a living in other crowded European countries, 4were it not for this great genius. The fact that some may have derived benefits from his work, long before the Italians did, in so small a scale, does not conceal the truth, that we ought to feel at home here, at least as much as all the rest of the people who sailed from Europe a few generations ahead of us.

    It will not be out of place to state, at this moment, that Italy's merit in the discovery of America, does not lie in the simple fact that Christopher Columbus was born in Italy, but that his genius was the true product of the Italian progress and civilization of that period; because hundreds of thinking Italians from Brunetto Latini (12th century) to Toscanelli (15th century) had worked to find the fundamental principles on which the immortal Columbus founded his great discovery, while the great scientists of all Europe (England, France, Spain), were ridiculing his project.

    Full Payment for all Benefits.

    And this I state, simply because of the fact, that between the lines of your 5esteemed editorial transpires, too prominently, the idea of the great benefits that we, remote and starved strangers, have derived from the discovery of Columbus. You, certainly, do not ignore the belief that the Italian laborers, since they have put foot in this country, have contributed their share to increase the wealth of this nation, and for every dollar received in payment for honest work, that they have made five or ten dollars richer, some more fortunate mortal who happened to land here ahead of them.

    But all this does not in any way destroy the fact that we are in a certain measure responsible for all the shortcomings of our immigration of today, and ought to cooperate with the authorities in general, to wipe out a certain kind of criminality that is a stain on our otherwise good name. At the same time that all the community, authorities, and newspapers as well, ought to strive also for the welfare of us all to put down the hundreds of holdup men, burglars, murderers, and allied criminals, that so abundantly flourish in this great city. Criminals do not wear the Italian stamp, but 6the mark of some more civilized nationality; a fact that is so carefully concealed by some publications.

    I take this occasion, Mr. Editor, to extend to you my personal thanks for the support that your paper has given to the Italian White Hand Society, organized last year, for the very purpose that forms the patriotic appeal of your editorial.

    White Hand Works Much Good.

    I, and a good many of my countrymen, feel that we have demonstrated that the society has partly filled an empty space in the shortcomings of some of your political bodies that have the responsibility to insure to every citizen peaceful enjoyment of his domestic life and prosperity. As we have stated in our Treatise just published, our cooperation with the authorities will avail next to nothing unless certain degradingly low political influences, that keep open sone unnamable resorts where this criminality finds its best working ground, are wiped out of existence.

    7

    I also agree with you that parades such as that of last Sunday, and for the matter of that, every Sunday, and many other days of the year, ought to be stamped out by the authorities which have the responsibility of seeing that the policemen who lead these ridiculous demonstrations are sent after criminals of all descriptions, (as that is what the policemen are paid for) regardless of what the complacent aldermen of this or that ward may give as his personal motives.

    Dr. C. Violini.

    Member of White Hand Society.

    The vulgar demonstration of last Sunday, for the purpose of honoring Columbus and also to make known to Chicago the work of art that has been solidly planted in South ...

    Italian
    I C, III B 2, II D 9, II E 2, III G, IV
  • L'italia -- January 02, 1909
    Employment Office

    At the Masonic Temple, on Dec. 21, there will be a meeting of the Agricultural section of the Italian Chamber of Commerce, under the presidency of G. Garibaldi and the Italian Consul, Mr. Sabetta.

    Plans for setting up a centralized employment office for the Italian immigrants will be discussed.

    An institution of this sort will be of great help to our countrymen.

    It is planned to make it self-supporting.

    At the Masonic Temple, on Dec. 21, there will be a meeting of the Agricultural section of the Italian Chamber of Commerce, under the presidency of G. Garibaldi and the ...

    Italian
    II D 8, II A 2, III G, III H, I L, IV
  • L'italia -- June 05, 1909
    A New Society

    A new society has been formed under the name of "Immigrants' Legal Aid Society."

    The purpose of this society is to protect the interests and give legal aid to Italian immigrants.

    The office of this organization is located in the Fort Dearborn Bldg., 134 W. Monroe St., Room 1109.

    A new society has been formed under the name of "Immigrants' Legal Aid Society." The purpose of this society is to protect the interests and give legal aid to Italian ...

    Italian
    II D 7, III G
  • La Parola dei Socialisti -- May 21, 1910
    National Socialist Congress

    Delegates representing seventy thousand Socialists of twenty different nationalities and various races, scattered throughout North America, are now gathered in the Masonic Temple in Chicago. Never before has the Socialist Party of America held so impressive a congress. Never before has so great a number of comrades gathered for the purpose of solving problems so momentous for the laboring masses: the problems of industrial accidents, immigration, proletarian farmers, and others.

    The thorny question of Asiatic immigration was debated on May 16. For the last decade American capitalism has attempted to introduce into the United States thousands of Chinese coolies for the purpose of hindering organization in unions and wage increases among the white laborers. This colossal scabbing project could break any union or strike.

    A commission of experts, comprising some of our most cultured comrades, - such as Wanhope, Berger, and Spargo, - has been studying this problem for the last three years.

    Both in the commission and in the congress two opposing trends are discernible. One is the theory that all men should be absolutely free to go wherever they wish.

    2

    The other, which is supported by the mass of unskilled laborers, is the idea that employers should not be allowed to starve out the masses by importing scabs. Likewise, yellow scabs should not be permitted to replace white union men.

    Two Italian comrades are attending every session of this congress.

    Delegates representing seventy thousand Socialists of twenty different nationalities and various races, scattered throughout North America, are now gathered in the Masonic Temple in Chicago. Never before has the Socialist ...

    Italian
    I E, I D 2 a 2, I D 2 a 3, I D 2 a 4, III G, I C