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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  • "The Immigrants' Troubles," Scrapbook of D. Popovich -- March 02, 1929
    (No headline)

    The life of our people in America is full of trouble. The immigrants' only refuge from grief is his songs, but he cannot be singing all the time. He has not yet decided what he wants to do, whether to return to the old country or to stay here. If he goes back,- not so good. If he stays here, - not so good either. Our people's eyes are always turned in the direction where the old country lies. That country was the immigrants birth-place, and it reared him. No power exists which can make him forget the old country. On the other hand this country, America, gives him his bread and butter and offers him an opportunity to become independent. So though his feet are on American soil, his heart and his soul are still over there.

    Most of our people are very generous. They have sacrificed much for the old 2country. They have lent a helping hand to their poor friends and relatives over there. They went back to serve as volunteers in the war and contributed money for war-time necessities. They donate large sums of money for everything that is Serbian.

    Our compatriots are known as hard workers and savers. They try their best to save something from their meager pay-checks and send part of it across the Atlantic to their old country banks where it is probably lost. Then some unscrupulous rascals come here and swindle them out of the rest of their savings. And now the depression has come, with lack of work and no more savings. All this has made the Serbian hard-boiled and selfish. Our people have contributed to causes of all sorts, to the church, to education, to benevolent enterprises, until they have nothing left. They have scattered money right and left by handfuls and by sackfuls. Our people have contributed huge sums for conventions 3and annual meetings and have received nothing in return. And right now we have another instance to report. Just a few days ago we received an invitation to be present at a church convention, where, as we heard, our church leaders intend to solicit from ten to twenty thousand for a new bell and building repairs. We should like to know who is responsible for this situation.

    Dushan Popovich.

    The life of our people in America is full of trouble. The immigrants' only refuge from grief is his songs, but he cannot be singing all the time. He has ...

    Serbian
    III G, III C, III H, II D 10, III A, I A 2 c, I D 2 c, I G
  • Scrapbook of D. Popovich -- May 13, 1929
    "Noble Souls,"

    The suffering immigrant should be pronounced a saint.

    Our immigrant cannot stand the cry of his poor relatives in the old country; he is carrying a heavy load in supporting his family, and yet he always finds something to contribute to our numerous organizations. It seems that everybody is eager to exploit his hospitality and his open heart.

    Our immigrant, despite all his hardships, still manages to be a real Christian and support his church. But too much is too much. Before the war we had three priests in America, and now, after the war, we have forty-three. Our church leaders in Belgrade watch carefully that our souls shall be saved, and they export more and more priests. They do not send us writers, professors, teachers, doctors,--in other words, the intellectuals of whom we are so sorely in need. They send only soul-savers, and we are supposed to thank them for this favor.

    Father Zika says, "Watch your soul, for if you lose your soul, you lose everything."

    Socialists and communists say: "Workers work six days a week and rest on 2the seventh day. Priests work only one day a week and rest six days. The rich do not work at all but rest on all seven days of the week."

    This is a free country. Let every man think and live in his own way.

    The suffering immigrant should be pronounced a saint. Our immigrant cannot stand the cry of his poor relatives in the old country; he is carrying a heavy load in supporting ...

    Serbian
    III C, I B 3 c, III G, III H, I E
  • "Serbians in Chicago," Scrapbook of D. Popovich -- September 20, 1929
    (No headline)

    A long time beforemany of us were born, our Serbian immigrants organized a colony in Chicago.

    Many of these immigrants have seen their sons and daughters married and their grandchildren born. The original immigrants are getting pretty old, and these grandchildren of theirs are growing fast. So our present world is built on the younger generation, and many of their elders have lived so long in Chicago that they may rightfully be considered old settlers.

    In some families, father, mother, sons, daughters, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren were born in Chicago.

    This fact convinces us that our colony in Chicago is the oldest Serbian settlement in America.

    2

    Serbians have centers in all three divisions of Chicago, on the North Side, the South Side, and the West Side. Many of our people have bought their own houses and have become property-owners. All this is admirable but there is another part of the picture which we do not like.

    Serbians in Chicago lack many things. They do not have schools, recreation halls, libraries, or a place where they may gather and relax.

    All our meetings, concerts, lectures, etc. are held on rented premises.

    Our people in Chicago have a 'builders' committee. This committee has been in existence, at least on paper, for many years. We have hopes that it will soon display some sign of life and so we will continue to be patient a little longer. If the committee continues to sleep, the younger generation will ask the older: "Were you ever young?"

    A long time beforemany of us were born, our Serbian immigrants organized a colony in Chicago. Many of these immigrants have seen their sons and daughters married and their grandchildren ...

    Serbian
    III G, II B 1 a, II B 2 g, I B 3 c, I B 3 a
  • Underground in America -- [Unknown date]
    (No headline)

    I pray that God may grant me sufficient skill in writing to express to my people in the old country what we know here in America.

    Many people in my native land desire to immigrate to America. which they depict in their imagination as a land of great opportunity and a heaven on earth, just as I did before my arrival here.

    My idea in coming to America was to go underground, into the mines to dig gold, and after spending some time in this labor, to return to the land of my fathers.

    But I see now what a terrible mistake I made by not staying in the old country.

    Life and work are very hard underground without light and air. But still it would not be right to speak against this rich, beautiful and free country, which 2gives equal rights to poor and rich, strong and weak.

    But for us Serbians this land is cold, and our life here is miserable for many reasons.

    We immigrants must forget all that we have learned, and we must so to speak be born again and transport ourselves to another world.

    Because we do not know English, we must work hard to learn it; for English is harder than stone. No language in the whole world is more difficult. Americans speak like toothless old women, like cows chewing hay. Both ears must be kept wide open if you want to understand anything. Your mouth must be twisted, and your tongue squeezed in order to pronounce English words properly. If one is looking for a job and does not have a friend to help him, he may spend three whole years and travel a thousand miles without finding work, and God save him from utter destitution! When you are without work in America, you realize what mistake you made in leaving home. Suppose you get a job in a mine. Then you 3shall see how your health will be ruined, for mines are worse than prisons, and air has to be pumped into them by machinery. Rocks menace you with death, there is none of the sunshine that you love. Candles are forever burning; your eyes are blinded with smoke; poisonous gases fill your lungs. But even this is not the worst, for in summer the mines are filled with water.

    After working in a mine, you will be glad to be a shepherd, eating only one meal a day but breathing the clear, pure air above ground.

    In mines there is eternal night and darkness quickly kills your youth, depletes your energy, endangers your life, and destroys your ambition. We look like dead men, pale and weak.

    Besides working underground, we must cook and do mending and laundering, and there is no time left for the joys of living. So you may see that the life of a miner is worse than the life of a soldier.

    4

    After so bitter an experience I no longer desire to gain gold but only to do something full of life and enjoyment. Let my work be in the sunshine, where there is plenty of pure air, even though the wages be small !

    May this account of my experience help you be wise!

    I pray that God may grant me sufficient skill in writing to express to my people in the old country what we know here in America. Many people in my ...

    Serbian
    III H, III G, I D 2 c, II A 2, I A 3, III C