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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  • Svenska Tribunen -- June 07, 1882
    The Emigration from Sweden and the Cause of It. (Editorial)

    The Swedish Tribune re-prints an editorial, which has appeared in Dagens Nyheter, a newspaper in Stockholm, Sweden, and which shows that its author is familiar with both Swedish and American matters relative to emigration. He writes: "It was generally known some twenty years ago that exile was the severest punishment a man could get, but we see in our days how thousands of full grown persons joyfully go into exile of their own accord. There are many reasons for this. The means of travel between various countries has surprisingly expanded and distances are not such barriers as they were some thirty years ago. It is, therefore, easier to change from one country to another. Such change does not require large sums of money or any revolution in opinions or habits.

    Six million persons have emigrated from Europe to America since 1860 with upward of half a million annually these later years. The Irish number one third of the immigrants and other nationalities the balance, of which the English 2and the Scandinavians are in the majority. No European country, except Ireland, has contributed so much to immigration as the Scandinavian countries, especially Sweden.

    Our country is a small country. There were 4,555,668 persons in 1880; 250,000 have emigrated in 1860-1879. The Swedes in America, with the Swedish-American born children, number considerably more - about 300,000, of which one tenth are living in Chicago.

    Here, is an official emigration statistical statement:

    1860-1879 em. 250,000
    1880 " 45,000
    1881 " 50,000
    1882 " 60,000

    or a total from 1860-82 of 405,000.

    The immigrants belong to the working class and are mostly from the country.

    3

    Nearly half of the immigrants are between 20 and 30 years of age.

    The author of this interesting articles writes what he observed in Gothenburg, where all the emigrants gather from all parts of Sweden before they go aboard the big ocean steamers, which leave that city every Friday for New York. About 2 to 3,000 persons arrive every week at Gothenburg. The people, he continues, behave very nicely and are well dressed. They have much to take care of in Gothenburg: rent a room, buy their tickets and also some dishes, mattress, trunk and other necessary things for their journey.

    Then comes the big day for their departure, when they all gather at Gustaf Adolf's Market place. From here they march to the harbor where they are taken out in small vessels to the big steamers of the Wilson Line. The regular boats are Romeo and Orlando. Soon all are aboard, men, women, young and old, children and babies. A couple of hundred spectators are standing on the shore, mostly from the working class, wondering when their time for such a departure will come.

    4

    Some of the wealthy merchants of the city stop for a moment on their way to their offices. What they think, we do not know, but a lady of their class talks freely, and thinks that the emigrants are fooligh in leaving their native country, "where they have it so nice, to meet an unknown fate in such a land as America."

    The anchor is now lifted and the big steamer starts slowly forward. A jubilant hurrah is heard from the crowd aboard and the people on the shore depart. At least three steamers leave in the same manner every Friday, carrying emigrants to America, week after week, month after month. Sweden has, through this emigration, lost one eleventh of her population during the last twenty years.

    Now comes the question: Will these removals of a great per centage of the people decrease the population in general; increase too much the population of women, cause a considerable reduction of the most productive groups of the working men's class and bring about great economic and social disturbance? Yes, to a certain extent. According to reports from various places, this condition exists in Sweden. All farm hands in one parish emigrated except those on the priest's farm.

    5

    Out of twenty young men in another parish, who were supposed to be enrolled in compulsory armies, only six came on a certain day for that purpose. The other fourteen had emigrated. Small farmers are compelled to abandon their places for lack of farm hands, or to hire fifteen year old lads or seventy year old men. Instead of hiring strong young unmarried workers, the farmers must now be satisfied with poor married ones with large families. As these married men cannot get higher wages than the unmarried farmhands, it is probable that they and their families must depend upon charity.

    The emigration causes also considerable economic loss in cash money for the country, amounting to several million Swedish kronen. But all this is nothing compared with what the loss to the nation in the intellectual field is. This we will not admit perhaps, as the emigrants are recruited from the poorer classes of society.

    Let us then hear what the American government says in an official statement relative to the benefit America is gaining from the emigration;

    "The emigration of Scandinavians, who already own properties in the North-western states, is very noticeable in general, and although this movement 6does not go further back than a few years, it is now considerable and grows speedily.

    These immigrants are industrious, economical, moderate. They ought to be specially welcomed. It is, however, impossible to get any exact idea regarding the value to the country by the arrival of the foreigners. Their culture, their good taste, their artistic talents, and their good taste, their artistic talents, and their aptitude for inventions make them dominating figures. A Swedish immigrant, known by the name of John Ericson, arrived in New York in 1839 from London. What value has he not been to America?

    When, however, one considers that emigration has assumed such proportions that Sweden has in three years lost nearly as many people as there are in its capital, the cause must be of a general nature.

    The Swedish working man emigrates because he cannot see how it is possible to live on a yearly income ranging between 400 and 700 Swedish Kronen; There is no possibility of earning any extra income, when he must work twelve hours 7daily for this small amount. This wage is hardly enough for an unmarried man, but with great economy he might get some knowledge of the conditions under which he is living. This will be impossible if he is married, and he can scarcely participate in social life.

    Then comes the good news from friends in America, that they can make a good living on ten hours work and that a common worker is not prevented from obtaining the education necessary to participate in society life of the community.

    He, therefore, longs to go to America. There he can hope to attain peace and comfort in his old age through hard work, which will be impossible here. That is the reason why the young emigrants pack their trunks and start for the land on the other side.

    The small wage is not the only cause, though it is the main cause of the emigration. There are other reasons, namely: social ones, for according to the writer:-

    8

    The worker in Sweden feels ill at ease not because of ill will, but because of a sort of mercy from his boss who allows less strictness and makes him feel that he is incapable of achieving anything very well. He is more satisfied with the strictness of his American foreman, when the motive is just, than when his faults have been overlooked.

    He knows that the American worker is more respected socially, even if the requirements for good work are higher than here, and he submits to these strict demands, because it increases his self respect. He, therefore, emigrates.

    Even people with small capital emigrate. They go along all right in the old country all by themselves, but they emigrate for the sake of their children, when they understand that they can't give them any other future than that of a common worker. They have found out from experience that work does not ennoble a common worker, and they fear that it is not going to be any better here in the old country as long as the authorities do not even try to find out the real cause of the emigration. Something must be wrong in the make-up of society.

    9

    They, who are satisfied with their existence in Sweden - any they are many - may say, that these emigrants are asking too much and are spreading discontent among the working class.

    The emigrants opinion ought not to be depreciated, because when such opinions are spread, they will be taken up by the younger workers and cause them to emigrate.

    It is very difficult to predict the future of emigration. If low wages are the principal cause for the emigration, then it is clear that it is going to decrease when this cause ceases. It can, therefore, be taken for granted, that the emigration caused by low wages will regulate itself. It will, however, never stop until the conditions for securing a decent living in Sweden are on the same level as those in America, and that is going to take a long time.

    It is probable that the wages are not going to rise as long as old folks and children can substitute and be satisfied with the same pay the strong worker finds too low.

    When the organization of the work in Sweden is such that it is more important to 10maintain low wages, then there will always be substitutes as long as they last. When these substitutes are gone the wages will be corrected and there will be demands for skilful workers. Hence emigration will continue until the supply is nearly gone.

    The risk for the emigration will be less when a greater part of the Swedish population has moved over to America, because it will be much easier for the immigrant to get a job with his own countrymen or through them. Relatives and friends are also a mighty strong power, together with free tickets which are sent home.

    It is, therefore, probable that the emigration is going to continue for some years to come, but it is also possible that good years and favorable times would stimulate business to a certain extent and so help to better the wage condition and thereby decrease considerably the emigration problem.

    The Swedish Tribune re-prints an editorial, which has appeared in Dagens Nyheter, a newspaper in Stockholm, Sweden, and which shows that its author is familiar with both Swedish and American ...

    Swedish
    III G, III H, I H
  • Svenska Tribunen -- July 05, 1882
    Returning Immigrants.

    Editorial: A couple of years ago, when "bad times" in the United States persuaded a couple of hundred Swedes in America to return to their native land. Some of them are merely going for a visit but others intend to remain there. The papers in Sweden published articles and stories about "the misery in America" and the foolishness of emigrating.

    Yes, when everything was turned upside down in the Great Republic, it was then natural that our fellow-editors in Sweden tried to make adverse criticism about the returning immigrants and their circumstances. These newspaper men thought that America could never have achieved what is now evident. They did not understand the conditions here. They imagined that America now was powerless and lay as a dead giant, who had fallen trying to do a miracle.

    2

    One of the latest newspapers from Stockholm prints a curious article concerning recently returned immigrants. All of them have advised people not to emigrate according to this paper. One said that he had been away a year, and returned poor, with broken health.

    Finnish man, who had been in America ten years, could not save more than $350 in spite of very careful living.

    It is sad, of course, to return poor and with broken health, but what had our man expected in America? People with good health usually do not become sick here, but if some one has bad health before he emigrated he cannot expect a change for the better through emigration, and nobody should expect prosperity in one year. This man ought not to be any detering example.

    But the Finnish man! He could not save more than $350 in ten years. That was not much, that is true. But how much would he have been able to save by staying 3in Finland during the same period? Three Hundred Fifty Dollars are about 1,800 Finnish Marks. He would need at least twenty years in his native land to save up such a sum as a farm hand; especially when, if he has a family, as this man had.

    We do not critise the Stockholm paper because it was not familiar with American affairs. But two Swedish-American papers, one in New York, and one in Chicago have re-printed the stories without corrections or explanations. In view of the fact that this comes from American papers the articles ought to present this country in a favorable light; that the Swedish-American press should be commanded to give correct information regarding the United States.

    Thousands read our Swedish-American papers, both here and in Sweden.

    When a paper here re-prints misguided reports from papers in Sweden, without correcting them, it feels guilty.

    Editorial: A couple of years ago, when "bad times" in the United States persuaded a couple of hundred Swedes in America to return to their native land. Some of them ...

    Swedish
    III G, III H, I H
  • Svenska Tribunen -- July 05, 1882
    Thoughts in Regard to the Swedish Emigration

    EDITORIAL: Swedes are worried about the enormous emigration from Sweden to America. The latest Swedish papers tell us that the King himself has taken a hand in the matter. He has called his Governorstogether for the purpose of concerning the matter. Each Governor has called prominent men into conference in his state to discuss the best way of managing the emigration of so many young Swedish working men.

    At a farmers meeting in Vexio, Smaland, Sweden, a speaker mentioned the emigration question and said frankly that it is very easy to acquire land in America. This is reason enough for poor farm workers to emigrate. Another speaker said that it is every person's right and duty to go where there are better opportunities to make a good living. The emigration would decrease if wealthy land owners would let people rent land cheap and for a long period. Other speakers said that the free tickets sent home to relatives and friends encouraged the emigration; that political 2reasons were connected with the emigration, that the taxes were too high and that small farmers and farm hands should be given better opportunities. The Governor then spoke. "If the strong young men really knew the conditions in America, the emigration would not be so lively," he said.

    It should be very gratifying to know what the Governor really meant by this statement. "The real conditions," Yes, if Sweden knew about them the emigration would increase much more and to such dimensions that the King would be forced to call together his Parliament in extra session.

    The Swedes in America are, with a few exceptions, really happy when they compare their present situation with the one they had in their native country.

    The statistics in Sweden show that the people who emigrate are farm-hands and servants, young men and women. How much is the wage of a common Swedish farm-hand? Perhaps 150 Swedish knonen a year. Here he has $300.00 a year. And a maid in Sweden? Maybe 60 to 75 Swedish kronen a year and here $150.00 to $200.00 or more. The same proportions exist between the Swedish and the American worker.

    3

    The farmers make up 1/5 of the emigrants. How do they fare? Ask to see the history of the states of Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa. Swedes, who came here with two empty hands twenty years ago are now owners of prospering farms of 200, 300, 400, 500 and in some cases up to 1,000 acres. The Swedes possess in the State of Illinois 400,000 acres at least.

    Our countrymen are now very well acquainted with these conditions, and the knowledge of it is one of the causes for the emigration.

    There are also other reasons. The Nordic masses are now aroused by the knowledge of their own power and value. They feel the need of more air and light. The tunes of the American liberty song have been heard in old Sweden touching the hearts of many, who only have been listening to mystical Swedish Folk songs and the Swedish hero poems.

    The emigration can not be regulated with wrong pictures of America. It can only be stopped by modern reforms in Sweden, political, as well as social reforms, which can ease the people's burden, ease the caste situation, caused by extreme wealth and poverty.

    4

    At the meeting mentioned in this editorial, it was suggested to set up some competition with America. However, competition between the big and wealthy America and the comparatively poor Sweden is inconceivable.

    But Sweden can and ought to be just as good as America in one way and that is in the field of liberty, and healthy, political reforms.

    EDITORIAL: Swedes are worried about the enormous emigration from Sweden to America. The latest Swedish papers tell us that the King himself has taken a hand in the matter. He ...

    Swedish
    III G, III H, I H
  • Svenska Tribunen -- January 02, 1890
    [The Death Toll Continues]

    The Death Toll in Chicago through Railway crossing accidents was unusually large during the year of 1889. Not less than Two-hundred fifty persons lost their lives in this manner - fifty more than during the previous year. In one day alone, on Tuesday of last week, seven people were killed at railroad crossings, four within the City limits and three, the Revell family, in Wilmette. All these murders, for they can hardly be called anything else, must primarily be laid at the doorsteps of the railroads and secondarily upon the city administration

    It is expressly provided for in the City's ordinances that the railway companies must install, or cause to have installed, safety gates at all crossings and provide a watchman at all such places. They are further required to provide all other pre-cautionary measures for the safe guarding of lives for all, who in their daily 2pursuits have to cross the tracks. But these laws have been and still remain a dead letter on the statute books and the railroads no doubt will be permitted to add victim after victim to their list and without fear of punishment to increase the already horribly large number of deaths because of negligence and indifference on their part.

    The Death Toll in Chicago through Railway crossing accidents was unusually large during the year of 1889. Not less than Two-hundred fifty persons lost their lives in this manner - ...

    Swedish
    I H, I D 1 a
  • Svenska Tribunen -- February 06, 1890
    [Businessman Attacts Land Speculation]

    Robert Lindblom, the well-known Chicago Board of Trade man, was a guest speaker last Sunday evening at the meeting of "The Economic Conference". His subject was "Speculation and its bearing on prices". He made a vehement attack upon land speculation in uncultivated land in particular. He described the dangers and pitfalls of this type of speculation in a manner that won great acclaim from his listeners. The great hall was packed to capacity a full half hour before the hour scheduled for his speech.

    Robert Lindblom, the well-known Chicago Board of Trade man, was a guest speaker last Sunday evening at the meeting of "The Economic Conference". His subject was "Speculation and its bearing ...

    Swedish
    I H, II A 2, IV
  • Svenska Tribunen -- March 26, 1891
    A Busy Legislator

    Our countryman, Samuel E. Erickson, who is one of Chicago's representatives in the State Legislature at Springfield, has been appointed to serve as a member of the following standing committees:

    The World's Columbian Exposition Committee,

    The Drainage Committee,

    The Committee for Military Affairs,

    The Committee for Labor and Industrial Affairs,

    The Committee for Manufactories.

    Our countryman, Samuel E. Erickson, who is one of Chicago's representatives in the State Legislature at Springfield, has been appointed to serve as a member of the following standing committees: ...

    Swedish
    I F 5, II A 2, II B 1 c 3, I H, I C
  • Svenska Tribunen -- April 27, 1892
    Williamson Makes Quarterly Report

    Cook County Agent C. O. Williamson, who is a Swede, last Thursday made his report of the activity during the first quarter of the current year.

    He reported that the account books of his predecessor were not in good condition. This applied especially to the year 1890. The report stated further that the aid on relief lists contained the names of a great number of people, who upon investigation have been found not to be in need of assistance. In one month alone he had found it necessary to eliminate eighty-five names from these lists. During the month of January 2, 845 families had received medicines, clothing and other forms of help, during February 2, 793 and during March 3, 282 families. The disbursements during these three first months of 1892 were $6,043.75, $13,203.53 and $10,271.74, respectively.

    Cook County Agent C. O. Williamson, who is a Swede, last Thursday made his report of the activity during the first quarter of the current year. He reported that the ...

    Swedish
    I H, I F 6
  • Svenska Tribunen -- March 13, 1901
    A Change Is Necessary

    p.6. There is nothing creditable enough in the present mayor's career to recommend him for re-election. During the four years of his office life he has used the city of Chicago chiefly to further his personal interests as well as those of his friends.

    The police department is now nearly a subordinate political organization which protects law breakers and even omits collecting fines from this; the Democratic campaign fund usually gets its share from this "crime-preventive source" - such as it is. The city schools have never before been used for such evident political purposes and motives! In fact incompetency within various departments is so apparent that it openly shrieks with injustice. Innocent people have been made to suffer while rather doubtful characters have been left at large.

    In the public works only the loosest possible control has been practiced. The 2financial management has, in fact, made the city insolvent and now the administration agitates for more excessive debt placements through loans of obligation to refill the plundered treasuries.

    The inspection of coal deliveries to the city's buildings and institutions has been a scandalous affair. We could present column after column of intolerable corruption for which the present administration is responsible.

    The Democrats always reply with the charter question. It must cover a large portion of wrongs. Harrison's viewpoint on the charter, which was adopted because the public was so favorable to it, is considered his lone accomplishment. Hence when both parties are practically of the same opinion about the question; and the Republican program speaks out just as plainly as the Democratic, for short terms and just compensation for the city as conditions for the renewal of traction charters - then in the name of reason - there must be some regard for other public matters of 3of importance in the coming election.

    And if, as we hope, this should come about, the electorate should take into consideration the following election program which the Republican mayoralty candidate Judge Elbridge Hanecy speaks for and promises for the party: -

    (1) An honest, economical business-like administration.

    (2) The complete separation of the school system from any relation with party politics.

    (3) The management of towns and all taxing bodies should be consolidated into one central city administration.

    (4) The civil service system should be upheld and kept clean of favoritism and partiality.

    (5) Politics must not enter into the police department whose discipline must be sharpened above all.

    (6) Just and reasonable compensation shall be charged for all local concessions and privileges.

    4

    (7) The special assessment department means should be used only for known ends and overcharges punctually repaid to the taxpayer. No treaties with crime and vice.

    (8) The streets should be cleaned both materially and spiritually and kept safe all hours of the day.

    We put before the police these and other questions which the spring election will decide.

    p.6. There is nothing creditable enough in the present mayor's career to recommend him for re-election. During the four years of his office life he has used the city of ...

    Swedish
    I F 6, I F 3, I H
  • Svenska Tribunen -- April 10, 1901
    The State Legislature

    p.6.... The state legislature at Springfield intends to adjourn the first of May. However, on its roster at the present moment, it has for consideration a matter of great importance. The congressional redistricting of the state is being debated. But the consideration of the matter has progressed slowly to date, although we are assured that the final vote will be cast today, Wednesday. The measure would have been decided long ago, however, if our Chicago Representatives had not opposed the measure and allowed personal motivations and ambitions to enter into the matter. We wish to state that this is further disagreeable to think about since we know that the Republican legislators have agreed.

    Another weighty matter, which is unfinished legislatively speaking is the question of a change in the constitution. This change has to do with administrative reforms and includes the city of Chicago. Sherman's 2motion for a revision of the constitution has not been completed. The Civic Federation of Chicago has sent in proposals for changes, these concern: 1. Centralization of the Town-Administrations, 2. Enlargement of Community Loan Privileges, as well as 3. necessary reforms within the lower courts, (justice shops). Special proposals regarding these points will eventually come to pass.

    Sherman's motion appears to have been stranded because of the indifference of the Representatives from the country districts regardless of Chicago's screaming need. The Civic Federation would not disregard the old custom of not amending more than one article in the constitution each legislative session, though this in all probability will finally be declared legal. A method of overcoming this dilemma would be to avoid the paragraph against "special legislation." This would enable the legislature to have a free hand when the facts are presented concerning the needs of the larger cities.

    3

    Time is short, as we have said, and one can hardly expect any resolution worthy of mention now. But if it is to be at all, it must be done soon.

    p.6.... The state legislature at Springfield intends to adjourn the first of May. However, on its roster at the present moment, it has for consideration a matter of great importance. ...

    Swedish
    I H, I F 3
  • Svenska Tribunen -- April 17, 1901
    The Laundry Explosion

    p.6...Not long ago a laundry was blown into the air. A number of the personnel were killed. Naturally, an investigation began in order to determine who should really be blamed for the accident. The upshot was that guilt could not be established.

    But the whole affair still has something interesting about it. Before the coroner's jury, the machinist, Pegel, said: "The law demands that a person must pass an examination and obtain a certificate of permission in order to operate a steam-machine." This should be some guarantee of the machinist's competence. But what is to be done when competent machinists are placed to run poor machines and defective boilers? The boiler in the laundry was, it must be said, such that it could literally go to pieces even if tended by the most able worker. Hence to bother with examining the machinist who operated it, was a farce. However, it must be stated that there is some 2satisfaction in being blown to pieces knowing that the machine attendant at least is qualified to do his work.

    Out of the community treasury a certain number of thousands of dollars is allowed annually to a gentleman ( a Mr. Schlacks), who is supposed to inspect the boilers. When this person is selected by our remarkable Mayor from at least several hundred workers, then it is not difficult to understand how Doremus could run his laundry with worthless machinery. One begins to understand that a Boiler Inspector is also one of the many Inspectors for the Harrison-machine: in other words, one who was occupied otherwise at the time the Doremus steam-boiler catastrophe. So machinist Pegel's complaint is too harsh, if not wholly uncalled for!

    A boiler explosion can be unmotivated, and so if one only could secure fatalists as machinists and Factory workers one could be enabled to forget about certificates of competence and charge future catastrophes of this kind directly to fate and not to her favorite, Harrison.

    p.6...Not long ago a laundry was blown into the air. A number of the personnel were killed. Naturally, an investigation began in order to determine who should really be blamed ...

    Swedish
    I F 6, I H