Skip to main content

Full text of "The story of the American Association of Foreign Language Newspapers"

See other formats



[Excerpt from the American Leader, 
February, 1912] 


I, ' f 

f r 
' ' 


will enrich our citizenship in as liigh ratio as have the older emi- 
grants from northern Europe, Italy has sent us more citizens of 
eminence than has Holland, Turkey more than has Wales, Belgium 
or Denmark ; and Syria more than Australia, The figures already 
tend to indicate that the Americanization of the races now coming 
in large numbers from the south countries will place a correspond- 
ing percentage of men and women on the roll of honor of American 

To make another comparison, Italy has given birth to more 
Americans of mark than has the State of Nebraska, and than any 
one of eleven other States ; Switzerland as many as the compara- 
tively old State of Florida, Five Western States have no sons at 
all recorded in Who's Who; this is a poorer showing than has been 
made by any of the new-coming races. These newer Western 
States register each year, however, an increasing number of resi- 
dents of distinction born outside the State, many in foreign lands. 
The figures indicate thus the trend of master minds westward, 
and the increasing opportunities for winning distinction there. 
Colorado, for example, has only five native sons on the list, against 
one hundred and ninety-nine residents of repute. But the thing to 
bear in mind is that we must give the new incoming races time for 
transformation just as we have to give the newer States time for 

The foreign-born youth may well bear in mind, therefore, how 
excellent is his fortune to have come to a country which extends 
such glorious opportunities to all alike to rise to honorable place 
through honest industry, thrift, and the universal free school sys- 
tem. Surely he may dare to take heart in reflecting upon the 
worthy achievements of these his fellow-immigrants of yesterday. 


THE AMERICAN LEADER plans to publish, each issue, leading 
editorials from the foreign-language newspapers, translated into 
English. These editorials will be representative; they will show 
the English reader just what the editors of foreign-language jour- 
nals are saying to their people. So far as we know, this is the 
first opportunity English readers have ever had of getting a first- 
hand knowledge of the actual daily thought and feeling of their 
foreign-born brothers. 








Encouraged by some of the most influential men in our 
American business and political life, the American Association of 
Foreign Language Newspapers was incorporated under the laws 
of New York State in November, 1908. Its membership at the 
start consisted of 250 newspapers. 

The growth of the Association in numbers, importance and 
influence has been rapid. To-day, in the middle of its fourth 
year, its members have increased to 508 newspapers and maga- 
zines which have a circulation ranging from 5,000 to 125,000 each 
and an approximate total circulation of 6,800,000, reaching a 
population of 18,000,000 people. These papers are printed in 
twenty-nine different languages, as follows : Armenian, Austrian, 
Bohemian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Finnish, French, Greek, 
Hollandish, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Lettish, Lithu- 
anian, Norwegian-Danish, Polish, Portuguese, Eoumanian, Eus- 
sian, Buthenian, Servian, Slovak, Slovenic, Spanish, Swedish, 
Swiss and Syrian. They are published in practically every state 
and territory of the United States and in Canada. 

The Association is, therefore, the most cosmopolitan organi- 
zation of newspapers and newspaper publishers in the world. 

Although foreign language newspapers have flourished in this 
country for many years, it was not until the Association was, 
formed that any organized effort was made to have them joined 
together in a federation for their mutual interest and protection. 
They had always ' * gone it alone, ' ' with varying degrees of success. 

The Hungarians, French, Swedes, Norwegians and Danes 
were among the first to establish newspapers in the United States. 
Some of the papers published in these languages were founded 
long before the Civil War, while a few first saw print nearly a 
century ago. There are a number of foreign language newspapers 
in America which antedate some of the best known and widely 
read newspapers printed in English. 


The Swedes have one large weekly newspaper in the West 
that is now in its forty-sixth year. Another paper printed in the 
same language is just turning its first half century, while the dozen 
most prominent Swedish publications of the United States boast 
an average life of thirty-six and one-half years. The Norwegian 
newspapers are almost as old, the oldest having been established 
in Chicago forty-five years ago. The Danes have a paper thirty- 
eight years old, and the Finns one that is in its thirtieth year. 

As the percentage of illiteracy among the Scandinavians is 
considerably less than one per cent., their newspapers wield an 
enormous influence and have high advertising value. The Scan- 
dinavians are among the most industrious, thrifty and intelligent 
of all newcomers to America, and their progress both as tillers 
of the soil and in the industries has been rapid and substantial. 
Their newspapers have grown stronger with them. There are 
more than 4,000,000 of these people in the United States. 

The Bohemians publish half a dozen dailies and nearly two 
score weeklies and semi-weeklies. They began to come to this 
country as early as the seventeenth century, and some of the first 
families of America trace their descent from these early comers. 
The real volume of Bohemian immigration set in a few decades 
ago, however, and there are to-day more than 2,000,000 Bohemians 
in this country. Bohemians have made great progress in the 
United States. They are prominent in Congress, in business and 
in professional life. In the Western States Nebraska particu- 
larly there are hundreds of thousands of prosperous Bohemian 
farmers, most of whom own their own farms. The Bohemians 
invariably become the most patriotic Americans, but they are re- 
markably tenacious of their native language, a circumstance which 
gives their own newspapers a very great hold upon them. 

Tremendous strides have been made in the New World by the 
Italians, although they did not begin to come to America in large 
numbers until a comparatively few years ago. The wonderful 
progress of the race is to be seen everywhere throughout the land, 
but it is shown no better than by their newspapers. The first 
Italian paper was printed in 1849, but within the last generation 
many others have been established in all parts of the country. 
There are to-day a dozen high-class Italian dailies and more than 
ninety weeklies, all members of this Association. While the great 
mass of Italians have come to America to engage in the heavier 
forms of labor, their progress has been marked in every line of 


business, trade and in the learned professions, arts and sciences. 
Italians occupy a leading place in commerce both as importers and 
exporters. Thousands of them are among our most successful 
manufacturers. Italians dominate many National Banks, Savings 
Banks and Trust Companies, and they have their own Chamber, 
of Commerce in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. In the 
Southwest many of them have taken to farming, and their agri- 
cultural communities are among the most successful of their kind 
in the United States. In New York City the aggregate wealth of 
the Italians has grown by leaps and bounds. They now own more 
than $125,000,000 worth of New York real estate, and they have 
more than $30,000,000 on deposit in the savings banks in the city. 

The first Hungarian newspaper was established in 1833, when 
Louis Kossuth made his memorable visit to this country and was 
received with acclaim by the whole American people. Although 
numerically not so strong as some of the other races which have 
settled in this country, the Hungarians have become a most impor- 
tant and valuable addition to the population, and there are no 
more enthusiastic and loyal American citizens than the Magyars 
who have made this country the land of their adoption. There are 
four flourishing Hungarian daily newspapers and ten weeklies. 

The Greeks, of whom there are now about half a million in 
the country, have two large and influential dailies, six weeklies 
and one monthly. These papers are among the most carefully 
edited and best known in the foreign language field. The Greeks, 
as a class are acquiring wealth and influence rapidly and are win- 
ning success in almost every line of business and trade. The race 
practically dominates the great confectionery industry of the 
United States, and in some of our populous cities the restaurant 
business is largely in their hands. Thousands of Greeks are also 
successful as fruit merchants and florists. 

The Jewish newspapers, particularly those of New York City, 
have shown wonderful progress in every way in the last few years. 
Their circulations rival those of several of the more important and 
prosperous English printed dailies of the Metropolis. One of the 
New York Jewish publications was started in 1874, when the 
Jewish race was a comparatively unimportant part of the popu- 
lation. Since then these people have increased in number and 
importance until there are now fully 2,500,000 of them in the coun- 
try, supporting eight excellent dailies and fourteen weeklies. Rep- 
resentatives of the race are prominent in every walk in our 


tional life. They occupy the highest positions in the financial, busi- 
ness and commercial worlds and in the service of the government, 
both at home and abroad. 

Some of the leading Polish newspapers, of which there are, 
nine large dailies and forty-two weeklies, have been published for 
forty years and have wide influence among the millions of Poles 
who have made this country their home. One important Polish 
weekly paper has a circulation considerably more than 100,000 
and is recognized as one of the leading advertising mediums of the 
state in which it is printed. Many of the Polish publications are 
the official organs of fraternal, religious and other societies, and 
for that reason have a prestige and importance which they could 
not possibly enjoy otherwise. 

The Slovaks are among the latest comers of the great races 
of Europe to this country, but they already have many thriving 
newspapers upon which the millions of these toilers in our Ameri- 
can mines, mills and factories are almost entirely dependent for 
their news of world happenings and events in the countries of their 
nativity. Some of these papers are a quarter of a century old 
and their growing influence and prosperity fairly reflect the rapid 
progress the Slavs are making in the United States. 

The Syrians and the Lithuanians are less numerous in this 
country than many other nationalities from the Old World, but 
their newspapers are among the best and most ably edited of all 
the foreign language publications. The antiquity of the language 
in which these papers are printed, moreover, gives them an espe- 
cial interest. The strange and beautiful characters of the Arabic 
script give to the Syrian newspapers a typographical appearance 
unrivaled by any other publications of any kind published in 
America, while the language of the Lithuanians leans closer to the 
Sanscrit than any other. 

The Spanish, Russian, Croatian,, Slovenic, Euthenian, Ar- 
menian, Roumanian, Bulgarian, Hollandish and Swiss newspapers 
published in this country are constantly growing in circulation and 
influence. They have many thousands of readers in Europe as well 
as America. 

Need of a strong organization by the foreign language publi- 
cations in the United States had long been apparent when the 
American Association was formed three years and a half ago. The 
great American advertisers, spending millions of dollars every 


year in the English-printed journals, scarcely ever gave a thought 
to the foreign language field, so rich with opportunity. Where they 
did attempt it, they frequently found the difficulties of trying to 
deal with so many papers, printed in so many different languages, 
and scattered about the country, so great that they soon became 
discouraged and disgusted. Other advertisers, realizing the dif- 
ficulties, declined even to consider advertising to the foreign- 
speaking population. The consequent loss to the foreign language 
papers in advertising patronage and support was very great. 

This situation the Association set out to remedy. One of its 
chief purposes has been to convince advertisers of the wonderful 
possibilities of the foreign language field. It has sought to make 
it easier and simpler for them to reach the eighteen millions of 
foreign-speaking people in this country. 

To-day, in consequence of its efforts and activities, many of 
the largest and most important business interests of the United 
,,*>:>tates are using the foreign language newspapers with splendid 
results. The future is bright with promise that many more adver- 
tisers of this class will soon follow their example. 

Perhaps no more important service has been performed for 
the millions of non-English-speaking people in the United States 
than that of the Association in inducing the great manufacturers 
of foodstuffs, tobacco, clothing and other necessities to offer to 
these new Americans their best brands and varieties of goods. 

For years it has been the practice of many unscrupulous man- 
ufacturers to force their poorest and most inferior products upon 
the foreigner at high prices. The latter, without knowledge of the 
established and reputable brand, was a helpless victim of these un- 
principled manufacturers. 

By influencing numbers of the leading American manufac- 
turers to make their best goods known to the foreign- speaking 
masses through the columns of their own newspapers, however, 
the American Association has conferred a vast benefit upon all 
foreign-speaking consumers, while at the same time pointing out, 
through the advertiser, new and important consumptive channels 
of which he had never dreamed. Meantime the unscrupulous mer- 
chants and the dishonest manufacturers have been largely dis- 
couraged in their efforts to unload their cheap and inferior prod- 
ucts on the great foreign language public. 

Owing to the greatly increased advertising patronage secured 


for the papers by the Association, there is not a single newspaper 
of its five hundred and eight members that is not to-day better off 
financially, and stronger in every way, than it was three years ago. 
The advent of the Association has marked a new epoch in the 
history of the foreign language periodicals of America, 

The newspapers have become cleaner and better. They have 
become better known. Their typographic appearance in many 
cases has been greatly improved. Objectionable and "fake" ad- 
vertising has been thrown out. Their columns have been used 
more intelligently to educate their readers in the best and most 
thorough Americanism. 

In every way the Association of Foreign Language News- 
papers has enabled the foreign-printed publications of this country 
to increase their usefulness to themselves, to their readers, to ad 
vertisers and to the nation. But the progress that these papers 
will make during the next few years, under the Association's guid- 
ance, will be far greater than the advance they have made since 


After all is said, there is, in all the world, only one small band 
of people whose ancestors have not been of foreign birth ; they are 
the present inhabitants of the Garden of Eden or the cradle of 
the human race, wherever that may be. We know little that is 
definite about its location, and those who dwell there know less, so 
that they are robbed of any private satisfaction they might derive 
from the knowledge of their unique distinction. 

Even those who were saved from the Flood and landed on 
Mount Ararat were emigrants. 

When we speak of ourselves, therefore, as of "native stock" or 
as of "foreign stock," we would seem to be using purely relative 
terms. It is a matter of distance. The question, then, appears to 
be, not whether our ancestors immigrated to this country, but 

The first newspaper ever published is said to have been the 
Nieuwe Tydinghen, which began to appear at Antwerp in the year 
1305. The oldest living newspaper is said to be the Gazetta di 
Venezia, of Venice, Italy, which has been issued without interrup- 
tion since 1743. In 1640, France had only one newspaper ; now she 
has nearly 9,000. 




The attention of foreign speaking people everywhere is called 
to the advertisement of The Farm Journal, of Philadelphia, which 
has been running in a large list of foreign language papers. The 
Farm Journal is a national agricultural and home magazine, pub- 
lished monthly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In circulation and 
influence it is unquestionably the foremost farm paper in the world. 
It goes each month into seven hundred thousand homes in the 
United States, Canada, Mexico, and foreign countries, and is reg- 
ularly read by four million people. 

The Farm Journal was first issued by Wilmer Atkinson in 
March, 1877, and has been published continuously by him to the 
present time. It consists of from twenty-four to sixty pages, ac- 
cording to the month. It is printed on good white paper, in clear 
type, and is fully illustrated. 

The high quality and practicality of The Farm Journal, to- 
gether with the very low price of subscription, give it the most re- 
markable value among American periodicals. 

The Farm Journal was the first paper in the world to guar- 
antee absolutely the reliability of every advertisement in the paper, 
and any subscriber who deals with an advertiser and is swindled 
by the latter will have his money refunded or be given satisfaction 
by the publishers of the paper. This guarantees that subscribers 
can deal with advertisers freely and fearlessly, and that means 
that advertisers treat The Farm Journal subscribers with great 

The Farm Journal is cut to fit all subscribers, not only those 
of one section. It will be found equally valuable in Maine, Kansas, 
Pennsylvania, Oregon, or Alabama. It is timely, treating topics in 
season only. It is as practical as a plow and as full of meat as an 
egg; no dry theory. It is cheerful, full of life and humor; it likes 
M grin better than a groan. The publishers spend all their time 
and efforts on the paper, to make it brighter and more useful. 
They publish no other periodical ; The Farm Journal is not the tail 
of any kite. 

For the women folks there are a number of special pages, 
including " Heart Problems" by Aunt Harriet Biggie, "How to 
Dress," with The Farm Journal's own high-grade patterns, a 


University of Toronto 



Acme Library Card Pocket