Oswald E. Heck and the Herold-Journal
|Oswald E. Heck as a young man. In addition to his skills as a newspaper editor, Heck published a book of poems in German titled Leben und Weben (Life and its Weavings) in 1922. Photo courtesy of the February 1, 1923 issue of the Daily Gazette.|
|Collage of Italian language newspapers featuring Viva l'Italia, Il Corriere Di Schenectady and Albany's La Capitale. Courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.|
One problem with researching ethnic groups through newspapers is the lack of an actual newspaper to research. Researcher and future presenter at the Schenectady County Historical Society Robert Pascucci was quoted in a June 25, 1984 Gazette article that few of the ethnic newspapers remain today and that “This material has been lost in the Capital District…Unfortunately, the interest doesn’t seem to have been there.” As far as news reports on the Italian-American community, modern researchers don’t have a lot of resources to turn to. The news that was published in Schenectady’s larger newspapers often focused on the criminal aspect. Schenectady Papers like The Evening Star covered the arrests of Italians sometimes reporting in broken English with headlines like “Me Take-A You Life." With articles like those, it’s no surprise that Italian immigrants started their own newspapers. One of the most prominent Italian papers in Schenectady was Ettore Mancuso’s The Record (Previous librarian, Melissa Tacke wrote a great post on Ettore Mancuso and The Record). The Record focused on the concerns of Italian-Americans, and often published articles and advertisements in both Italian and English. Other Italian language papers in Schenectady were the Il Corriere di Schenectady and The International, but few issues of these papers exist today. The library’s Ettore Mancuso Collection has issues of The Record and a guide to this collection can be found here.
Enthusiasm of the Polish Press
A common thread that ran through the papers run by Schenectady’s immigrants was a willingness to support their fellow countrymen along with their new city. The previously mentioned Record would often publish articles promoting local Italian businesses and push for Schenectadians to buy local. Similar to that idea, Polish papers like Tygodnik (Weekly News) and Gazeta Tygodniowa (Weekly Gazette) would boost the accomplishments of Schenectady’s Polonia. SCHS member Phyllis Zych-Budka is currently writing a book about the Maska Dramatic Club, which was a Polish theater group. Phyllis recently brought in several articles from various Schenectady Polish newspapers relating to various Maska plays and events. The difference in tone between the Polish papers and English papers is quite noticeable. The English papers were more factual, relating the location of the play, a brief description of the plot, and who was in the cast. The Polish papers were very descriptive and the publishers are adamant about getting people to attend and support events put on by other Polish-Americans. Examples of the publisher's style can be seen in the clippings posted.
The Grems-Doolittle Library is looking for issues or clippings from some of these difficult to find newspapers or if you know of any other immigrant run newspapers. Contact Librarian, Michael Maloney at 518-374-0263 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any leads.