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The Polish Hearst

The Polish Hearst: Ameryka-Echo and the Public Role of the Immigrant Press

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    The Polish Hearst
    Book Description:

    Arriving in the U.S. in 1883, typesetter Antoni A. Paryski founded a publishing empire that earned him the nickname "The Polish Hearst." His weekly Ameryka-Echo became a defining publication in the international Polish diaspora and its much-read letters section a public sphere for immigrants to come together as a community to discuss issues in their own language. Anna D. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann mines seven decades' worth of thoughts expressed by Ameryka-Echo readers to chronicle the ethnic press's long-overlooked role in the immigrant experience. Open and unedited debate harkened back to homegrown journalistic traditions, and The Polish Hearst opens the door on the nuances of an editorial philosophy that cultivated readers as important content creators. As Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann shows, ethnic publications in the process forged immigrant social networks and pushed notions of education and self-improvement throughout Polonia.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09707-2
    Subjects: Sociology, Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. 1-14)

    In 1941, Antoni Wacyk, a reader of the Polish-language weeklyAmeryka-Echo, wrote in his letter published in “Kącik dla Wszystkich (“Corner for Everybody”): “Take in your hand any issue ofAmeryka-Echo, and you will see that the division into editors and subscribers does not exist here, that everybody writes. And what they write is beautiful. And it does not matter that it is sometimes grammatically incorrect.”¹ Wacyk belonged to the large and diasporic community of readers-writers in the “Corner,” a section of letters from readers, which appeared inAmeryka-Echobetween 1922 and 1969. The weekly, established in Toledo, Ohio, in...

    (pp. 15-36)

    In the photograph taken with President Coolidge during an official visit to the White House of Polish American publishers in Washington D.C. in 1928, Antoni A. Paryski, the “Polish Hearst,” stood right next to the president. Paryski was then over sixty years old, had gray hair and a small frame, and Coolidge towered over him by a head. Paryski was bespectacled, wore a smart suit, and, following fashion of the day, held in his hands a stylish fedora. By 1928, Paryski was a central figure in Polonia’s publishing circles and had just celebrated forty years of work in publishing and...

    (pp. 37-60)

    In 1912,Ameryka-Echoprinted a large cartoon entitled “The Face of the Polish Press in America.” The image was striking, and, frankly, a bit disturbing: a giant skull with a gaping mouth was composed of figures representing Polish political and clerical presses. The upper part of the skull portrayed the political press, which sold Polish votes, while the newspapermen fought each other and bankers ran away with a poor workingman’s money. The middle section depicted the clerical press, where the parish business was settled between a clergy editor and a clergy publisher over a glass of liquor. In the lower...

    (pp. 61-83)

    In a drawing printed inAmeryka-Echoin 1904, the building of Paryski’s company on Nebraska Avenue in Toledo, Ohio, looked squat and solid. It was Lshaped: the front part directly facing the street was two stories high and probably housed editorial offices. The large windows carried signs ofAmeryka-Echo, and the name Paryski was plastered on the top of the building, right below the large American flag blowing in the wind. The rest of the building was one story high and most likely comprised of the printing shop. The small courtyard had some pleasant landscaping and greenery and was surrounded...

    (pp. 84-105)

    Throughout the 1920s the position ofAmeryka-Echoand Paryski publishing remained strong. In October 1928, Antoni A. Paryski observed the fortieth anniversary of his career within the Polish American press. He was sixty-three at the time, and headed the oldest continuously published newspaper in Polonia, as well as a large publishing empire. The celebrations in Toledo were attended by close to two dozen journalists and editors of the “progressive Polonia press,” including representatives ofDziennik dla Wszystkich,Dziennik Polski,Wiadomoœci Codzienne,Kurier Polski,Nowy Świat,Dziennik Związkowy, andZgoda, as well as representatives of the Polish National Alliance. There was...

    (pp. 106-131)

    In 1906, a drawing of a happy middle-class family sitting peacefully around the table and enjoying reading newspapers and books by the bright light of a lamp appeared inAmeryka-Echo, captioned: “A family who reads newspapers.” The interior of the living room was nicely furnished. The floor was carpeted, there were paintings and photographs on the walls, and a large fireplace in the background had a mantel adorned with trinkets and a clock. The wife and husband were dressed in middle-class attire and sat in comfortable armchairs. She held a book in her hands, while he was reading a newspaper....

    (pp. 132-150)

    About a month before merging withEcho, on November 29, 1902, weeklyAmerykaprinted on the first page an article entitled “Who can write to the newspaper?” which directly appealed to its readers for correspondence. The article explained:

    Every person should from time to time write to a newspaper. If you like some project, praise it; if you don’t, condemn it. If something important had happened, which should be publicly known, write toAmerykaabout it. Warn your neighbors against evil. If somebody has written lies, your duty is to set the facts straight. . . .

    Don’t be mute!...

    (pp. 151-171)

    In 1936, Paweł Małopolski from Chicago, Illinois, wrote to the “Corner for Everybody”: “Let me admit that this ‘Kącik dla Wszystkich’ happens to be indeed the most interesting corner in our journalistic neighborhood. . . . One also must admit that if you once drop by this ‘Corner,’ it is not easy to leave it—so it is not surprising that I too made my home here, and since I did, I want to contribute to its benefit.”¹ Małopolski was one of the readers-writers in the “Corner,” a section of letters from readers, which appeared inAmeryka-Echobetween 1922 and...

    (pp. 172-194)

    When in January 1943 some readers called for curbing religious discussions in the “Corner,” Filip Koszelak from Umatilla, FL, pleaded to continue the topic. His appeal had a personal and emotional tone. First, he described how he lost his health working in industry and had to give up his life-long dream of gaining advanced skills as a mechanic. Due to his health issues, he had to relocate to Florida. Koszelak wrote, “Here in Florida it was necessary to adjust completely to an easier way of life because existence would have been impossible, so then what was I to do when...

    (pp. 195-206)

    When I arrived in Toledo on a hot and humid Saturday in August 2012, the city was just concluding Navy Week and the docks on the Maumee River were full of people visiting ships at the piers and learning about the War of 1812. It seems that the entire city converged by the river banks, giving the place an air of vitality and energy. The next day, instead of to the docks, I headed to Lagrange Street, one of the two oldest settlements of Polish immigrants in Toledo. St. Hedwig’s church, the oldest Polish parish, established in 1875, was closing,...

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 207-258)
    (pp. 259-278)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 279-288)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 289-294)