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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey

Guide to using the microfilm and digital versions of the Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey, a collection consisting of a file of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities in Chicago.

Strengths and weaknesses of CFLPS

Just as in any set of primary sources, users need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of this selection. 

It is best at  telling us about the particular concerns of ethnic communities, what information was important to the U.S. Government, and the priorities of the Chicago school of sociology.  There is an emphasis on communities from Eastern and Southern Europe,  with less information about those from other parts of the world.

Researchers should also understand that the translations in CFLPS were done years or even decades after the publication of the original articles.  Translations, often done by people within the neighborhoods and groups that were described, may have been biased to reflect well on those communities.

Searching Words in CFLPS


1.  Go to the Newberry Library's Foreign Language Press Survey collection (through this link).

The page will look like this:

Notice, in the screen shot above, that there is a vertical menu on the left-hand side that allows you to select search criteria. Go here to get more detailed information about the search categories. Otherwise, you can get started with some very brief explanations of the search categories outlined below:

You can filter your search by group to narrow your search to particular ethnic groups:

You can also narrow your search to certain years (1855-1940):

Additionally, you can filter your search by subject codes (there are 94 different ones, so this gets tricky). Before selecting any codes you might want to do some reading here, for a detailed explanation of the codes:

Finally, you can filter your search by source (publication name):