Press: In the Land of Free

Speech Readers Learn All About It in Foreign-Language Papers Coast to Coast

Leave it to Benjamin Franklin, that protean spinner of projects, to publish the first foreign-language newspaper in America. The year was 1732; the paper, called the Philadelphia Zeitung, was aimed at the city's burgeoning German population. As the decades rolled by, the growth and variety of the immigrant press mirrored the flow of the immigrants themselves. By the early 1900s, when the boatloads of newcomers reached their peak, some 1,300 foreign- language newspapers and magazines were being published in the U.S. New York City alone boasted a cacophony of 32 dailies, including ten in German, five in Yiddish, two in Bohemian...

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