Americke Delnicke Listy (American Labor News)
The Americké Dělnické Listy was established in 1909 and documents the lives and activities of Cleveland Czechs, one of the city’s oldest and largest ethnic groups. Czechs began to arrive in Cleveland during the mid-19th century, and by 1919, Cleveland was the fourth largest Czech city in the world, following Prague, Czechoslovakia; Vienna, Austria; and Chicago, Illinois. The Listy not only represents Czech immigrant culture in the United States throughout the early to mid-20th century, but also the perspective of Czech Socialists, one of three major segments of Czech-American society. Cleveland was a major center of Czech socialism, and the Listy was the only Czech-language socialist newspaper published in the country. It supported reforms such as social security, unemployment insurance and old-age pensions. Most of the content was published in Czech, although some English columns were included beginning in 1927.
In addition to its political aims, the Listy, like other ethnic publications, was an important tool connecting Czechs to their new homes in the U.S. and their old homes in Europe. The Listy was published in the “Old Broadway” neighborhood, where many Czechs made their homes, and one of its goals was to maintain traditional Czech heritage and beliefs. To that end, it lent its support to local workingmen’s cooperatives, such as the Workers Gymnastic Union; fraternal organizations; and freethinkers’ schools. Among its editors included Joseph Martinek, a significant leader in Czech socialism and nationalism, and Frank J. Bardoun, a native Clevelander who was prominently involved in the local Czech community. Because of their work and that of their successors in advocating for an independent Czechoslovakia, the Listy was the first American newspaper Germany barred in Czechoslovakia prior to World War II.
In 1953, the Listy ceased publication after more than forty years.
Parts of this newspaper have been digitized and are available for research via Ohio Memory: Americké Dělnické Listy (American Workingmen's News), 1918-1941.
- Van Tassel, David D., and John J. Grabowski, eds. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.