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Grant number like: PW-50398-09

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Newberry Library (Chicago, IL 60610-3305)
Douglas W. Knox (Project Director: August 2008 to December 2011)
Jennifer Thom (Project Director: December 2011 to August 2013)

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
Preservation and Access

$200,000 (approved)
$200,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2009 – 4/30/2013

Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey: Digitization for Research and Education

The digitization, encoding, and online delivery of the Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey, a microfilm resource containing translations of selected articles from Chicago's immigrant and ethnic press from the 1860s to the 1930s.

We request funding for the first stage of a project to digitize from 81 reels of microfilm the Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey, a WPA project conducted between 1936 and 1941. The survey consists of approximately 120,000 5-by-8-inch sheets of typescript translating thousands of selected articles published in Chicago's ethnic press between the 1860s and the 1930s, organized into 22 ethnic groups and categorized according to a unique hierarchical subject scheme. The Survey provides researchers without foreign language skills access to primary materials on ethnicity and urban life during an important span of American history. The Survey has been used to good effect in scholarship and teaching, although lack of proper indexes makes it difficult to use in its current format. An electronic version will enable it to reach a much greater number of people and to support new kinds of research. It will fully realize the intellectual work of the WPA project workers for the first time.