Becoming Americans in Chicago

Becoming Americans in Chicago

Becoming Americans in Chicago is the latest CMHEC sourcebook available for teachers. It is the product of an investigation by teachers into the WPA Foreign Language Press Survey, a collection of nearly 100,000 translated articles from over 100 Chicago immigrant newspapers published between 1860 and 1940 covering every facet of immigrant life.  The purpose of the Reader is to offer to the history or social studies classroom teacher a selection of the immigrant voices found in the FLPS centered around four central themes: Race and Ethnicity, Citizenship, Transnationalism, and Gender.  The Reader is composed of selected entries from the Foreign Language Press Survey with classroom ideas offered by a team of participating teachers.  The articles are exact transcriptions that have been re-formatted for easier class use.  They are unique, accessible, and important primary sources which help make history come alive in any classroom by allowing students to hear the voices of the past and encouraging them to learn history by using authentic documents.

Sample Lesson Plans from "Becoming Americans in Chicago":

  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Citizenship
  • Transnationalism
  • Gender
  • Download the full PDF of "Becoming Americans in Chicago," separated into six parts:

    Race & Ethnicity
    Gender Roles


    How to Analyze a Document (Adobe pdf)
    Analyzing a Photograph (Adobe pdf)
    Encyclopedia of Chicago (Off site)
    Photographs from the Chicago Historical Society’s Chicago Daily News (Off site)
    Directory of the WPA Foreign Language Press Survey (Adobe pdf)

    The entire Foreign Language Press Survey is now available in a searchable database at For more information about the Foreign Language Press Survey, visit


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