In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Romanians immigrated to the American Midwest, congregating in Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago, as well as the surrounding region. They were attracted by plentiful jobs in steel and other metal industries. Cleveland emerged as a major destination for immigrants, with nearly 20,000 Romanians in the area by 1914. This new population created its own newspapers and organizations. The first Romanian mutual benefit society in Cleveland was created in 1902; the first Romanian-language newspaper, Tribuna, in 1903; and the first Romanian Orthodox and Catholic parishes in 1904 and 1905 respectively. In 1905, the newspaper America was also created, eventually becoming the largest Romanian newspaper in the country. During World War I, it had 10,500 subscribers, and by 1922 this number had risen to approximately 17,200.
America was the official organ of the Union of Roumanian Beneficial Societies of America (also known as the Roumanian Beneficial and Cultural Societies and the Union of Roumanian Beneficial and Cultural Societies). The Union of Roumanian Beneficial Societies of America aimed to disseminate Romanian culture alongside news through America, focusing on the needs of the working class. Its rival was the Românul (“Roumanian”), the organ of the Aid League (Liga şi Ajutor), which targeted more educated readers. This distinction was seen in the papers’ staff as well, with that of America coming from among the workers, while the Românul’s were professional journalists. In 1928, the two papers reconciled their differences and joined together under the Union and League of Romanian Societies in America. The Românul became the name of a weekly supplement in the America at this time. After absorbing the Românul, America became the official organ of the Union and League of Roumanian Beneficial and Cultural Societies.
A politically Independent paper, America was published as a weekly, semiweekly, daily, and triweekly and known by several names including American Romanian News, America Roumanian News, Romanian News, Roumanian News, and Ziarul Românesc. America’s editors included N.C. Zamfirescu in 1915, Ioan Jivi-Banateanul in 1921, A. Popovici in 1922, and Peter Lucaci in 1976; it was published by the Union of Roumanian Societies Publishing Company during the 1920s. America was printed primarily in Romanian, with some English, and covered international, national, and state news. Its contents included political news and events; information about aid societies; opinion columns and editorials; literary excerpts; historical information; and personal columns and want ads. With the exception of a few years in the early 1970s, when it moved to Detroit, America was published in Cleveland. It appears to have ceased publication in 2009.
Researched and written by Bronwyn Benson