The Amerikai Magyar Hirlap (“American Magyar Journal”) began in 1911 in Youngstown, Ohio, to promote Hungarian interests across the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys of northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Among its numerous editors were L. Fenyes and Ernest N. Nemenyi (who also worked on the Youngstown Vindicator); the Hirlap was managed by Adelbert (Albert) B. Koller in the 1920s.
Following waves of immigration in the 19th century, around 15,000 Hungarians were living in Ohio by 1900. Their numbers greatly increased over the next two decades, reaching over 73,000 by 1920. More than 43,000 of these Hungarian immigrants settled in and around Cleveland, finding cheap factory or day labor work. Others moved to nearby Youngstown, where they worked in the area’s growing steel industry for companies like Youngstown Sheet and Tube and Republic Steel. Hungarians continued to immigrate to the United States throughout the 20th century, particularly after World War II and following the 1956 failure to overthrow the Communist Hungarian government. Many moved to the areas where their predecessors had already established neighborhoods, churches, and businesses. In Youngstown, Hungarians often lived on the lower East Side, near other immigrant communities or steel mills.
The Hirlap was published on Thursdays by the United Printing Company in Hungarian with some English. Circulation was around 7,000 throughout its early life. Content included reports from Europe, especially covering Hungarian news and politics; health information and tips; novel excerpts; church notices; local events; business advertisements; and general political news. The Hirlap also reported on the American Hungarian Federation (Amerikai Magyar Szövetség), a benefit society founded in Cleveland in 1906. The Hirlap ceased publication in 1942 due to financial difficulties and was absorbed by Cleveland’s Szabadság (“Liberty”), the largest and oldest Hungarian newspaper published in the United States. In the final issue, Hirlap readers were thanked for their loyalty and ongoing patronage, and told their local news would still be available through Szabadság.
Researched and written by Bronwyn Benson