Established in 1910 by Reverend Oldrich Zlámal, the pastor of SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish, the Youngstownské Slovenské Noviny (“Youngstown Slovak News”) served Slovaks in Youngstown, Ohio, and surrounding areas in the Mahoning and Shenago Valleys. Ohio was home to over 42,000 Slovaks by 1920, many settling in northeastern cities such as Cleveland and Youngstown. Most of these immigrants had arrived in the years before and after World War I. Before 1918, Austria-Hungary controlled the Slovak homeland, denying Slovaks a political voice and use of their language. After the war, Czechoslovakia was created. The conflict had destroyed the homes and businesses of many Slovaks, and desiring a better life, many came to the United States.
Rev. Zlámal was an early immigrant. Born in Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic), he moved to Cleveland to finish school at St. Mary Seminary. He was transferred to Youngstown in 1908 shortly before starting the Noviny. Zlámal was a huge proponent of Czech interests, urging Cleveland Slovaks and Czechs in 1915 to campaign for a unified homeland, and travelling to Czechoslovakia in 1919 to give lectures on democracy and religion. The Noviny was first edited by Father Zlamal Milan Salva, and later by Matthew Mraz. Born in Sielnica, in the Zvolen District of what is now Slovakia, Mraz immigrated to the Cleveland area in 1921.
The Youngstownské Slovenské Noviny included local, national, and international news. Much of the latter related to Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European countries. The publication also covered other immigrant communities in Youngstown and its environs. As with many immigrant newspapers, the Noviny helped its readers adjust to American life, reporting on current politics, such as rallies for then presidential candidate Warren G. Harding and other political meetings and President Franklin Roosevelt’s social programs, and providing its readers with information on how to register to vote, the naturalization process, and American income tax. Articles covered topics as wide ranging as sports, crime, concerts, social and religious calendars, and sometimes included excerpts from novels. The majority of the paper was written in Slovak, but occasionally articles in English were included. The Youngstownské Slovenské Noviny ceased publication in 1940.
Researched and written by Bronwyn Benson