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Lietuva


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About this Title

Title: Lietuva

City: Chicago, Ill.

County: Cook

Available online: 5 December 1913 - 8 May 1920 (705 issues)

On December 10, 1892, Stanley Rokos (Rokosas) founded Lietuva ("Lithuania") in the Chicago printing house of Reforma ("Reform"), his unsuccessful Polish-American weekly newspaper [LCCN: sn93058776]. After publishing only seven issues and at odds with his editor, John Grinius, Rokos sold Lietuva to A.V. Zaliauskas. The latter moved the printing shop without notifying Rokos, who held the shop under mortgage. Caught in the enduring feud between the two associates, Zaliauskas found himself arrested. In the end, Rokos sold the newspaper to Peter Zacharevicius and Simon Lelasius for the mortgaged value. Faced with financial turmoil, the new owners soon sold Lietuva to Anthony Olsevskis (Olšauskis), who went on to manage the newspaper for the next 24 years. Olsevskis functioned as Lietuva's sole proprietor until December 14, 1895, when he hired L. Sernas (Joseph Adomaitis) as editor. Together, Sernas and Olsevskis successfully edited and published Lietuva as an independent, Lithuanian-American newspaper that celebrated full family immigration to America. At the same time, the paper encouraged the immigrants to remember their Lithuanian heritage rather than succumbing to total assimilation. Lietuva featured nationalistic undertones in its coverage of affairs both in the United States and abroad. Despite the Lithuanian-American community's effort to promote its contributions to United States' economy, Lietuva also supported the community's economic solidarity with such ferocity that r non-Lithuanian populations were sometimes pushed out of Lithuanian neighborhoods and business districts in Chicago. The result was greater segregation rather than mainstreaming for Lithuanian-Americans.

In later years, Lietuva featured installments from current literature, claiming status as a "Literary" newspaper in N.W. Ayer & Son's American Newspaper Annual from 1905 to 1913. In 1909, Sernas was joined by two assistant editors to cope with the exponential growth of the newspaper. With constant changes in editorial policy, Sernas eventually decided to resign, leaving his position as editor with Bruno K. Balutis (Bronius K. Balutis). With changes of editor, alongside changes in the world-wide political environment with the outbreak of World War I, Lietuva shifted its focus to cover topics related to the war and the Lithuanian homeland. An inevitable shift in the newspaper's voice was indicative of the conflict's impact on Lithuanians, both in Europe and the United States. Stories about "Didysis Karas," (the "Great War") later "Didēji Karē," appeared throughout the newspaper. A front-page spread, sometimes spanning several pages recounted events of the war in photographs, illustrations, and the text.

In 1916, Olsevskis's work in reorganizing the Universal State Bank took priority over his other business pursuits. He sold Lietuva to Joseph J. Baciunas and John. P. Pajauskas. In 1918, the two men reinvented Lietuva as a daily, publishing features representative of nations and peoples affected by war. Under the editorship of J. Gedminas, Lietuva continued as a daily publication through May 8, 1920.

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