Journalist, war correspondent, and founder of the Cleveland Folk Arts Association, Theodore Andrica was the Cleveland Press Ethnic (Nationalities) Editor from 1927 to 1973.
Born in the Romanian village of Radna on August 9, 1900, Andrica was nineteen years old when he emigrated to the United States in 1920.
In the spring of 1927, Andrica went to the Editorial department of the Cleveland Press to register a complaint with Editor-in-Chief Louis B. Seltzer. Andrica stressed that the immigrant communities of the city, although being 60% of Cleveland’s population, were largely absent from coverage in the newspapers. Popularly condemned and swept aside as “foreigners,” Cleveland’s immigrants felt deprived of the requisite reinforcement and collaboration necessary to assimilate. Andrica stressed that featuring news columns relevant to such disenfranchised people would improve morale and facilitate integration.
Seltzer agreed and hired Andrica as the Press “ethnic reporter.” For the next 46 years until his retirement in 1973, Andrica reported important goings-on within the city’s vibrant immigrant neighborhoods in his columns “100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland” and “Around the World in Cleveland.” Andrica also wrote Romanian Americans and Their Communities of Cleveland, originally published in 1977 by Cleveland State University Cleveland Ethnic Heritage Studies.
Energized, Andrica proposed that the Press sponsor Cleveland’s first multi-national festival. On November 12, 1927, at Public Hall, the “Dance of the Nations” took place. Attended by fourteen-thousand people, the “Dance” featured performances by over eight hundred amateur European dancers. A triumphant success, the event was repeated on Labor Day in 1928 at the Brookside Park amphitheater.
An All-Nations Council was formed in 1929 with Andrica as its secretary. In mid-March of 1930, the council hosted a weeklong multicultural exposition attended by over one hundred thousand people.
Beginning in 1933, Andrica—as a unique public service—took trips upon behalf of Cleveland’s immigrants to various European cities, towns, and villages from whence they had emigrated. During these stopovers, he would personally seek out and speak with their friends, families, and neighbors. Andrica made sixteen such pilgrimages back to the old country.
Theodore Andrica died on March 1, 1990, at the age of 89 years. He was hailed by Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes as having been “our ambassador of good will to international understanding.”
- Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
- Ohio History Connection: Theodore Andrica Topic Guide for Chronicling America (pdf)
- Romanian Americans and Their Communities of Cleveland (online)
- TIME: The Press: The Broken-English Editor (Monday, Feb. 25, 1946)
- TIME: The Press: Mr. Cleveland in Europe (Friday, Sept. 22, 1961)
- The Book of the All Nations Exposition: Held at the Cleveland Public Hall, Cleveland, Ohio, March 18 to March 24, 1929/Under the Auspices of the Cleveland Press and the City of Cleveland (Cleveland Public Library Digital Gallery)