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Full text of "The Cech community of New York"

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THE CECH (BOHEMIAN) 
COMMUNITY 

OF 

NEW YORK 

WITH INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ON" 

THE CECHOSLOVAKS IN THE 
UNITED STATES 



By THOMAS CAPEK 

Author of "The Cechs (Bohemians) in America," etc. 



Published by the Czechoslovak Section of America's Making, Inc. 
NEW YORK, 1921 



m ^ 1922 






CONTENTS 
PART I 

THE CECHS 

Chapter Page 

I. Old Country Ideology Transplanted to 

the New 5 

II. The Number, Distribution and Occupa- 
tion of Cechoslovaks 12 

III. Distribution According to States 14 

IV. Distribution According to Cities 16 

V. The Cech Community of New York 20 

VI. Occupation 23 

VII. Economic Strength 36 

VIII. The Press ...38 

IX. Politics and First Political Demonstration. 43 

X. The Halls 49 

XI. The Churches 50 

XII. The *'Cech Library" 51 

XIII. The Neighborhood Houses 52 

XIV. Benevolent and Other Organizations 53 

XV. The Artists^ Colony 56 

XVI. The Language School 57 

XVII. The Pioneers 58 

PART II 

THE SLOVAKS 

Foreword 
Chapter Page 

I. Historical Background and Causes of 

Emigration 80 

II. Statistical . 83 

III. Occupation 85 

IV. Fraternal Organizations and Churches. ..88 
V. The Press 91 

VI. The Banks 93 

3 



PART I 

THE CECHS 
CHAPTER I 

Old Country Ideology Transplanted to the 

New 

If we analyze the currents and cross currents of 
the national life of the Cechs, we shall find that 
every great movement in the mother country, has 
produced repercussion among the nationals in 
America, that it synchronized perfectly with like 
responsive actions here. A brief survey of their 
principal activities proves it. 

Slovanska Lipa. A society styling itself the 
Slovanska Lipa (Slavic Linden) was organized in 
Prague in 1848. Its program was national and 
political — equal rights before the law for Cechs and 
Germans, Slavic reciprocity, constitutional liberty. 
The name and the purpose appealed to American 
Cechs so strongly that in a dozen years every larger 
settlement boasted of a Lipa. The by-laws of the 
domestic Lipas provided for the fostering of the 
mother tongue, founding of circulating libraries, 
encouraging choral singing, theatricals, etc. The 
American Lipas fully justified their existence. Later, 
when the advantages of personal insurance became 
more fully appreciated several of the Lipas became 
charter members of the C. S. P. S. benevolent 
organization. 



The Sokols. The Sokols had their inception also 
in Prague, in 1862. It is a mistake to think that 
the system of physical training as practiced by 
American Sokols is patterned after that of the 
German Turners. Back of the Cech system, as 
elaborated by Miroslav Tyrs (1832-84), and Jindrich 
Fugner (1822-65) was an idea which aimed higher 
than the mere training of the body. The Sokol was 
required to be like the Samurai of old Japan — 
courageous, faithful to duty, lover of his country. 
From Bohemia the Sokol ideology spread to other 
Slavic countries. How accurately Tyrs and Fugner 
had visualized the future significance of this body 
was demonstrated in the war just ended. The 
Sokols were at the bottom of every move directed 
against the Hapsburg monarchy. 

Choral singing and amateur theatricals. No 
national group is more given to amateur acting — 
producing plays in the national tongue — than the 
Cechs. So much importance is attributed to these 
theatricals that local historians are wont to register 
not only the titles of plays acted in this or that 
settlement, but likewise the names of the talent 
impersonating the leading roles. Since the Civil 
War, New York was never without a dramatic 
society — at times it had as many as six. Priests, 
editors, farmers, mechanics, business men, domestics 
— immigrants and their American-born progeny — 
all were eager to taste the exhilaration and the glory 
of the footlights. Lately amateur impresarios are 
compelled to lean more and more on volunteers 
drawn from the ranks of the native born; in the 
choral societies, it is no secret, Americans are 
already in the majority. Amateur stage folk and 
singers combined, have even invaded the field of light 
opera. That the fondness for this sort of amusement 

6 



has been brought over from old Bohemia goes with- 
out saying. Under the Austrian regime, which kept 
a watchful eye over the doings of the Cechs, the 
stage, the amateur stage and later, when actors had 
been trained and Cech stock companies started out 
on their itineraries from town to village, the profes- 
sional stage, constituted a strong link in the chain 
of national revival. 

Opposition to theocracy. One-half — according 
to some authorities more than one-half — of American 
Cechs have given up their inherited faith. Some 
joined other religious bodies, but the bulk of the 
dissenters do not affiliate with any church. One 
finds nothing quite like it among other immigrants, 
certainly not among American Slavs. What is the 
cause of this religious abstention? Here again, to 
understand, we must turn back to the fatherland for 
explanation, read the story of this war-scarred 
country, study the national characteristics of the 
people. 

The old-time Cechs, historians tell us, were 
given to religious meditation, clinging tenaciously 
to their beliefs. For faith and country the Hussites 
in the fifteenth century faced huge armies of cru- 
saders sent to crush the ''heretics." The Church 
of Bohemian Brethren, from which the Moravians 
in England and the United States claim descent, 
sprung from a desire of its founders and followers to 
lead purer lives in strict accord with the precepts of 
the scriptures. The emigration from Bohemia after 
1620, following the victory of the Hapsburgs over 
the Protestants, was of a rehgious character. Tens 
of thousands preferred banishment to the renuncia- 
tion of their faith. The most merciless persecution 
on the part of the civil and ecclesiastic authorities 
during the era of the restoration of Catholicism 

7 



which extended from 1620 to 1781, when the Patent 
of Tolerance was issued, could not wholly eradicate 
the "hidden seed." 

In past ages every village boasted of its 
**pismak," a wise man, who was versed in the 
"pismo," meaning the Bible and who expounded its 
lessons to the villagers. Prior to the Battle of 
White Mountain (1620), the Cechs had been Prot- 
estants. By 1914, ninety-six per cent, (according 
to Austrian official figures) professed the Catholic 
faith. That such a fundamental religious re-making 
of a people could not be accomplished without leaving 
a mark on its character and without influencing the 
direction of its thought, is self-evident. 

At present Bohemia again finds herself in the 
throes of a religious rebirth. A concerted movement 
is on foot (it was inaugurated in October, 1918, when 
Cechoslovakia rid herself of the Hapsburgs), which 
can be expressed in three words: ''Away from 
Rome!" Already hundreds of thousands have 
severed their connection with the old church and 
have joined the Cechoslovak National Church. 
The self-same propaganda, ''Away from Rome!" 
has been carried on in Cech America for more than 
half a century. The result is as stated at the outset 
of this paragraph. 

Slavic solidarity. No one in particular propagated 
here the thought of closer cultural relations with 
other Slavs — Slovaks, Russians, Poles, Serbo-Cro- 
ations — yet the idea of Slavic reciprocity, of close 
comradeship, was popular from the start. Slavic 
"congresses" had been called and societies had been 
organized to foster and encourage Slavic fraterniza- 
tion. The first body of men to volunteer from 
Chicago for service during the Civil War received 
the name Slavonian Rifle Company. In the sixties, 

8 



as stated elsewhere, settlement after settlement 
"planted" its Slovanska Li'pa society; other organi- 
zations bore the names of Slavic Union, Slavic 
Reciprocity, Slavic Alliance, etc. The first news- 
paper was called "Slowan Amerikansky" (American 
Slav). In the preface the publisher-editor (Frank 
Korizek) addressed himself '*to the beloved Slavic 
nation," and he deplored the fact that that nation 
''lived so disunited in the New World." By "Slavic 
nation" Korizek of course meant his countrymen, 
the Cechs only, because no other Slavs (except a 
handful of Poles), lived at that time (1861) in the 
United States. 

A farming element in Wisconsin became discon- 
tented with conditions in America — aggravated as 
these were by the bitterness of civil war — and a plan 
was conceived to move American Cechs to the 
province of Amur in Asiatic Russia. Two men were 
chosen to go to Russia to work there to the end 
"that a foundation might be laid for a new fatherland 
in Slavic Russia."^ Fortunately, this migration 
never took place; one member of the committee of 
investigation (Barta) returned to Wisconsin, dis- 
gusted with the red tape methods of the Czar's 
government. The other (Mracek) stayed in Russia 
and died there. 

During the Polish rebellion of 1863, the formula 
of Slavic fraternization was given a practical try- 
out — and was found wanting. In much the same 
way as in Bohemia, the Cechs in America were 
divided in their sympathies on the Russo-Polish 
struggle. One faction, numerically the stronger, 
sided with the Poles; there were those, however, 
who loudly defended the course of the Russians. 



^"The Slavic," December, 1861. 

9 



The attitude of the Cechs, let it be said, pleased 
neither the Russians nor the Poles. 

The fraternization between New York Poles and 
Cechs manifesting itself in invitations to and presence 
at balls, picnics and meetings, came to an abrupt 
end when the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia came to 
America in 1871, and again in 1877. The Cechs of 
New York and Chicago sent deputations "to greet 
our brother Slav." This ''act of perfidy" on the 
part of the Cechs cut the Poles to the quick; never 
after that did they invite the Cechs to their social 
affairs nor asked them to take part in anything at 
which the Russians were present. With Russians 
left out, Slavic accord, was, of course, a nullity; with 
Russians and Poles in, co-operation was out of the 
question. 

During the Russo-Japanese war, the Slavic 
Alliance of New York made an effort to bring under 
one roof the leading men and women of Slavic 
blood. But because the Russians came in, it was 
a sufficient reason for the Poles to stay out and they 
did stay out. 

Sixty years of fraternization with American 
Slavs, sixty years of inspiring speeches at Slavic 
banquets — what are the evidences of constructive 
work .? Almost none. True, the Sokols have carried 
the Sokol ideology in the ranks of some of the Slavs 
. . . .Occasionally joint public protests had been ar- 
ranged and held ... .As for instance, when the New 
York Slavs met in Carnegie Hall, December 14, 1912, 
to ''protest against Austria-Hungary's unjustified in- 
terference with the Balkan Slavs." 

Ask a New York Cech in what part of the City 
the Serbo-Croations live. He does not know. In- 
quire of a Pole where the Cech quarter is located 

10 



and the chances are he will have to ask a police- 
man to direct him to it. In Chicago, Poles and 
Cechs professing the same faith bury their dead 
in a common cemetery. In several instances these 
two worship in the same churches. But the tie 
that binds in this case is not racial kinship, but 
religion. 



11 



CHAPTER II 

The Number, Distribution and Occupation of 
Cechoslovaks 

x^s a country of origin Austria first appeared in 
the United States official census in 1860; Bohemia 
in 1870. The (13th) census of 1910 has ascertained 
539,392 persons of Bohemian and Moravian stock. 
Precisely how many American Slovaks there are 
and where they live we shall learn for the first time 
when the results of the 1920 census are made public. 
The figures of the previous censuses were not de- 
pendable for the reason that census gatherers in 
many instances classified the Slovaks as Hungarians. 
Private estimates by Slovak publicists and the 
official Washington returns varied greatly; private 
estimates, as a general rule, being invariably much 
higher. Even the Cechs contended in the past that 
the census man has treated them unfairly; that at 
each decennial count he caused thousands of their 
compatriots to disappear in the column set aside for 
Austrians. 

As a Cechoslovak state, Pennsylvania leads in 
1920 all, with a population of 67,577. One can easily 
guess how much of this total is purely Slovak and 
how much the share of the Cechs. According to the 
census of 1910, the Cechs in Pennsylvania ag- 
gregated 13,945. Of this, 3,453 Hved in Pittsburgh 
(largely in Allegheny), and 1,652 in Philadelphia. 

Next after Pennsylvania comes Illinois, with 
66,463. Obviously, this is Chicago and its suburbs, 
for outside of the city not many are known to reside. 

12 



Chicago is the metropolis of the Cechs and has been ^ 
such since 1870. It is one of the three leading cities 
with strong Cech and Slovak centres. New York and-^ 
Cleveland are the other two. 

New Jersey's 16,194 is more than two-thirds 
Slovak. 

On the other hand, Iowa's 9,148, Kansas' 3,466, 
Minnesota's 12,538, Nebraska's 15,817, Texas' 12,809, 
Wisconsin's 19,785 (except Milwaukee, which is 
mixed, Cech and Slovak), continue to be preponder- 
antly Cech. When the census is published in its 
entirety we shall be able to appraise more accurately 
the numerical strength of the Cechoslovak stock, 
both foreign and native born. 



13 



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CHAPTER IV 

Distribution According to Cities 

Austrians in selected cities 
1860^ 

Males Females 

St. Louis 1,367 1,173 

New York 942 749 

Chicago 486 441 

Philadelphia 208 123 

Cincinnati 196 146 

New Orleans 167 32 

Baltimore 68 44 

Boston 27 16 

Bohemians {and Moravians) in selected cities 

1870^ 

Chicago 6,277 

St. Louis 2,652 

New York 1,487 

Milwaukee 1,435 

Cleveland 786 

Baltimore 766 

Detroit 537 

Allegheny 324 

Newark 184 

Cincinnati 123 

Philadelphia 101 

^Population of the U. 5. in 1860, compiled from the original 
returns of the Eighth U. S. census under the direction of the Secre- 
tary of the Interior, Washington, 1864. 

2xMinth U. S. census, June 1, 1870. From the Foreign Born 
population of Fifty Principal Cities according to Place of Birth 
among the Principal Foreign Countries. Table XX. As a country 
of origin Bohemia first appears in this census. 

16 



Bohemians {and Moravians) in selected cities 
1880' 

Chicago 11,887 

New York 8,093 

Cleveland 5,433 

St. Louis 2,456 

Milwaukee 1,537 

Baltimore 1,129 

St. Paul 701 

Bohemians {and Moravians) in selected cities 
1890^ 

Chicago 41,014 

Cleveland 17,502 

New York 11,868 

St. Louis 4,400 

Omaha 3,866 

Milwaukee 2,493 

St. Paul 2,218 

Baltimore 2,130 

Bohemians {and Moravians) in selected cities 
1900^ 

Chicago 72,862 

Cleveland 28,385 

New York 26,809 

St. Louis 5,503 

Cedar Rapids 4,646 

Baltimore 4,522 

Omaha 3,997 

^ iTenth U. S. census, June 1, 1880. Table XIII, showing the 
nativities of foreign-born population. 

^Eleventh U. S. census, June 1, 1890. Table XXXVII. 
White persons having both parents born in specified countries or of 
mixed foreign parentage. 

^Twelfth U. S. census, June 1, 1900. White persons having 
both parents born in specified countries or of mixed foreign parentage. 

17 



Milwaukee 3,483 

St. Paul 3,002 

South Omaha 2,187 

Allegheny 1,565 

Detroit 1,312 

Racine 1,078 

La Crosse 1,062 

Bohemian {and Moravian stock) in selected cities 

\9W 

Chicago 110,736 

New York 40,988 

Cleveland 39,296 

St. Louis 10,282 

Baltimore 7,750 

Milwaukee 6,370 

Omaha. 5,414 

St. Paul 4,140 

Pittsburgh 3,453 

Detroit 2,641 

decho Slovaks in selected cities 

1920^ 

Chicago 50,392 

Cleveland 23,007 

New York 26,292 

Milwaukee 4,497 

Omaha 4,305 

MinneapoHs 1,828 

St. Paul 1,797 

^Thirteenth U. S. census, June 1, 1910. Leading mother 
tongues of the foreign white stock of selected cities. Native white 
stock of foreign or mixed parentage. 

^Preliminary Press Announcements as shown by the returns of 
the Fourteenth (1920) U. S. Census. Distribution of the foreign- 
born white population by country of birth. 

18 



Comparing it to the Irish and the German, 
Cechoslovak immigration is comparatively recent. 
The tide of the Cechs set in after 1848. That of the 
Slovaks several decades later. At the time the Cech 
infiltration began, land in Wisconsin, Iowa, Neb- 
raska, Minnesota and the other states in the Mid- 
west could be had for the asking. This determined 
the character of their occupation; they became 
farmers. When the Slovaks started pouring in — 
after 1890 — the land in the corn and wheat producing 
belt was already prohibitive in price. On the other 
side, the steel mill, the coal mine, the coke field, 
the machine shop, the refinery in Pennsylvania, 
New Jersey, Ohio, Connecticut, beckoned to work- 
men to come. Skilled and unskilled, all could get a 
job. The wages offered were fair; measured by old- 
country standards, fabulous. If land-ownership as- 
sured independence to the farmer in a distant future, 
the wage-earner in the mill and the mine could 
console himself with the thought that his labor 
yielded him a prompt return, not tomorrow, but 
today. This actuality again determined the choice 
of the occupation of the Slovaks. 

We will not search for the Cechoslovaks in the 
ranks of the great merchants, employers of labor on 
a large scale, men of inherited wealth. Among these 
we will not find them. Humble men from the 
ordinary walks of life they are — farmers, mechanics, 
shop-keepers, wage-earners. 



19 



CHAPTER V 

The Cech Community of New York 

The principal settlement is located between 
Second Avenue and the East River from Sixty-fifth 
to Seventy-eighth streets. Within this area lives a 
mixture of races: On the extreme north the Germans; 
several blocks, (Seventy-fifth between First and 
Second Avenues) are peopled by Italians; numerous 
Hungarian restaurants attest the presence of a large 
body of Magyars; the negroes obtained a foothold 
on both sides of Seventy-third Street between 
Second and Third Avenues; along Avenue A is a 
scattering of Greeks. At all points the Slovaks mix 
with the Cechs. The Jews (in this instance Magyar 
Jews), predominate as shop-keepers. However, it 
is the Cech who gives this quarter of the city an 
atmosphere all its own. 

A small group has maintained itself since the 
Civil War in the Morrisania section of the Bronx 
(Bohemianized Marazin). There are a few scattered 
families in Brooklyn. The Dutch Kills enclave of 
Queens Borough is quite strong economically (most 
of the residents owning neat cottages), and active 
socially. Other more or less known points of con- 
centration in the State of New York are Winfield, 
Corona, College Point, Flushing Heights, Whitestone, 
Islip, East Islip, Bay Shore, Sayville, Highland 
Falls, Rockland Lake, Tarrytown, Poughkeepsie, 
Buffalo, Schenectady, Binghamton, Yonkers, 
Gloversville, Elmira, Richmond Borough. 

20 



At the time the author arrived in New York 
(1879), his countrymen were massed between 
Houston Street on the south, Eighth Street on the 
north (Tompkins Square, their favorite rendezvous, 
they called the White Garden from the whiteness of 
the asphalt), and Avenue A on the west. None 
lived on the East River front, and but a few were 
bold enough to penetrate the unknown regions west 
of Avenue A, "where strangers lived." In the blocks 
between Third and Fifth Streets the concentration 
was the densest. Avenue B was called the Cech 
Boulevard. Individual families lived in Grand 
(which in the eighties was a business artery of no 
mean importance), in Broome, Delancey, Rivington, 
Stanton, Essex, Clinton, Norfolk, Pitt. Within a 
stone's throw from Avenue B were the stores of 
Cech bakers, butchers, grocers, and saloon keepers. 
On the northwest corner of Avenue B and Fourth 
Street the daily '*Delnicke Listy" had its business 
office. At 533 East Fifth Street stood the Narodni 
Budova (National Hall), where the community's 
dances, theatricals, concerts and meetings of all 
kinds were held. The National Hall was an old-time 
five-story tenement built on an Astor leasehold. In 
1882, a number of organizations bought out the 
place and altered it to suit their needs. The ground 
floor in the rear of the saloon was provided with a 
primitive stage and dance hall; the second floor was 
fitted out as a library and lodge rooms. The upper 
floors were rented for tenement purposes. On the 
Liliputian stage, amateurs acted the queens and kings 
of old Bohemia. From it many a hot invective was 
hurled at the Hapsburgs; many an appealing ditty 
sung reminding the audience of the oppressed 
fatherland. 

21 



Between the end of the eighties and the first 
years of the nineties the community, except isolated 
famihes, migrated uptown to where its present 
quarters are. 

What was the reason of the exodus ? More 
sanitary tenements uptown, and nearness to the 
cigar shops, in which they worked. The break-up 
of the downtown habitat was not a matter of months. 
The migration persisted for a period of years until 
the Fifth Street center was emptied of the last Cech. 

In the nineties Cech lodges and clubs officially 
approved of the community's new site uptown, im- 
printing upon it a seal of permanency, by building 
halls, club houses and churches there. 

The Czechoslovak Consulate General forms an 
integral part of the community. Dr. Borivoj 
Prusik, who is at the head of it, is a scholar of 
recognized merit in his mother country. 

The Foreign Language Information Service has 
a Czechoslovak Section of which Sarka B. Hrbkova, 
writer, lecturer and teacher, is the manager. 



22 



CHAPTER VI 
Occupation 

Cigar makers. For more than sixty years cigar 
making has been and still is, a distinctive occupation. 

Precisely when and under what circumstances the 
tobacco industry has obtained the upper hand among 
New York Cechs is an unstudied chapter which will 
need attention. Indications are, however, that the 
trade is old — as old as the immigration itself. Al- 
ready in 1858, Wenceslaus Krechtler was the owner 
of a cigar store at 157 Canal Street, and in the rear 
of it he worked up the weed. Frank Korbel, Thomas 
Juranek and Frank R. Mracek, pioneer settlers (see 
their biographies in the chapter on Pioneers), were 
cigar makers about the same time, even earlier. A 
story is current — it sounds plausible — that a repre- 
sentative of Kerbs & Spiess was sent to Sedlec, near 
Kutna Hora, where the former Austrian Government 
operated a tobacco factory, to enlist trained workers 
for his firm in New York. The wages offered were 
so tempting that many employees, men and women, 
took the American agent at his word and emigrated. 
According to another report, cigar m.akers from 
Sedlec began to flock to New York in consequence 
of glowing accounts sent thither by a band of Sedlec 
men who had settled in Morrisania. One of these 
men was Vincent Vanicek; others were John Dvorak, 
Joseph Stepanek, John Drahorad, Adolph Mucha 
and Anna Cerny (who became Vanicek's wife). 
During and after the Civil War every incoming ship 
brought fresh contingents of workers. Under the 

23 



tutorship of the Sedlec men butchers, blacksmiths, 
bakers, miners, peasants, college students, agricul- 
tural laborers and domestics learned to strip tobacco, 
break bunches and roll them. 

Editor L. J. Palda estimated that in 1868, when 
he landed, 95% of his countrymen were engaged in 
the tobacco industry/ "Every newcomer," re- 
lates Palda in his Reminiscences, ''no matter what 
his trade or vocation in the old country, ended by 
becoming a cigar maker, because cigar making paid 
better than any other line of work." An expert 
textile worker from Europe, Palda himself learned 
to make cigars in New York. 

Between 1880-95 when the industry attained its 
high water mark the Cechs worked for the following 
firms: 

Herman Benz, 151 Avenue A. 

Bondy & Lederer, 110 Attorney Street. 

Isidor Jacobi, 126 First Avenue. 

Kerbs & Bro., 232 E. 36th Street. 

Kerbs & Spiess, 1020 Second Avenue and East 
54th Street. 

Emanuel W. Mendel, 243 Third Street and 
IS}4 Bowery. 

Adolph Moonelis, 143 Avenue D. 

Bernhard Newmark, 318 E. 75th Street. 

Abraham and Isaac Rosenthal, 624 E. 16th and 
351 E. 73rd Street. 

Emil Seidenberg, 360 Second Avenue. 

Joseph S. Seidenberg, 66 Reade Street. 

Leopold Schwarzkopf & Co., 309 E. 46th and 
1329 Avenue A. 

M. Silverthau & Co., 340 E. 36th Street. 

^Mr. Vincent W. Woytisek, Deputy County Clerk, an old 
resident of New York, asserts that Palda's average is too high, 75% 
being nearer the mark. 

24 



M. Stachelberg & Co., 154 So. 5th Avenue. 

Straiton & Storm, 204 E. 27th Street, 203|E. 
33rd Street and 457 First Avenue. 

Morris Prochaska, 102 Attorney Street. 

Wertheim & Schiffer, 1020 Second Avenue. 

Sixty-odd years of cigar making and not one 
Cech manufacturer has risen from the ranks of 
workers! Thousands of privates, not one employer 
of labor! A co-operative shop which Cech workmen 
organized in 1874 went into the receiver's hands 
after a short-lived and stormy existence. 

The author asked Mr. Joseph Stepanek, said to 
be the oldest living cigar maker in the city, to set 
down in writing his reminiscences. He arrived as a 
lad of twelve direct from the factory at Sedlec. As 
he is now in his eighty-fifth year, he has been rolling 
''smokers" seventy-three years. The observations 
of this venerable workman, the author felt, would 
be exceedingly illuminative. Mr. Stepanek wrote 
a modest narrative in which he told of having wit- 
nessed the memorable trial by jury at Kutna Hora 
in 1851, of Charles Havlicek, the tribune of the 
Cech people. In 1865, he walked with 50 other 
New York Cechs in the funeral cortege of Abraham 
Lincoln. He described what keen joy he derived as 
a member of a New York amateur singing club (he 
sang tenor); concerning his experiences as a cigar 
maker he had not a word to say. **That phase of 
my life," he explained, 'Vas a song without a 
melody." 

Palda's 95% of cigar makers in 1866, does not 
obtain in 1920. The American born children of 
cigar makers will not learn and follow the trade of 
their parents. They find that the office, the store, 
the mechanic's bench offer greater possibilities of 
promotion than a cigar shop does. 

25 



How many are still attached to the tobacco 
industry ? No. 141 of the Cigar Makers' Interna- 
tional Union of America has 952 Cech members (men 
and women), 621 of whom pay 60 cents per week in 
dues, 289 40 cents, 42 30 cents. Union No. 90 has 
also some Cechs. Workers not belonging to any 
union are said to number 2,500. Outside of Greater 
New York there are not more than 100 cigar makers. 
This makes a total of 3,552 organized and unor- 
ganized workers.^ 

Pearl button makers. Excellent showing has 
been made in that other distinctively Cech industry, 
the pearl button manufacture. Though neither as 
old as cigar making — it was introduced here by 
workmen from Zirovnice, in Bohemia, after the 
passage in Congress of McKinley's protective tariff — 
nor as voluminous (it gives employment to not more 
than 1,500 or 1,600 operatives), pearl button making 
has contrived to school not only factory hands but 
factory bosses as well. 

The number of Cech manufacturers is 67, located 
as follows: Connecticut (West Willington, Stafford- 
ville, Higganum), 6; New Jersey (North Bergen, 
Secaucus, Little Ferry, Cliffside, Guttenberg, New 
Durham), 20; Illinois (Chicago), 1. Of the 40 plants 
in Greater New York, 19 are situated in Manhattan, 
12 in Winfield, 7 in Astoria, 1 in Maspeth, 1 in Islip. 

These 67 concerns represent an investment of 
from $1,500,000 to $1,750,000: 12 manufac- 
turers have invested $25,000 and over; 15 manu- 
facturers have invested $10,000 to $20,000; 15 
manufacturers have invested $5,000 to $10,000; 
25 manufacturers have invested $1,500 to $5,000. 
Several of the smaller manufacturers do not employ 

^Statement by Joseph Wodicka, Secretary of No. 141 of the 
Cigar Makers' International Union of America. 

26 



any outside help, relying solely upon members of 
their own families for labor. 

The number of operatives is 1,550. In normal 
times this figure would be considerably higher. 
"The volume of business as based on statistics for 
1920 is between $3,000,000 and $3,500,000, and it 
represents," says Mr. W. E. Schwanda, ''slightly 
less than one-half of the total value of ocean pearl 
buttons produced in the United States."^ 

Metal workers. In the several branches of the 
metal industry, not less than 500.^ 

The needle trade. Of journeymen tailors there 
are 300. Merchant tailors are surprisingly few, 
which proves that the Cech is a better workman 
than a business man. Ladies' tailors appeal; to be 
more enterprising, for they outnumber by far men's 
custom tailors. Apprenticed to their art in European 
fashion centers — Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Prague — 
ladies' tailors are in demand by all the leading 
houses and command high wages. 

Dressmakers, 200.' 

Musicians, 50." 

Bakers. Boss bakers, 15 in Manhattan, 5 in 
Queens.^ The journeymen bakers' union has 220 
members; non-union workers 30, together 250. 

Butchers and bologna makers. Workmen and 
bosses, not in excess of 75.^ 

ipor this information on pearl button manufacture the author 
is under special obligation to Mr. W. E. Schwanda of B. Schwanda 
& Sons, Ocean Pearl Button Manufacturers of New York, and to 
Mr. Christy, Secretary of the Ocean Pearl Button Industry Asso- 
ciation. 

^Statement by Joseph Modr. 

^Statement by J. Kubik. 

^Statement by bandmasket Frank Turek. 

^Statement by Joseph Huml. 

^Statement by Adolph Konas. 

27 



Grocers, 40; formerly between 50-60/ 
Druggists, 12 and as many registered clerks.^ 
Carpenters, etc. A journeyman cabinet maker, 
who knows all the leading shops in the city, estimates 
the number of carpenters (union and non-union), 
cabinet makers, joiners and mill hands at 500.^ 

Piano makers. In times of prosperity these were 
700 strong. This included cabinet makers, polishers 
in warerooms and tuners. Owing to the grave 
crisis in the piano industry hundreds were laid off or 
discharged, so that to-day's total is comparatively 
small, according to one computation not more than 
150.^ 

Furriers. Firms like Revillon Freres and C. G. 
Gunther's Sons have had them in their employ for 
many years. The cutting of furs was a favorite 
vocation from the first. Lassak and Konvalinka 
employed Cech furriers as far back as the fifties. 
There are in the neighborhood of 10 fur dealers and 
200 operatives; Slovaks included, the number of 
operatives may reach 500.^ 

Marble and stone cutters. Nine firms are partly 
or wholly in control of Cechoslovaks. **As to the 
other question, how many marble workers are em- 
ployed in Greater New York, I wish to state that 
the information received from the unions indicated 
that there are about 250 marble cutters, setters and 
helpers and 130 polishers and bed rubbers.^ 

^Statement by Joseph Label and Joseph Huml. 

^Statement by Charles Krepela, Ph.D. 

^Statement by Charles Knakal. 

^Statement by Jakub Wodrazka, for 42 years in the employ of 
Estey Piano Co. 

^Statements by Joseph Kubik and Joseph Srsen, the latter of 
S. and v., Inc. 

^Statement by B. W. Sidlo, of Voska, Foelsch & Sidlo. 

28 



Building trades — bricklayers, carpenters, plas- 
terers — which flourish in Chicago and Cleveland, 
where every one builds or owns his cottage, are in- 
consequential. Cechs may be builders and con- 
tractors in Chicago and elsewhere, but in New York 
they are not. 

Saloon keepers — not only preceded the bakers, 
the butchers and the grocers, but, before the dry 
laws put most of them out of business — outnumbered 
them. This is quite understandable. The baker and 
the butcher had to have preliminary training; like- 
wise a small capital to start with. The saloon man 
required neither. The brewer set him up in business 
on credit. To draw beer from the spigot and to 
serve drinks needed no skill. Anyone could get the 
knack of it in a few days. If he was content to live 
from the patronage of his co-nationals he could get 
along without the knowledge of English. Singularly 
enough, but few saloon keepers have made money 
in the liquor traffic, though hundreds have tried it. 
On the other hand, many a baker, butcher or grocer 
was able to retire with a sufficiency. 

Old New Yorkers recall Albert Karel, who before 
the Civil War kept a "lokaF' at 426 Broome Street. 
The military deserter Tuma, nicknamed Columbus, 
boasted in a letter to a Prague paper in 1850, that 
he was the proprietor of a "casino" in this city. 
August Hubacek, whose resort was located at 
533 East 5th Street, which was subsequently pur- 
chased by Cech societies for a National Hall, was 
the uncrowned king of saloon men. Other liquor 
dealers whose names and the places they kept 
acquired local prominence were Anton Cerny, Peter 
St'astny (in 1878, St'astny had a place at 320 E. 5th 
Street, and later uptown on Avenue A), J. Synacek 
(618 E. 5th Street), Safarik & Cerovsky, etc. The 

29 



last two (brothers-in-law), operated in 1882, a 
country brewery at Maspeth, L. I., but they lost it 
owing to lack of capital and general incompetence. 

Before the war, saloon keepers in Greater New 
York numbered not less than 100. Restrictive laws 
cut this total to 30.^ 

Business men other than saloon keepers increased 
slowly. Francis Brodsky could not locate one 
Cech merchant when he returned to New York in 
1854 from a whaling expedition. Some had not the 
capital, others lacked skill, or were ignorant of 
English. The teaching of the theorists that property 
is theft (according to Proudhon), and the propaganda 
carried on most intensively in the radical press be- 
tween 1885-95 against the middleman in business 
swerved many a waverer from pursuing a business 
career or investing his money in real estate. 

The advertising page of the "Newyorkske Listy" 
in 1878, will give us an idea of the extent and variety 
of business: 

F. Vyborny & Son, steamship tickets, forwarding 
and exchange, 25 Avenue A. 

Franta Suchy, baker, corner Avenue B and 
Fourth Street. 

F. Brodsky, steamship tickets, forwarding and 
foreign exchange, 26 Avenue C. 

K. Sladky, photographer, 349 Bowery, near 
Third Street. 

Joseph Krikava, wine shop, 50 Avenue B. 

Adolph Hasek, bookbinder, 161 East Fourth 
Street. 

Karel Machovsky, undertaker, 209 East Third 
Street. 

Karel Svoboda, druggist, 136 Stanton Street. 

^Statement by William Vesely. 
30 



J. V. Linke, hardware, 236 East Fourth Street. 

Karel Hlavac, tobacco, 180 East Third Street. 

Frances Tichy, modiste, 169 East Second Street. 

The firm of Joseph Oktavec (formerly Laffargue 
& Oktavec) manufactures pianos. Their pianos are 
exported to Australia. 

Holub-Dusha Co. are inventors and builders of 
machines generally used in the pearl button trade. 
The machines are exported to Japan and to Zirov- 
nice, in Bohemia. The Zirovnice workers, it will be 
remembered, introduced pearl button manufacture in 
this country. 

Waldes & Co., Inc., in Queens Borough are makers 
of a superior snap fastener, known the world over as 
the **Kohinoor." 

Francis Keil & Son have an excellent reputation 
in the trade as lock makers and manufacturers of 
hardware. Many Cech mechanics are employed in 
their shops. 

The Manda Floral Co. (landscape architects)) 
and W. A. Manda, Inc., of South Orange, N. J., 
were founded by a Cech florist. 

There are, besides, drygoods merchants, florists, 
undertakers, jewelers, watchmakers, stationers. 

Every shop and factory in New York, manufac- 
turing clocks, watches, musical instruments, art 
objects, gloves (there is a strong settlement of 
Cechs in the centre of the glove industry, at Glovers- 
ville), sewing machines, furniture, carriages and 
automobiles, jewelry, machinery, employs Cech 
mechanics. Several years ago Tifi^any's watch and 
clock department was in charge of a clock specialist 
(Lindauer), who helped many a fellow countryman 
to a remunerative job with that firm. Hoe & Co., 
manufacturers of printing presses have had on their 

31 



pay roll mechanics of Cech nationality since in 1850. 

The percentage of unskilled labor in New York 
is small. Probably less than 3%. Unlike other 
Slavic groups, Cechs do not seek employment in 
basic industries; nor are they found among seasonal 
and mobile labor. 

One class of workers must not be overlooked — 
the domestics, whose qualities as housekeepers are 
duly appreciated in numerous New York households. 

Physicians. In the "New Yorske Listy" in 1877, 
Clement Cibulka advertised his office at 309 E. 
Fourth Street, "across the street from the Cech 
Church." The practitioners before Cibulka were: 
M. Schoen, ^'examining surgeon of the First Benevo- 
lent Society," and J. E. Popper. Josef de S. Le- 
wandowski, a Pole by birth, but on the doorplate a 
**Cech physician," used to have an extensive clientele. 
Francis A. Brodsky, son of Francis Brodsky, the 
steamship agent, began at 59 St. Marks Place about 
1885. He died a young man in Wisconsin. Ed- 
ward J. Schevcik, who started downtown as a druggist 
and later settled uptown, had a large following as a 
druggist and physician. For a time Ales Hrdlicka, 
the noted anthropologist, practiced here. Godfrey 
R. Pisek, whose sudden death a few months ago 
shocked the community, had been a consultant in 
children's diseases. Doctors who had practiced 
within the last two decades were: Rosenbluth, 
Breitenfeld, Friedler, Stransky, Moritz, Lacina, 
Radda, Moravek. 

At present the profession is represented by: 
J. F. Bicak, Francis J. Brodil, W. W. Hala (Queens), 
Leopold Hahn, Lilly Jedlicka (Queens), Vaclav F. 
Kouba, Anna Kubista, H. R. Kutil, J. C. Luhan, 
Helen Paul (Queens), Julius J. Paider, Lillian V. 

32 



Paider, L. J. Placek, O. R. Pozdgna (Queens), 
Alois Renner, .... Riha (Queens), D. J. RiiziCka, 
Oscar J. Ruzicka (Kings), Josef Saxl, Francis W. 
Sovak, Charles Sowa, I. Stein, Joseph Tenopyr, 
Otakar Tenopyr, Charles Vejvoda. 

Lawyers. Before the Cechs began buying real 
estate, prospects were not bright for lawyers. The 
first lawyer to be admitted to the bar was Frank 
Pisek. John W. Konvalinka, presumably the son of 
John Konvalinka, the furrier of 36 Maiden Lane, 
practiced before Pisek's time, but he was Cech only 
on his father's side. So was John E. Brodsky, son 
of a pioneer of that name. Brodsky was a member 
of the New York Assembly and between the eighties 
and nineties an influential Tammany politician on 
the East Side. Charles Kolowrat conducted an office 
in 1881 at 115 Nassau Street. Count Kolowrat, a 
member of an aristocratic family of that name lived 
about that time in Brooklyn. The author remembers 
reading an interview in the **New York Herald" in 
which Count Kolowrat made the admission that he 
had fled to the United States on account of a duel he 
had fought with another aristocrat at home. One 
of the Kolowrats married into the Oxnard family of 
sugar kings. 

The attorneys in Greater New York are: Thomas 
Capek (not practicing), Francis Dedek, Frank 
Dlouhy, F. L. Hackenburg, Albert Hlavac, Jr., 
Joseph Hlavac, John Hovorka, Jerome Krbecek, 
Frank Motl, Jr. (Queens), Victor F. Nekarda, 
Julius J. Paider (practicing medicine), Frank Pisek, 
Charles Recht, Charles B. Schwanda (Queens), 
V. W. Woytisek. 

Teachers. The names of school teachers, 
who had been licensed to teach in Greater New 
York, living and dead, active and inactive, are: 

33 



Marie Anis (nee Franc), Emily Austera (n^e 
Hdjek), Olga Bartosek, Sophie Bartosek, Mary 
Bejgovec (Kings), Anna Benesh, Emma Benesh, 
Mathilda Benesh, Emil Beyer (deceased), An- 
toinette Bohat^, May Bouda, K. Cerny, Marie 
Damm (nee Nemecek, New Jersey), Marie Dlabola 
(nee Straka), A. Dolan (nee Volenec), Frances 
Dolezal (Queens), Charles Duchacek, Olga A. 
Dudek, Elisa Enos (nee Fiala), J. Fabrikant (nee 
Chudoba), Olga Filipec, (nee Wavra, Queens), 
Juliette Israel (nee Here), Emily E. Hansa (nee 
Pulpit, Richmond), Anna Hasek (nee Wavra), .... 
Hladik, Mildred Hrbek, E. Hubl, Emily Hunt (nee 
Polak), .... Jonds (nee Chudoba), Rose Jurka, 
Bertha Karnik (nee Cuchal), Josephine Kfiakal, 
Edith Kobilak (nee Schwimbersk^), Mildred Kosaf 
(nee Forst), Cecilia Koukol (nee Pisek), Caroline 
Kozlik, Anna Kovarik (nee Luther), John Krai, 
Anna C. Krtil, Anna Krbecek (nee Cuchal), Alice 
P. Krulis (Queens), Augusta Kupec, .... Lucas, 
Marie Lier, Rose Linhart (nee Cisaf, Belgium), 
Frances Linke, Harriet Linke, .... Louda, Betty 
Luhan, Antoinette Martyny, Josephine Minarik, 
Mary Minarik, Rose Minarik, Mary E. Novy, An- 
toinette Ouda, .... PanuSka, Bertha Panuska (nee 
Beyer), George Paucek, Emma Peck (nee Koch- 
mann). Bertha Petrasek, Anna Pribyl (nee Barto- 
sek), Henry Puletz, Martin Puletz, Rudolph Charles 
Pokorny, Rose Rankovich (nee Vorisek), Emma 
Samek, Joseph Sindelar, .... Sklenka, Olga Slavik 
(nee Hauser, New Jersey), William Slavik (New 
Jersey), Stanley Stadler (died as soldier in France, 
taught Latin in Stuyvesant H. S.), Clara Tesar, 
Frances H. Uher, .... Umaceny, Olga J. Vejvoda, 
Mary Vocl (nee Hlavacek), Anton Vorisek (deceased, 
lecturer in chemistry in Columbia), Bertha Wald- 

84 



man (nee Kodet), Charles Wirth, Ottilie Wirth (nee 
Krepela), Josephine Wolf (nee Cepek). Mrs. Cecilie 
Koukol is dean of teachers of Cech nationality. 
Her husband, Mr. A. B. Koukol, lectures in the 
Slavonic Department of Columbia University. 

Dentists. The late Emil Vejvoda was the 
pioneer dentist. 

Dentists authorized to practice are: 
Wm. Belsky, A. B. Jurka (Queens), Charles 
Jurka, Edith Jurka (nee Schevcik), Arthur J. 
Krbecek, Charles Hattauer, Chas. R. Motak, Frank 
Nemecek, Josephine E. Luhan, Robert Mantler, 
Frank I. Rubricius, Thomas Prach, Charles Urban, 
Henry Urban, Homer Ursini, Wm. Wagner (Queens). 



35 



CHAPTER VII 

Economic Strength 

A conservative estimate by an observant resident, 
who is himself a real estate holder^ places the 
number of flats and tenements in the upper east side 
district (comprised in the old Nineteenth Ward), 
owned by private individuals and corporations at 
400. Computing the equities at $10,000 apiece, 
which is not an excessive average, considering the 
increased valuation by the city, we get a total of 
$4,000,000 invested. This, however, takes into 
account Manhattan and Bronx only. In Queens 
Borough, particularly in the Astoria part of it there 
are hundreds of cottage owners and speculators in 
a small way in unimproved realty. 

Some of the corporations owning real estate are: 
American Bohemian Realty Co., American Sla- 
vonian Realty Co., Anchor Bohemian Real Estate 
Association, Bohemian-Moravian Real Estate As- 
sociation, Bohemian Real Estate Association Bee, 
Bohemian Catholic Benevolent Society, Borivoj 
Realty Co., Freeport Land and Improvement Co., 
Jan Hus Real Estate Association, Jan Zizka Real 
Estate Association, Land and Mortgage Co. Bo- 
hemia, Olive Realty Co., Progress Construction 
Co., H. C. D. Realty Corporation, Slavic Realty 
Corporation, Reliable Building Co., Star Bohemian 
Real Estate Association, Veslub Realty Co., Zvano- 
vec Real Estate Co., Steinway Avenue Theatre, Inc. 
The Reliable Building Company (Michael Pilna- 

^Mr. Vaclav Nemecek, Director of the Bank of Europe. 
36 



cek, president), built in Long Island City 30 apart- 
ments, dwellings, and a moving picture theatre at 
a cost of $1,000,000. 

The downtown banks which take care of their 
savings are the Dry Dock, Bowery (these two enjoy 
the patronage of old settlors). Emigrant, U. S. Sav- 
ings, Central (the old German Savings), Citizens 
Savings. 

The Bank of Europe, the chief business deposi- 
tary of the Cechoslovaks had deposits in June, 1921, 
in excess of $6,500,000. 



87 



CHAPTER VIII 

The Press 

J New York's first newspaper was called the "Lu- 
cerna" (Lantern). It was written by hand and but 
one issue was published. 

Lev J. Palda narrates how the "Lucerna" 
originated. It was during the Franco-Prussian war. 
The sympathies of the American Cechs were all on 
the side of the French, and far more keenly than the 
settlers in the Midwest the New Yorkers felt the 
need of a paper in which they could give vent to 
their feelings on the issues involved in the war. "A 
mass meeting/* relates Palda, "was held in Cooper 
Union on, I think, November 19, 1870, under the 
auspices of the International Workmen's Union of 
New York, to protest against the further prosecution 
of the war by Germany. The Cech societies of New 
York expressed willingness to help with money and 
to take part in the demonstration; the meeting, not- 
withstanding threats of violence by those siding 
with Germany, was a big success. The attendance of 
the Cechs alone was estimated at 500. Speeches were 
made in English, German, Cech and French. I came 
from Chicago as the invited speaker of the New 
York societies. It was agreed between Jandus^ 
and myself that I should not return to Chicago, but 
should in partnership with him, open a book and 
stationery store in New York and publish a news- 
paper. . . .Of the paper only one number came out; 

^William Jandus, living in Cleveland, was at that time a resident 
of New York. 

38 



we had not means enough to publish any more. I 
provided the text, Jandus (who was a fine penman) 
wrote it by hand. ..." 

The next paper was a weekly, "The New Yorske 
(then spelled Newyorkske) Listy." The Slovanska 
Lipa Society was nominally the publisher, Jan 
Rajndl (Reindl), a teacher of music and a tenor of 
considerable distinction, editor. The paper did 
poorly — with 500 subscribers and a handful of beg- 
garly-paid advertisements it could not do otherwise. 
In 1876, John Vratislav Capek, an experienced 
journalist, bought out the ''Newyorkske Listy," and 
in May, 1877, made a daily out of it. The budget 
of the paper had just begun to balance, when a strike 
of cigar makers broke out. This meant unemploy- 
ment of the majority of the subscribers of the paper, 
and, should the strike last long, its certain bank- 
ruptcy. At a critical moment, when all seemed 
lost, Capek found a purchaser for the property in 
Frank Skarda, publisher in Cleveland of the "Del- 
nicke Listy" (Workmen's News). Skarda removed 
his paper to New York. With him came L. J. Palda, 
his editor. 

Between 1877 and 1883, the "Delnicke Listy" 
had a monopoly in the newspaper field. The "New- 
yorkske Listy," it should be added, was discontinued 
by the terms of the purchase. 

After the eighties commenced the exodus from 
Austria-Hungary of social democrats and radicals. 
One of these exiles, Leo Kochmann, settled in New 
York. Skarda put Kochmann on the staff of his 
paper. Other comrades with ideas just as radical as 
Kochmann's, or even more extreme, began coming in 
from Bohemia. In the summer of 1882 the type- 
setters of the "Delnicke Listy" struck for higher 
wages and when Skarda — honorable, but arbitrary 

39 



and headstrong — gave his men to understand that 
there was nothing to arbitrate, they set out to pub- 
lish a paper of their own. Skarda was a capitalist, 
therefore, down with him! Led by Kochmann, the 
strikers addressed a ringing appeal to the public 
claiming that a workmen's paper, read by workmen, 
should be owned by workmen. In October of that 
year the paper of the striking printers made its ap- 
pearance under the heading **Delnik Americky" — 
American Workman. 

The "Delnicke Listy" did not long survive the 
strike. Utterly ruined, broken down in health, 
Skarda left New York and repairing to La Grange, 
Texas, he died there in "proud poverty." 

After some years, the *'Delnik Americky" con- 
cluded that the name, **New Yorkske Listy" was one 
worthy to be preserved and so, discarding its own, it 
assumed that of the **New Yorkske Listy." 

Other newspapers with a reputation or a well 
defined policy were: 

**The Patriot." It combated the rising tide of 
radicalism and internationalism which refugee so- 
cialists advocated. Coming out in August, 1883, 
it suspended in January, 1884. The publishers were: 
John V. Capek, Thomas Capek, Frank Bartosek. 

The **Proletar" (Proletarian), a weekly, organ of 
the left wing of social democrats, was established in 
May, 1884, by Leo Kochmann and F. J. Hlavacek. 
This journal was the spokesman of radicals who 
opposed the program of moderate socialists, grouped 
around the ''Delnik Americky." In 1886, the 
'Troletaf" discontinued publication and Kochmann 
and his followers launched the "Hlas Lidu" (Voice 
of the People). The *'Hlas Lidu" was made the 
heir of the policies of the "Proletar." Leo Kochmann 
remained at the head of it from the day it came out, 

46 



July, 1886, till 1918, when he retired, owing to a 
nervous breakdown. 

The "Volne Listy," a weekly, from the outset 
proclaimed itself the organ of the anarchists. 
Founded in 1890, it suspended in the first months 
of the war. 

The "Delnicke Listy" (third of the name), was 
the outgrowth of a quarrel between Leo Kochmann 
and F. J. Hlavacek. Set up by the latter and his 
associates in November, 1893, as an opposition to 
the '*Hlas Lidu," it catered to a small, though 
extremely noisy group of readers. When the 
**Delnicke Listy" lost Hlavacek (who removed to 
Chicago), it lost its principal asset. Eventually 
this filibustering sheet removed to Cleveland, where 
it went down in 1889. 

The "Cesky Svet" (Cech World), was an illus- 
trated weekly backed by the New York Tract So- 
ciety and ably edited by the Rev. J. W. Dobid§. 
The paper existed only two years (1905-7). 

The '*Vek Rozumu" (Age of Reason), appearing 
here some ten years ago, was the organ of the Free- 
thought Federation. It's home office is now in 
Chicago. 

The **Cechoslovak," a weekly, survived barely a 
year (1919-20), yet disciplined readers will long 
remember it as one of the best managed journals 
published in New York. Its editor, Joseph Mach, 
is on the staff of the Cechoslovak Press Bureau 
in Washington. 

For the last 35 years, the New York reading 
public has had two dailies, the '*New Yorske Listy" 
and the "Hlas Lidu;" since July, 1921, it has but 
one. The "Hlas Lidu" suspended voluntarily. The 
editors of the "New Yorske Listy," the paper which 

41 



remains, are: J. J. Novy, Karel Leitner, Joseph I 

Krobost. / 

The "Obrana" (Defense), a weekly, is the organ 1 

of the social democratic party. Editor, J. J. Karnik. : 

The parish of the Church of Our Lady of Per- | 

petual Help publishes the 'Tydenni Zpravy (Weekly 
Tidings). 

The parish of the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church 
pubHshes a monthly, the ''Radost" (Joy). 



42 



CHAPTER IX 

Politics and First Political Demonstration 

A memorable event in the history of the com- 
munity occurred September 9, 1864, when the flag of 
the Cech-Slavic Benevolent Society was unfurled 
in the City Hall Park, in the presence of the Mayor 
(George Updyke), and a number of the military. 
On this great day, Cech and Polish societies marched 
to the City Hall Park. There a review and a recep- 
tion took place; bands played martial and patriotic 
airs; the Mayor responded to the speaker of the day; 
soldiers fired a salute in honor of the flag; R. J. 
Jaworowski, editor of a Polish newspaper delivered 
an address on behalf of the Cech and Polish residents 
of New York. 

So awed, and at the same time, so proud was the 
community that the historian of the day in a letter 
to a St. Louis paper declared ''that for the first time 
in the history of this country the Cechs had been 
recognized as a distinct nation, and that from that 
great day on Americans will regard them as such." ^ 

We reprint verbatim the account of the celebra- 
tion as it appeared in the **New York Herald" of 
September 12, 1864. Jaworowski's address was, no 
doubt, magniloquent and temperamental. But, 
could one expect anything else from a Polish patriot ? 
A year before his people had revolted against Rus- 
sian tyranny, and the revolution had been ruthlessly 
crushed. Blood — tyranny — revolution — liberty — 

iSt. Louis "Pozor," September 30, 1864. Frank Brodsky is 
named in the letter as president of the society; Josef Krikava as 
godfather of the flag and J. Merunka as flag bearer. 

43 



martyrdom — were his themes. In the United States, 
we were passing through the turmoil of a civil war. 
Jaworowski's was the first voice that had been 
raised in this country on behalf of the downtrodden 
Cechs, and for that reason his speech and the inci- 
dents under which it had been made deserves to be 
preserved: 

"The Union of Poles and Bohemians. Procession 
of Slavonic families through the City. Inauguration 
of the Bohemian flag. Address to and response of 
the Mayor. 

"A large company, composed of the two Slavonic 
families, celebrated on Friday last, in an imposing 
manner the inauguration of the Bohemian flag and 
of the Slavonic Union. At 11 o'clock a.m., the 
procession arrived in front of the City Hall and was 
there received by the Mayor. Mr. R. J. Jaworowski, 
on behalf of the Slavonian brothers, addressed that 
gentleman as follows: 

"Mr. Mayor: It is with feeling of deep satisfaction 
that I come here in the name of Slavonian brothers, 
Bohemians, and my fellow countrymen Poles, to 
present to you, sir, the tribute of our respect and our 
consideration. Here you have before you two flags 
of two oppressed nations, both of Slavonic origin, 
both victims of aggression of their neighbors, both 
after rivers of blood spilled in their defense by their 
faithful sons, to-day without a country or a father- 
land, come to this land of the brave and the free, 
asking protection and the privileges of liberty 
for their expatriated and persecuted sons. The flag 
on the right, the first that ever presented its graceful 
folds to the breeze on this continent, is the one we 
inaugurate to-day. The nation which it represents, 
brave and intelligent, for centuries past enjoyed its 
independence and self-government, advancing with 

44 



a rapid step in the path of progress and civilization 
until 1620, when, at the Battle of Biala Gora, it 
fell a victim to the superior forces of the Hapsburgs, 
which keep till to-day an oppressive yoke over them. 
Two hundred and fifty years ago they lost their 
liberty, their name and their independence, but they 
did not lose their nationality, nor will they ever lose 
their hope or faith in the final victory of justice, if 
there be justice on earth. This nation, full of 
brotherly feelings towards their fellow Slavonian 
brothers in other countries, first propagated the 
principle of Slavonic Union, which is at present 
known under the technical term of Panslavism. 
The Czar of Moscow, the very representative of 
despotism and oppression, found this idea serving his 
purpose for aggressive policy, and placed himself 
at the head of the Slavonic Union in prospect. But 
the claws of a wolf have soon been discovered under 
the sheepskin cover, and the very same originators 
of this great idea turned their faces away with scorn, 
for it was not under the Mongolian despotism that 
they ever hoped for this union. It was on the solid 
basis of liberty for themselves, liberty for all Slavonic 
families, nay, liberty for the whole world. The other 
flag, drooping, mourning to the ground, is the flag of 
Sobieski, Copernicus, Kosciusko and Pulaski, who, 
alas, too soon for humanity shed his blood and paid 
with his life the victory of your own independence. 
This flag is the flag of our martyred Poland. A century 
approaches since it was torn to pieces and its brave 
sons scattered in all climes and countries. Glorious 
in its history of the past, bloody and painful of the 
present, but brilliant in the future. Our tyrants 
and our oppressors have vanquished us, deprived us 
of the very shadow of national liberty, banished our 
fathers, our mothers, our sisters to Siberia, crucified 

45 



our heroes, but never, never can they reach our 
hearts, to extinguish there the sacred fire — the love 
of Hberty and the love of our country. From every 
drop of blood will spring up an avenger, from every 
bone a new hero, and finally liberty must triumph 
over despotism, and Poland shall be free. We love 
our Slavonian brothers; we pity those who serve as 
tools in the hands of our oppressors; we pardon them 
all their cruelties, but we make alliance with those, 
who, like our sons, aspire to freedom; and this very 
day we unite into one Slavonic family to attain the 
same object — that is, to throw the heavy yoke of 
oppression and to enjoy Hberty in our native lands. 
Before, however, this blessed day comes, before these 
flags are victoriously planted on the walls of Prague 
and Warsaw, sir, our purpose and intentions are to 
serve as peaceful and useful citizens of this republic, 
where we ask the protection and the privileges of 
enjoying liberty, denied to us in our native lands. 
We ask for protection, for we have already had oc- 
casion to deplore the rendition of one of our country- 
men who, believing in the Stars and Stripes, left the 
hateful and oppressive yoke of Russia, joined your 
army, fought your battles, and on the demand of 
that Power was returned by the government of the 
United States, and long before now has expiated the 
crime of having loved liberty. We ask now, on the 
day of the inauguration of this flag and on the day 
of the homogeneous union of all Slavonic families, 
with full confidence of endorsement of one hundred 
thousand members, faithful to these two flags and 
scattered over this continent, hospitality and pro- 
tection until liberty and the calls of our countries 
summon us back to our homes and our firesides, 
when we will unanimously exlaim: 'Hurrah for 
liberty; hurrah for the United States.' '' 

46 



Repeated cheers followed this address and the 
speaker proposed — which was loudly responded to — 
three cheers for the Mayor, three for the United 
States, three for Poland and three for liberty all 
over the world. 

The Mayor responded in a few words, remarking 
that the noble example of the union of two Slavonic 
nations may be followed by the union of two flags 
now battling on American soil. That the protection 
of liberty must be granted to all who came to these 
shores. He hoped that the suffering of Poland and 
Bohemia would soon be finished, and that those 
glorious flags, which represented liberty, would be 
placed, side by side, with those of the United States. 

The procession then proceeded to Union Square, 
and at the foot of Washington monument, Mr. 
Jaworowski addressed the procession in the following 
words : 

"Friends and brothers. — On this day of our union 
we come to pay our tribute to the memory of the 
'Father of his Country.' (Turning himself to the 
statue). Oh, thou great man, whose departed spirit 
enjoys the presence of the Creator, we Slavonians 
come and bow our heads to thy memory. May thy 
example left to the world, inspire the hearts of thy 
successors with true love of liberty and humanity. 
Teach them, in the secret of their hearts, to under- 
stand, that the cause of liberty everywhere among 
nations is that of loving liberty and hating despotism. 
With this understanding we may expect that liberty 
will triumph all over the world and despotism will 
find ruin. Peace to thy ashes. Eternal glory to thy 
memory." 

The procession then proceeded through several of 
our principal streets, after which it dispersed. 

So much for the story in the "New York Herald." 
47 



One, only one incident, marred the supreme joy 
of all. A Mrs. Frances Klein, who manufactured 
the flag placed the colors wrong. Notwithstanding 
this unfortunate blunder the flag continued to be the 
object of unbounded admiration. 

What of the achievements in ward and assembly 
politics ? This is a brief and unedifying chapter. 
One alderman (Joseph Krulish, 1906-7), and two 
assemblymen (M. J. Machacek, 1905-6 and F. L. 
Hackenburg, 1920) — that is the end of the chapter. 

The late John E. Brodsky a Tammany politician 
(member of assembly) was of Cech descent on his 
father's side. 

**The Cechs have never had the right kind of a 
pull with the district leaders" — this is the way a wise 
New York citizen explains the ill-success in the 
political arena of his countrymen. 



48 



CHAPTER X 

The Halls 

The Narodni Budova (National Hall), at 335-37 
East 73rd Street is the property of a number of 
benevolent organizations. Erected in 1896, it cost 
to date $250,986, including the moving picture 
house facing 74th Street. The mortgage is $118,000. 

The same year (1896), The Gymnastic Association 
Sokol built at 424-26 East 71st Street a club house and 
gymnasium valued at $125,000. Mortgage, $12,000. 

The Cech American Workingmen^s Sokol put up 
several years later at an expenditure of $225,000, a 
combination club house and apartment in East 
72nd Street in the block between Avenue A and the 
East River. Mortgage, $70,000. 

The Socialist Party in 1919 came into possession 
of the former Delaware Club at 320 East 71st Street. 
The price is $22,000. 

The Astoria Community has since 1911 a 
"Domov" (Home) valued at $45,000. 

Before the old Narodni Budova in Fifth Street 
had been acquired, societies held their more elaborate 
functions in German-owned halls such as the New 
York Turn Hall, 66 E. 4th Street; Harmonic Rooms, 
141 Essex Street; Germania Assembly Rooms, 291 
Bowery; Concordia Assembly Rooms, 30 Avenue A; 
Germania, 46 Avenue A; Assembly Rooms, 263 
Bowery. Twenty or thirty years ago the Central 
Opera House, 207 E. 67th Street was occasionally 
hired for concerts or amateur theatricals. For several 
seasons the Sokols made use of the Grand Central 
Palace, their own club houses not being spacious 
enough to accommodate the crowds on such red 
letter days as the annual masquerade balls, etc. 

49 



CHAPTER XI 

The Churches 

The Catholics attend the Church of Our Lady of 
Perpetual Help, 323 E. 61st Street, and the St. John 
the Martyr's, 254 E. 72nd Street. The congregations 
in both churches are mixed (Cech-Irish). 

They first organized in the basement of the Ger- 
man St. Nikolaus Kirche in 1874.' 

On December 12, 1875, the Rev. W. Quinn, then 
vicar-general, consecrated for their use a small 
church which they had built (or rather which they 
had adapted from a frame dwelling), in East 4th 
Street, between Avenues C and D. This church they 
named after the Slavic apostles, Cyril and Method. 
Since 1886, the Redemptorists have had exclusive 
charge of Cathohc work among them. 

Father Anton Krasny is thought to have been 
the pioneer priest in New York. Responding to a 
call from Cleveland, he removed to that city in 1857. 

The Protestants worship in the Jan Hus (Pres- 
byterian) Church, 349 East 74th Street. This is the 
recognized centre of evangelical endeavor in the east. 
For a time the Bohemian Brethren conducted serv- 
ices in Morrisania (Bronx); however, this work was 
given up. Instead, a chapel was opened recently in 
Long Island City. 

The Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church on 
73rd Street has a strong following of Cechs. One- 
half of the children attending the Sunday school are 
said to be of Cech parentage. 

The mother church of the Catholics was estab- 
Hshed in St. Louis in 1854; that of the Protestants 
at Ely, la., fifteen years later. 

^Andenken an das Goldene Jubilaum der Grundung der St. 
Nikolaus Kirche. New York 1833-1883. 

50 



CHAPTER XII 

The "Cech Library" 

as the Webster Branch of the Pubhc Library on 
Avenue A, between 77th and 78th Streets is most 
widely known, had on its shelves 1,500 books when it 
was thrown open to the public October 24, 1906. 
At present it has 15,000 volumes, which makes it 
the largest library of Cech books in the land. The 
godfather of the library is Edwin W. Gaillard, 
former librarian of the Webster Branch. A dis- 
tinguished visitor from abroad said the library was 
"the brightest spot in the Cech quarter." Under 
the watchful eye of the head librarian, Miss Zaidee 
Griffin, this "pride of the community" has grown in 
popularity and size from year to year. 

In the art rooms of the Public Library (Fifth 
Avenue and Forty-Second Street) are old Cech 
Bibles and a painting by the renowned Cech artist, 
Vaclav Brozik, "Rudolph II in the Laboratory of 
his Alchemist." The Metropolitan Museum of 
Arts owns Brozik's "Grandmother's Namesday" and 
"Columbus before the Court of Ferdinand and 
Isabella." The subject of the last named canvas 
was reproduced on stamps issued by the Government 
during the Chicago World's Fair. 



CHAPTER XIII 

The Neighborhood Houses 

in close touch with the community are: The 
Lenox Hill, Seventy-Sixth Street Settlement and 
Jan Hus Neighborhood House. The last named 
adjoins on the west the Jan Hus Presbyterian 
Church. 



52 



CHAPTER XIV 

Benevolent and Other Organizations 

Fraternal organizations paying sick and death 
benefit are an American institution. The immigrant 
knew nothing of this kind of insurance on the other 
side. The standard poHcy calls for a $1,000 insur- 
ance. In the^.past, "all being brothers and sisters," 
all paid like dues; this inequitable and obsolete 
system gave way later to dues graded according to 
age. The total membership of brotherhoods and 
sisterhoods in the United States is 125,000; in this 
figure, however, are not included Cech lodges of 
Odd Fellows, Foresters, Masons, Woodmen of the 
World, Elks. 

The strongest and oldest (founded in 1854) or- 
ganization is the Cech-Slavic Benevolent Society, 
known by the initial letters CSPS. (24,000 members). 
The Western Cech Fraternal Union has 21,500 mem- 
bers. Union of Cech women 23,000, Sisterhood Benev- 
olent Union 12,000, Central Union of Women in 
the U. S., 9,600, Cech Roman Catholic First Central 
Union in the U. S. 5,250, etc. Meetings are con- 
ducted and records kept in the national tongue; but 
there are lodges composed of younger members who 
use English exclusively, being no longer able to 
transact business in the language of their fathers. 

The parent organization in New York was the 
Cech Society (the precise name is in doubt). Es- 
tablished in 1850, its primary object was **to give 
advice and succor to incoming fellow-countrymen." 
The Cech Society existed but a short time. The 

53 



next society in New York to take root was the 
Slovanska Lipa of 1861. Like the other Lipas, the 
New York Lipa had been essentially a social and 
educational club. Among the things it did was to 
open the first language school in New York; found a 
circulating library; publish a newspaper (the "New 
Yorkske Listy"). A faction of dissatisfied members 
broke away from the Lipa, and on March 4, 1863, 
organized the Cech-Slavic Sick Benevolent Society. 
This latter was the forerunner in New York of the 
many brotherhoods and sisterhoods which insure 
members against sickness and death. 

The CSPS. Grand Lodge exercises jurisdiction in 
New York State over 19 subordinate lodges (in 
Greater New York, Rockland Lake, Bohemia, Islip, 
Schenectady, Gloversville), with a membership of 
2,500 men and 1,000 women. 

The CSBPJ. lodges have 500 members in Greater 
New York. 

The JCD. (Union of Cech Women) has 3,214 
members in New York State. 

The membership of the lOOF. is 500. 

The four courts of Foresters (in New York) 
number 1,368. 

The Cech Roman Catholic First Central Union 
in the U. S. has enrolled 450 members in 4 lodges. 

The Central Union of Catholic Women in the 
U. S., Ill members in 3 chapters. 

The CSPDS. (Cech Slavic Benevolent Sister- 
hood) numbers 2,300 members. 

The JDV. (The Union of the Daughters of the 
Land) 85 members. 

A picturesque body are the Sokols — popularly 
known as Blue Sokols and Red Sokols from the color 
of the uniforms worn by them. Each club, Blue and 
Red, owns its gymnastic hall and each maintains 

54 



affiliated clubs of singers and amateur stage folk. 
The Blues (the Gymnastic Association Sokol), se- 
niors, juniors and Little Sokols — these receive regular 
class instruction the same way as the grown-ups — 
number in Greater New York 2,035. The family of 
the Reds (their official name is Cech American 
Workingmen's Sokol) has 1,118 members. The 
proudest day of the Blues was May 31, 1916, when 
84 members marched out of the hall to Fort Slocum 
to volunteer their services to the Government. Not 
one of the 84 was rejected by surgeons for physical 
disability. 

Then, of course, there are labor unions, sporting 
clubs, sharp shooters, political, social and church 
organizations. The Lidumil Society distributes 
each year a modest purse to hospitals located nearest 
to the community. 



55 



CHAPTER XV 

The Artists' Colony 

Painters and illustrators: A. V. Fabry (Slovak), 
Harrison Fisher (Cech on his father's side), Rose 
Kracikova, Joseph Lenhard, Jan Matulka, Rudolph 
Mencel, Joseph Mrazek (peasant art), Emanuel V. 
Nadherny (for years on the art staff of the New 
York "Herald"), Rudolph Ruzicka (etcher), J. C. 
Sindelar. 

Sculptors: J.Mario Korbel, Rose Kracikova, 
Joseph M. Kratina. 

Musicians: Anica Fabry (Slovak, soprano), Marie 
Dvorak (piano), Rudolf Friml (pianist and com- 
poser), Joseph J. Kovarik (viola), Marie Mikova 
(piano), John J. Mokrejs (pianist and composer), 
Marie Novotny (piano), Karel Leitner (pianist), 
Milan Lusk (violinist), Francis Pangrac (tenor), 
Anna Fuka-Pangrac (organist and composer), Emil 
J. Polak (piano accompanist), Teresa Prochazka 
(mezzo-soprano), Rudolf Prusa (pianist), Alois Reiser 
(violoncello and orchestra director), Wenzel A. 
Raboch (organist), Ludvik Schwab (pianist), Josef 
Stransky (director of the Philharmonic), Frank 
Trnka (violinist), Ladislav Urban (pianist and 
composer), Bedrich Vaska (violoncello), Karel 
Vohnout (violinist), Margaret Volavy (piano), 
Ludmila Vojacek-Wetche (piano). The New York 
Quartet consists of Otokar Cadek, first violin, 
Jaroslav Siskovsky, second violin, Ludvik Schwab, 
piano, Bedrich Vaska, viola. 

Blanche Yurka, actress; Otokar Bartik, ballet 
master and teacher of dancing. 

5G 



CHAPTER XVI 

The Language School 

The liberal organizations maintain the so-called 
Cech Free School^ where instruction is given to chil- 
dren in the language of the parents. Classes are held 
after Public School hours, Saturdays and Sundays. 
Instruction is non-sectarian. There are six classes 
and the number of children attending the school 
is 600. 



57 



CHAPTER XVII 

The Pioneers 

The first arrivals to New York were soldiers who 
had run away in 1847 from the Mainz Fort in Ger- 
many, garrisoned jointly with Prussians and Aus- 
trians. Political refugees, who had taken an active 
part in the revolutionary movement of 1848-49, 
came next. After 1850, immigration became general. 

The within register of the pioneers who made 
New York their home in the ten years between 
1847-57 was compiled by the author from reminis- 
cences of old settlers, private letters and unpublished 
manuscripts. The author does not claim that the 
register is complete; or, that the life stories of the 
argonauts, given in brief, are in all particulars ac- 
curate. The persons concerned are dead and gone, 
even the surnames of many of them have been for- 
gotten. Their children who perhaps could supply 
the missing particulars are scattered throughout the 
length and breadth of the country or live out of 
touch with the nationals of their foreign-born fathers 
and grandfathers. 

The outstanding occupations of the first settlers, 
the reader will notice, were those of cabinet making, 
tailoring, jewelry, watch making. Many are put 
down as being saloon keepers; it is safe to assume, 
though, that not one of the men so designated was 
a trained inn keeper from home. Music was a com- 
mon vocation. This will not surprise one who knows 
the inherited bent of the people for music. It is 
impossible to state how many were professionals and 

58 



I 



how many were amateurs who resorted to music as 
a side-Hne, because of the extra revenue it yielded. 
That cigar making is an old trade, as old as the 
immigration itself (as was made clear in another 
chapter), is proved by the fact that Korbel, Mracek 
and Juranek were engaged in it years before the 
Sedlec men had been heard from. 

By reason of their superior education and be- 
cause, too, of personal sacrifices for their country's 
freedom, five or six of the pioneers were looked up 
to as leaders. Joseph Krikava, Vojta Naprstek, 
Thomas Juranek, Frank Korbel, Emanuel Denk, 
one of the younger Hubaceks and F. R. Mracek 
were the men who stood head and shoulders above 
others. 

The first members of the Slovanska Lipa (or- 
ganized, as set forth elsewhere, 1861), were all old 
settlers though the year of their arrival is not 
recorded. The members whose names one finds in 
the minutes of that society were: Franta Bem (see 
reference to him in the *'Cechs (Bohemians) in 
America," Frank Bilek, John Drahorad, William 
Jandus, Joseph Janecek, B. Corner, Vincent Havlfn, 
Eman Hermes, John Herold, Leo Hlawatsch, Anton 
Hribek, Frank Kafka, Anton Kohler, Theo. Kucha, 
Vaclav Linke (according to last accounts lives in 
Brooklyn), Anton Merunka, Eman Netolicky, Joseph 
Novak, Joseph Novotny. 

Frank Bartos, jeweler, arrived 1850. Went 
west gold prospecting; did not return. 

Joseph Bazant. 

Benedikt, baker, lived in Bohemia Village. 

Franta Bleha (Blecha), cabinet maket. Member 
Slovanska Lipa. Wife made artificial flowers. City 
Directory 1852-53 registers him 105 Eldridge Street. 

59 



Joseph Borovicka. Palda mentions him as hav- 
ing a well-stocked library of good books. 

Anton Brabenec, jeweler, one term president of 
Slovanska Lipa. His wife Anna practiced midwifery. 

John Brodsky, of Beroun, stave maker, arrived 
1849. Worked 1852 at 106 Norfolk Street, lived 
214 5th Street. Married a German. John E. 
Brodsky and Frederick B., lawyers, were his sons. 

Franta Brodsky, rope maker from Beroun, 
(John's younger brother), arrived 1851, died 1920, 
Mt. Vernon. After Civil War established steam- 
ship ticket office, 26 Avenue C. Son a physician. 
President and co-founder Cech-Slavic Ben. Soc, 
and of Bohemian Building Association No. 1. 
Prominent in lodge activities. Sold office to his 
nephews, Frank Brodsky Jr. and Frank A. Sovak, 
who in turn sold it to Bank Bohemia in Prague. 
Sailed on the same steamer with Joseph Rehacek, of 

Roudnice, and Nikodem Tabor and Stajger 

of Domazlice. 

Dr. Philip Bruckmann, born in Pilsen, had Bo- 
hemain clientele in the fifties. In 1848-49 lived at 
184 Essex Street. Marie Repa (Mracek) who lived 
in the doctor's house said that already in 1852 
Dr. B. was classed as an old settler. The whole 
family spoke English well. 

Kaspar Bubele, carver. City Directory, 1858, 
registers him from 297 Houston Street. 

Thomas Buchacek, tailor. Descendants owned 
a popular roadhouse at Sayville. 

Bunzman, jeweler, amateur singer and 

musician. Arrived in 1850. Friend of Anthony 
Fiala. 

Charles Burgthal, called by patrons ''Colonel," 
hotel and saloon keeper, 14 City Hall Place, a gather- 
ing place of pioneers. His wife was a Cech. 

60 



J. Cejka. Left for Chicago. 

Joseph CeUnsky (Cilinsky), jeweler, vice-presi- 
dent Cech Society, supposed writer of letter to 
"Prazsky Vecerni Listy," April 10, 1849. Arrived 
before Naprstek. 

Franc V. Cerveny, was sent to America in 1848 
to create a market here for the musical instruments 
manufactured by the Cerveny family. Sailed with 
Naprstek, whose intimate friend he was. Treasurer 
of Cech Society, promoter of '*Flug Blatter." City 
Directory 1851-52, registers him as maker of musical 
instruments at 16 John Street. Taught music at 
61 Eldridge Street. Left New York 1858 or 1859 
for Milwaukee, where he died February 6, 1907, 
aged 81. Married a Hubacek. 

Joseph Cizek, (City Directory 1856), shoemaker, 
shop 211 Grand, house 221 Stanton Street. Or- 
ganizer with his brothers of social activities; member 
Cech Society. 

John Cizek, tailor, (City Directory 1855 Cezik, 
lived 58 Sheriff Street), active in lodge life. Member 
Cech Society, member Slovanska Lipa; at one time 
its librarian. With two other brothers arrived with 
Naprstek. 

Franta Cizek, cabinet maker, member Cech 
Society. Brother of Joseph and John. 

Franta Chrastil, librarian Slovanska Lipa, suc- 
ceeding Werther, who entered army. 

Anton Chwatal of Hostomice, arrived 1848, one of 
the founders Cech Society, journeyman miller, 
musician. City Directory 1856, registers him from 
82 Delancey Street. 

Emanuel Denk, from Pilsen, removed to St. 
Louis. Died in Missouri shortly after Civil War. 
Borecky describes him as the ''best educated Cech 
in St. Louis." Arrived 1847. 

61 



Domorazek, potter, came 1849 or 1850. 

Josef Dont, born at Kosetice, in the Caslav dis- 
trict, 1828. Gardener from home, he learned house 
painting in Kohout's shop. Member Cech Society. 
Arrived 1847 on same vessel with E. Denk and V. 
Pohl. After 18 years left New York, sojourned in 
Terre Haute, Chicago, West Point (Neb.), settled 
permanently in Santa Rosa, Cal., where he died 1906. 

John Duchoslav, cabinet maker from Domazlice. 
Went to Manitowoc, Wis., later removed to Chicago, 
where he died in 1870. 

Jakub Dusenes (Duchenes), born 1836, Prague, 
arrived 1857, served in Sickels' Excelsior Brigade; 
at Gettysburg lost a leg. Died in Soldier's Home. 
(Almanac Amerikan 1890). 

Joseph Dvorak, settled in 1859, Bohemia Village. 

Dydlam, cabinet maker. 

Anthony Fiala, according to N. Y. '*Sun,'* 
January 27, 1897, died 648 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 
59. Served in Civil War; Lieutenant Cavalry. 
Father of the polar traveler of that name. Jeweler 
by trade, arrived 1850 with Vlcek, his uncle. Ex- 
plorer Anthony Fiala was born in Jersey City Heights 
in a cottage owned by F. Brodsky. His mother was 
Anna Kohout, sister of Mrs. Brodsky; she died when 
the boy was 15 months old. After his mother's 
death young Fiala was brought up by the daughter 
of Franta Kohout (toy maker). Up to his eighth 
year he knew no other language but Cech. (State- 
ment Mrs. Brodsky). 

Joseph Fiser, from Turnov, baker, arrived 1849 
or 1852, went to Chicago; became a grocer, then a 
saloon keeper. 

Matthew Fi§er, resident of Bohemia Village. 

John Fire (Firtsch) from Strakonice, arrived 
with parents, 1850. Made cigars. Brother Ferdi- 

62 



^ 



nard was a police officer. Member Slovanska Lipa. 
Left for Traverse City, Mich. 

Grellert, American, married Anna, the 

widow of Joseph Cizek, nee Erben. 

Hacek, pianist. 

Karel Hak, shoemaker. City Directory, 1858, 
registers him from 86 Sheriff Street. 

Kaspar Hedvabny was about 18-20 years old 
when he settled in New York. Worked for more 
than 30 years as machinist for Hoe & Co. Elected 
president Slovanska Lipa, March 14, 1861. Died 
1891. 

Alois (or Louis) Hlasivec, from Prague, journey- 
man brewer, co-founder Cech Society, member 
Slovanska Lipa, owned a saloon in Ludlow Street, 
in which Cech societies used to hold meetings. 
Followed Korbel to California. 

Hocker, baker. 

Hoffman, butcher. 

Houska, farmer, Bohemia Village. 

Anton Hranitzky, furrier, Greenwich Street, 

City Directory, 1858. 

Hubacek brothers, supposedly natives of Chote- 
bor, (spelled also Hubatchek, Hubaczek) were the 
best known family in Cech New York. Andrew ar- 
rived November, 1848, and was vice-president of the 
Cech Society. City Directory, 1852-53 registers 
Andrew H. as engraver, 86 East Broadway. In 
1878, he went to San Francisco, to join his son 
Joseph,^ established as jeweler in that city. Due 
to unfortunate investments he lost all and died in a 
poorhouse in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, 1901. 
Joseph H. Hubatcheck, cap maker, lived 73 First 

^Joseph Hubacek in 1874 visited Chicago and told a newspaper 
reporter about a trip he undertook in 1857 to San Francisco via 
Panama. The "Slavic," March 18, 1874. 

63 



Avenue, City Directory, 1850-51. The oldest of the 
brothers (John ?) was a sexton in a Methodist 
Church. Removed to Rochester, where he is said 
to have introduced a prune tree, imported from 
Bohemia. Descendants live in Rochester. August 
H. was the owner of a widely known saloon in Fifth 
Street, which Cech societies purchased, converting 
it into a National Hall. No male descendants are 
known to reside in New York. 

Hvezda, alias Stern, used to have a cabinet 

maker's shop in East 4th Street. 

Jaeger, tailor and musician of Kutna 

Hora, arrived 1852. His son, John Nepomuk J. 
(baptismal name Charles) was a concert violinist, 
before he entered a seminary. He rose to be Abbot 
of the St. Prokop Abbey, Lisle, 111. The Rev. 
Jaeger removed to Chicago in 1865. City Directory, 
1849-50, mentions John Jaeger, tailor, 58 Avenue C. 

Frank A. Jannicky, piano maker, lived 239 East 
9th Street. City Directory, 1858-59. 

Joseph Jedlicka, born 1833, in Kutna Hora. 
Arrived 1852. Roomed in Eldridge Street, with 
Hubacek, Cerveny and Bleha. Boarded at Kost- 
livy's with J. Fiser, baker, and with Kanak and 
Kohout. In 1857 moved to Bohemia Village. Mem- 
bers of his family own a plumber shop at Sayville. 
Jedlicka prepared a careful list of pioneers who 
lived in New York prior to his arrival. (Almanac 
Amerikan, 1896). 

Jirsa. 

Thomas Juranek, "apostate priest," as he de- 
scribed himself, arrived 1849. Worked as cigar 
maker. Settled in Wisconsin, where he died (in 
Cooperstown) March 5, 1890. (Juranek's life story 
is set forth in detail in the **Cechs in America.") 

64 



Kaderabek, worked on a farm in New- 
Jersey. 

Frank Kalal, established a residence in Chicago. 

John Kanak, baker, Joseph Jedlicka's friend. 

Vaclav (William) Kaspar, native of Holice, ar- 
rived November 3, 1853. Worked as laborer in 
brickyard at Haverstraw, then as baker. Served in 
Civil War; wounded at the battle of Port Hudson. 
Removing to Chicago he became grocer, agent, 
notary, and finally partner in the banking house of 
Kaspar & Karel. Is president of the Kaspar State 
Bank, the largest Cech controlled institution in the 
country. Kaspar knew in New York shoemaker 
Wild, Kacerovsky and Bezdek. War ended, he went 
west, to Chicago. 

Albert Karel, proprietor of a saloon, 426 Broome 
Street, City Directory, 1858-59. 

Peter Kohlbeck, German-Bohemian from Neu- 
markt, in the DomazUce district, arrived 1850. 
Proprietor of photograph gallery at 229 Bowery. 
First Bohemian photographer; Joseph Krikava 
learned the art from him. 

Franta Kohout of Nova Kdyne, ran away from 
the Mainz Fort either in 1847 or 1848. House 
painter and toy maker. Active in lodge circles. 
Died in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. 

Joseph Kohout, (Franta's younger brother), 
shoemaker. One daughter married Franta Brodsky, 
the other Joseph Bazant. A son, Joseph, worked 
for the Mosler Safe Co. 

Joseph Kolar, reckoned as an old settler of 
Chicago. 

John H. Konvalinka, member of the firm Kon- 
valinka & Konvalinka, furriers in Maiden Lane, was 
born in Bohemia, died 208 Park Place, Brooklyn, 
June, 1896, aged 75 years. (Obituary, N. Y. *'Sun," 

65 



June 5, 1896). Arrived 1849 and first worked at 
his trade in Division Street. Employed Cech 
furriers. The firm still exists. Descendants live 
in Brooklyn and New York. 

Frank Korbel, born Bechyn, 1830, died Prague, 
1919. As an undergraduate of the Technical School 
in Prague, took part in political activities. Crossed 
the frontier disguised as a woman. Came to New 
York, 1849. Learned to make cigars; one of the 
promoters of the cigar trade in N. Y. About 1862 
went to San Francisco. There he manufactured 
cigar boxes, acquired large redwood timber interests 
in Humboldt County, vineyards in Sonoma. Pub- 
lished the San Francisco "Wasp." Had the reputa- 
tion of being the richest Cech in country. For a 
time served as Austro-Hungarian Consul. Retiring 
from business, he removed to Prague, where he died 
in 1919. Died childless and relatives are contesting 
(at the time of writing) his will. The other New York 
Korbels are said not to be related. 

Ernest Korbel, blacksmith, 17 Rivington Street, 
City Directory, 1852-53. 

Henry Korbel, tailor, 98 Pitt Street, City Direc- 
tory, 1852-53. 

Thomas Korbel, cabinet maker, 265 E. 3rd 
Street, City Directory, 1852-53. 

Kosek, musician, arrived 1848. Boarded 

at one time with the Cerveny family. 

Kotrc, native of Pelhfimov, performer on 

the zither. Arrived before F. Brodsky. 

John Koula, born 1827, Mnichovice, near Prague. 
Co-founder in 1854, with his cousin John, Joseph 
Cviger, John Vavra, John Kratochvil, Mat. Kumba- 

G6 



lek and Frank Vanek of Bohemia/ Cabinet maker 
and musician. After three years removed to Boston, 
being the first Cech immigrant in that city. (Al- 
manac Amerikan, 1903). 

John Koula, stave maker, from Prestice, cousin 
of the founder of Bohemia Village. Went west with 
Hubacek. Arrived 1854. 

Kovanda, Bohemia Village. 

Anton Krasny, Catholic priest, was incarcerated 
in a military prison from 1849 to 1857. Arrived in 
New York the year he received his pardon (1857). 
Removed to Cleveland. In New York Krasny 
performed the marriage ceremony of his friend and 
fellow-prisoner from Prague, F. R. Mracek. 

John Kratochvil of Ondrejov, arrived toward the 
end of 1854. Co-founder of Bohemia. 

Wenceslaus Krechtler, cigar store proprietor, 
157 Canal Street, City Directory, 1858. 

Joseph Krikava, (relatives spell it Krikawa), 
born March 25, 1821, at Ouboc, near Nova Kdyne, 
student Prague Polytechnic. Participated in the 
revolution of 1848. Arrived 1849. Member Cech 
Society. Worked as a laborer on a farm; proprietor 
ambrotypes, 57 Avenue B; learned ambrotyping in 
Kohlbeck's studio; on the advice of his friend Korbel 
opened a wine shop at 50 Avenue B. His place was 
patronized by the best people in town, who called 
the patriarchal looking proprietor "Grandfather.*' 
Died May 19, 1888, unmarried. His younger brother 
Karel, had been a renowned singer in Germany 
(Helden tenor); Martin, still another brother, a 
saloon and boarding house keeper. 

^Bohemia in Suffolk County, New York, has a number of 
namesakes: Bohemia, Tom Green, Tex.; Bohemia, Tehama, Cal.; 
Bohemia, Escambia, Fla.; Bohemia, Plaquemines, Fla.; Bohemia, 
Lane, Ore.; Bohemia, Pike, Pa. 

67 



John Kubin (Gubin), jeweler, 357 Houston 
Street. Arrived November, 1848. Fellow passenger 
of Andrew Hubacek. 

Kucera, furrier, native of Prestice, employed 

for some time by Lassak. 

Kristof J. Kuchar, bookkeeper, 27 Bowery. 
City Directory, 1851-52. 

Kulda, shoemaker, arrived about 1852. 

Rudolf Kysela, shoemaker, native of Humpolec, 
arrived 1850. In 1852 went to St. Louis, opening a 
saloon there. Farmed for a time, in 1866 returned 
to New York. Died 1888. Zealous amateur actor; 
his two daughters in their time were stars of the 
amateur stage. The elder married Joseph Janacek, a 
typesetter on the ''Delnicke Listy," later notary 
and steamship agent, who settled in Humboldt 
County, Cal. The younger (born in Buffalo), mar- 
ried Mr. Weinfurth, a New York club steward. 
Her second husband was Major Zaruba (of the 
Austrian Army) in Pilsen. Kysela's brother, a 
Justice of the Peace in Cleveland (lately deceased), 
had also been a stage enthusiast. 

Francis W. Lassak (Vlasak), furrier, started at 
376 Broome Street; later owned a shop at 19 John 
Street. City Directory registers him as early as 
1837. Did not associate with his countrymen in a 
social way. Wealthiest New York Cech in his time. 

John Laukota, piano maker, 5 Mercer Street, 
City Directory, 1851-52. 

Vacslav Le§tina, deserter from the Mainz Fort, 
arrived either 1847 or 1848. One of the founders of 
the Slovanska Lipa. 

J. Link (Linke or Linka), member of Cech 
Society. According to Hubacek joined the settle- 
ment in St. Louis. 

Frank Livora, shoemaker. 
68 



Jan Lucek, uncle of Marie Mracek, arrived with 
the Repa family in 1853. 

Max Maretzekj an impresario of note in his 
day, who in 1858 introduced Adelina Patti, was born 
in Brno, Moravia. Mrs. Mracek met him a number 
of times in Dr. Bruckman^s house. The author has 
had correspondence with Maretzek. Immigrated 
in 1848. 

Anthony Mattjescheck (Matejcek), tailor, 66 
Avenue A, City Directory, 1856. 

William Mattjescheck (Matejcek), tailor. Avenue 
A, City Directory, 1856. 

Fred Mathuscheck, paino maker, 34 Third 
Avenue, City Directory, 1856. The Mathushek 
Piano takes its name after him. 

Mecholup, plumber and tinsmith in Grand 

Street. Joseph Jedlicka of Sayville worked for him 
upon his arrival. (Almanac Amerikan, 1896). 

Melichar, teacher of piano. Vaclav Pohl 

mentions him as having been in New York before 
him. 

Franta Rostislav Mrd^ek, born 1828, in Nena- 
konice, Moravia, arrived in the spring of 1854, 
went to St. Louis, 1861, to edit "Ndrodni Noviny" 
there. Died Odessa, Russia, February 3, 1896. 
Attended Prague Technical School. For political 
agitation sentenced to 20 years to Kufstein prison. 
Served almost 5 years; amnestied, came to New 
York. With J. Bdrta Letovsky traveled to Russia, 
to found there a New Bohemia. The plan mis- 
carried. In New York, where he learned to make 
cigars, he married Marie Repa, a highly intelligent 
girl. Served as volunteer in Civil War, enlisting at 
St. Louis. 

Marie Mracek, nee Repa, born 1840, in Hora2- 
dovice of excellent family, believed to be still living 

69 



in Odessa. Married to Frank Mracek in New York, 
1857, by Father Krasny. Witnesses to marriage were 
Frank Korbel and Anthony Fiala, father of the 
arctic traveler. Received a widow's pension from 
the U. S. Government. Knew personally every 
pioneer of note in her time. 

Vojta Naprstek, law student, arrived in De- 
cember, 1848, as political refugee, remaining in New 
York two years. Organizer and librarian of the 
Cech Society, editor of 'Tlug Blatter" in Milwaukee, 
sponsor of first Cech newspaper in U. S. Returned 
to the old country after eight years. Founder with 
his wife in Prague of the Naprstek Industrial Mu- 
seum. Died in Prague, 1894. 

Nejedly, of Velvavy, watch maker, lived 

in Clinton Street. Arrived 1850. Nicknamed the 
Old Honest. 

John Nohavec, a settler of Bohemia Village. 

Mat^j Nohavec, a settler of Bohemia Village. 

William Nowak, shoemaker, 94 Forsyth Street. 

Fred Nowatschek, tailor, 68 Norfolk Street. 

— — Osoba, weaver, military deserter from 
Mainz, arrived 1847 or 1848. Kept a saloon at 
327 E. 5th Street; at other time cigar store in Pitt 
Street. 

Joseph Vozab (Wozab, Ozab), arrived 1853-54. 
Kept White Lion Inn, 133 Essex Street. 

John Pechan, tailor, first treasurer Slovanska 
Lipa, brother-in-law, Joseph Jedli^ka of Sayville. 

John Plocek, KorbeFs intimate. Member Cech 
Society. Removing to Chicago, he furthered 
Naprstek's plan for Cech paper. 

Vaclav Pohl, arrived 1849, first president Cech 
Society. Remained in New York till 1852. Changed 
occupations and residences; expert cabinet maker 
from home, he was milkman, grocer, saloon keeper, 

70 



etc. Wherever he went took prominent part in 
racial and social activities. Married a Hubacek. 
Knew Korbel from Prague. Shipped on same vessel 
with Dont. Born 1817 at Plasy, died Kewaunee, 
Wis., 1893. 

Vojta Pohl, tailor, Vaclav's brother, manufac- 
tured in Portland, Ore., patent medicines. Died 
1889. 

Anton Pokorny, Major Eighth, and Lieut. -Col. 
Seventh N. Y. Inf. Relationship to his namesakes 
not ascertained. 

Anton Pokorn^, cap maker, 213 Avenue B. 

Gabriel Pokorn^, turner, 70 Willett Street. 

Louis Pokorny, fruits, 6 Dey Street. 

Michael Pokorny, shoemaker, 186 Laurens Street. 

Frank Pribramsky, tailor from Horazdovice. 
About 1854 appeared in Chicago, where he died. 

John Prochazka, importer, 9 Bowery, City 
Directory, 1855-56. There are several of this 

name; a furrier, cigar maker, watch maker. 

Emanuel Prucha, led the opposition in the 
Slovanska Lipa and organized the Cecho-Slavic 
Ben. Society May 4, 1863. 

Joseph Rehacek, merchant's clerk of Roudnice, 
member Slovanska Lipa, volunteer Civil War. 
Fellow passenger with Brodsky. Arrived 1851. 
Married Kohlbeck's daughter. 

Frank Repa. Arrived with family in 1853. One 
son died at sea. Two sons, Vaclav and Thomas, 
were killed in Civil War; youngest son died at sea. 
Daughter Marie married F. R. MraCek. 

John Rosa, tailor, citizen of Bohemia Village. 

Sadek, of Kutna Hora, cabinet maker, co- 
founder Cech Society. Manufacturer of shutters 
in East 14th Street, between Avenue A and B. In 

71 



his shop Vodwarka of New London learned that 
trade. Lived in New York before Brodsk^. 

Mary Schadek, millinery, 494 Eighth Avenue. 
City Directory, 1853-54. Marie Mrdcek clerked in 
her establishment. 

Schlesinger, butcher from Domazlice, 

popularly known as **tata" (father). 

Franta Schwimbersky (Svimbersky), cabinet 
maker, arrived 1 850-5 L Two sons and daughters 
immigrated shortly after. 

Joseph Sedlak (also Sedlacek), organ player, 
teacher of music, from Domazlice, member Cech 
Society, removed to Portland. According to one 
report went back to Bohemia, dying there. 

Joseph Schipek (Sipek), cabinet maker, became 
prominent in St. Louis, as lodge organizer. Vod- 
warka mentions another Sipek, Frank, 'Vho, when 
he saved sufficient money removed to Kossuthtown, 
Wis., buying a farm there." 

F. Skliba, member Cech Society, first member 
to die. 

John Smid (Smith, Schmidt) from Strakonice, 
arrived 1 850-5 L His wife kept a boarding house in 
Essex Street. Brodsky, Fiser, Jedlicka, boarded 
there. Co-founder of Cech Society. Organized a 
strike of fellow-countrymen working in Brooklyn 
brickyards. Removed to Michigan (Traverse 
City ?), where he is said to have done well. 

Vojta Spaleny, lived for a time in Bohemia Vil- 
lage. 

Joseph Stipek, cabinet maker, mother was a 
miller's widow from Kourim. Daughter Lena mar- 
ried Karel J. Zdrahal. Brother Frank was in the 
same trade. 

Suda, member Cech Society. 

Joseph Sverak, amateur actor. 

72 



Nikodem Tabor, co-founder Cech Society. Fel- 
low passenger with Brodsky. Arrived 1851. 

Tancer, tailor. 

Tolar, tailor from Horazdovice, removed in 

1857 to St. Louis. His oldest daughter married one 
of the Cizek brothers. 

Wenzel Tvrdy (descendants spell it Twidy), 
tailor or furrier of Roudnice, arrived 1847 or 1848. 
City Directory, 1851-52 registers him from 91 Wil- 
let Street. His son, born the same year he im- 
migrated, was *'the first American baby of Cech 
parents." Descendants live in Westchester County. 

Tuma (Touzimsky ?), jocularly called 

"Cech Columbus," an allusion to his early landing, 
wrote to a Prague paper he was the proprietor of a 
casino in New York. Deserted from the Mainz Fort, 
1847. Learned to roll cigars. Disappeared from 
public notice. 

Wenzel Turba, druggist, 22 Avenue C. City 
Directory, 1856-57. 

Tuzar, liquor dealer, non-commissioned 

officer in the Austrian Army. 

Joseph Urban, maker musical instruments from 
Kralove Hradec, musician, arrived 1850 ( ?). Kor- 
bel's friend, went 1860 to California. Died there. 

John Vavra (Wavra), born 1819 in Kourim dis- 
trict, John Kratochvil and John Koula, from Ondfe- 
jov, arrived in 1854, were co-founders of Bohemia, 
L. J.' (Almanac Amerikan, 1896). 

^Writing to the author from Traverse City, Mich., Mrs. Mary 
Rutner, says: "I wonder if it would interest you to know that among 
the immigrants who came on the same transport with John Vavra, 
John Koula and John Kratochvil, were Frank Kratochvil (cousin of 
John), Joseph, Anton and John Wilhelm (see him), Anton Svoboda, 
Joseph Sholda, Frank Pohoral, Kyselka, Lada, Novotny, Vaclav 
Bartak and Joseph Knizek. They with their families settled either 
in Traverse City or on farms near here; their grandchildren are 
doctors, school teachers, music teachers, merchants. Mrs. Mary 

73 



Charles Vinicky, brewer from Kladruby, born 
1803, settled in N. Y. 1853. Had six children. Caro- 
line (born (1840), Johanna (1842), Emanuel (1846), 
John (1848), Stanislav (1853). The oldest son was a 
"map maker downtown,'' singer, the moving spirit 
of the Slovanska Lipa. Frank Vinicky in his youth 
a well-known Sokol, was born in New York, 1857 
and married the daughter of Tiffany's foreman, 
Lindauer. 

Wishek (Visek), musician. 

Vlcek, goldsmith, uncle of Anthony Fiala. 

Arrived 1850; believed to have returned to the old 
country. 

Joseph F. Vodwarka. Window shutter maker, is 
living in New London, Conn. Arrived September, 
1852. Born at Zamrsky, 1832. First Lieut. Co. C, 
1st Reg. Missouri Vol. R. C. (more than half were 
Cechs). 

Weininger, cabinet maker, arrived about 

1854. 

Rudolph Wenzlik, furrier, 3 Vandewater Street, 
City Directory, 1854-55. 

Frederick Werther, by birth a Slovak, enthusias- 
tic lodge worker, first librarian and charter member 
Slovanska Lipa, Civil War veteran. At the time 
he volunteered he sold his saloon to Hubacek; upon 
returning he re-opened in Rivington Street. Having 
gone west, all trace of him was lost. 

John Wild and Anton Wild, members Slovanska 
Lipa. 

Knizek Buck, daughter of Joseph Knizek, became a writer of no 
mean ability. After her death her poems were published entitled 
"Songs of the Northland," and, as far as I am aware, Mrs. Buck is 
the only Cech who has a volume of poems written in English, to her 
credit. Mrs. Mathilda Bartdk McManus (daughter of Vdclav 
Bartak) teaches music in a normal school. Emanuel Wilhelm 
(Anton's son) is our present postmaster. Frank Kyselka, now in 
Montana, is superintendent of a government Indian School." 

74 



Wilhelm, pro tern, sec'y, Slovanska Lipa, 

1861. Settled in Traverse City, Mich. 

John Zajicek, first secretary Slovanska Lipa, 
newspaper correspondent, veteran Civil War, saloon 
keeper. 

John Zitek, at one time president of Slovanska 
Lipa. Living in Mt. Vernon, N. Y. 

Karel J. Zdrahal, saddler, leather strap maker, 
arrived about 1851. Died in San Francisco. 



75 



I 



THE 
SLOVAKS IN AMERICA 



By THOMAS CAPEK, Jr., A.M, 

THE REV. LUDEVIT A. ENGLER 
REV. C. L. ORBACH 
CLEMENT IHRISKY 

Assisting 



PubUahed by the Czechoslovak Section of America's Making. Inc.. 
NEW YORK, 1921 



PART II 

THE SLOVAKS 

FOREWORD 

In this part the authors shall aim to give an 
account of the life of the Slovaks with particular 
reference to their various contributions to America 
and to diffuse a sympathetic understanding of them, 
submerged as they are more or less by circumstances. 
Unfortunately, the bibliography necessary for a 
work of this sort is very meagre. The authors have 
made use of various government publications for 
their statistics and have filled in the gaps by their 
knowledge and experience acquired while living 
among the Slovaks. No use has been made of the 
new Census of 1920. At the time of the writing 
only incomplete preliminary announcements have 
been published. Furthermore, the Cechs and the 
Slovaks (quite rightly) are tabulated as one by the 
enumerators, making a distinction difficult. 

If we of Cech and Slovak blood but of American 
birth or citizenship are true to the best that is in us, 
we cannot fail but have a certain feeling of sympathy 
and interest in the accounts of our fathers who have 
come to this country hoping for betterment, and 
have found it. 

It is to the memory of those pioneers, in recogni- 
tion of the trials they have been through, that this 
story of their contribution to American life is 
dedicated. 

79 



CHAPTER I 

Historical Background and Causes of 
Emigration 

The Slovaks, a branch of the Slav family, num- 
bering over 2,000,000 people, have a past which is 
veiled with obscurity. It is supposed that they 
migrated to their country at the base of the Car- 
pathian Mountains toward the end of the 5th 
century. In 863 they embraced Christianity — 
the first of the Slavs to do so — from the hands of the 
apostles Cyril and Method. What is known in 
history as the Great Moravian Kingdom had its 
capital in the town of Nitra nestled beneath the 
Tatra Mountains, for it was Slovakia which then 
formed the nucleus of this powerful kingdom. Two 
centuries later, when Moravia passed under Magyar 
rule and merged into the Hungarian Crown, the 
political existence of the Slovaks disappeared. 
From that time on they struggle to preserve their 
national consciousness, while on the other hand, 
the Hungarian Government attempted to Magyarize 
its various races. In the fall of the House of Haps- 
burg the Slovaks and their blood-brothers, the 
Cechs, consummate their triumph. 

So nearly related are the Slovaks to the Cechs 
that they may be said to be one people. Geographi- 
cally, they are contiguous; the history of their 
oppression is similar. There may be difference of 
opinion on the closeness of their respective languages. 
Here, as often is the case, arguments have been 
influenced by religious and political considerations. 



It cannot be denied, however, that they both under- 
stand and read the other's language with equal 
facility. The Slovak tongue itself may be divided 
into three dialects. Safarik, the authority on Slavic 
antiquities distinguishes pure Slovak, from that 
tinged with Polish or Moravian expressions. Dur- 
ing the past half century, there has been a movement 
to develop Slovak as a distinct language and liter- 
ature. 

The Slovaks are found in what was formerly 
known as the Hungarian uplands, south of the 
Carpathians. It is a mountainous country, little 
exploited, and offering boundless possibilities as to 
natural resources. For their livelihood, the peasants 
depend mainly on farming and herding, out of which, 
as a rule, they seldom eke out more than a mere 
existence. For a long time the little town of Tur- 
ciansky Sv. Martin was the cultural center of the 
national movement. It was there that the leading 
journal was published and literature and art col- 
lected in a National Museum. Independence 
achieved, the interest of the Slovaks is now centered 
in the commercial town of Bratislava (Pressburg) 
with its population of 70,000 advantageously situated 
on the north bank of the Danube some 34 miles 
southeast of Vienna. 

What brought the Slovak to America ? 

Hungary has always been a country of large 
landed estates. The peasant very often too poor to 
possess a farm of his own, had to work that of his 
Magyar overlord. The rewards of a farm laborer 
were meagre, the idle winters long, and opportunities 
for betterment small. America became his hope; 
here he could better his material condition, found a 
home, and earn a decent living for his family. 
Although the majority of the emigrants left their 

81 



country on account of adverse economic reasons, 
there is still another cause to be considered. The 
dominant race, the Magyars, have always exercised 
a narrow and belligerent race pride. This took active 
form in Magyarization. Our Slovak had a more or 
less conscious sense of feeling that he was being 
regarded as an inferior, and this made even his own 
country unattractive to him. In America he would 
be welcomed as one coming to strengthen, and build 
up. 



82 



CHAPTER II 

Statistical 

The year 1873 gives us the first record of any- 
considerable number (1,300) of Slovaks coming to 
America. The peak of their immigration was in 
1905, when 52,368 were admitted. By 1914, it fell 
off to 25,819. The war, of course, caused an in- 
terruption until it was again revived in 1920, when 
3,824 came to our shores. During the period of 
12 years, 1899-1910, immigration records show that 
377,527 were admitted. One must be on guard in 
comparing these figures with those of the Census of 
1910. The discrepancy arises out of the fact that 
the immigrants were migratory. In the Eastern 
States, their destination, they entered our basic 
industries: 

Pennsylvania 195,632 

New York 48,310 

New Jersey 35,725 

Ohio 30,785 

Illinois 26,351 

Generally, the men left their villages first and 
when they had acquired enough money in America, 
they returned for their families. The majority of 
them gave their occupation as "laborers." They 
did the heavy work fundamental to our industrial 
life. They faced unflinchingly the hot blasts of the 
coke furnace and the dark depths of the mines. 

The census of 1910 has ascertained 284,444 
Slovaks and their American born children in this 
country. Of this total, 166,474 were foreign born, 

83 



and 117,970 of foreign or mixed parentage. Private 
estimates have put the figures higher than the 
official count. The Census authorities themselves 
admit that "enumerators acted contrary to in- 
structions in tabulating the groups described as 
'Slav/ 'Slavic/ and 'Slavonian.' Among them 
there are no doubt many who should have been 
reported as Slovak or Slovenian." The states having 
the greatest number in 1910 were: 

Pennsylvania 141,657 

Ohio 33,102 

New Jersey 23,505 

New York 22,847 

Illinois 20,915 

Connecticut 10,146 

Unlike many of our foreign groups, they have 
not concentrated in the large cities as may be seen 
from the following table taken from the Census of 
1910: 

Chicago 13,093 

Cleveland 12,977 

New York 10,504 

Bridgeport 6,188 

Pittsburgh 5,096 

One rather expects to find them living near the 
place of their occupation, in the towns of the coal 
regions of Pennsylvania, and along the Monongahela 
River, where the steel mills are located. 



84 



CHAPTER III 

Occupation 

Every nationality in this country shows prefer- 
ence for certain occupations which for that reason 
are looked upon as the distinctive callings of certain 
racial groups. In New York City, the Italians are 
barbers, fruit peddlers and cobblers, the Cechs 
make cigars and pearl buttons, the Jews go in the 
needle trade, the Greeks are florists, the Danes in 
the Middle West engage in dairying and agriculture. 
What, if any, is the distinctive occupation of the 
Slovaks ? Large bodies of them work in the coal 
mines (anthracite and bituminous), in the iron and 
steel mills and in various manufacturing industries, 
mainly in Pennsylvania, in the oil refineries of New 
Jersey (Elizabethport, Bayonne, Perth Amboy), in 
the shoe factories and tanneries and textile mills of 
Massachusetts. No metallurgical industry in Cleve- 
land, Pittsburgh, Bridgeport and Gary, is without 
its quota of Slovak labor, skilled and unskilled. Of 
the workers in the iron and steel industry investigated 
by the U. S. Immigration Commission in 1909, 
some 10% were Slovaks. 

The trade the Slovaks favor most, with which 
they are thoroughly familiar from home and in which 
they have achieved the best results both as workmen 
and employers, is wire and tin manufacture. From 
this to tinsmithing and plumbing is the next step. 
In New York they operate about thirty shops where 
they turn out wire and tin household utensils, guards 
for windows, office partitions, chandeliers, etc. 

85 



Before 1880, English-speaking people made up 
the bulk of the workers in the Pennsylvania coal 
mines. But with startHng suddenness came the 
Slav invasion of the coal fields and the consequent 
withdrawal of the Irish and English miners. The 
Slovaks formed a considerable percentage of these 
newcomers; hardship is not new to them, and it will 
be conceded that they aided generously in the un- 
precedented development of various industries which 
took place during the following two decades. 

In their motherland they were farmers, in their 
adopted land they entered the mills or the mines. 
What is the cause of this change of occupation ? 
Perhaps the most important reason is that they came 
comparatively, poor and could not buy land for farm- 
ing. Their first object was to make enough money 
to enable them to bring their families to America. 
Before a farm will yield a good return takes several 
seasons. Rather the work in the mills with fairly 
good wages assured. We must remember that the 
immigration is one of recent date, and by the time 
the bulk had settled here and saved a little capital, 
land prices had increased so as to make purchase 
prohibitive. There are consequently no large settle- 
ments of farmers such as we find among the Cechs, 
but this does not mean that Slovaks do not engage 
in agriculture. The Middle West is the home of 
many prosperous land tillers of Slovak birth or 
descent. Of the Eastern States, Connecticut. Two 
interesting agricultural communities were estab- 
lished by them. The first is at Slovaktown, Arkansas. 
A Pittsburgh colonization company influenced a 
number of families to leave the mining districts of 
Pennsylvania for the healthier work of farming — 
and a fair success has been made of the community. 
More important is the colony located near Peters- 



burg, Virginia. This began under similar circum- 
stances to that of Slovaktown. Other Slavs have 
come into the district but the Slovak predominates. 
The principal products raised by the latter com- 
munity are peanuts and tobacco. 

Notwithstanding the fact that they have had 
too many bitter and costly experiences in the past 
with private bankers and business promoters and 
speculators, the Slovaks are highly enterprising. 
Believing in co-operative effort, their nationals 
have established factories (a plant or two for the 
manufacture of rubber goods being among them), 
and some of these are said to be doing well. 
Several banks in Slovakia were able lately to re- 
finance themselves through capital stock subscribed 
by American Slovaks. American capital it was 
(Michael Bosak, of Scranton, Pa., and associates), 
that laid solid foundations to the American Slovak 
Bank at Bratislava (Pressburg), one of the biggest 
financial institutions in Slovakia. 



87 



CHAPTER IV 

Fraternal Organizations and Churches 

Their social life is much the same as that of the 
Cechs. They have their Sokol, singing and amateur 
theatrical societies. The membership in fraternal 
organizations which pay sick and death benefits, 
200,000, is astonishingly large. But one should bear 
in mind that the work in the mines and the mills is 
hazardous, the toll of death and bodily injury in 
them, heavy. And these benevolent societies take 
the place of life insurance companies. The death 
benefits they pay — $500, or $1,000 — is often the sole 
reliance and support of the wife or the children of 
the insured. 
The First Catholic Slovak Union 

(I. Katolicka Slovenskajednota). 49,680 members 
The National Slovak Society (Na- 

rodny Slovensky Spolok) 39,118 members 

The Catholic Slovak Women Union 

(Katolicka Slovenska Zenska 

Jednota) 28,264 members 

The Gymnastic Slovak Union Sokol 

(Telocvicna Slovenskd Jednota 

Sokol) 14,381 members 

The Roman and Greek Catholic 

Gymnastic Slovak Union Sokol 

(Rimsko a Grecko Katolicka 

Slovenska Jednota Sokol) 19,450 members 

The Slovak Evangelical Union 

(Evangelicka Slovenska Jednota) 7,821 members 
88 



The Slovak Evangelical Women 

Union (Slovenska Evangelick^ 

2ensk4 Jednota) 3,328 members 

The 2ivena (The National Slovak 

Women Union) 8,300 members 

The Pennsylvania Roman and Greek 

Catholic Slovak Union (Penn- 

sylvanskd Rimsko a Grecko Ka- 

tolicka Slovenska Jednota) 21,612 members 

The Pennsylvania Roman and Greek 

Catholic Slovak Women Union 

(Pennsylvanskd Rimsko a Grecko 

Katolicka 2enskd Jednota) 12,771 members 

The Independent National Slovak 

Society (Neodvisly Narodny Slo- 

vensky Spolok) 1,186 members 

The First Slovak Wreath of the Free 

Eagle in the U. S. of A. (I. Slo- 

vensk;(^ Venec Slobodneho Orla 

V S. S. A.) 6,330 members 

Total membership 212,241. 

The National Slovak Society of the U. S. of A., 
is the most influential, though not the strongest of 
the fraternal bodies. Organized in 1890, it has 
39,118 members in 562 assemblies. Its past 
record is very honorable. Besides giving many 
volunteers to the Army, it invested a substantial 
sum in Liberty Bonds (|460,000), and furthered war 
activities. Its contribution to the Czechoslovak 
movement for independence was no less generous. 

The Gymnastic Slovak Union Sokol dates to 
1894. The membership is 14,381. The Sokols are 
a potent factor for the uplift of the immigrant, in- 
asmuch as they aim to make a better citizen of him 
not only physically, but also culturally. The best 
equipped Sokol halls are at Bridgeport, Conn., New 



Kensington, Homestead and Ford City, all in Penn- 
sylvania. Besides gymnastics, much attention is 
given to choral singing and to dramatics. Most of the 
Slovak fighting men in American and Czechoslovak 
Armies were recruited from the Sokol organizations. 

Established in 1911, by the Rev. Stephen Furdek 
the First Catholic Slovak Union is numerically the 
strongest organization. It publishes a paper C'Jed- 
nota*'), of which 33,000 copies are printed. The 
orphan asylum at Middletown, Pa., is one of the 
institutions founded and supported by it. 

The Slovak Evangelical Union was established 
1893. It has 7,821 members in 199 assemblies dis- 
tributed, according to States, as follows: Pennsyl- 
vania, 97; Ohio, 31; Illinois, 11; New York, 14; New 
Jersey, 8; Connecticut, 5; Michigan, 5; Indiana, 5; 
Missouri, 4; Montana, 3; Minnesota, 3; Wisconsin, 
3; Iowa, 3; West Virginia, 2; Washington, 2; Massa- 
chusetts, 1; California, 1; Canada, 1. The Young 
Folks' Slovak Evangelical Union has 3,309 members. 

The Slovak Evangelical Women's Union has 
3,328 members in 16 assemblies. 

The Roman Catholics have 176 churches. Dis- 
tribution according to states is as follows: Penn- 
sylvania, 103; Ohio, 16; New Jersey, 11; Illinois, 
10; New York, 9; Wisconsin, 5; Connecticut, 4; 
Indiana, 4; and 2 each in Minnesota, Montana, 
Missouri and Massachusetts, 1 each in Maine, 
Michigan, Kansas, West Virginia, Colorado and 
Alabama. 

The Protestants of the Augsburg Confession 
have 16 in Pennsylvania; Ohio, 11; Illinois, 8; Con- 
necticut, 8; New York, 7; Wisconsin, 7; New Jersey, 
3; Missouri, 3; Virginia, 3; Iowa, 2; Indiana, 2; Min- 
nesota, 2; and Texas, Michigan and Massachusetts 
1 in each. Other Protestant churches number 30. 

90 



CHAPTER V 

The Press 

That culturally the American Slovak stands on a 
higher plane than his brother at home is, we believe, 
generally admitted. American environment, better 
economic conditions, are mainly responsible for 
bringing about this happy result. As an educator, 
the newspaper has aided greatly. 

Dailies 

New Yorsky Dennik (The New York Daily), 
New York. 

Dennik Slovaka v Amerike (The Slovak in 
America Daily), New York. 

Denny Hlas (The Daily Voice), Cleveland. 

Narodny Dennik (The National Daily), Pitts- 
burgh. 

Weeklies and Fraternal Organs 

Narodne Noviny (The National Slovak News), 
Pittsburgh. 

Slovenska Mladez (The Slovak Youth), Pitts- 
burgh. 

Nove Slovensko (The New Slovakia), Pittsburgh. 

Slovensky Hlasnik (The Slovak Herald), Pitts- 
burgh. 

Obrana (The Defense), Scranton. 

Youngstownske Slovenske Noviny (The Youngs- 
town Slovak News), Youngstown. 

Jednota (The Union), Middletown, Pa. 

2enska Jednota (The Women's Union), Middle- 
tow n, Pa. 

91 



Bratstvo (The Brotherhood), Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 

Slovensky Sokol (The Slovak Sokol), Perth 
Amboy, N. J. 

Katolicky Sokol (The Catholic Sokol), Passaic, 
N. J. 

Nove Casy (The New Times), Chicago. 

Studentsk^ Listy (The Students' Gazette), Lisle, 
111. 

Amerikansko Slovenske Noviny (The American 
Slovak News), Pittsburgh. 

Slovensky Pokrok (The Slovak Progress), New 
York. 

Priatel Dietek (The Young Folks' Friend), Pas- 
saic, N. J. 

Telegram, Bridgeport, Conn. 

Rovnost Ludu (The Equality of the People), 
Chicago. 



92 



CHAPTER VI 

The Banks 

Nine years ago the first bank was established. 
Today the Slovaks control nine strong and prosper- 
ous money institutions, seven of which do business in 
Pennsylvania. Foremost among Slovak bankers is 
Michael Bosak of Scranton, who is a heavy stock- 
holder in several of them. 

Surplus and 
Or- Paid up Undivided 
ganized Capital Profits Deposits 

Bosak State Bank, Scranton, 

Pa 1915 $200,000 $332,183 $4,416,517 

Slavonic Deposit Bank, 

Wilkes-Barre, Pa 1912 100,000 143,640 2,202,482 

Slovak State Bank, Union- 
town, Pa 1918 100,000 35,877 600,723 

American Bank and Trust 

Co., Hazelton, Pa 200,000 139,053 2,500,000 

The American State Bank, 

Pittsburgh, Pa .1921 200,000 52,147 342,000 

The First National Bank, 

Olyphant, Pa 250,000 246,090 1,700,000 

Reading Liberty Bank, Read- 
ing, Pa 1919 100,000 20,317 839,291 

Papanek-Kovac Bank, 

Chicago, 111 ...1920 

American Trust and Savings 

Bank, Whiting, Ind 1920 50,000 4,000 150,000 



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