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Czech Heritage Collection, Oral Histories

Title: Czech Heritage Collection, Oral Histories

Creator: Svoboda, Joseph G.

Dates: 1854-2001

Quantity: 4 boxes (1 linear feet, 1 scrapbook)

Collection Number: MS 0085, Series 8

Language: Czech, English

Restrictions: None

Copyright: To inquire about usage, please contact Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries. For more information see the Use Guidelines

Preferred Citation: Czech Heritage Collection (MS 0085, Series 8). Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.

Alternative Format: none


Scope and Content:

The materials are one series of 8 total that comprise the Czech Heritage Collection, which totals 280 boxes (117 linear feet). The oral histories are those completed by Joseph G. Svoboda between 1975 and 1981 with Czech individuals living in Nebraska. Selected oral histories are available through Modern Languages and Literatures, Czech Heritage Project.

In addition to the oral histories, the Czech Heritage collection includes approximately 800 stage/theater plays, almanacs published in Bohemia/Czechoslovak, almanacs published in the United States, pamphlets of Czech and Czechoslovak topices, records of Czech fraternal organizations, serials published in Bohemia/Czechoslovakia, and serials published outside of Czechoslovakia.


Oral History

United States -- Emigration and immigration -- History


Fraternal organizations

Series Description: Series 8: Czech Oral Histories

This series consists of the taped reminiscences of 65 individuals of Czech descent. Joseph Svoboda conducted most of the oral history interviews between 1975 and 1981. Subjects described on the tapes include family histories, immigration experiences, and life in Nebraska from about 1900 to the 1970s. Also included in this series is a scrapbook containing photographs of various interviewees.

Container List: Series 8: Czech Oral HistoriesBox 1. Oral histories, cassette 1-26Item 1. Thomas Zacek, 1975, Aug. 25, English

Omaha, Nebraska. Family background in Boheia, father to U.S. in 1869, early life in Nebraska (Cummings County, West Point), education and career.

Item 2. Marie Potmesil, 1975, Aug. 30, Czech

Newman Grove, Nebraska. Arrival in Nebraska 1911, husband born in 1875, general reminiscences.

Item 3. J.B. Weems, 1975, Sept. 6, Czech

York, Nebraska. Daughter of M. Potmesil, born in 1912 on the farm near Newman Grove (Madison County), general reminiscences.

Item 4. Joseph Havlena, 1975, Sept. 3, Czech

David City, Nebraska. Arrival in Nebraska in 1904, born in Moravia, general reminiscences of family life.

Item 5. Emma Havlova, 1975, Sept. 3, Czech

David City, Nebraska. Born in U.S., general reminiscences of family and life.

Item 6. Josephine Sladky, 1975, Sept. 17, Czech

David City, Nebraska. Born near Klatovy (nee Reznicek), came to US in 1909 at age 13, parents first settled in Dawson County, married 1918, rented farm then in Saunders County, 2 miles from Prague, general reminiscence.

Item 7. Joseph Klima, 1975, Sept. 10, Czech

Milligan, Nebraska. General reminiscences and Czech life in Milligan.

Item 8. Phillip Svoboda, 1975, Sept. 13, English

Lincoln, Nebraska. Born in U.S., personal reminiscences, Gage County.

Item 9. Mrs. Josephine Masek, 1975, Sept. 17, Czech

David City, Nebraska. Born at Obratan (near Tabor) nee Fucik, to the U.S. in 1909, married age 19, rented farm 5 miles from David City.

Item 10. Lud Petracek, 1975, Oct. 15, English

Bridgeton, Missouri. Reminiscences of Czech community life in Milligan until 1912, reflections of the past and future of Americans of Czech descent.

Item 11. Lad Skocpol, 1975, Oct. 21, English

Crete, Nebraska. Family background, grandparents arrived in Wisconsin in 1855, move to Wilber in early 1860's.

Item 12. Mrs. Lad Skocpol, 1975, Oct. 21, English

Crete, Nebraska. Family background, Grandfather Francis J. Sadiled, mother Dr. Olga Stastny, reminiscences of her grandfather and mother, views on Czech life in Wilber, episode relating to Willa Cather (tape 13 side 1).

Item 13. Julia Novotny, 1975, Oct. 28, English

Schuyler, Nebraska. General reminiscences and story of Czech life in Schuyler.

Item 14. Josef Vodehnal, 1975, Oct. 28, Czech

Clarkson, Nebraska. Came to U.S. in 1908, recalled experiences of Bohemia, WWI Army 1918, wounded twice, reminiscences of Czech life near Clarkson, general reminiscences.

Item 15. Helen Sysel (Mrs. Anton Kupka), 1975, Oct. 31, Czech

Crete, Nebraska. Born in U.S., personal and general reminiscences of Czech life in Crete.

Item 16. Joseph Skalak, 1975, Nov. 5, Czech

Humboldt, Nebraska. Grandparents came to farm near Humboldt in 1865, reminiscences of school days and Czech community in Humboldt.

Item 17. Marie Beznoska Herbrich, 1975, Nov. 7, Czech

Schuyler, Nebraska. Age 82, born in Kladno, arrived in U.S. in 1908 at age 15, reminiscences on years in Bohemia, travel to U.S. and early years in Schuyler.

Item 18. Vlasta Sterba (Mrs. Frank Mize), 1975, Nov. 7, English

David City, Nebraska. Age 83. born in Omaha, studied at University of Nebraska 1919, marriage in 1919, lived in David City, reminiscences on her father and immigrant from Bohemia, Czech life in Omaha, her university years and afterwards.

Item 19. Mrs. Blanka Pospichal, 1975, Nov. 14, Czech

Clarkson, Nebraska. Born in 1905 in Pribram, Bohemia, came to Nebraska in 1923 at age 18, reminiscences of Bohemia, especially during the WWI and after 1918, involvement in Clarkson as volunteer theatre actress in Czech plays, teaching Czech classes in Clarkson.

Item 20. John Pospichal, 1975, Nov. 14, Czech

Clarkson, Nebraska. About his family and early experiences on the farm.

Item 21. Alois Belsan, 1975, Nov. 18, Czech

Lincoln, Nebraska. Born in Bohemia, came to U.S. in 1904 at age 15. worked in coal mines in Pennsylvania (Loyal Hanna), general reminiscences of Pennsylvania and Nebraska, including Crete, Bee, and Havelock.

Item 22. Anton Adamek, 1975, Nov. 19, Czech, English

Ord, Nebraska. Born in Bohemia, came to U.S. in 1884 with parents, settled in Valley Co. 19 miles from Ord, general reminiscences of sod house days, country school blizzard (particularly in 1888), social life of Czech around Ord and Clarkson, viewpoints on Czech tradition, moved to Clarkson 1913-1918.

Item 23. James Truhlar, 1975, Dec. 4, Czech

Lincoln, Nebraska. Born in Bohemia (1895) near Vysoke Myto, personal reminiscences after his arrival to the U.S. in 1921 at age 26, contributions to Czech periodical Hospodar published in Texas.

Item 24. James Truhlar, 1976, Jan. 21, Czech

Lincoln, Nebraska. Born in Bohemia (1895) near Vysoke Myto, personal reminiscences after his arrival to the U.S. in 1921 at the age of 26, contributions to Czech periodical Hospodar published in Texas.

Item 25. Lad Tesar, 1976, Jan. 8, English

Omaha, Nebraska. General recollections of personal and Czech life in Omaha, born in 1897 near Chotebor in Bohemia, Father Vaclav came to U.S. in 1902, family including Lad, age 6, followed in 1903, member of State Legislature (House of Representatives and Senate) in late 1920s.

Item 26. Antonin Piskac, 1976, Jan. 15, Czech

Omaha, Nebraska. Reminiscences of living in Chotebor (Bohemia) lived age 17, left in 1907 with mother and sisters and brothers to join father, first to Beatrice, then later to Omaha where linotype operator for Osveta, in 1930 bought printer shop and became editor and publisher of Hospodar until 1960, reminiscence of Czech life in Omaha, newspapers published in his time and some personalities, views on Czech life today.

Box 2. Oral histories, cassette 27-49Item 27. Mafka Slapnicka (Mrs. James Slapnicka), 1976, Jan. 20, Czech

Wilber, Nebraska. Family background in Bohemia, born in Humpolec in 1896, arrived in Wilber in 1922, reminiscences on Bohemia, activities in the Czech community in Wilber.

Item 28. Alice Kostka, 1976, Jan. 20, Czech

Wilber, Nebraska. Reminiscences of life in Bohemia, born in 1900 in southern Moravia, arrived in Wilber in 1922, life in Wilber, Omaha, Chicago and back in Wilber in 1929, active in Sokol and dramatic club.

Item 29. Mrs. Alois Splichal, 1976, Mar. 7, Czech

Lincoln, Nebraska. Reminiscences of childhood in Bohemia, born 1889 near Vysoke Myto, arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1907, spent some time in Texas, then moved to Dodge, later Bancroft to run a bakery, later in show business (movies) in Iowa, married 1915.

Item 30. Frank Rut, 1976, Mar. 16, Czech

Tobias, Nebraska. Personal reminiscences, born 1883 at Bezdekov (county Blatna) in southern Bohemia, learned shoemaking business, came to U.S. in 1901.

Item 31. Mrs. Anton Prazak, 1976, Apr. 5, Czech

Lincoln, Nebraska. Reminiscences on parents born in Bohemia, Czech customs, festivals in Saline County, including Dorchester, Wilber, Swanton, sings three Czech folksongs taught to her by her mother, nee Hromas, born in 1898 at Dwight, NE in Butler County.

Item 32. Josef Safarik, 1976, Apr. 6, English

Murray, Nebraska. Reminiscences of grandparents who settled in Howard Co. in 1876, and his parents. Accounts of their stories from Bohemia and early years homesteading, Czech life, church in Warsaw, Festivals. Personal story– served in U.S. army in France in 1918; married in 1919, farmed in Kansas, then moved to Cass Co. near present location in about 1928.

Item 33. Mrs. Rudolph Rejda, 1976, Apr. 10, Czech, English

Dwight, Nebraska. Age 69. Born in 1907 at Loucky near Brno, Moravia. Reminiscences of ages 2 through 5 in Bohemia. Left in 1912, Father left in 1911. School in Omaha, learning English there. Married in 1927. Reminiscences of WWI in Omaha, life in Dwight, social, dances, etc.

Item 34. Barbara Horka, 1976, Apr. 14, Czech, English

Burwell, Nebraska. Various reminiscences and views. First settled in Saunders Co. when coming to the US in 1880. Born in 1874 near Pilsen. Recollections of 1888 blizzards. Nee Eret.

Item 35. Emma Mathauser, 1976, Apr. 14, Czech, English.

Burwell, Nebraska. Born 1897 in Valley County. Married in 1917. Parents came to US in 1875 and 1876 (to Chicago). Nee Rousek.

Item 36. Barbara Dvorak, 1976, Apr. 15, Czech, English

Atkinson, Nebraska. Born 1888. Came to US when 16 years old. Married 1908. General reminiscence.

Item 37. Maria Sadlak Fanta, 1976, Apr. 15, Czech

St. Paul, Nebraska. Reminiscences of farming life in Nebraska. Born in Moravia, arrived in US at age 22.

Item 38. Caroline Hain Vogeltanz, 1976, Apr. 20, Czech

Dwight, Nebraska. Born 1888 in Rouchovary near Brno, Moravia, came to U.S. in 1894. Married 1910. General reminiscence and reflection of life in and near Dwight.

Item 39. Matilda Kulhanek, 1976, Apr. 22, Czech

David City, Nebraska. Reminiscences on life in native country. Born in Rouchovany, Trebic, Moravia. Married 1912. Came to US in 1913. Husband died in 1943.

Item 40. Mr. & Mrs. Jerry Severyn, 1976, May 4, English

Schuyler, Nebraska. Family reminiscences and Czech life in Schuyler. Parents of both came in 1870's from Moravia. Married in 1922, nee Chrastil. Colfax County Clerk for about 20 years.

Item 41. Frank Vlasak, 1976, May 4, Czech, English

North Bend, Nebraska. Personal and family reminiscences particularly on Czech life in Morse Bluff. Activity of ZCBJ of which he has been active since 1951. Presently national director. Future of Czech heritage in Nebraska.

Item 42. Louis Klasna, 1976, May 13, English

Lincoln, Nebraska (lives in Spencer). Parents came to US in 1890. Married in 1891. Louis born in 1911. Born near Spencer, Nebraska Came in 1894 to Boyd County. Youngest of 10 children. Czech life in Boyd County, general reminiscences.

Item 43. John Pesek, 1976, May 20, English

Ravenna, Nebraska. Reminiscences of wrestling career. Was world champion in 1937. Lud Petracek participated in the conversation on tape 2.

Item 44. Joseph Prokop, Mrs. Prokop, 1976, May 27, Czech

Wilber, Nebraska. Recollections of parents; life in Nance County (farm) and in Wilber.

Item 45. Rudy Vertiska, 1976, June 22, English

Humboldt, Nebraska. Born in 1908 in Humboldt. Reminiscence on his family (parents, grandparents) Czech life in Humboldt, his participation in Vacek's band and University of Nebraska years.

Item 46. Bernard Klasek, 1976, July 15, English

Born in 1905 near Wilber (farm). Reminiscences and reflections on Czech life in Wilber, the festivals.

Item 47. Joseph Sklenicka, 1977, Mar. 18, Czech

Omaha, Nebraska. Reminiscences of his days during WWI in the Russian front in the Austrian army; his being taken prisoner by the Russian; and eventually taking part of the Czech legion anabasis to Vladivostok and back to Bohemia in 1920 via Japan, Indian Ocean and Suez Canal.

Item 48. Joseph Sklenicka, 1977, Apr. 29, Czech

Omaha, Nebraska. Born 1894 at Rozdelov (nr. Kladno), Bohemia; early life there, his parents school apprentice carpenter; drafted into Austrian army in 1914; older brother emigrates to America; war.

Item 49. Joseph Sklenicka, 1977, Apr. 29, Czech

Omaha, Nebraska. Continued: transfer from Serbian front to Dukla Pass in Slovakia; taken prisoner by Russians in March 1915; experiences as prisoner of war.

Box 3. Oral histories, cassette 50-75Item 50. Joseph Sklenicka, 1977, Apr. 29, Czech

Omaha, Nebraska. Czechoslovak Legion in 1917; fighting the Communists along the Transsiberian route to Vladivostok.

Item 51. Joseph Sklenicka, 1977, Apr. 29, Czech

Omaha, Nebraska. reaching there in July 1920; return to Czechoslovakia via Japan, Singapore, Suez, Terst; leaves to US several weeks later; life in Omaha; freethinkers' philosophy.

Item 52. Joseph Baren, 1977, May 19, Czech, English

Brainard, Nebraska. Born in 1894 at Chilum (north of Prague); 1912 drafted in Austrian Army; deserted in 1914 near Premysl to Russian forces, worked on farm in Ukraine until end of war; transport to Vladivostok, then via Shanghai, Hawaii, San Diego, New York, France, Czechoslovakia. Immigrated in 1919 to US; experiences in Butler Co.

Item 53. Charles Buresh, 1977, June 2, Czech

Omaha, Nebraska. Born in 1892 in South Omaha; Parents came to US at different times ca 1880; Reminiscences on Czech community life in Omaha early 1900's.

Item 54. Ed Pavlik, 1977, June 10, Czech

Verdigre, Nebraska. Born in 1902 near Verdigre; 3rd generation; grandparents came from Bohemia in 1860's; personal reminiscences and life of Czechs in and around Verdigre Knox County.

Item 55. Edward Krbel & Tracy Ruzicka, 1977, June 10, Czech

Spencer, Nebraska. Second generation; Father came to US in 1881 from Bohemia (Hluboka) at the age of six (Husband and wife)

Item 56. Jaroslav Masek & Rosalie Bartos, 1977, June 10, Czech

Spencer, Nebraska. Parents came to US in 1906; personal reminiscences and life in the Spencer area.

Item 57. Ludwig Placek, 1977, June 10, Czech

Spencer, Nebraska. Second generation; born 1896 near Lynch (Boyd County); parents came in 1885 from Bohemia; personal reminiscences.

Item 58. Sylvia Klasna, 1977, June 10, Czech, English

Spencer, Nebraska. Father came to US in 1881.

Item 59. Charles Zidko & Emily Malek, 1977, June 11, Czech

Spencer, Nebraska. Came to US with parents in 1901 (born in Podebrady near Havlickuv Brod)

Item 60. Unidentified, 1977, July 24, Czech

Dwight, Nebraska. Catholic Mass in Czech officiated by Rev. Vojtech Vit of Chicago.

Item 61. Edward Novacek, 1978, Apr. 23, English

Wauneta, Nebraska. Personal reminiscences of his parent who came to Chase & Hayes Counties from Bohemia in 1892 and his recollections of his early years.

Item 62. Edward Novacek, 1978, May 22, English

Wauneta, Nebraska. Born in 1897-14 miles east of Wauneta on a farm. Parents immigrated from Bohemia in 1892. Joseph (father) died in 1901 and mother Frances (remarried Ludwik Osmera). Personal reminiscences.

Item 63. Tony Kriz, 1978, June 15, English

Cambridge, Nebraska. Born 1881. Reminiscences of early life in Nebraska and Kansas.

Item 64. Mary Jones, 1978, Dec. 16, Czech

Wahoo, Nebraska. Born 1888 near Trebic in Moravia. Arrived in US in 1906. Personal reminiscences.

Item 65. Joe Jones, 1978, Dec. 16, Czech, English

Wahoo, Nebraska. Son, born in 1912 near Wahoo.

Item 66. Rose Gray, 1978, Sept. 1, English

Lincoln, Nebraska. Personal reminiscences, both in Bohemia and U.S., born Bohemia, Rose Ruzena.

Item 67. Katherine Motacek,Czech

Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Born in 1881 in Bohemia, arrived in Ellis Island when 6 weeks old with her mother, personal reminiscences.

Box 4. Oral histories, cassette 76-81

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