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Olga Stepanek, Papers

Title: Olga Stepanek, Papers

Creator: Stepanek, Olga Folda, 1906-1998

Dates: 1910-1960

Quantity: 7 boxes (3.0 linear feet)

Collection Number: RG 12-10-23

Language: 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: Olga Stepanek, Papers (RG 12-10-23). Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.

Biography:

Olga Folda Stepanek was born in 1906 in Linwood, Nebraska, and lived in Clarkson, Nebraska, until she went to college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She graduated from Downer College in 1927 and spent the following year living with her parents in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She took two trips abroad and traveled throughout Europe, visiting Scotland, England, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. She spent a year teaching high school in Lena, Illinois, before completing a Master's in English from the University of Chicago.

Following her graduation in December of 1930, she married Orin Stepanek, Professor of English and Slavonic Languages at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Stepaneks had four daughters: Olenka "Lennie," Natasha "Tasha," Teresa "Tessie," and Antonia "Toni." Olga worked at home as a mother and maintained strong interests in reading and writing. She kept journals, remained a prolific letter writer, and wrote several short stories, including "The Dowry," which appeared in a 1933 issue of Prairie Schooner, and "Towers," which was published in American Czech Magazine.

After Orin's death in 1955, Olga joined the faculty at UNL in the Department of English and established the English as a Second Language program. During the latter part of her career, Olga's creative interests turned toward the visual arts, and in 1987 she won the first Lincoln-Lancaster Women's Commission Woman Artist Award for Visual Art. Olga died at age 91 in September 1998.

Orin Stepanek was born in 1888 in Crete, Nebraska. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska in 1913 and went on to receive his Master's from Harvard in 1914. He taught at Michigan State College in 1914-1915 and then at a high school in St. Louis, Missouri, from 1915 until 1917. During WWI, Stepanek served in the U.S. Marine Corps and then returned to Harvard in 1918. The following year he went to Prague, Czechoslovakia, where he continued his studies and worked with the YMCA. In 1920 he came to the University of Nebraska to teach literature and language, specializing in comparative and Slavonic literature. Stepanek taught at UNL until his death in 1955. His publications include two Slavic Grammars, articles on American literature and Czech culture, and a few original poems.

Scope and Content:

The Stepanek papers consist of the personal papers of Olga Folda Stepanek arranged into four series. The diaries and journals consist of those written by Olga from 1913 until 1948. Her correspondence details travels in Europe and experiences while living in Prague. The collection also includes Stepanek's poetry and short stories in draft and published form. An unpublished manuscript and an autobiography detail the life of F.J. Sadílek.

Subjects:

Alexander, Hartley Burr, 1873-1939

Cather, Willa, 1873-1947

DeFord, Janet

Folda, Emil

Folda, Tony

Murry, John Middleton, 1889-1957

Sadílek, Frank J

Stepanek, Olga Folda, 1906-1998

Stepanek, Orin

Czechs -- Nebraska

Series Description: Series 1: Diaries and Journals. Boxes 1-2

This series includes Olga's personal diaries and journals arranged in chronological order. The diaries begin when Olga was 14 years old and continue until she reached her 40s. The diaries and journals consist of those written by Olga from 1913 until 1948. Her journals from 1927 and 1929 contain accounts of her travels in Europe, and those written between 1940 and 1944 record menus served. Most of her later journals were kept for her children as a record of their childhood. Additional journals document the international students that Stepanek worked with at the university.

Series 2: Correspondence, Olga Stepanek. Boxes 3-5

This series includes letters written from Europe by Olga's parents and letters Olga wrote to her mother. Letters from 1921 include those written by Olga's parents while they were in Prague. The correspondence also includes letters Olga wrote from 1923 to 1928 while she attended college, traveled through Europe, and lived with her parents in Prague. After 1930, the majority of the correspondence contains letters Olga wrote to her mother and to her friend Janet DeFord. Letters to DeFord range from 1941 to the early 1950s, are numbered 1-769, and include Olga's comments in the margins. The majority of letters written after 1950 are to Olga's mother and to her children. Among notable correspondents are Willa Cather (1925, Dec. 5; 1928, June 14) and J. Middleton Murry (1930, Apr 25). They are arranged chronologically.

Series 3: Correspondence, Orin Stepanek. Box 6

Orin Stepanek's correspondence consists of letters written to his mother during the period from 1914 to 1915 while he attended Harvard University and taught at the Michigan Agricultural School. Correspondence written during 1919 and 1920 includes letters written to Orin's mother and family. Also included are letters exchanged between Orin and Hartley Burr Alexander from 1927 through 1939.

Series 3: Poetry and Short Stories. Box 6-7

The final series includes poems written by Olga between 1917 and 1984, as well as fifteen of Olga's short stories, written mostly in the 1920s and 1930s. Original drafts and final published copies of poems are located in the files. Also included are two written lectures, Olga's unfinished novel titled "Exiled," an autobiography written in Czech by F.J. Sadílek, "Z mých upomínek,"("Reminiscences of my Grandfather Sadilek" ), and Olga's notes about her letters and journals.

Container List: Series 1: Diaries and JournalsBox 1. Folder 1. Diaries and journals, 1913, Apr. 7 1920, Aug. 1-Oct. 8 Box 1. Folder 2. Diaries and journals, 1921, May 30-1922, Jan. 22 Box 1. Folder 3. Diaries and journals, 1922, Jan. 23-Apr. 3 Box 1. Folder 4. Diaries and journals, 1922, Apr. 4-June 12 Box 1. Folder 5. Diaries and journals, 1922, June 19-1923, Sept. 18 Box 1. Folder 6. Diaries and journals, 1923, Sept.-Dec. 23 Box 1. Folder 7. Diaries and journals, 1924, Jan.1-1925, May Box 1. Folder 8. Diaries and journals, 1924, Nov. 18-1925, June 5 Box 1. Folder 9. Diaries and journals, 1927, June 17-Aug. 18 Box 1. Folder 10. Diaries and journals, 1927, Aug. 19-Dec. 31 Box 1. Folder 11. Diaries and journals, 1928, Jan.10-Aug. 13 Box 2. Folder 1. Diaries and journals, 1928, Aug. 30-1929, June 19 Box 2. Folder 2. Diaries and journals, 1929, June 29-Oct. 13 1931, Aug. 3-Sept. 17 Box 2. Folder 3. Diaries and journals, 1933, Apr. 9-1934, Jan. 11 Box 2. Folder 4. Diaries and journals, 1934, Jan. 11-Mar. 28 Box 2. Folder 5. Diaries and journals, 1935, July 22-1936, July 31 Box 2. Folder 6. Diaries and journals, 1937, Apr. 7-Nov. 14 Box 2. Folder 7. Diaries and journals, 1940, Nov. 10-1941, Dec. 10 Box 2. Folder 8. Diaries and journals, 1940, Sept.-1944, Apr. Box 2. Folder 9. Diaries and journals, 1946, July 8-1948, Aug. 30 Box 2. Folder 10. Diaries and journals, 1948, Aug. 31-Oct. 6 Box 2. Folder 11. Diaries and journals, 1948, Nov. 24-1949, May 21 Box 2. Folder 11. Diaries and journals, foreign students, 1960-1968 Series 2: Correspondence, Olga StepanekBox 3. Folder 1. Correspondence, 1910 Box 3. Folder 2. Correspondence, 1911-1918 Box 3. Folder 3. Correspondence, 1919 Box 3. Folder 4. Correspondence, 1921 Box 3. Folder 5. Correspondence, 1923 Box 3. Folder 6. Correspondence, 1924 Box 3. Folder 7. Correspondence, 1925 Box 3. Folder 8. Correspondence, 1926, Jan.-Aug. Box 3. Folder 9. Correspondence, 1926, Sept.-Dec. Box 3. Folder 10. Correspondence, 1926, Jan.-May Box 3. Folder 11. Correspondence, 1926, June-July Box 3. Folder 12. Correspondence, 1926, Aug.-Dec. Box 3. Folder 13. Correspondence, 1928 Box 3. Folder 14. Correspondence, 1929, Jan.-May Box 3. Folder 15. Correspondence, 1929, June-Aug. Box 4. Folder 1. Correspondence, 1929, Sept.-Dec. Box 4. Folder 2. Correspondence, 1930 Box 4. Folder 3. Correspondence, 1931-1934 Box 4. Folder 4. Correspondence, 1935-1939 Box 4. Folder 5. Correspondence, 1940 Box 4. Folder 6. Correspondence, 1941, Jan.-Apr. Box 4. Folder 7. Correspondence, 1941, May-Aug. Box 4. Folder 8. Correspondence, 1941, Sept.-Dec. Box 4. Folder 9. Correspondence, 1942, Jan.-May Box 4. Folder 10. Correspondence, 1942, June-Dec. Box 5. Folder 1. Correspondence, 1943, Jan.-June Box 5. Folder 2. Correspondence, 1943, July-Dec. Box 5. Folder 3. Correspondence, 1944 Box 5. Folder 4. Correspondence, 1945 Box 5. Folder 5. Correspondence, 1946 Box 5. Folder 6. Correspondence, 1947-1949 Box 5. Folder 7. Correspondence, 1940s Box 5. Folder 8. Correspondence, 1950-1954 Box 5. Folder 9. Correspondence, 1955-1957 Box 5. Folder 10. Correspondence, 1950s Box 5. Folder 11. Correspondence, 1960 Series 3: Correspondence, Orin StepanekBox 6. Folder 1. Correspondence, 1913 Box 6. Folder 2. Correspondence, 1914 Box 6. Folder 3. Correspondence, 1915 Box 6. Folder 4. Correspondence, 1916 Box 6. Folder 5. Correspondence, 1917 Box 6. Folder 6. Correspondence, 1918 Box 6. Folder 7. Correspondence, 1919 Box 6. Folder 8. Correspondence, 1919-1920 Box 6. Folder 9. Correspondence, 1920 Box 6. Folder 10. Correspondence, 1924 Box 6. Folder 11. Correspondence, 1925-1926 Box 6. Folder 12. Correspondence, 1927-1939 Box 6. Folder 12. Correspondence, 1950-1953 Series 4: Poetry and Short StoriesBox 6. Folder 14. Poetry, 1917-1922 Box 6. Folder 15. Poetry, 1917-1922 Box 6. Folder 16. Poetry, 1925-1927 Box 6. Folder 17. Poetry, 1927-1928 Box 6. Folder 18. Poetry, 1917-1930 Box 6. Folder 19. Poetry, 1930-1931 Box 6. Folder 20. Poetry, 1931, Dec. Box 6. Folder 21. Poetry, 1984 Box 6. Folder 22. Poetry, undated Box 7. Folder 1. Short stories, "Escape," 1920s Box 7. Folder 2. Short stories, "The Abbey," 1920s Box 7. Folder 3. Short stories, "The Three of Them," 1920s Box 7. Folder 4. Short stories, "Wanderers," 1920s Box 7. Folder 5. Short stories, "The Diary," 1927 Box 7. Folder 6. Short stories, "The Feather and the Peasant," 1930 Box 7. Folder 7. Short stories, "The Dowry," 1930 Box 7. Folder 8. Short stories, "The Jungfrau," 1930s Box 7. Folder 9. Short stories, "The Coming Out of Alma," 1930s Box 7. Folder 10. Short stories, "The Hired Girl," 1937 Box 7. Folder 11. Short stories, "About the Hobby of Writing," 1950 Box 7. Folder 12. Short stories, "End of a Week," 1940 Box 7. Folder 13. Short stories, "The Petrified Coat," undated Box 7. Folder 14. Short stories, "Towers," undated Box 7. Folder 15. Short stories, "The Garnet Heart," undated Box 7. Folder 16. Short stories, "Denver Holiday," undated Box 7. Folder 17. Lecture, "An Idea of Phi Beta Kappa," 1925 Box 7. Folder 18. Lecture, "Foreign English" undated Box 7. Folder 19. Unfinished novel, "Exiled," undated Box 7. Folder 20. Lecture, "Reminiscences of My Grandfather Sadilek," undated Box 7. Folder 21. Autobiography, "F.J. Sadílek, "Z mých upomínek," undated Box 7. Folder 22. Notes, journals, letters, undated



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