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Henry John, Czech Heritage Papers

Title: Henry John, Czech Heritage Papers

Creator: John, Henry J., 1885-1971

Dates: 1885-1968

Quantity: 11 boxes, Oversize box 10 (5.0 linear feet)

Collection Number: MS 0086

Language: Czech, English, Slovak, German, French, Croatian

Restrictions: None

Access and Use: For information on access or copyright, please see our guidelines or email archives@unl.edu.

Historical Records Statement: Please see our statement on historical records and materials.

Preferred Citation: Henry John, Czech Heritage Papers (MS 0086). Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.


Henry Jaroslav John was born in 1885 in Olomouc in the province of Moravia (Czech Republic) and joined his parents in the U.S. at age 14. He worked in Oklahoma and in Kansas, where he went to school at the University of Kansas. In 1912, he recieved his Masters at the University of Minnesota. He received his M.D. in 1916 from Western Reserve University of Medicine. When practicing in New York, he worked with diabetes specialist F.M. Allen. On October 9, 1928, John married Betty Beaman and the couple established "Ho Mita Koda," a camp for diabetic children in Ohio, now operated by the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland. Henry J. John died in 1971 at the age of 86.

Scope and Content:

The collection consists of personal papers of Henry J. John including correspondence, translations, publications, biographical materials and photographs. The majority of the collection relates to John's medical career and his interest in literature and graphic arts.


Benes, Edvard -- Correspondence

Benes, Vojta, 1878 -- Correspondence

Book collectors -- United States -- Archives

Diabetes -- Research -- United States -- History - Sources

Eastman, Charles A., 1858-1939

Hus, Jan, 1369-1415

Jirasek, Alois, 1851-1930

John, Henry J., 1885-1971 -- Archives

Laichter, Jan -- Correspondence

Laichter, Josef -- Correspondence

Masaryk, T. G. (Tomas Garrigue), 1850-1937 -- Correspondence

Mucha, Alfons, 1860-1939 -- Correspondence

Preissig, Vojtech -- Correspondence

Preissova, Gabriela, 1862-1946 -- Correspondence

Purkyne, Jan Evangelista, 1787-1869

Radl, Emanuel, 1873-1942 -- Correspondence

Svabinsky, Max, 1873-1962 -- Correspondence

Svetla, Karolina, 1830-1899

Trojan, J.A.

Czechs -- Foreign countries -- Correspondence

Czechoslovakia -- Politics and government -- 20th century -- Sources

Art collectors -- United States - Archives

Czechoslovak-Americans -- Archives

Series Description: Series 1: Correspondence Boxes 1-2

Contains correspondence between John and his friends and colleagues. Among the correspondents are noted Czech artists, including Max Svabinsky and J.C. Vondrous. Also in this series is correspondence with T.G. Masaryk, the first President and founder of Czechoslovakia.

Series 2: Publications and Translations Boxes 3-7

The majority of this series consists of translations from Czech to English or vice-versa by John. Of special interest are translations of The Darkness (Temno), Alois Jirásek, The Sage of Old Mountain (Mudrc ze staré hory), Alois Vojte Šmilovský, and The Kiss (Hubicka), Karolina Svetlá. This series contains a Czech translation of Indian Boyhood (Indian v mladi), Charles A. Eastman, an English translation of Married Life (Manzelstvi), Josef Laichter, and a Czech translation of In the Struggle for an Ideal (V boji za ideál), J.A. Trojan. Of special significance is a letter of John Hus to the Czech nation on the night before his execution. Also included in this series are poetry drafts by John and various reprints of his medical and scientific articles.

Series 3: Biography and Miscellaneous Boxes 8-10

Contains biographical sketches about John, family photographs, lecture notes from medical school, and various materials collected by John relating to the graphic arts, literature, and the Czech national movement. Also included is an article about the foundations of the National Theater in Prague from an 1868 newspaper.

Container List: Series 1: CorrespondenceBox 1. Folder 1. "A"

Contains John's correspondence to and from the Administration of the Magazine of Czech Physicians (1938-1939), and his correspondence to and from the Franta Anyz Art Company, from which John ordered a John Hus bust.

Box 1. Folder 2. "B"

Contains letters from John's friend Frederic B. (1960s) and letters from John's colleague from Czechoslovakia, Josef Barta, whose father was John's teacher. There are letters concerning the exhibition of Czech graphic art at the International Exposition in Philadelphia in 1926. Includes John's correspondence with Edvard Benes and Vojta Benes (Czechoslovak politicians and brothers) and Josef Biciste, a tradesman with paintings, with Ms. Bochorakova-Dittrichova, an artist, who was seeking John's patronage, and finally, with Bursik and Kohout University Bookstore, where John ordered some books on biochemistry, etc.

Box 1. Folder 3. "C"

Contains John's correspondence with Thomas Capek, President of the Bank of Europe, who published the "Bohemian Bibliography," personal correspondence with John's relatives in Czechoslovakia, the Chromciks, correspondence with FitzRoy Carrington, a art tradesman from New York City, a letter between The Czechoslovak Arts Club in New York City, of which John became member in 1918, and correspondence with numerous museums across the U.S.

Box 1. Folder 4. Charvat, Josef

Contains over thirty years of correspondence between John and Josef Charvat, his colleague and friend from Czechoslovakia, to whom John sent medical journals and books. Includes the Magazine of Czech Physicians, commemorating Charvat's 70th birthday, and a book on dyspnoea.

Box 1. Folder 5. Cleveland Museum of Art, Graphic Art of Czechoslovakia

Contains John's correspondence with the Cleveland Museum of Art concerning the Czechoslovak Graphic Arts Exhibition in the museums around the U.S. and the catalog of the Graphic Art of Czechoslovakia.

Box 1. Folder 6. Cosmopolitan Club

Contains correspondence written during John's studies at the University of Minnesota, where he joined the Cosmopolitan Club and became its local president. There are newspaper articles concerning the activity of the Cosmopolitan Club, articles on the Cosmopolitan Club, and letters from the beginning of John's career as a medical doctor in Ohio (1913-1914).

Box 1. Folder 7. "D"

Contains John's correspondence with Czechoslovak government official Karel Driml and with Eugene DuBois from The Russell Sage Institute of Pathology in New York City.

Box 1. Folder 8. "E"

Contains John's correspondence with Rudolf Eiselt, concerning John's book about J.E. Purkyne, a Czech biologist.

Box 1. Folder 9. "F"

Consists of correspondence with A.W. Fenton from the Cleveland Customs House, concerning the shipment of books and other items that John ordered from Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Box 1. Folder 10. "G"

Contains a letter from Gardavsky from Cleveland, Ohio, about the history of Russian gold treasure in Siberia and the involvement of the Czech legionnaires in its protection.

Box 1. Folder 11. "H"

Consists of correspondence with Sarka Hrbkova from the Foreign Language Information Service of the U.S. Red Cross, concerning John's writing and translating activities, and correspondence with Jarolav Hulka, a Czech doctor, who was sent to the U.S. as a Rockefeller Foundation Scholar.

Box 1. Folder 12. "I"

Contains only one letter from Pavla Ilavska, a Slovak woman living in the U.S.

Box 1. Folder 13. "J"

Consists of John's correspondence with Arnold Jirasek and his wife from Prague, Czechoslovakia, concerning medical work.

Box 1. Folder 14. "K"

Correspondence between Karel Klein, of Prague, and Alois Klein from Yale University, correspondence with Czech doctor Jaroslav Kose and Kose articles about the U.S., correspondence with Josef Krenek about the Komensky Club in Minnesota, and letters between relatives in Czechoslovakia.

Box 1. Folder 15. Komensky Club

Contains correspondence related to the activities of the Komensky Club in Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska, especially with Sarka Hrbkova, a Czech instructor at the University of Nebraska, concerning, for example, the creation of the pins of the Komensky Club. Also contains some of John's articles from the Komensky magazine, some Czech poems, lists of books on Bohemia and Bohemians, and the "Rules of the Komensky Club at Nebraska." There are newspaper articles on John's teaching and Czech classes.

Box 1. Folder 16. "L"

Includes correspondence with Jan Laichter Publishing House from 1920s and 1930s, where John ordered magazines and books. In one of his letters to Laichter, John speaks about his early life in the U.S. and his impressions on the newly created Republic of Czechoslovakia. Contains John's correspondence with Professor Lee from the University of Minnesota, who supervised John's master's thesis.

Box 1. Folder 17. "M"

Contains a few letters, including one to Rudolf Medek, a revolt leader against Austria-Hungary in WWI.

Box 1. Folder 18. Masaryk, Tomas G., 1913-1923

Contains personal correspondence with the first Czechoslovak President T.G. Masaryk, with both the original letter and a typed English translation, including the John's welcome letter to Masaryk when he came to the U.S. as a member of a Czechoslovak Legation to Washington, D.C. There is also correspondence with Masaryk's daughter, Alice Masarykova.

Box 1. Folder 19. "N"

Three letter to and from Czech colleagues Nevinny, Novotny, and Nosik.

Box 1. Folder 20. "O"

Contains a list of prints ordered from publishing house J. Otto in Prague and a song recital program of Boza Oumiroff from 1920.

Box 1. Folder 21. "P"

Includes correspondence with Czech novelist Gabriela Preissova, concerning her medical condition, her personal life, and John's writing activities.

Box 1. Folder 22. Preissig, Vojtech

Correspondence with Vojtech Preissig, in Massachusetts, concerning Czechoslovak graphic arts.

Box 2. Folder 1. "R"

Contains correspondence with various people dealing with subjects such as Czechoslovak philosopher and politician Emanuel Radl and Rudolph Ruzicka.

Box 2. Folder 2. "S"

Contains correspondence with the Secretary of President T.G. Masaryk, Oskar Odstrcil, and correspondence with Czechoslovak painter Max Svabinsky, including a hand-written letter.

Box 2. Folder 3. Sage of Old Mountain

Correspondence concerning the translation and publication of A.V. Smilovsky's The Sage of Old Mountain from Czech to English.

Box 2. Folder 4. Simon Family, T.F. Simon

Contains correspondence on subjects, such exchange of books and prints, meetings, and information on Simon's paintings and works.

Box 2. Folder 5. Stenc, Jan

Contains correspondence with a Czechoslovak publisher, including bills and orders for art books.

Box 2. Folder 6. Stretti-Zamponi, Jaromir, 1921-1928

Correspondence on the exhibition "Czechoslovak Graphic Art."

Box 2. Folder 7. Syllaba, Ladislav, M.D., 1921-1923

Correspondence with Syllaba, professor of medicine in Prague, on subjects such as new drugs, new medical inventions, medical journals, and other colleagues.

Box 2. Folder 8. "T"

Consists of one invoice from Topic's Publishing House in Prague.

Box 2. Folder 9. "U"

Three letters, two regarding the potential arrival of distant relatives in the U.S. and one about Smilovsky's work, including a map of Czechoslovakia.

Box 2. Folder 10. Urban, Ladislav, 1924-1933

Correspondence between John and Ladislav Urban concerning periodicals, books, art, their professional careers, and their personal lives.

Box 2. Folder 11. "V," 1919-1923

Correspondence with various people, such as Professor Karel Veleminsky, and articles in Czech and English.

Box 2. Folder 12. Vondrous, J. C., 1919-1938

Includes correspondence with Vondrous, a Czechoslovak etcher, on personal matters, new books, relations in the medical circles in Czechoslovakia, information on their art collections, and a list of etchings by Vondrous.

Box 2. Folder 13. "W"

Contains correspondence with various people, such as colleague Professor Weigner, on medical subjects and the exhibition of the Czechoslovak Graphic Art.

Box 2. Folder 14. "Y" 1926

One letter from Yoshida from Tokyo regarding the arrival in Japan of John's friend Simon.

Box 2. Folder 15. "Z"

Contains a review of Indian Boyhood translated by John, in English and in Czech, and a letter to the magazine Nasinec.

Box 2. Folder 16. Unidentified

Contains unidentified incoming and outcoming correspondence, articles and publications.

Series 2: Translations and PublicationsBox 3. Folder 1. The Darkness (Temno)

Contains a typed English translation with hand-written notes of novel by Alois Jirasek, originally published in Czech in 1914. Copy 1, draft, pages 1-805. The novel describes re-Catholization of the Czech lands after the lost battle on the White Mountain (Bila hora) in 1620.

Box 4. Folder 1. The Darkness (Temno)

Copy 1, draft, pages 806-943

Box 4. Folder 2. The Darkness (Temno)

Copy 2, final version, pages 1-417

Box 5. Folder 1. The Darkness (Temno)

Copy 2, final version, pages 418-782

Box 5. Folder 2. The Kiss (Hubicka)

Contains a typed English translation of a short story by Karolina Svetla. The story describes Czech village life of the 19th century and questions the status of women in society.

Box 5. Folder 3. In the Struggle for an Ideal (V boji za ideal)

Contains a typed English translation of novel by J. A. Trojan.

Box 5. Folder 4. Letter of John Hus (Dopis Jana Husa)

Letter of John Hus to the Czech nation on the night before his execution in 1415. Translated by John and published in color with an old-style font. Also contains a reaction on this letter from the Gazette de Prague from October 7, 1992 and two letters of thanks to John for his translation.

Box 5. Folder 5. Indian Boyhood (Indian v mladi)

Czech translation of Charles A. Eastman novel from 1922. Manuscript, 140 pages.

Box 6. Folder 1. The Sage of Old Mountain (Mudrc ze staré hory)

Czech translation of novel by Alois V. Smilovsky, 350 page typescript without illustrations. For illustrations see Box 10, Folder 3.

Box 6. Folder 2. The Sage of Old Mountain (Mudrc ze staré hory)

Czech translation of a novel by Alois V. Smilovsky, 307 pages of final and revised version with illustrations by J.C.Vondrous. The preface is written by John and contains a sketch of Alois V. Smilovsky's life. For illustrations for this book see Box 10, Folder 3.

Box 7. Folder 1. Married Life (Manzelstvi)

English translation of a Czech novel by Josef Laichter, originally published in 1923, a 549 page typescript with revisions and notes.

Box 7. Folder 2. One Hundred Paintings, Max Svabinsky (Sto kreseb)

Short publication by Anton Matejicek, translated by John into English, including 43 handwritten pages with drawings.

Box 7. Folder 3. Prague – Her National Significance (Praha – O jejim narodnim vyznamu), Jan Stenc

A 52 page English translation with notes and revisions.

Box 7. Folder 4. Graphic Arts Collection, 1922

"Czechoslovak Graphic Art: Exhibition of Prints from the Private Collection of Dr. Henry J. John compiled by Ladislav Urban and Henry J. John," Cleveland, Ohio. Includes only one illustration of St. Vitus Church from the Belvedere, by J.C. Vondrous.

Box 7. Folder 5. Medical Research ArticlesItem 1. "The Use of Intravenous Glucose in Diabetic Patients" reprint from Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics, 1930, Apr. Item 2. "Directions for Using the John Blood Chemistry Tube" Item 3. "Methods of Precision in the Diagnosis of Diabetes. A New Instrument" The Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 78, 1922 Item 4. "The Effect of Potassium Oxalate on Blood Sugar Determination" The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, Vol. X, No. 12, 1925 Item 5. "Preservation and Transportation of Blood for Chemical Study" Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Vol. 1, 1926, Feb. Item 6. "Glycolysis," Annuals of Clinical Medicine, Vol. III, No. 11, 1925 Item 7. "A Study of 22,808 Blood Sugar Estimations-Fasting and Postprandial-in Non-Diabetic Individuals" Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 1, No. 7, 1928, Jan. Item 8. "Association of Hyperthyroidism with Diabetes" Annals of Surgery, 1928, Jan. Item 9. "Diabetes. A Statistical Study of Two Thousand Cases" Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 42, 1928, Aug. Item 10. "Jan Evangelista Purkyne" Bulletin of the Cleveland Medical Library, 1957 Item 11. "Notes on the Surgical Clinic of Charles University in Prague One Hundred Years Ago" translated by John and published in Annals of Medicine History, Vol. VI, No. 2, 1924, June Item 12. Letter, from the Czechoslovak State Ministry of Public Health positively assessing John's article titled "How to Improve the Diagnostic Methods of an Early Diagnosis of Diabetes," 1923 Box 7. Folder 6. Poetry manuscripts

John's poems written in Czech during his university studies.

Box 7. Folder 7. Purkyne Biography

Biography written by John on Jan Evangelista Purkyne, a Czech scientist and patriot, 1787-1869, published by the American Philosophical Society: Philadelphia, 1959.

Series 3: Biography and MiscellaneousBox 8. Folder 1. Family photographs

Photos of John's parents and grandparents.

Box 8. Folder 2. Biographical sketches

Photos of John, copies of his diplomas, a short biography, and articles about him.

Box 8. Folder 3. Photographs of artists, physicians, etc.

Contains miscellaneous photos of John's friends and correspondents.

Box 8. Folder 4. Memorabilia

Contains invitations, programs of events, a publication about the Czech city of Olomouc with a map and a newsletter of the camp Ho Mita Koda.

Box 8. Folder 5. U.S. exhibition of John's collection

Contains newspaper clippings on the "Exhibition of Czechoslovak Graphic Art" in Clevelend, Ohio, and other venues, including a booklet of the exhibition.

Box 8. Folder 6. Lecture notes

Contains John's notes from medical school lectures, written in English.

Box 8. Folder 7. Maps

Contains maps of Europe, Slav lands, various maps of Czechoslovakia with French description.

Box 8. Folder 8. Collected materials, Graphic Art, pt. 1Item 1. Gamma: Rembrandt, Prague, Jan Stenc, 1921 Item 2. A publication about the exhibition of school works of Max Svabinsky's students, 1910-1927, 1927 Item 3. Postcards, 10 etchings of T.F. Simon, Prague Item 4. Postcards, 10 paintings of Vaclav Brozik Item 5. Postcards, 10 portraits by Max Svabinsky Item 6. Postcards, 10 etchings by J.C. Vondrous called "Beautiful Prague" Item 7. Postcards, 10 drawings of Adolf Kaspar called "The Spring" Item 8. Postcards, 10 drawings of Karel Spillar Box 9. Folder 1. Collected materials, Graphic Art, pt. 2Item 1. Czech on Josef Manes Item 2. Booklet, exhibition of J. Obrovsky, 1914 Item 3. Publication, Slovak Peasant Art, 1923 Item 4. Publication, U.S. Lines travel service agency Item 5. Publication, Mikulas Ales, The Life of Old Khods (Zivot starych Chodu), with his drawings, 1920 Item 6. "Vojtech Preisseig and his Typography," 1923 Box 9. Folder 2. Collected materials, Graphic Art, pt. 3Item 1. Max Svabinsky's Italian Sketch-book (Z italskeho skicare Maxe Svabinskeho), by Frantisek Zakovec, Prague, 1927 Item 2. Wooden Ecclesiastical Constructions in the Czech Lands (Drevene kostelni stavby v zemich ceskych), by Vaclav Mencl, Prague, 1927 Item 3. Sculptures on the Charles Bridge (Sochy na Karlove moste v Praze), by Karel B. Madl, Prague, 1921 Item 4. Konopiste Castle, by Frantisek Vesely, 1921 Item 5. A List of Max Svabinsky's Works (Seznam grafickych praci M. Svabinskeho), published by Graphic Studio, written by Jan Stenc Item 6. T.F. Simon Painter-Etcher (Malir-leptar T.F. Simon), by Authur Novak, Clevelend, Ohio, 1926 Box 9. Folder 3. Collected materials, Graphic Art, pt. 4Item 1. Poster, Alfons Mucha: Russia Restituenda, 1926 Item 2. Reproductions, Prager Presse, No. 16, 1923 Item 3. Rudolph Ruzicka: Fiarfield. New Linotypoe Face, Mergenthalen Linotype company, New York, 1940 Item 4. "Etching (Die Radierung)" by A.J. Alex, Carlsbad, 1921 Item 5. Exhibition catalog, Graphic Art of Czechoslovakia. Exhibition of prints from the private collection of Henry J. John. The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1922 Item 6. Album of the Revolutions. Prague 1618, 1848, 1918, 36 images, Kratochvil and Co. Publishings Item 7. A few other small booklets Box 9. Folder 4. Collected materials, Graphic Art, postcards

Contains a series of colored and black and white postcards illustrating Czech and German history, portraits of famous Czechs, images of Prague and other places in Czechoslavakia, and allegories on Czech people. Also contains a list of books, magazines, music, and other art publications published in 1927 by the Society of J. Otto.

Box 10. Folder 1. Collected materials, Monographs in Czech and English, pt. 1Item 1. Centennial of David Bedrich Strauss (D.B.S. Ke 100. vyroci jeho narozenin), by Frantisek Krejci, 1908 Item 2. The History of Cross (Dejiny krize), by Andrzej Niemojewski, 1909 Item 3. Modern Society and the Church (Moderni spolecnost a cirkev), by Theodor Bartosek, 1907 Item 4. Philological Lists (Listy filologicke), by Hujer, Jakubec and Jirani, 1922, Vol. 49, No. 4, 5, 1922 Item 5. Magyars and the Czechoslovak Republic, by Karel Kadlec, 1919, in English Item 6. Czech School Facilities under Austrian Government and German School Facilities under Czechoslovak Government, Charles University Press, 1938, in English, 1938 Item 7. Cultural Contributions of American Czechs (Kulturni prinosy americkych Cechu), by Arnost Jan Zizka, 1932 Item 8. The Twelveth Hour is Ringing – To American Czechs (Bije hodina dvanacta – Americkym Cechum), by Vojta Benes, Czechoslovak National Association, Chicago, Illinois. Item 9. Four other small publications. Box 10. Folder 2. Collected materials, Monographs, pt. 2Item 1. The Moravian and Czech Contribution to the Early History of Ohio, American National Alliance of Czechoslovaks, Cleveland, Ohio, 1932 Item 2. Three Years of the Czechoslovak Republic, by Ales Broz. Published by Orbis Printing, Publishing and Newspaper Co., 1921 Item 3. Keppler's Latest News (Neues über Keppler), by Franz Dvorsky. Prague. In German, 1880 Item 4. Speech of Dr. Karel Sladkovsky on the Occasion of Laying the Foundations of the National Theater in Prague in 1868, newspaper supplement of Narodni listy, No. 136., 1868 Item 5. Three editions of The Sokol magazine, one in English and two in French. Published on the occasion of 8th Sokol festival by the Sokol organization, 1926 Item 6. "The Trail of the Hun in Austria-Hungary," published by the Czechoslovak Army and Relief Committee of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Item 7. "In the memory of Vojtech Naprstek's and his Centennial," Prague. Naprstek was a Czech patriot, he spent ten yers in the U.S., 1926 Item 8. "Friend of the People (Pritel lidu)" calendar, by J.A. Trojan, Chicago, 1913 Item 9. Marija Pl. Hrussoczy, by A. Hubsch, New York, 1908. Narodnog Lista Publishing. Hrussoczy was a countess of Hungarian-Croat origin, 1908 Item 10. "High Tatras," a tourism promotion publication of the Czechoslovak State Railways Item 11. "Our Papers (Nase spisy)," a list of books for sale, written by famous Czech writers, F. Topic Bookshop, Prague, 1912 Item 12. Poster, "The Czechoslovak Flag and Historic Coats of Arms of the Czechoslovak Lands" Box 10. Folder 3. Illustrations, The Sage of Old Mountain

Contains copies of illustrations for the book. For original pictures see Oversize box 10.

Box 10. Folder 4. Photograph, Rose Vondrous, 1919

Contains a copy of a Rose Vondrous photograph in a Czech folk costume. For original photo see Oversize box 10.

Box 10. Folder 5. Poster, Josef Svatopluk Machar

Contains a portrait of Machar with a poem of this famous Czech poet. For original photo see Oversize box 10.

Box 10. Folder 6. Photograph, Czechoslovak Legation dinner, New York, 1921, Jan. 24

For original photo see Oversize box 10.

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