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Josef Martinek, Czech Heritage Papers

Title: Josef Martinek, Czech Heritage Papers

Creator: Martinek, Josef, 1889-1980

Dates: 1914-1979

Quantity: 3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)

Collection Number: MS 0121

Languages: Czech, English, Spanish

Restrictions: None

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

Preferred Citation: Josef Martinek, Czech Heritage Papers (MS 0121). Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.


Josef Martinek was born March 23, 1889 in Podebrady, Bohemia, the son of John and Anna (Borecka) Martinek. After grammar school and high school he entered the Industrial School in Podebrady from 1903 to 1906. Martinek emigrated to the U.S. in 1909 and settled in Cleveland, Ohio. He became an instructor at the Workers Gymnastic Union, a socialist gymnastic and Czech compatriotic organization. From 1916 until 1934 Martinek edited the Czech labor newspaper Americke Delnicke Listy (American Workers' Papers). During World War I Martinek participated in the Czechoslovak liberation movement and signed the Pittsburgh Agreement in 1918, which supported autonomy for Slovakia. The document had no legal authority and the Slovaks gained self-government with the Zilina Agreement in 1938.

After World War I Martinek was involved in the Cooperative League of America, the Socialist Party, and from 1918 to 1934 he served as President of the Workingman's Cooperative (co-op grocery stores). As a member of the Socialist Party he ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner in 1926, state representative in 1928, and city council member in 1929 and 1933. Between 1934-1939, Martinek lived in Czechoslovakia and edited Delnicke listy (Workers' Papers) and Pravo lidu (The Right of the People). Martinek returned to the U.S. in 1939 as the Executive Secretary of the Czechoslovak National Council in Chicago.

Martinek moved to Tucson, Arizona, in 1947 where he wrote scripts for Radio Free Europe and Voice of America. He published several collections of poetry and a history of the Czechoslovak Society of America. Josef Martinek died in Tucson, Arizona, on March 21, 1980.

Scope and Content:

The collection consists of Martinek's papers, including correspondence, manuscripts, publications, newspaper clippings, photographs, and audiocassettes. The materials relate to his career as an author and journalist.


Martinek, Josef, 1889-1980 -- Archives

Czechoslovak-Americans -- Archives

Series Description: Series 1: Correspondence, Box 1

The correspondence in this series consists of letters between Martinek and his family and friends in the United States and Czechoslovakia and with various editors and publishers. These letters discuss manuscripts Martinek submitted for publication.

Series 2: Manuscripts, Boxs 1-2

This series consists of manuscripts for articles and poetry written by Martinek and a folder of manuscripts by unknown authors.

Series 3: General Materials, Boxes 2-3

Contains an assortment of materials including oral history tapes made by Martinek, photographs, publications and research notes, biographical materials, and newspaper clippings.

Container List: Series 1: CorrespondenceBox 1. Folder 1. Family postcards

Contains postcards to family and friends mainly from Czechoslovakia, the U.S., France, and Italy. Some postcards are blank.

Box 1. Folder 2. Personal

Contains correspondence with Martinek's daughter, family, friends from Czechoslovakia, and other emigrants and Czech organizations.

Box 1. Folder 3-4. Editors

Contains correspondence with editors and publishing houses across the U.S. concerning potential publishing of Martinek's poems.

Series 2: ManuscriptsBox 1. Folder 5. Articles, poemsItem 1. "Czechoslovak Ingredient in the Melting Pot," and "One Hundred Years of American Influence in Czechoslovakia," and American Czech Flashes Item 2.Election campaign leaflet, "Why will I vote for Roosevelt" Item 3. Russia Today, 1917 Item 4. Article, Journal of the Czechoslovak Society of America Item 5. Manuscript, "Fraternalism– A Vehicle of Americanization" Item 6. Articles from Denni Hlasatel Item 7. Poem, on the death of President Benes Item 8. Article, Boletín Católico Checoslovaco (Spanish) Item 9. Article "Not the Choice between Capitalism and Socialism, but between Freedom and Tyrany in Socialism–That Is the Question!" Item 10. Article, "Russia and Central Europe" Box 1. Folder 6. Poetry and proseItem 1. Notebooks, book excerpts, poems by famous Czech and foreign authors Item 2. Poem news clippings, "Dear Friend,""Step by Step,""Many, Many Poets,""Speech to Visiting Martians,""They Don't Nest Here,""Vigilant Stars," etc., typed and handwritten Box 2. Folder 1. Manuscripts, by others

Contains memoirs of Otto Boruvka, a memorandum to the 10th anniversary of the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia, a memorandum to the 40th Anniversary of President Masaryk's arrival in the U.S., and some smaller articles.

Series 3: General MaterialsBox 2. Folder 2. Books and brochures, by MartinekItem 1. "Jiskry a Oharky (Sparks and Stubs)," Americke delnicke listy (American Workers' Papers), 1945 Item 2. "Amerika v krisi (America in Crisis),""Volne myslenky (Free thoughts)," 1936 Item 3. Na prelomu (On the Edge), 1945 Item 4. O holoubkovi, ktery se na vsechno ptal (About a Small Pigeon, Which Was Asking About Everything), Universum Press, 1966 Item 5. Lecture, "K historii pomocne akce ceske v Americe (About the History of the Czech Helping Action in America)," 1946 Item 6. "Masarykova smrt a novy protektorat (Masaryk's Death and the New Protectorate), Cleveland," 1946 Item 7. "Napric Ruskem a Sibiri (Across Russia and Siberia)," Americke delnicke listy (American Worker's Papers), 1946 Item 8. Booklets on the activities of the labor movement Box 2. Folder 3. Research notes

Contains political and philosophical notes and citations, poems, Martinek's speech in Czech and English called "New Czechoslovakia," and notes from his university studies.

Box 3. Folder 1. Biography and Awards

Biography in English, memories of Arizona, articles on Communism in the Arizona Daily Star from July 10, 1953, and a diploma received from the Association of Czechoslovak Workers' Athletics Organizations.

Box 3. Folder 2. Guest books

Contains two guest books with signatures and wishes from Martinek's friends and visitors.

Box 3. Folder 3. Newspaper clippings

Articles in Czech and English written by Martinek and others covering political events and Martinek's stay in Prague in 1946.

Box 3. Folder 4. Czechoslovak Socialist DemocracyItem 1. Brochures and other materials regarding the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party Item 2. "Democracy in Czechoslovakia," Czechoslovak Sources and Documents, No. 3, Czechoslovak Information Service, 1943, June Item 3. "What Does the Left Want?" Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party Item 4. Report, convention pass, Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party, 1937-1938 Item 5. Speech, "I Preach Upon," by Dr. Soukup, International Socialist Movement, 1938 Box 3. Folder 5. Photographs

Contains photographs of Martinek with his wife, their house in Tucson, Arizona, in 1979, and a series of unidentified ruins of houses.

Box 3. Folder 6. Oral history audiocassette tapes (6), 1978, Sept.

Josef Martinek: Reminiscences, interviewer, Dr. Zdenek Hruban, Taped at Tuscon, Arizona

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