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Czechs in Literary Work


   Habenicht, Dr. J. A. For details see "Physicians."

   Havranek, Jaroslav Albert. For a time editor of the Pokrok Zapadu. Born February 12, 1879, in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and came to this country in 1904, Wrote articles, essays and lyrical poems, although nothing has been published in book form. Also a play "Dvou lasek spor" (A struggle between two loves), given in Chicago. In 1910 he published in the Pokrok Zapadu a versified novel, in the form of letters, taken from Czech-American life. Later he became a member of the editorial staff of the daily Hlasatel in Chicago, Ill., in which city he died January 5, 1929.

   Hodyc, Rev. John, see "Priests Who Have Achieved Distinction."

   Holecek, Joseph V., Niobrara (biography given in history of Knox County), had a story in the almanac Amerikan (1883) "A Czech emigrant in America" and a biography of his father. In the same almanac of 1884 an article "Graves of our presidents" and in that almanac for 1922 quite an extensive article "The first Czechs in Niobrara." He formerly wrote articles on farming for the Hospodar.

   Hospodsky, John A. Born in Tabor, Bohemia, in 1858. When he was eight years old, his entire family, except himself and a younger sister, died out by cholera. His aunt raised them, but she had scanty means and the boy suffered hardships while acquiring an education. When sixteen years old, he joined a theatrical company, staying three years, then obtained a position with a lawyer at home. In 1879 he was a member of an expedition undertaken by the Royal Botanical Commission of Dresden, to Canada. Upon his return, three months later, he left for Cleveland, where he worked on the Volnost, later on the Nova Vlast, in North Bend, Nebraska, which paper he bought and brought to Omaha, changing the name to Narodni Listy. This paper was sold to John Rosicky, whereupon Hospodsky edited the populistic weekly Pritel Lidu in Wahoo, later acquiring ownership and moving it to Wilber, Nebraska. When he sold it later, he lived for a time in Chicago, working on the daily Hlasatel there. Returned to Wilber, where he edited the Saline County Democrat and was justice of the peace. Member of the state legislature in 1909 and 1911. Collaborated with Jos. Dvorak in writing a play "Chodove" and was always interested in drama. Later he was police judge in Wilber. (Died March 2, 1929.)

Prof. Sarka B. Hrbkova

   Hrbkova, Sarka B. Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has B. A. degree from the State University of Iowa (1909) and M. A. from the University of Nebraska (1914). From 1895 to 1906 she taught in the public schools in Cedar Rapids, where she organized the first night school for foreigners and for two years taught it gratis. From 1908 to 1919 she was a member of the faculty of the University of Nebraska, where she was head of the Department of Slavonic Languages and Literature; in 1910 she received the title of Adjunct Professor; in 1914 Assistant Professor, with a position on the University Senate and in 1918 was made full professor. From 1908 to 1917 she was editor in chief of the Komensky Magazine, Lincoln. Between 1918 and 1919 she was State Chairman of the Women's Committee, Council of National Defense (Nebraska Division). Appointed by Dr. Anna Howard Shaw and later elected by a mass vote of the women of Nebraska. For her patriotic and tireless service she received no pay. In 1919 she was Chairman of the Speaker's Division of Women's State Liberty Loan Committee and in that year left the state for New York City, where at present she is manager of the Czechoslovak Bureau, Foreign Language Information Service. Miss Hrbkova has written:

   Bridging the Atlantic (a discussion of the Americanization problem), 1918; The Slavs of Central Europe (published by the Society for Advancement of Slavonic study) 1919; Czechoslovak Stories (translation of thirteen stories by Czech writers and a brief history of Czechoslovak literature) 1919; The Bohemians of Nebraska (volume 19 of Nebraska State Historical Publications); Jan Vyrava, translation of a play by Fr. Ad. Subrt (published in Poet Lore, No. 3, Vol. 26); Will O' The Wisp (translation of a play by Jaroslav Kvapil and biographical sketch of author) published in Poet Lore, No. 1, Vol. 27; The library and the foreign-born citizen (published in Public Libraries, March, 1910); Bunk in Americanization (published in the Forum, Nos. 4 and 5, Vol. LXIII); Americans of Czechoslovak descent (published in The Survey, June 11, 1921); The Czechoslovaks in America (in Our World, December, 1923); Articles on Masaryk's "Spirit of Russia," "Americanization," etc (in Czechoslovak Review); Jan Zizka (in Organ Bratrstva, November and December, 1925); The parrot (translation of story by Jan Havlasa and published in the Czechoslovak Review) and numerous reviews and articles published in The Survey and papers in Cleveland, Ohio; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

   Hrbek, Prof. Jeffrey Dolezal, a brother of Sarka B. Hrbkova. A promising poet, who died prematurely, of whom more detailed mention is given in the chapter on Schools.

John Janak

   Janak, John. Born in Bresice, postoffice Kretin, Moravia, in 1876 and came to this country, to Omaha, in February, 1898. Having had agricultural experience on his father's farm and the extensive Defour de Walderode estates (Kretin-Vranova-Studlov), he began his newspaper career under John Rosicky, as editor of the Hospodar. Later he also edited the weekly Osveta Americka, taking care of both papers at the same time. He has written many handbooks for farmers, as shown in the list of publications. At present he is with the daily Svornost in Chicago.

   Janda, Alois. Born February 15, 1869, in Klatovy, studied in Domazlice, where he graduated with honors. He came to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1893. He worked on papers and as teacher in Czech schools, in St. Louis, Mo., Chicago, Ill., Cleveland, Ohio, and Omaha, Nebr. Published a volume of poems (Ceskym dusim--To Czech Souls) in St. Louis. He had a poetic talent of a very high order, but was a victim of intemperence and died in penury, in Chicago, February, 1911. For a time was editor of the Osveta Americka in Omaha and compiled song and declamation books published by the National Printing Company of Omaha.

   Jicinsky, Dr. John Rudis. Born May 16, 1862, in Jicin, Bohemia, the family name being Rudis, the pseudonym Jicinsky. He came to this country, to Chicago, in 1884, where in 1885 he married Miss Louise Uher. In 1890 he was editor of the Domacnost and later Rovnost, both in Milwaukee, Wis., and in 1892 of the Pokrok Zapadu in Omaha. In 1893 he began to study medicine in Omaha and finished in 1896 in Rush Medical College, Chicago. In 1897 he began to practice in Crete, Nebraska, where he made many experiments with X-ray work and lectured and wrote many articles on that subject. In 1900 he moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, now living in Chicago, Ill. In his earlier years he wrote novels and stories, later articles on medical subjects, and was active in Tel. Jed. Sokol work, editing their organ Sokol Americky for many years. During the war (1914--1918) he was in Serbia and later in Siberia, serving as physician, and that broke down his health, which he has never regained. He has translated many articles from English, also a book "Six Historical Americans" (by Remsburg) and has written articles for the Truth Seeker of New York City.

   Jung, V. A. Born August 8,1858, in Habrov near Rychnov, Bohemia, came to this country in 1881. He was first employed on the weekly Pokrok Zapadu in Omaha, during which time he wrote for the Kvety Americke I. He translated very ably from Byron and Tennyson, and from Russian and Polish poets. Wrote a novel "Na prahu noveho sveta" (On the threshold of a new world), published in Omaha. Upon his return to his native land a number of years ago he compiled a large English-Czech dictionary and smaller English-Czech and Czech-English dictionaries. He was professor of English in a business college in Plzen, Bohemia, then retired and died December 3, 1927.

   Kaspar, Anton, editor of department on beekeeping in the Hospodar and author of "Practical American Bee-Keeper." See biography in history of Saunders County.

   Klein, Monsignore Alois J., John Klein and Rev. V. Kocarnik, see "Priests Who Have Achieved Distinction."

   Kotouc, Otto. Born in Humboldt, Nebraska, April 22, 1885. Received A. B. degree from the State University of Nebraska in 1908. Served twice, as democrat, in state legislature, 1909 and 1911. In 1912 married Miss Camille Cernik and is the father of two children. In 1909 he became assistant cashier of the State Bank of Humboldt and in 1915 helped to organize the Home State Bank there, at present being president of same. He has written an historical sketch "The Bohemian Settlement in Humboldt" and is author of a volume of translations of Bohemian poems "Songs of the Slav," published by The Poet Lore Company, New York, in 1919.

   Koupal, Vit (Vitus). A well known writer on bee-keeping. Conducted the apiary department in the Hospodar for years, living at that time in West Point, Nebraska. Died in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1919.

   Kroupa, John Em. Born December 17, 1865, in Kutna Hora, Bohemia, died September 23, 1922, in Omaha. Editor and publisher of the weekly Kotva in Schuyler, Nebraska; editor of the Hospodar, Delnicke Listy and Kvety Americke III in Omaha, and author of several hand-books for farmers, as shown in list of publications.

   Kutak, Frank Jaroslav. Born in 1872 in Blatenka, Bohemia. Studied five years in the gymnasia in Pisek, and came to this country, to Chicago, Ill., in 1887. Worked on a number of papers in New York, Cleveland, Chicago and Omaha. Published the weekly Osveta in Omaha for a time and in Cleveland a monthly Rozhledy (review and literary) of a very high order At present engaged on the editorial staff of a Cleveland daily and editor of the Organ Bratrstva, the organ of the Bohemian Slavonian Benevolent Society.

   Miniberger, V. Born March 23, 1883, in Pisek, Bohemia, where he studied. In 1902 he came to this country, during 1904 he studied in Fremont College, from 1904 to 1907 in the Presbyterian Theological Seminary of Omaha, where he was ordained. He was pastor in South Omaha 1907--1909, then in Racine, Wis., to 1913, when he ceased to be active in the ministry and moved to Baltimore, Maryland. At first he was superintendent of an immigrant home there, later published a weekly (Cecho-American) and in 1919 became editor of the socialist daily Spravedlnost, in Chicago. He also edited, for six months, the organ of the Liberals, Vek Rozumu. Since July, 1926, he is on the editorial staff of the daily Svornost in Chicago. While in Omaha, his novel (V mlhach--In the mists) was published by the Bohemian-American Publishing Company. Besides, he has written: Slava kazatelova (The minister's fame), Malat (a versified novel) and Pisne prerijni a babylonskych vezi (Songs of the prairies and Babylonian towers), all published in Prague, Bohemia. He has contributed to many papers here and in his native land. His literary pseudonym is Jan Harris Zachar.

   Musil, Ferdinand L. Came to Omaha about 1900 and lived there a number of years. Contributed poems to various periodicals, was associate editor of the ''Komensky'" and other literary magazines. Published the almanac ''Pritel Lidu." With Fred di Giorgi in Council Bluffs, Iowa, he wrote brochures on vegetable and flower gardening. At present on the editorial staff of the daily Hlasatel, Chicago, Illinois.

   Ringsmuth, F. K. Literary pseudonym Jaromil Kvetensky. Born January 29,1858, in Dobris, Bohemia. Came to this country to New York City; in 1885 to Omaha, where for two years he edited the Kvety Americke I, for which magazine he wrote a number of very good poems. Later he was associated with the weeklies Nova Doba and Svit in Schuyler, Nebraska. He published two volumes of poems and a novel "Cerny stin lasky" (The black shadow of love). From Nebraska he moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where for some time he continued publishing the Svit and later became a Protestant minister. He has translated into Czech "In His Steps" by Rev. Charles Sheldon.

   Rosicky, John. Thomas Capek in his book "The Cechs in America" says: "The roster of pioneers would be incomplete without the name of John Rosicky of Omaha. A self-made man, Rosicky came to be recognized as one of the forceful members of the journalistic profession. In 1877 he took over from Edward Rosewater the weekly Pokrok Zapadu (Progress of the West), then a small sheet, without influence and without readers. In time Rosicky raised the Pokrok Zapadu to the front of Cech weeklies. That his tastes were higher than mere commercial journalism he proved in 1884, when he set up the Kvety Americke, the first genuine attempt at a Cech literary periodical. Bravely the Kvety Americke strove to live up to the programme outlined in the prospectus of the publisher. But the most ambitious plans of a publisher are doomed to miscarry, if the reading community fails adequately to support him. Tiring of recurring deficits, Rosicky was forced to modify his original plan with the Kvety Americke. Out of the compromise emerged in 1903 a publication called Osveta Americka (American Enlightenment), half commercial, half literary. By far the most profitable of Rosicky's ventures proved to be an agricultural paper, the Hospodar (The Farmer). This publication now claims a larger circulation than any other agricultural paper printed in the Cech language. Rosicky was a newspaper man and not an author, although he published his translation of the Nebraska School Laws and a brief booklet, businesslike and to the point 'Jak je v Americe' (Conditions in America) for the guidance of newly-arrived compatriots in America. A man of compelling individuality, he rendered helpful service to the settlers west of the Missouri river."

John and Mary (Bayer) Rosicky

   To complete this data we add: In 1877 Rosicky bought the Pokrok Zapadu from Edward Rosewater and published it until 1900, when he sold the paper. In 1884 he began to publish the first Kvety Americke (American Blossoms), a literary magazine containing, besides the serial novel, only original work by Czech-American literati,--the only paper of its kind ever published in this country. In 1887 he changed it to a bi-monthly containing novels that could be later bound in book form. This was called Knihovna Americka (American Library). In 1891 he established the farm paper Hospodar, the only one of his papers still being published. About that time he founded a stock company Pokrok Zapadu Printing Company, the name of which was later changed to National Printing Company. In 1900 he tried again a second Kvety Americke, unsuccessfully, and in 1903 he bought the weekly Osveta, combining the two into the weekly Osveta Americka. In 1916, after his death, a third Kvety Americke was tried, but the magazine was suspended in its third year. The company he founded has published many books, brochures, etc., as shown elsewhere.

   As also mentioned elsewhere, he is called the father of the Western Bohemian Fraternal Association, for he was active as a speaker and organizer. His company conducts also a book-selling department, importing books from Bohemia, and thus he was instrumental in helping many lodges, settlements and even state universities (Nebraska and Minnesota) to establish Czech libraries. This he did often at a financial loss often just to help the cause of culture. He was instrumental in having the Department of Slavonic Languages established in the Nebraska State University and always gave of his time, strength and money to any worthy public cause. In the last year of his active life (1909) he tried to establish a club, the object of which was to collect all Czech printed matter and cultural objects in this country, to be sent to the National Museum and Naprstek's Museum in Prague, Bohemia. In that last year, too, in August, 1909, he was made president of the Bohemian-American Press Association, the object of which was to furnish to the American papers and public correct information about Czechs and their native land. His tireless and persistent labors in these various directions, to the very day when he was stricken (December 4, 1909) were, at his age, an example and inspiration to those around him.

   Rosicky's biographical data are given in the introduction, and ought to be completed thus: He came to this country in 1861 as a fifteen-year-old boy. It is noteworthy that, although he was always very active as an American citizen, he never ceased to be a Czech patriot. After spending some time in Boscobel, Wisconsin, where his parents (John and Josephine Malat Rosicky) had settled on a farm, he moved to Chicago, where he established a store, which was destroyed by the great Chicago fire in 1871. He then traveled through the west, going to the Pacific coast and on his return, in 1873, settled in Crete, Saline County, Nebraska, where he entered into partnership with Frank and Joseph Jelinek, general merchandise. In 1874 he married Miss Mary Bayer, who was born December 8, 1854, in Klatovy, Bohemia, died in Omaha, October 9, 1912. In 1876 they moved to Omaha, for the grasshoppers drove Rosicky out of business. Mrs. Rosicky was the author of a cook book which is in its sixth edition and has been translated into English (Bohemian-American Cook Book). Nine children were born of the union. But four grew to adulthood and of these Emma Rosicky, a teacher in the Omaha public schools for twenty years, died in 1918. Rose Rosicky, John Garfield and Walter survive.

Rose Rosicky

   Rosicky, Rose. Daughter of John Rosicky. Born July 22, 1875, in Crete, Nebraska. In March, 1876, her parents moved to Omaha, where she has lived since. For a number of years she was her father's secretary, after his death became associate editor of the Osveta Americka, Hospodar and Kvety Americke III. Translated for the Osveta Americka Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson and The Price of the Prairie by Margaret Hill McCarter, besides many articles and stories. Edited five volumes of the almanac Pioneer, for which she prepared translations. Translated also S. E. Forman's History of the United States. All the foregoing were translations from English into Czech. From Czech into English she translated her mother's cook book (Bohemian-American Cook Book) and stories by the following leading Czech writers: Karel V. Rais, Gabriela Preissova, Ruzena Svobodova and Bozena Vikova-Kuneticka. She has compiled several handbooks for farmers and the home, as shown in the list of publications. At present associate editor of the Hospodar. Author of this history.

   Sadilek, F. J. His biography appears in the history of Saline County. He has written many articles of a reminiscing nature for the almanac Amerikan (Chicago) and the Osveta Americka and Hospodar (Omaha). Some of these were published in brochure form by the National Printing Company in 1914, as "My Reminiscences" (Z mych upominek), but are not shown in the list of publications, because they were printed for private distribution. This is true also of a travelogue written by Dr. Breuer for the Osveta Americka, when he visited Europe.

   Sedivy, Joseph Paul, Niobrara (his biography is given in history of Knox County), wrote for the Osveta Americka (March 15th and 22nd, 1911), "Memories of the days when Czechs began to settle in Knox County." For the almanac Pionyr: 1917--My reminiscences of pioneer days in Nebraska--The last buffalo--Black Horse, 1918--Memories of pioneer hardships. 1919--The tragedy of the Brabenec family. 1920--Reprint of article in Osveta Americka, listed above and his biography. l92l--My ride for life.

   Snajdr, Vaclav. Born September 26, 1847, in Ceske Budejovice, Bohemia, died in California a few years ago. One of the early editors of the Pokrok Zapadu. Spent his life in Cleveland, Ohio, where for many years he published the weekly Dennice Novoveku, a paper of decided anti-clerical tendency. Some of his poems were published in Kvety Americke I.

   Valasek, Joseph. Pseudonym Sigma. Born October 20, 1868, in Vrestov, Bohemia, studied in Hradec Kralove and graduated the law school of the University of Prague. Inasmuch as he was politically active, as a Czech patriot, he was sentenced to thirteen months' imprisonment, but escaped to this country, arriving in Chicago, Ill., October 1, 1895. He became associate editor of the weekly Dennice Novoveku in Cleveland, and later edited the Kvety Americke II in Omaha, his work, both prose and poetry, being of a very good quality. When the Kvety Americke II suspended, he returned to Cleveland, but did not enter the literary field any more. Living in Cleveland.

   Vranek, Monsignore John, see "Priests Who Have Achieved Distinction."

   Zalud, Rev. Francis, see "Priests Who Have Achieved Distinction."

   Zdrubek, F. B. Born July 26, 1842, in Bezdedice, near Hostomice, died in Chicago, Ill., September 14, 1911. One of the early editors of the Pokrok Zapadu. For many years was editor of the Chicago daily Svornost. Like Snajdr, he was a leader of the anti-clericals. Compiled a number of Czech-English and English-Czech dictionaries, readers, text books for learning English, etc.

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