Today we are pleased to continue our exclusive translation of one of the most successful of any early Czech immigrants to America, František Korbel.

This story comes from the 1921 edition of the wonderful pages of the great Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář.

If you missed installment #1 just click here and you can catch up with the beginning of this story of an amazing Bohemian, whose surname permeates America to this day!


Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Year: 1921, Volume: XXXXIV, Pages: 264-283

“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”

He fought for the freedom of our nation in 1848 – and lived to see it in 1918

1921 Korbel image


Died in Prague, on the 1st of January, 1920, at the age of 89 years

“For several years František Korbel contributed to Ustredni Matice Skolska in the amount of several thousand dollars yearly.   It is just 10 years ago now when Cesko-Americka Tiskova Kancelar (Czecho-American Press Office), was established thanks to the munificence of Mrs. Korbel, who had proclaimed a collection “one million cents for Matice”.  The collection, despite the boycott from some quarters who refused this Czech patriotic effort, was very successful.  Ten thousand dollars – which was a very high amount at that time, the highest one ever collected among the Czechs in America.  It was collected in pennies, dimes, and dollars and sent to Mr. Korbel and then he donated it in Prague personally by him as a founder of the organization which collected the money to go to the Ustredni Matice Skolska.  And the man showed his joy from the results of this collection the best way he possible could: he add to the collection an amount of money of the same size, and donated to “Matice” one hundred thousands of crowns – at the most critical time for the institution, when it called for the very saving of its existence.”

It is easy to find something else which would show the character of Mr. František Korbel and of his interests in the national institutions, when as an eighty year old man he enjoyed his retirement in the Old Country, after decades of his hard work in America.

Korbel brothers pic jpeg

The Korbel brothers.

The gathering for Ustredni Matice Skolska (Central School Foundation) held in 1910 was also very successful thanks to the previous work done by Mr. Korbel – the establishing of Cesko Americka Tiskova Kancelar (Czecho-American Press Office). This institution was established based on the idea of Dr. J. E. Salaba-Vojan, who at that time was living at New York City, and due to the enthusiasm of Jan Rosicky, a journalist from Omaha.  However, without the $1,500 donated by Mr. Korbel, it would still be only a dream in the heads of several Czech patriots, or perhaps only be printed words on the pages of Czecho-American magazines.

Cesko-Americka Tiskova Kancelar (Czecho-American Press Office) was established in 1909 and operated until 1914 at which time its mission was undertaken by Ceske Narodni Sdruzeni (Czech National Association), which was established after the outbreak of the war.  Employees of the office continued in their work in various organizations of American Czechs, which were established to help the Czech nation in its struggle for freedom.

Cesko-Americka Tiskova Kancelar (Czecho-American Press Office), abbreviated C.A.T.K., was funded by voluntary donations of American Czechs, but had in the person of František Korbel a self-sacrificing contributor until the time when the war interrupted his connection with the Old Country.

To the great works done by the institution, led by our compatriots J.F. Stepina, Jan Fucik, R. Jaromir Psenka, F. J Skala, Emanuel Beranek, and by the mentioned co-founders, belonged not only the mentioned gathering for Matice Skolska (School Foundation) but also their agitation for the census that helps us with the fact that in the U. S. Census records in 1910 for the first time were included the mention of Czechs and Slovaks as sovereign nations, not just as Austrians and Hungarians.”

Tomorrow we continue with even more of this wonderful story of the amazing and important Czech-American, František Korbel! 

Onward To Our Past®




A Genealogical Historian, who is focused on family history and genealogy of the highest quality, but with a dose of fun. Avid about documentation and evidence. Loves helping folks of all levels in their genealogy pursuits, especially in the areas of Bohemia, Czech Republic, Italy, Cornwall, Kent, United Kingdom, U.S. Immigration and Cleveland, Ohio.

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