All new!  Today we bring you an all new, exclusive from the pages of the 1934 edition of the wonderful Czech-American journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář.  While coming from the article “From the Memories of Old Czech Settlers in America”, it is a complete obituary for one early Czech immigrant.  This time in Chicago!

We know you will enjoy this translation today!

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Volume: LVII, Year: 1934, Pages: 187-213


Translated by Layne Pierce and Dr. Mila Saskova-Pierce

©Onward To Our Past®

1934 Keclik image

Otto Keclík.

On the 1st of February of the year that just passed, 1933, one of our best known countrymen, actor, comic, singer, national worker, and the owner of a printing shop, Mr. Otto Keclík died at the age of 63 years.

Mr. Otto Keclík was born in 1870 in Příbram.  His father, Viktorin Keclík came to America with his wife and two small sons in 1880.

The family was poor and it was the publisher of Svornost [Solidarity] and Amerikán, Mr. August Geringer, who, as in the case of many others, helped them to cross the ocean and helped them during the beginning.  For several months, the whole family was lodged in the house of Mr. August Geringer on Canal and De Koven Streets.  The father of the family worked for Mr. Geringer for some time, and in this way he got into the printing trade.  In time he founded his own print shop together with Mr. Jan Geringer, the brother of the publisher of Svornost [Solidarity].  They were publishing the Catholic weekly, Czechoslovan.

Otto Keclík started his journalistic career by delivering the Chicago Pages [Chicažské Listy] that were published by J. V. Matějka and while doing this he learned how to type set.  When his father started to publish a periodical Otto worked in his print shop.  Later he took over the publication of periodicals from his father and published it until the year 1895.  He ran the print shop with his father and his younger brother Václav.

In the year 1893 he married Miss Barbora Růzhová.  When the settlement called Czech California was just beginning, Otto Keclík founded a print shop on Washtenaw Ave. and 20th Street.  He started with a small hand press and slowly enlarged his small enterprise.

In addition, at this time he was practicing singing, amateur theatre and violin and viola.  He loved music, singing and the stage above all else.  He became a member of the amateur chapter of Sokol Chicago and he took part in countless plays and celebrations.

His print shop, meanwhile, needed a bigger place, and that is when he moved to Albany Ave. and 22nd Street for which location he purchased bigger machinery.  After 8 years of constant growth, he built a print shop that was furnished in a more modern way at 3052 West 22nd Street.  In the new place, the print shop received the name O.K. according to the initials of its founder and became increasingly well known.  The print shop stayed on 22nd Street for 12 years. In 1917 it was moved to a new building on Kedzie Ave. and 23rd Street where it is located now, and where the father was helped in his work by all four children: Viktor, who has spent 18 months of wartime service as a U. S.  and is now a pressman; Božena, married Housnerová, a graduate of the Metropolitan Business College and working as an accountant; son Sydney as a typesetter, printer and binder; and the youngest, Milada as a stenographer and typist.

The loss of Otto Keclík is mourned not only by his family and his co-workers, but also by thousands of the good friends he gained with his nice and heartfelt character.”


Tomorrow another exclusive translation from the pages of the fabulous annual Czech-American journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!

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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