1921! We continue with our exclusive translation from the pages of the wonderful volumes of the irreplaceable Amerikán Národní Kalendář! This is awesome Czech history and Czech-American history, plus some great information for all of us who work on our Czech genealogy!
This is a wonderful story not only of one Czech American, but for all of us who love Czech food, historic cookbooks, recipes, and Czech culture in Bohemia and America.
Enjoy today’s installment!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: XLIV, Year: 1921, Pages: 264-283
Paměti českých osadníků v Americe
“Shortly after the time when Beránek settled in Chicago he married a Czech girl from the northwestern part of the city and started to work as an innkeeper. But his happiness in marriage was soon over. His young wife, as well as their child, passed away and Beránek became a widower until his death, despite the fact that it would have been very easy for him to find a new wife. He was very social man and among the ladies he was very popular due to his gentlemanly behavior and a good sense of humor. When Beránek sold his restaurant, which he held for just for short time, he tried a lot of various occupations and finally he started to work as an assistant in the office of the brokerage company, Babcock, Rushton, and Co. At first he began working for $9 a week. But his employers recognized his talents and he soon worked as a bookkeeper. It was a start of his career that ended in him in a post in management of the company. Beránek made good in the financial sector and became one of the stockholders of the company. Beránek later became one of the cofounders of a real Czech financial institution – American State Bank. He was the Vice President and a member of its management.
From this time the material situation for Emanuel Beránek improved and the Czech society found a good worker in him. He was an enthusiastic member of the singing chorus Lyra and was personally present in all productions of those Czech singers. He was among the organizers of almost all Czech undertakings and his humor and laugh sounded at all the largest dances, balls, parties, and celebrations. He was a great advisor to our ladies, especially when they were obligated to prepare some feast or banquet and a lot of the preparations were done with his personal assistance.
He dedicated his passion to gastronomy as a scientist does to his science. He would buy cookbooks in various languages, mainly in French, Latin and English and collected a large gastronomical library. This was something none of his compatriots had ever done before. He bequeathed his entire library to the Czech Museum in Prague during his lifetime.
Beránek was a cheerful and talkative person, full of sympathy for poor people, full of love for all people who were from the same county he originated from, and had a deep love to the Old Country. If Czech America had someone who was a real benefactor, it was actually Emanuel Beránek. It is hard to get know number of organizations or of all of the amounts that he dedicated gifts to. But we know that he, in the honor and memory of his deceased father, dedicated one of the largest amounts ever given to the Czech institutions Utulna (Lodging house?) and the Czech Orphanage. He also remembered the two aforementioned institutions in his last will and testament.
Beránek was one of the founders and most enthusiastic workers for the Czechoamerican Press Office, which was a predecessor to Narodni Sdruzeni (National Association) and he contributed to the maintenance of the institution, which was doing very useful work for several years. His support was in the amount of several thousands of dollars. The Census action in 1910, the collection of one million cents for Ustredni Matice (Central Foundation) for the Sokol in Prague, the lecture tour of the Count Lützow – all of these actions found a passionate worker and generous contributor in Beránek. He was a member of the Czechoslovak Aid Committee, life-time member of American Club in Prague, and he donated to the Club a nice and large library and also would send American publications there.”
Tomorrow we continue with the marvelous story of this amazing Czech-American! In his kitchen, his country, and his dreams!
Onward To Our Past®