Ninety-five years ago the editors and publisher of the Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář, decided to publish a short story by the Czech-American penman, Hugo Chotek.
This fact alone is not particularly surprising given Chotek had several articles published in Amerikán Národní Kalendář over the years. His topics varied from historic accounts of early Czech immigrant communities, biographies of many early Czech immigrant settlers in America, short stories, and a couple of novellas. He was also the author of the first published book on the history of any Czech community in America (On the Czech community in Cleveland, Ohio, published in 1895).
What is surprising is the fact Hugo Chotek had died ten years earlier in 1911.
We most likely will never know why or how this publication decision came about. Was it his family submitting it as a memorial on the tenth anniversary of his death? Had he previously submitted it and the editors finally decided to run it ten (or perhaps even more more) years later? Had it simply gotten lost in the shuffle of papers and other submissions at the August Geringer Publishing Company’s Chicago offices and was later was found by accident? As I said, we most likely will never know.
But what we do know is we are darn lucky it was published as it is a fabulous story and a magnificent look into the lives and times of early Czech (in this case Moravian) immigrants over a three decade timespan.
The story begins in 1850 and Chapter I includes their first Christmas in America. Chapter II moves ahead to 1863 and we participate in a second Christmas with the Czech immigrant families and then Chapter III takes us to 1873 and concludes with our third Christmas with the families.
Chotek does a masterful job of making us feel as though we are right there in the home of these Czechs and we can almost see, feel, smell, and taste Christmas as well as touch and participage in the fabric of their lives!
It took us twenty installments to complete our postings of this story, and now, as we do with each story we translate from the Czech language on the pages of Amerikán Národní Kalendář we provide you with the full translation in pdf.
All you have to do is follow along right below! Just hover your cursor over the page and a footer bar will appear. This will give you the ability to turn the pages, flip back and forth, etc. The whole story is right here for you to enjoy!
We know you will have enjoyed this wonderful story and invite you to stay with Onward To Our Past® as we continue to bring you even more exclusive translations from Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
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