Onward To Our Past is pleased to bring you the first installment of the 1896 article ‘American Czechs and the Czechoslavic Ethnographic Exposition’. This article appeared in Czech in the genealogical gold mine that is Amerikán Národní Kalendář.
This article relates the activities of the Czech-American contingent who visited the 1895 Exposition. It highlights the people, places, and activities they encountered during their visit to the Exposition as well as before their arrival in Prague, and after.
We trust you will find this translation of interest inasmuch as the Exposition was a significant event to both Bohemians in the ‘Old Country’, elsewhere in Europe, and the United States.
Here is Installment 1:
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
“American Czechs and Ethnographical Exposition
(SEE THE COVER PICTURES)
The Ethnographical Exposition, which took place in 1895 in Prague was a great work of culture presented by the Czech people within the boundaries of their national and social struggles. This Exposition also greatly impressed our Czech compatriot community in America.
Around seventy-five sons of Czech people made the trip together to the Old Country and also a large number of others who travelled individually to this great Czech event.
This was the fourth largest group to make such a trip to the Old Country at this time. As good citizens – according to the welcoming words of Mr. Ort – an invitation was sent to the American Czechs making the offer to attend sometime before. They (Ed: Czech immigrants to America) also built their own section of exhibits for the Ethnographical Exhibition.
On June 15th the travelers sailed aboard the ship “Kaiser Wilhelm II” and landed at Bremen harbor. Dr. J. Ryba editor of the newspaper “Národní Listy” welcomed these visitors in his role as Deputy of Czech Compatriots. After a short sightseeing tour of the town the travelers continued by train through Germany to the south-east while listening to the music of the Czech national anthem. At Dresden they were received by Czech Sokol members who had made the trip there to meet them and offered bouquets of roses to all the American ladies.
At the town of Podmokly were awaiting more guests and deputies of the Exhibition’s executive committee. Mr. Ort and Dr. Kopista accompanied by a large crowd of local Czech citizens from Podmokly and Decin as well as some Americans welcomed them warmly. Mr. Motycka spoke as a Deputy of Sokol from Central Bohemia, and his speech was warmly received and appreciated. American speakers paid them back in kind and the crowds by the platform applauded, waved scarves, shook their hands, and kissed. You could see the same enthusiasm in the eyes of the Czechs who welcomed our travelers at Usti nad Labem, at Hrobec, Roudnice, Berkovice, Jensovice, Veltrusy, Nelahozeves, and Kralupy. Everywhere there were roses, patriotic music, and the thunder-sounds of mortars fired on nearby hills.
The train arrived in Prague on Sunday on the 16th of June. In front of the railway station, on Jezdecka Street, you could see enthusiastic crowds occupying every bit of the area. The same at
Hybernska Street, Prikopy, and Zofin Island.
The arrival time of the train was not exactly set therefore people crowded the whole area around station from before noon. The gathered people choosing to rather miss lunch just so they could welcome these dear guests.”
Watch here tomorrow for installment 2 of ‘American Czechs and the Czechoslavic Ethnographic Exposition’. There is a whole lot more to come and we know you will enjoy it.
Onward To Our Past