We are back in 1878 with our exclusive translation from the wonderful article “Biographies of Czech Editors in America. Ladimír Klácel, Karel Jonáš, Václav Šnajdr, Lev J. Palda, Jan Rosický, Jan Milstín Bárta Letovský, Frant. Boleslav Zdrůbek, Gustav Bedřich Reišl, and J. V. Čapek”.

First we brought you the listing of the 13 Czech-American newspapers and periodicals listed in the introduction to this article.  If you missed it you can click here and read this marvelous list.  It gives you the location, frequency, and more!  A terrific resource for your Czech genealogy work!

The second installment (which you can click here to read) was the first half of the biography of American Czechoslav editor, Ladimír Klácel.

Today we bring you the conclusion of this biography…and then there will be even more editors to share with you!


Amerikán Národní Kalendář

VOLUME: I, YEAR: 1878, Pages 118-127

Published by August Geringer, Chicago, Illinois

Translated by Layne Pierce and Dr. Mila Saskova-Pierce

©Onward To Our Past®

“The Biographies of Czech Editors in America”

Ladimír Klácel (part 2)

1878 Klacel portrait from Capek

“Klácel’s works that were published in Europe are the following: Poems, 2 volumes, published in Brno, 1826 and 1837; The Sly Fox, in Leipzig in 1845 [Ferina Lišák]; A Small Bridge work [Mostek], in Brno, philosophical pamphlet; Philosophical Writings; Bidpai’s Fables [Bájky Bidpajovy], 1845—50; Dictionary for Readers of Newspapers [Slovník pro čtenáře novin], in Brno 1849; On Socialism and Communism [O socialismu a komunismu]; Ethics [Dobrověda], in Prague 1847.  In addition to these Klácel wrote numerous articles in various Czech as well as German periodicals.

“Everywhere confused and sullen in his desperate lack of hope”, Klácel stepped onto a ship to go to the New World, America.  He was asked by Mr. J. Bárta of Racine, Wis. to come to America to be his partner in founding a new journal.  He said goodbye to Prague on the 28th of June 1869, and on the 7th of July he sailed off from Bremen on the ship, “Amerika” to New York, where he arrived on evening of the 21st.  Two days later he got onto a train and found himself in Racine on the 26th.  At that time he and Mr. Bárta started to prepare the publication of a new journal that they founded in Iowa City, Ioa. [sic], under the name of “American Slav” [Slovan Amerikánský], the first issue of which was published on the 6th of November, 1869.  Nevertheless, the American experience was also very hard for him and almost immediately he had a serious disagreement with the publishing house, which weighed heavily on both sides.  Meanwhile, F. B. Zdrůbek, the editor of “Progress”, [Pokrok] in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, founded the Union of Free-Thinkers and started to publish the organ of this association.  Then in 1871 he left America for Bohemia and asked Klácel to take over the association and the publication.  This is what Klácel did and he began publishing “The Voice of the Free-Thinkers Association“, [Hlas Jednoty Svobodomyslných] the first issue of which was published on the 19th of February 1872.  On the 14th of February 1873 Klácel’s closest relative, whom he had brought with him to America, and whom he was raising with fatherly love, and into whom he had invested all his hopes as into a son, for his old age–Karel Power, passed away.  In March he started to negotiate with the Free-Thinking commune in Chicago about the founding of a new journal and on the 25th of April he came to Chicago and started to publish a tri-weekly “Own Man” [Svojan] while the “Voice” [Hlas] continued to be published alongside it.  On the 3rd of June the first number of “Svojan” was published.  Nevertheless, even this publication was to disappoint the old man, who believed the words of the evil flatterers, who acted not for the success of the enterprise, but whose egotism was their main aim.  “Own Man” [Svojan] had to be stopped as soon as it was started and Klácel left, once again with a heavy heart, upon an invitation to Cooperstown, Manitowoc County, Wis., where local Czechs offered him the administration of a Catholic parish, that was not under a bishop. There he could work according to his spirit and he could influence the people.  On St. Wenceslaus Day he gave his first sermon and Czech Mass.  He then also introduced a Czech christening ceremony, and he introduced a general study of one’s self, a new wedding ceremony, and other innovations in the church with ceremonies and names that were similar to Catholic names.  Nevertheless, the church innovations grew stale and in less than half a year there were few people coming to the Mass and to the sermons, and in March 1874 departed for Kossuth in the same county, with the help of several friends, where he settled on the farm of Mr. Krajník.  There he would organize “Slavonic Linden Tree” [Slovanská Lípa] lectures and he held explanations of Faust, first and second volumes.  “The Voice” [Hlas], meanwhile was published in Omaha.   On the 1st of October he went to Kewaunee, Wisconsin, where he had been invited by the selfless Mr. Stránský, and upon consideration he accepted the offer of Mr. Stránský to settle there until his death, where he would have free room and board.  He accepted it happily and he cried out:  “Inveni portum, spes et fortuna valete!” (I found a port; hope and fortune, no longer mislead me!).

Mr. Stránský built a nice brick dwelling for Klácel on a site that the latter had himself chosen, in the middle of a garden, and Klácel moved there immediately, together with his attentive secretary, Mrs. Molová from Chicago.  This is where he remains to this day—Ladimír calls this his little place and he is writing almost non-stop.  He also has taken over the office of postmaster within the post office newly established under the name of “Krok” (Since the 23rd of February 1875).  He has a great supply of manuscripts among which there is “The Lover of the World” [Světomil] a manuscript he finished on the 6th of March 1875; “The Happenings of the American Union” [Děje americké unie], this manuscript was finished on the 13th of September 1875; “Sixteen Crucified Redeemers” [Šestnácte Ukřižovaných Spasitelů] that was published by J. Novák in Milwaukee on the 1st of November 1876;  “The Eternal Calendar” [Věčný Kalendář), a great work of which so far only two installments have been published in Milwaukee by Mr.  J. Novák and many others.”

Klácel bust on his grave in Iowa.

Klácel bust on his grave in Iowa.


Tomorrow we begin an all new biography of another of the premier American Czechoslav editors of early newspapers and periodicals in the United States!

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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