Today we bring you an all new biography of one of the outstanding early Czech editors to work in the United States. This is a continued part of the article from the 1878 edition (the very first volume) of the priceless annual Czech-American journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
We first brought you a digest of all the Czech periodicals being published in the United States at that time, which totaled 19! Then we brought you the biography of Ladimír Klácel and then Karel Jonáš.
Today it is an all new editor, Václav Šnajdr. We know you will enjoy this wonderful biography!
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”
He was born on September 26, 1847 in České Budějovice. Just two years later his parents moved to Mladá Boleslav. There he attended lower high school. Two years after that he was at the Jindřichův Hradec gymnasium high school, from which he left for Prague, where he finished his studies at the gymnasium high school, and where he planned to finish his education at the university in the Philosophy Department. The happenings in Prague in the year 1867-1868 gave his life path an unexpected turn. Having taken part in the foremost political movement of the times, the core of which was the Prague students, he was frequently harassed by the police and the Court of the Land. Then, after the demonstrations that took place during the sanctification of the second chain bridge, which was attended by the Emperor himself, he was charged with high treason, and faced the possibility of a trial. He left secretly for Berlin, where J. V. Frič, a known immigrant and Czech writer was preparing the publication of a Czech radical weekly. Mr. Frič accepted V. Šnajdr immediately onto the editing desk of “Blaník” [a mythical mountain where Czech Knights sleep until they are called upon to save the nation]. When “Blaník” came to an end after only a few monthly publications due to excessive police and post office vigilance, he took part in the editing of autographed periodicals in the French language (“Corespondance Tcheque” and the German language “Tschequische Corespondenz”). These journals sought to introduce foreigners to the Czech issues that the journals In Vienna and Pešt described falsely. When the funding ended, he also corresponded with the Chrudim “Crown”, [Koruna] (in fact, “Progress” [Pokrok], which was closed down by the military government in Prague and moved to Chrudim under a different name). He also contributed to “Olomouc Countryman” [Olomoucký Našinec] , the editor of which, Mr. J. Černoch, ran away to Berlin to escape Austrian justice and Šnajdr also contributed to the poetic almanac “The Stirring“ [Ruch] , and the almanac of Czech students, “Czech Students“ [Čeští Studenti]. Beginning during his stay in Prague, he contributed several poems to the first issue of “The Stirring” [Ruch] a book that was issued based on various ideas. At that time a student of philosophy, Mr. L. Geitler, (now a doctor and a professor at the University of Zagreb) and Václav Šnajdr aimed to publish a collection of decidedly political songs in the same vein as Hervegh. So, they shared the idea with writer J. V. Sládek, whose cooperation they sought. From this there later arose “The Stirring“ [Ruch]. This name was that of a secret poetic association of students that lasted for about two or three years in Prague of which the above-mentioned people were members. This one contained only first poetic attempts, some of which were quite undeveloped, nevertheless it put the foundation to a new poetic movement in Bohemia. J. V. Sládek, Svatopluk Czech, M. Krajník, and other recognized Czech poets came from this “school“. Václav Šnajdr also contributed several spirited poems to Barak’s “Freedom” [Svoboda].
When the funds for the publishing of the autographed correspondence of Frič started running out, the publisher decided to send his colleague to America, so that he could ask nationalistic Czechs to contribute through Jonáš’s “Slavie”. In the year 1869 Václav Šnajdr arrived in New York and after a short stay he left for Racine Wisconsin, where he was accepted by Mr. K. Jonáš as a staff member at “Slavie”. When Mr. K Jonáš left for Europe soon after that, V. Š. led the publication independently. After an almost three year long stay with “Slavie”, he accepted the editorship of “Progress of the West” [Pokrok Západu] in Omaha, Nebraska and he merged in with Jonáš’s inexpensive weekly “American” [Amerikán]. Since the West did not agree with his health, he accepted the offer of the editorial desk of “Progress” [Pokrok] in Cleveland Ohio, which he has now been heading for four years. He translated a large number of longer and even shorter novellas and short stories from English and German for the publications that he edited. The editorship in America killed the poet in him. He has manuscripts of many poems from his younger years, mainly from 1867, 1868, and 1869, but he has no plans to publish them.”
We have now completed yet another of our Czech editors from across 1800s America with this story of Václav Šnajdr. Tomorrow we will bring you an all new editor!
Onward To Our Past®