Today we conclude the wonderful story of the Czech-American editor, František Zdrůbek! We brought you this editor’s biography from the pages of the very first edition of Amerikán Národní Kalendář all the way back in 1878!
It is a wonderful story and we know you will truly enjoy this amazing look at Czech lives during this time in America and Bohemia too!
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®
“František Boleslav Zdrůbek”
“The priest promised to call off the trial, if Zdrůbek would take back his claim, and Zdrůbek did that and took back what he could not prove. He gave three months’ notice to the company, the Czech Printers, so that the company could find another editor. The company invited Mr. J. V. Čapek from Bohemia and Zdrůbek left for Bohemia on the 4th of October of 1871, having the opportunity to get a job during the propitious times for the Czechs during the government of Hohenwart. However, before he reached Prague, the government of Hohenwart fell, and with it also his opportunity. So he stayed only four months, and on the 26th of January, he was already coming back to America and that across Spain, Cuba, and New Orleans to Texas, together with Mr. Tom. Batel, who invited him back and helped with his journey, so that he could found Czech-English schools in Texas. Having come to Texas completely without any means, he joined the print shop of the “Houston Daily Times” as a typesetter, a job which he had previously learned while editing. For two months he worked there during the night, until he obtained work from the Czech settlement of Vesely in Austin County as a teacher, and as the preacher for the Czech Moravian Brethren congregation. And so he founded a Czech-English school with 80 children, and he was preaching in the sense of the Free-Thinking morality.
He gained numerous friends in all of the counties settled by Czechs, but also several enemies. Among the parishioners there were Pharisee hypocrites who wanted a simple ceremony, and not the spirit of pure morality. Besides that he was burdened by fourteen days of chills, and his wife was overcome with nine months of hard sickness, so bad that she could not move even in her bed, during all that time. Besides his job he put together a new English grammar, which was published in 1874 by Mr. A. Geringer, and printed in Chicago.
In August 1874 Mr. E. Rosewater, the publisher of “Progress of the West”, [Pokrok Západu] offered him the editorship of that publication, which was vacated by the departure of Mr. V. Šnajdr. He accepted it and arrived on the 15th of September through St. Louis to Omaha.
There, in addition to the editorship of the publication, he founded “Foundation of Freedom” [Matice Svobody], which he published in 5 parts (1. The Biography of God. 2. The World and Its Origin. 3. The Evolution of the Law or: What is Sin, and what it is not. 4. The Youth of Jesus. 5. The Constitution of the American Federation.) Then he wrote “The First Reader for American Schools which was published by Mr. Aug. Geringer in Chicago in 1875, and a second, corrected edition in 1877. In Omaha he founded the Amateur Theatre Association “Klicpera”, which was giving performances in the hall of Mr. V. Kučera in Prague (suburb of Omaha). In 1875 he started to negotiate with Mr. Geringer about the founding of a big journal in Chicago, until finally he came to Chicago on the 15th of August 1875, and with the above named Mr. A. Geringer, they founded the first daily periodical “Solidarity” [Svornost] and accompanying it the weekly “Amerikán.” He remains in the editing room to this day, assisted with the local news in the “Svornost” by his gifted brother-in-law, Gustav B. Reišl.
At that time during his free moments he wrote “The Second Reader for Czech American Schools”, published by Mr. A. Geringer in 1876 and lately he collected material for this calendar “Amerikán” and edited it.”
Come back to Onward To Our Past® tomorrow as we bring you yet another biography of an early Czechoslav editor in the United States!
Onward To Our Past®