Today’s Tip: Emily Greene Balch!
I was doing some reading recently on Google Books. WOW, do I love that service. I know that there are many differing views on this effort by Google, but to me, it is awesome!
I was reading a copy of Emily Greene Balch‘s book, Our Slavic Fellow Citizens. A very interesting book and I found an interesting note.
I was not aware of Emily Greene Balch’s background, but I quickly decided that anyone who wins the Nobel Peace Prize (she won in 1946) deserves attention! While she is not the namesake of the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, she did some wonderful work in immigration when she studied the subject during a year’s sabbatical. This study resulted in her book, Our Slavic Fellow Citizens. She was also a renowned pacifist.
Now back to Cleveland, Ohio!
I found that Ms. Balch states, on page 226, that the first Bohemians came to Cleveland in 1848 and, most interesting to me, that by 1855 there were only 19 Bohemian families in Cleveland. Now, if the report by Jan Habenicht, inHistory of Czechs in America, is accurate, in which Jan states he knows that my relative, Frantisek Knechtl, the blacksmith from Nenacovice, was in Cleveland in 1852, this would put my ancestors squarely in that original 19 families!
What a find!
Of interest is also this quote that Ms. Balch includes later on page 226 from ‘One old lady who came in 1853’ said: “At first it was very hard, for the Americans looked upon us with distrust or rather aversion, which I could never explain to myself. Later I learned that it was only our customs – our bare feet and handkerchiefs over our heads – that they objected to.”
This lead to another personal WOW moment! My mother recalls when she was growing up in the Czech community of Cleveland, that some would criticize Czechs who still went barefooted in their yards! And this was most likely some 20 – 25 years after Ms. Balch published her book in 1910.
Now I cannot wait to get into Ms. Balch’s book in more depth.
You can really tell how odd I am by the fact that I am most excited to read the bibliography in the back to find more gems!
So I suggest you check out this great book and this quite amazing person.
I happened to find a used copy and added it to my libary, which you can see by the way on LibraryThing.com — OnwardToOurPast library. I have about 80 of my genealogy books listed there so far.
Enjoy your day and
Onward To Our Past!