National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library

National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
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Collections

The Skala Bartizal Library collects materials pertaining to Czech and Slovak history and culture in a variety of formats. The materials described below provide an overview of the major parts of the library's holdings. Contact library staff for more information about these collections and other resources of interest.

Book Collection:

The book collection includes materials written in English, Czech, and Slovak and covering topics such as history, politics, art, music, literature, and genealogy. Use our online catalog to search for books.

Periodicals:

The Skala Bartizal Library has a collection of over 50 current periodicals that are available in the reading room. Along with a number of journals and newspapers, these also include newsletters and bulletins from Czech and Slovak social and fraternal organizations throughout the United States. A list of current periodicals can be found here. A near complete run of the Prague Post (an English-language newspaper published in the Czech Republic) from 1997-2013 is also available. The library has a large collection of non-current periodicals that are being processed and cataloged. Contact the library for more information about holdings.

Archives:

The Skala Bartizal Library has an extensive archival collection of manuscripts, photographs, personal papers and documents, and organizational records. A few notable collections are described below:

  • Institutional archives of the Czechoslovak National Council of America (CNCA) - Given to the NCSML by the CNCA in 2002, this collection consists of meeting minutes, correspondence, publications, press releases, member lists, and more. Many materials are in Czech. View the finding aid of the CNCA Institutional Archives here.
  • Lyra Society sheet music and archives - The NCSML acquired this collection in 1997 from the Lyra Society, a Czech singing group headquartered in Chicago. The majority of this collection consists of songbooks and sheet music in English and Czech; other materials include ledgers, letters, and programs. An index to the Czech sheet music can be found here.
  • Pospishil letters - Forty letters written by John Pospishil while fighting for the Union Army during the Civil War. A native of Bohemia, Pospishil wrote these letters to his parents in Linn County while serving in Company K, 22nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry in Louisiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Mississippi. They are written in Czech using German script and have been translated. Digital copies of the letters can be found at the State Library of Iowa web site: http://www.iowaheritage.org/items/browse?collection=49&sort_field=Dublin+Core%2CTitle
  • Burian collection - Items collected by Ludvik Burian, a Czech immigrant to America who served as a relief worker for the YMCA in Bratislava during and after the First World War. Materials include wreckage from Milan Stefanik’s fatal plane crash; lantern slides featuring Czechoslovak Legions and Slovak folk life (379 total); a memorial scrapbook; photo-postcards of Czechoslovak Legions; and newspapers published by the Czechoslovak Legions in Russia. 

Oral Histories:

  • Recording Voices & Documenting Memories of Czech & Slovak Americans - This project recorded over 300 interviews of Czechs and Slovaks who immigrated to the United States during and after the communist era in Czechoslovakia. Formats include digital tapes and .wmv files stored on hard drives. These interviews are available for research and viewing; however, advance notice is preferred so that library staff can convert them to a viewable format. For more about the project, view the Oral History web page. 
  • Czechs in Cedar Rapids - This series, recorded by the Czech Fine Arts Foundation from 1981 to 1986, consists of 28 interviews totaling 32 tapes. Formats include VHS and digital tapes. To view a list of interviews, click here.
  • Investigating Iowa's Czech Heritage - These interviews were recorded in eight different communities in Iowa in 2007 and 2008. Formats include digital tapes and DVDs. For a finding aid, click here.

Phonograph records:

The Skala Bartizal Library holds the largest collection of Czech and Slovak recorded music outside of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  The Library’s collection of phonograph records is significant and unique because it documents a continuous 80-year span of  Czech and Slovak recorded music, representing a variety of musical genres and playing styles as expressed in the United States and in former Czechoslovakia.  Holdings include more than 2,000 78 rpm phonograph records of popular music (mainly polkas, waltzes, and marches) recorded from the 1910s to the 1950s; nearly 1,000 33 rpm LP records of popular and classical music recorded from the 1950s through the 1980s; and 230 45 rpm records of popular music recorded in Czechoslovakia during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact library staff for more information about specific holdings.


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