The Skala Bartizal Library is a welcoming place to find information about Czech and Slovak history and culture, perform scholarly research, or discover more about your family history. The collection includes books, periodicals, musical recordings and sheet music, videos, and archival materials. Visitors to the Reading Room may browse books about history and politics, immigration, customs and traditions, folk and fine arts, music, and food as well as other topics. Items in the Library are intended to be used on site and are non-circulating.
The Library hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Library is closed Sunday and Monday.
Contact David Muhlena, Library Director, with questions about the collections, scheduling a visit, or general inquiries regarding Czech or Slovak topics.
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.
What We Collect:
The Skala Bartizal Library collects library materials that document Czech and Slovak history and culture within both the European and American contexts. The Library also collects materials about other ethnic groups that have had a presence in the Czech and Slovak Lands, namely Germans, Jews, Hungarians, Carpatho-Rusyns and Roma (Gypsies).
The main languages of the collection are English, Czech and Slovak. Preference is given to English-language materials, as available, and materials produced by the Czech-American or Slovak-American community. The Library selectively acquires foreign-language materials published in the Czech Republic, Slovakia or the former Czechoslovakia.
Types of materials we collect:
- Magazines, newspapers and organizational publications
- Archival materials (photos, letters, organization records, oral histories, maps, posters, ephemera, etc.)
- Sheet music and musical recordings (CDs and phonograph records)
- Films and documentaries (DVD or Blu-ray formats)
Topics of special interest include:
- history and politics
- community histories
- folk and fine art
- folk costumes
- customs and traditions
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.
The Skala Bartizal Library has a collection of more than 50 current periodicals that are available in the reading room. The library also has a large collection of periodicals that are uncataloged. Contact the library for more information about holdings.
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.
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.
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: Click here to view.
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.
Czechs in Cedar Rapids archival collection
Items related to the Czech American experience in Cedar Rapids, Linn County and the greater Iowa area. Collection includes photographs, theater programs, newsletters and other ephemera related to Czech organizations, Czech American families and Czech Village.
Materials related to the Czech Fine Arts Foundation and the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. (The Czech Fine Arts Foundation founded the NCSML). This collection consists of two series: materials related to the business of the NCSML and materials related to the events and programs hosted by the NCSML.
Legion Arts/CSPS collection
Items donated to NCSML by the Legion Arts Foundation in Cedar Rapids. Materials in the collection are primarily related to the various CSPS/CSA lodges.
Items in this collection are related to František Kún, who immigrated to the United States in 1865 and settled on a farm in Tama County, Iowa. He was the first pastor of a small group of Protestants near Ely, Iowa.
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.
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.
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.
The Skala Bartizal Library has a collection of genealogical materials that may be of interest to those researching their Czech or Slovak family histories. Because of the complexity of family histories and genealogical searches, library staff and volunteers are unable to perform the substantive research required to construct your family history. However, we can assist you in identifying relevant sources within the library and can help with questions about the original spelling of place-names and surnames. We can also recommend other resources outside the NCSML that might provide additional information.
Guides to Czech and Slovak Genealogy Research
Genealogical Research: Tracing Czech, Moravian, and Slovak Ancestry
by Jana Fast. Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Czech fine Arts Foundation, 1984. Call Number: CS524 .F37 1984
Genealogical Research for Czech and Slovak Americans
by Olga K. Miller. Detroit: Gale, 1978. Call Number: CS524 .M54 1978
Czechoslovakia: A Handbook of Czechoslovak Genealogical Research
by Daniel M. Schlyter. Buffalo Grove, Illinois: Genun, 1985. Especially good for use with (Mormon) Family History Library holdings. Call Number: E184 .S35 1986
The Denni Hlasatel Obituary Index: 1891-1970 and 1971-1995
by the Czech and Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois. Call Number: F548.9 .C94 1996
Ancestral Tree – Slovak Roots
by Joseph Hornack. Cleveland, Ohio: Surname Location Reference Project (SLRP), 1995. Over 3,000 Slovak surnames arranged alphabetically by surname and by Slovak village.
by the Slovak Heritage & Folklore Society International. December 1997, 3rd edition. 8,000 Slovak surnames listed alphabetically by surname and by Slovak village.
Czech Immigration Passenger Lists by Leo Baca. Richardson, Texas, 1983. Call Number: E184.B67 B32 1983
Vol. 1: Galveston 1846-1861, 1866-1871; New Orleans 1852-1879.
Vol. 2: Galveston 1896-1906; New Orleans 1879-1899.
Vol. 3: Galveston 1907-1914.
Vol. 4: New York 1847-1869.
Vol. 5: New York 1870-1880.
Vol. 6: New York 1881-1886; Galveston 1880-1886.
Vol. 7: New York 1887-1896.
Vol. 8: Baltimore 1834-1879.
Vol. 9: Baltimore 1880-1899.
Genealogy Web Sites & More
Czech and Slovak Genealogy Websites
Acta Publica (includes digitized family records from the Brno, Plzen, and Prague regions. Czech language site)
Bohemian Genealogy (at The Newberry Library)
Carpatho-Rusyn Knowledge Base
CentroConsult – Research in Slovakia and the former Austria-Hungary
Chicago Ancestors (at The Newberry Library)
Czech & Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois (CSAGSI)
Czech and Slovak Genealogy (Czech-language web site)
Czech Family Tree (links to regional and city archives, census records, military records, and more)
Czech Republic Genealogy GenWeb page
Czech Republic, Bohemia, and Moravia Genealogy Research
Czech Surnames from Czech-American TV
Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International (CGSI)
Czech-Slovak Interest Group (associated with Eastside Genealogical Society)
Directories of Cities, Towns, and Regions in Czech Republic
Directories of Cities, Towns, and Regions in Slovakia
Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies
GenForum – Czech Republic Genealogy Forum
GenForum – Slovak Genealogy Forum
JewishGen Austria-Czech Special Interest Group
JewishGen Hungarian Special Interest Group
Kde Jsme (Czech-language web site mapping surname locations)
Selected Characteristics for Persons of Czech Ancestry: 1990 (U.S. Census Bureau)
Selected Characteristics for Persons of Slovak Ancestry: 1990 (U.S. Census Bureau)
Slovak Genealogical-Heraldic Society
Slovak Pride Database (Slovak surname database)
Slovak Republic Genealogy GenWebPage
Slovakia – Surname Location Reference Project (Slovak surname database)
Slovakia Genealogy Research Strategies
Small Towns: Southeastern Jones County, Iowa and its European origins
TexasCzechs (Texas Czech genealogy website)
Czech Settlements and Communities in the US – requires an AOL Lifestream account
Other Genealogy Websites
Ancestry.com ¬ Home of Online Genealogy
CIMO – Cimorelli Immigration Manifests Online
Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
Distant Cousins Genealogy Index
East European Genealogical Society
FamilySearch Internet Genealogy Service
Genealogical Research at the National Archives
JewishGen: The Official Home of Jewish Genealogy
Local History and Genealogy Reading Room – Library of Congress
National Genealogical Society
RootsWeb Genealogical Data Cooperative
Social Security Death Index (at Ancestry.com)
American FactFinder (U.S. Census Bureau)
Czech and Slovak Genealogy Organizations
Czech and Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois
PO Box 313
Sugar Grove, Illinois 60554
Membership and book sales: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other inquiries: email@example.com
Texas Czech Genealogical Society
1231 CR 201A
Angleton, TX 77515-9212
Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center, Inc.
PO Box 6 250 West Fairgrounds Road
La Grange, Texas 78945
tel: 888-785-4500 or 979-968-9399
The Cechs (Bohemians) in America
by Thomas Capek. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1920. Call Number: E184 .C37 1920
The Czechs in the United States
by Joseph Chada. SVU Press, 1981. Call Number: E184 .C43 1981
Czech Contributions to the Growth of the United States by Francis Dvornik. [publisher?], 1961. Call Number: E184 .D86 1961
Slovak Catholic Parishes and Institutions in the United States and Canada
complied by the First Catholic Slovak Union. Cleveland: First Catholic Slovak Union, 1955. Call Number BX1407 .F57 1955
History of Czechs in America
by Jan Habenicht. St. Paul, Minnesota: Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, 1996. English translation of Dejiny Cechuv Americkych. Rich in biography and family history. Call Number: E184 .H33 1996
The Czechs in America, 1633-1977: A Chronology and Fact Book
by Vera Laska. Oceana Publications, Inc., 1978. Call Number: E184 .L371978
Biographical Directory of the Members of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, Inc. (SVU Directory)
by Eva Rechcigl and Miloslav Rechcigl, Jr. Washington, DC: SVU Press, 1992. History, Organization and Biographies of SVU Members. Call Number: DB2043.C93 B5 1987
Czechs in Gray and Blue, Too!
by Jody Feldtman Wright. [publisher?], 1988. Call Number: E540 .W75 1988
Individual Family Histories
We have a growing collection of individual family histories available on-site.
Adresar a Almanach Ceskiho Obyvatelstva v Chicago = Directory and Almanac of the Bohemian Population of Chicago
by the Bohemian-American Hospital Association. Chicago: Bohemian-American Hospital Association, 1915. Call Number: F548.9 .B64 1915
Dejiny Cechu v Chicagu
by Rudolf Bubenicek. Chicago, 1939. (Rich in biography and family history.) Call Number: F548.9 .B83 1939
Czech and Slovak Leaders in Metropolitan Chicago
by Daniel D. Droba. Chicago: Slavonic Club of the University of Chicago, 1934. Call Number: F548.9 .D76 1934
I Remember the Czechs of Chicago
by Grace Prewitt Kralovec. [publisher?], 1988. Call Number: E184 .K73 1997
The History of the Czechs in Cedar Rapids, Volume I, 1852-1942
by Martha E. Griffith. Reprinted from The
Iowa Journal of History and Politics and published
by the Czech Heritage Foundation, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Call : F630 .C94 1970
The History of the Czechs in Cedar Rapids, Volume II, 1942-1982
by the Czech Heritage Foundation. Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Lilly Printing Company, 1982. Call Number: F630 .C94 1982
Czech Settlement in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
by Martha E. Griffith. Laramie, Wyoming: University of Wyoming master’s thesis, 1942. Call Number: F630 .G75 1942
They Came to this Place
by Cyril M. Klimesh. Sebastopol, California: Methodius Press, 1992. Call Number: F629 .K55 1992
They Came to North Tama
by Janette Stevenson Murray. Lake Mills. Iowa: Graphic Publishing Co., 1973. (Originally published by Hudson Printing Co., Hudson, Iowa, 1953. See pages 68-71.) Call Number: F627 .M87 1973
History of the Czechs in the State of South Dakota
by Joseph A. Dvorak. Tabor, South Dakota: The Czech Heritage Preservation Society, Inc., 1980. Call Number: F660 .D86 1980
Texas and SW
History of Ethnic Cultures in the Ballinger Area
by Mary Ruth Cervenka. Abilene, Texas: R & R Reproduction Co., 1976. Call Number: F394 .C47 1976
The Czech Texans
by W. Phil Hewitt. San Antonio: University of Texas, 1983. Call Number: F395 .H49 1983.
Krasna Amerika: A Study of Texas Czechs, 1851-1939
by Clinton Machann and James W. Mendl. Austin, Texas: Eakin Press, 1983. Call Number: F395 .M33 1983
Czech Pioneers of the Southwest
by Henry R. Maresh and Estelle Hudson. Houston, Texas: Western Lithograph, reprint 1996. (Originally published by South-West Press, 1934.) Call Number: F395 .M37 1996
by Robert L. Skrabanek. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 1988. Call Number: F395 .S57 1988
A Bohemian Girl in America
by Emily M. K. Polasek. Rollins Press, Inc., 1982. Call Number: F590 .P65 1982
Phillips Czechoslovakian Community by the Phillips Czechoslovakian Community. Park Falls, Wisconsin: F.A. Weber & Sons, Inc. Volume I, 1991; Volume II, 1995. Call Numbers: F590 .P45 1991 v.1 and F590 .P45 1991 v.2
Slovaks in Florida
by Andrew F. Hudak, Jr. Agency Da Vel, 1991. Call Number: F320 .H83 1991
The Bohemian Flats
by the Worker of the Writers’ Program of the W.P.A. of Minnesota. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1986. (Originally published by the University of Minnesota, 1941.) Call Number: F614.W67 1986
Czech Cemeteries in Nebraska
by Vladimir Kucera. [publisher?], 1972. Call Number: E184 .K83 1972
Czechs and Nebraska
by Vladimir Kucera. Ord, Nebraska: Quiz Graphic Arts, Inc., 1967. Call Number: F675 .K83 1967
A History of Czechs (Bohemians) in Nebraska
by Rose Rosicky. Omaha: Czech Historical Society of Nebraska, 1929. Call Number: F675 .R67 1929
A History of the Czechs in Knox County, Nebraska
by Joseph John Van Hoff. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska, 1938. Call Number: F672 .V36 1938
A History of Bohemia, Long Island
by the Centennial History Book Committee. Saylorville, Long Island, New York: Weeks & Reichel Printing, 1985. Call Number: F129 .C46 1985
History of the Slovaks of Cleveland and Lakewood
by Jan Pankuch. Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International and The Western Reserve Historical Society, 2001. Call Number: F499 P36 2001
The Czechs of Oklahoma
by Karel D. Bicha. University of Oklahoma Press, 1980. Call Number: F705 .B53 1980
Donations of Library Materials
The Skala Bartizal Library accepts donations of library materials from individuals and organizations. Please contact the Library to discuss potential gifts before bringing or sending them in. Doing so provides library staff an opportunity to make sure the items being offered fit the Library’s collection development guidelines and do not duplicate current holdings. We may ask that you provide a list detailing the materials that are being offered. Unsolicited materials that are dropped off may be given to other organizations or discarded at the discretion of library staff.
Items accepted by the library will be documented in a Certificate of Gift. Items sometimes have unique stories associated with them. Please provide as much of this information as possible, which will be noted in the Certificate of Gift.
Please note that we cannot provide appraisals or place values on donations for tax purposes. It is the donor’s responsibility to determine fair market value or to seek guidance from a tax adviser or attorney. More information can be found in IRS Publication 561 “Determining the Value of Donated Property.”