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:

  • Books
  • 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
  • biographies
  • immigration
  • folk and fine art
  • folk costumes
  • customs and traditions
  • religion
  • music
  • agriculture
  • food/cooking
  • genealogy


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.

  • 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: Click here to view.

  • 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.

  • Czechs in Cedar Rapids archival collection

    Czechs in Cedar Rapids Finding Aid

    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.

  • NCSML archives

    NCSML Archives Finding Aid

    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

    Legion Arts/CSPS Finding Aid

    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.

  • František Kún

    František Kún Finding Aid

    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.

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.

  • 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.

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.

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.

Genealogical Resources

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.

  • Slovak Pride

    by the Slovak Heritage & Folklore Society International. December 1997, 3rd edition. 8,000 Slovak surnames listed alphabetically by surname and by Slovak village.

Passenger Lists

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

Czech and Slovak Genealogy Organizations

Czech and Slovak American Genealogy Society of Illinois
PO Box 313
Sugar Grove, Illinois 60554
Membership and book sales: dolly1939@aol.com
Other inquiries: csagsi.jitka@gmail.com
website: www.csagsi.org/

Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International
PO Box 16225
St. Paul, Minnesota 55116-0225
tel.: 651-964-2322
e-mail: info@cgsi.org
website: www.cgsi.org

Moravian Heritage Society
6N432 Oakwood Dr.
Saint Charles, IL 60174
e-mail: avcint@sbcglobal.net
website: www.czechusa.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
website: http://www.czechtexas.org

Slovak Heritage and Folklore Society International
151 Colebrook Drive
Rochester, New York 14617-¬2215
tel: 716-342-¬9383
e-mail: helenezx@aol.com
website: www.iarelative.com/shfsinfo.htm

Slovak Surname Location Reference Project (Slovak SLRP)
P.O. Box 31831
Cleveland, Ohio 44131-0831
fax:: 216-642-8954
e-mail: jhornack@rampant.com
website: http://www.slovakinstitute.com/

Biographical Resources


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

South Dakota

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

We’re Czechs

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

New York

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.”


Tuesday – Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday

Do not hesitate to contact library staff with any questions you may have!

Library Director:

David Muhlena

(319) 362-8500 x202

Online Catalog

Digital Library

Oral Histories