Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences Collection
This collection contains lectures and papers prepared and organized by the Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU), a prominent organization in exile which brought together scientists and artists originally from Czechoslovakia. It contains unique manuscripts and publications from 1957 to 1977, including the series entitled “The Czechoslovak State Idea 1938-1948”. The authors of these papers were important representatives from the Czech and Slovak community in exile – former politicians and diplomats from before the Communist coup of 1948.
Archivní 2257/4, 149 00 Praha 4 - Chodovec, Czech Republic
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Name of collection
- Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences
Provenance and cultural activities
The materials deposited in the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences USA collection date back to the USA in the second half of the 20th century. This society was founded in the USA in 1958 and brought together important members of the Czech and Slovak community in exile with the objective of spreading information about the fate of free Czechoslovak science and art to the world. One of its first projects was a series of lectures entitled "The Czechoslovak State Idea 1938-1948", which was proposed and organized by the working group of the Society of Arts and Sciences in Washington as part of its programme for collecting materials on recent Czechoslovak history. Thanks to Petr Kolář and Vilém Prečan from the Institute of Contemporary History of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, the materials were transferred to Czechoslovakia in 1991.In 2011, the collection was transferred from the Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences to the National Archives, where it is now stored (2018). The official name of the collection is the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, USA. The collection is administrated by the 6th Department of Non-State Provenance Fonds and Archival Collections and is accessible to researchers. The materials have not yet been used by the institution for exhibitions or publications.
In terms of its content, the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences USA collection is unique amongst Czech archives. It includes a large amount of written material which has never been published and represents a unique testimony not only of historians, but also of those who held important political functions from 1938 to 1948 and who were forced to emigrate after the communist coup in Czechoslovakia in February 1948. Lectures took place approximately once a month, followed by discussions. Each of the speakers submitted their papers which were then stored in the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences archive together with an audio recording of the meeting. The documents deposited in this archive were collected between 1957 and 1977. Therefore, these are valuable historical sources on Czechoslovakia and the Czechoslovak community in exile.
Description of content
The Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences USA collection mainly contains manuscripts (typescripts, photocopies, prints, book publications) from lectures organised by the society from 1957 to 1967. The majority of the lectures were part of the series “The Czechoslovak State Idea 1938-1948”. The collection also contains the correspondence between representatives in Washington DC and Prague which preceded the transfer of the collection itself – specifically between J. G. Polach, who represented the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, and the director of the Institute of Contemporary History of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Vilém Prečan. The collection includes manuscripts written by participants in the anti-Nazi resistance during the Second World War such as Jaroslav Drábek Jr and J. G. Polach; Ladislav Feierabend, a minister of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile in London during the Second World War; Juraj Slavik, a former ambassador to Poland; and Arnošt Heidrich, a former diplomat. Amongst the documents we can also find photocopies of handwritten letters by the first Czechoslovak president, T. G. Masaryk, and his son and later foreign minister, Jan Masaryk.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 10-99
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 10-99
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 0-9
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- visits by appointments
Author(s) of this page
- Müller, Dorota
- Rajlová, Lucie
Společnost pro vědy a umění. 2017. “Společnost pro vědy a umění.“ Accessed August 8. https://www.svu2000.org/.
Zprávy SVU, Vol. 1959–1977.
Národní archiv. 2017. “Národní archiv v retrospektivě.“ Accessed August 8. https://www.nacr.cz/o-nas/narodni-archiv-v-retrospektive/.
Wikipedia. 2017. ”Jaroslav Drábek.“ Accessed August 8. https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaroslav_Dr%C3%A1bek.
Drábek, Jan. 2016. Dva životy Vladimíra Krajiny. Praha: Toužimský & Moravec.
Rechcígl, Miloslav ml. Pro vlast. Padesát let Společnosti pro vědy a umění (SVU). Praha: Academia 2012.
Wikipedia. 2017. ”Petr Kolář (diplomat).” Accessed August 8. https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petr_Kol%C3%A1%C5%99_(diplomat).
Národní archiv, fond Společnosti pro vědy a umění, USA, karton č. 1, sign. A3, Jaroslav Drábek – Příspěvek k historii počátku československého odboje.
Drábek, Jaroslav and Jan Drábek et al. 1992. Z časů dobrých i zlých. Praha: Naše vojsko.