Bohemian Home for the Aged and Orphanage
The September 2007 publication of our society's journal, Koreny, contained one of the best summaries of the Bohemian Home for the Aged and Orphanage. That article, written by Paul Nemecek, is below. Following the article are newspaper articles related to Paul's summary, and Internet resources also related to the topic.
Chicago’s Bohemian Old People’s Home and Orphanage
Submitted by Paul Nemecek
Koreny – September 2007
The first idea for an orphanage or a home for the aged did not originate in Chicago. The initiative came from Max Kirchman of Wahoo, Nebraska, while serving as a delegate to the 7th Convention of the C.S.P.S. (the parent society of the present CSA Fraternal Life), being held in Chicago in July 1880. He recommended that an endeavor be made to establish an orphanage for children of Czech parentage.
In a newspaper report in April 1881, a meeting was called of the Pilsen Literary Society in Chicago to decide whether or not a Czecho-Slovak Orphanage in the United States should be founded. The Pilsen Literary Society members took great pleasure in discussing and advancing all important matters of community interest. The meeting was brought to order by the Literary Society’s chairman, Mr. Lajer. After a lengthy debate a resolution was adopted that the expenses involved in maintaining an orphanage are so great that it is impossible for Chicago Bohemians to attend to a building of a National Orphanage. Josef Bartos, a Bohemian with strong feelings about the establishment of an orphanage however, declared in the local Chicago Czech newspaper (Svornost) that “so there may be a beginning to the collection of funds, my wife and I will give fifty dollars for the establishment of a Czecho-Slovak Orphanage in America. I will forward this money as soon as I find out that a committee has met and where the money should be sent.”
A second recommendation was submitted by Vaclav Snajdr (C.S.P.S. member) in Cleveland, in 1891, calling for the construction of a home for aged settlers of Czech ancestry without a means of support. He wrote several articles in the publication of the C.S.P.S. Society (Organ Bratslva) and in the Cleveland weekly, Dennice Novoveku, which provided a great deal of discussion and became the subject of many articles which appeared in the Chicago Czech language newspapers. The Dennice Novoveku was also the official publication of the Jednota Ceskych Dam (Unity of Czech Ladies) so the Unity members also became interested in the proposed institution.
Shortly before his death a Chicago brewmaster, Peter Schoenhoffer, established a legacy of $3,000 with a proviso that it be used for a charitable purpose among the Czech people within a period of three years. This generous bequest inspired Max Kirchman, who had since moved to Chicago, to work even harder. Through his initiative the Supreme Lodge of the C.S.P.S. issued an appeal (February 5, 1893) for cooperation in a humanitarian project which, if achieved, would serve as a source of comfort for the forsaken. The appeal read, “Your goal is our goal. We are all bound to perform some good. For years we have considered a Fraternal Orphanage a magnanimous thought. At the present time the public is interested in establishing a home for the aged. The time has arrived when those who are able should willingly share their harvest with those less fortunate.”
The response to the appeal was tremendous. It had fallen at a time when feeling for this project was ripe. The Supreme Lodge of C.S.P.S. issued a call for an organizational meeting, which was held on April 9, 1893. A Total of 128 delegates attended, representing 33 C.S.P.S. lodges, 114 J.C.D. chapters, 8 Sokol units, 5 Taborite Society, 5 C.S.B.P.J., 7 Czech Foresters, and other Czech free-thinking societies.
The following temporary officers were elected: Joseph Matousek, president; Robert L. Pitte, secretary; Max Kirchman, financial secretary. A committee of 15 was elected to implement the founding of a home for the aged or an orphanage, as they judged best. However, the committee was instructed to give preference to the consideration of founding a home for the aged.
The committee visited Glenwood Orphanage for Boys and the Altheim Home for the Aged, and on April 26, 1893 submitted its recommendation that a home for Czech men and women be founded, setting its goal at $10,000. Between $6,000 and $10,000 would be used to purchase a farm.
For the next several years committees methodically inspected sites in Starke County, Indiana, Des Plaines, Blue Island, Bensenville, Cary, and Willow Springs, Illinois for a piece of property. The 43 acre Henry Heuer farm in Bensenville was purchased on November 8, 1895 at a price of $5,150.
It did not take long for the officers of the home to realize that the location was far too distant for relatives to visit, so they began looking for land closer to Chicago. Eventually Anton Pregler, the owner of a bar and picnic grove south of the Bohemian National Cemetery on Crawford Avenue offered to exchange his property for the farm in Bensenville, providing that the trustees would be willing to add an additional $25,000. After a number of meetings with Mr. Pregler, the property was acquired on July 20, 1901, with the cash settlement reduced to $24,000. Mr. Pregler showed exceptional generosity, keeping only his beloved personal items, and turning over to the committee everything else on the property. The home received from him a collection of live animals, hundreds of rabbits and pigeons, thousands of tree, an ice house full of ice, a large amount of hay and various machinery, rare flowers, dished valued at several hundred dollars, bowling alleys in excellent condition, etc.
Worthy of mention is a financial report from August 1901 showing disbursement totaling $32,375 for the new property and receipts (including loans from the Bohemian National Cemetery of $12,000 and Kaspar Bank for $2,000 totaling $31,610.
With the purchase of the Crawford Avenue property (14 acres) a new wave of interest was experienced. Various organizations made sizable contributions and a number of fund raising projects were sponsored among which were concerts which attracted such famous musicians as Bohumir Kryl and Jan Kubelik. In August of 1902 the Grand Lodge of C.S.P.S. submitted a request to the Assembly of Delegates than an orphanage be considered as an addition to the project. The request received strong support. The architectural firm of Rezny, Randak & Charvat was commissioned in 1906 to prepare plans for the building of a home which would house 100 orphans and 100 aged men and women. The plan never materialized. Instead, one of the existing buildings was remodeled to house the orphans.
In 1910 a new building was erected to house 40 residents for the Home for the Aged. This building was a two story building, 50 by 70 feet. The building included a basement with space for a boiler room, a storage room for food, a room for baggage, another for the use of laundry, and also a drying room. Another section of the basement was used as a lounge where the male inmates could gather and chat with each other. Adjoining this room was a similar room for women. The first floor was occupied by the office, a dining room, lavatory and shower rooms, kitchen, and a linen room. The second floor consisted of sleeping rooms. The building was fitted to house from 20 to 24 women and 20 to 24 men. Five years later three story structure (108 by 96 feet) facing Crawford Avenue was built for 160 residents (80 boys, 80 girls). The boys’ and girls’ quarters were separated, and the children met only in the dining room. The total cost of the completed structure was seventeen thousand dollars. The building plans were designed by Anton Charvat, architect,; the contractors were Rusy and Rezny; the bricklaying was done by Frank Pitrov and his men; the carpentry work was done by Joseph Strnad and Sons; the plumbing work by Stanley J. Loula. Everything was arranged as to make life pleasant for the orphans and comfortable for the old folks. The price for the new building would have been much more but most of the materials were purchased at cost price. The donation of materials also brought down the cost.
An interesting report from a committee of doctors sent by the Spolek Ceskych Lekaru (Bohemian Medical Society) of Chicago in 1921 reads as follows: “The buildings, the bedrooms, the beds, the dining room, and the ice box in which the provisions are kept, are kept clean and in good condition. As far as the buildings, equipment, and maintenance are concerned, the committee has nothing to censure. From the standpoint of safety it is recommended to dispose of the cows and buy milk. The children should be given milk instead of coffee. Sixty quarts of milk should be used daily in the orphanage. The children should get more fresh fruit and vegetables; meat should be served only twice a week.”
Another report of the Manager of the Old People’s Home and Orphanage in 1922 stated: “You may well believe me when I say that it is a difficult task to control the comings and goings of our youngsters, there being different hours set for school attendance and different hours for their return from school. Thus there is a constant traffic between 8 A.M. and 5 P.M. The classes in Czech (language and history) are in need of adjustments. Our youngsters are rather lackadaisical when it comes to attending those classes. I believe however, that the situation may be greatly improved and that a love for the Czech tongue and the Czech school may be inculcated. Gymnastic exercises are likewise being engaged in, and fity one pupils attend the Sokol Rozvoj (Development); the smaller children stay at home where they also have an opportunity to drill. The classes in embroidery are also in progress. One may hear the strains of music resounding through the Utulna a Sirotcinec (Old People’s Home and Orphanage). At nine in the evening silence reigns throughout. Everybody is in deep slumber. But to be sure I make the rounds through the dormitories; here and there I inspect the pockets of the boys to see whether they conceal some forbidden article.”
For the next four decades the Bohemian Old Peoples Home and Orphan Asylum was concerned with raising funds to retire debt and administer to the well being of its charges. By 1950 the responsibilities of operating an orphanage became so complex, due to many changes in the law, that it was decided to discontinue its operation.
In 1951 the first annex to the Old People’s Home was built, and in 1953 separate living quarters were built for the Superintendent of the Home. In 1956 a second section of the annex was added. These new accommodations were built at a cost of approximately one half million dollars. Five years late the John T. Chrasta Infirmary was built with the help of a gift of $150,000 from this great philanthropist. Hulka Hall, a later addition to the complex, was dedicated in 1967.
For three quarters of a century men and women and various Czech groups and societies have given freely of their time and money to build and maintain the Bohemian Home for the Aged and the Bohemian Orphanage. Cook County Juvenile Court also provided financial help for the children they sent to the orphanage.
A particular group, the Bohemian Orphanage Ladies’ Auxiliary, took for its purpose the task of working in the interest of children of the orphanage. The annual report of the auxiliary for 1920 given by Mrs. Marie J. Novak stated: A bunco party was arranged with the following result. Received for tickets and gifts, $541.60, for a picture donated by Mr. J. H. Novak, $107.25 for an umbrella donated by Mr. M.H. Jelinek, $20.50 for a cake donated by Mrs. J.R. Psenka, $8. The total receipts amounted to $677.35 with expenses of only $13.
On another occasion in 1922, the residents of the Sirotcinec (orphanage) – 36 boys and 20 girls were taken by Miss Anna Lorenz, their nurse, to see a ball game at Cubs Park, and all expenses associated with this were born by Mr. Otto Pelikan, Mr. Frank Kohout and Mr. Anton J. Cermak. These gentlemen also provided refreshments for the children.
The Board of Directors of the Bohemian Home for the Aged, in 1992, embarked on establishing Tabor Hills, a 52 acre site in Naperville, Il as a new location for the home. It was their desire to provide a state of the art nursing home in connection with an attractive retirement community. The first residents moved into Tabor Hills in the spring of 1995. People of all nationalities and backgrounds are welcome here.
Denni Hlasatel – May 24, 1901
The Old People’s Home Near the Bohemian National Cemetery
The efforts of all countrymen in Chicago to have the home located near the outskirts of Chicago, so that it could be easily reached, were realized yesterday afternoon. The directors of the home, through their fully empowered representatives, Jan Pech and Jan Visko, arranged for the purchase of the property, belonging to the well known countryman Anton Pregler, which is located near the Bohemian National Cemetery.
This change will surely be welcomed by every one with great satisfaction, as the Bensenville, Ill. site for the home, which was located in Du Page county, because of the great distance and bad travel connections did not please anyone. The directors of the home, in the belief, that if the site for the home were closer to Chicago, the entire undertaking would be looked upon more favorably, looked about for a suitable site.
Anton Pregler offered to sell his property for this purpose, several years ago, asking at that time $40,000, but as the price asked seemed to be too high, further discussion was held on the matter by the directors in private, until last Thursday, when the directors again began negotiating with Mr. Pregler. He was willing to sell his entire property to the directors of the home for $32,000, but was unwilling to accept as part payment the property which the home held in Bensenville, Ill. The directors of the home, however, did not allow this objection to defeat their purpose of purchasing a suitable site, and immediately sent Mr. Pech and Mr. Viska to negotiate with Mr. Pregler, It was finally agreed that Mr. Pregler would turn his property over to the home for $24,000, and in addition he was to receive the Bensenville property of the home, which is valued at about $9,000.
Wednesday, a special meeting of the board of directors was called and it was decided, unanimously, to accept the offer and buy the property from Mr. Pregler.
Yesterday the deal was closed, and according to it, Anton Pregler, together with his wife, turn their property over to the board of directors of the home and receive for it the home property in Bensenville and $24,000, of which $1,000, each $500, they donate toward the building funds of the home.
The directors of the home have on hand about $8000, so they need about $13,000 more in order to pay the required amount of the transaction and this they expect to borrow from the National Cemetery to which surely none of the representatives of that body will be opposed.
The home will receive the Pregler property "as is" with the exception of the personal property of the seller.
The change will assure the success of the home for all lodges and clubs and women's committees will again work with feverish activity, to hurry the final realization of the undertaking.
Denni Hlasatel – June 6, 1901
Meeting of Bohemian National Cemetery Association
Yesterday's meeting of the Bohemian National Cemetery Association advanced the undertaking of the Old People's Home, when it was decided to loan the Directors of the Home, sufficient money to complete the purchase of the site which was selected.
The Board of Directors of the Home in a letter, which was accompanied by the Directors, requested a loan of $15,000 from the National Cemetery for the purpose of paying for the newly purchased Pregler property. After a lengthy debate, which was participated in by various representatives, it was resolved to loan the money to the Board of Directors of the Home on a first mortgage, payable after 5 years, with 4 per cent interest. Accepted: 20 votes for, 5 against. In addition the Cemetery Association will purchase from the Home $5,500 worth of Bonds.
Denni Hlasatel – June 7, 1901
The Old People’s Home
A magnificent pavillion for our Old People's Home, in the beautiful neighborhood of the National Cemetery, a favorite place visited mostly by Bohemians, and therefore the most suitable, is already assured. The National Cemetery Association, in Wednesday's meeting, took such action as was expected by all reasonable countrymen. It resolved, by an overwhelming majority, to loan to the Home the necessary sum, to enable it to pay Mr. Pregler the purchase price of his property. In this manner relieving the Home of the necessity of seeking a loan from a bank or other financial institution, spending money while doing so and paying high interest rates. The National Cemetery will lose nothing by this, but will gain, because the increased favor of the public will be significant compensation for the slight difference in interest rates.
The money, which will be loaned, will be secured in safety by the property of the Home. The property of Mr. Pregler, which the Home will acquire, has a value of at least $60,000, and the National Cemetery Association will receive a first mortgage on this valuable property, for making the loan. It now remains for our public to earnestly endeavor to reduce the indebtedness of the Home, in order that our old people may in a few years be accommodated in a refuge, satisfying all human needs, in the healthful, cheerful and beautiful neighborhood, surrounding the National Cemetery. They should work toward this end as societies and as individuals. Every society among us ought to send a representative to the Home Board, it should be remembered to take up collections for the benefit of the Home, at all entertainments and picnics, the clear receipts of all entertainments should be donated in whole or in part to the treasury of the Home. In this manner we will 3benefit not only our aged and worn countrymen, but the entire nationality. We will have the respect of all reasoning people, when we shall have proven that we care for our aged people, and that we practice a true interest in, and a love for our fellowman.
Whoever honors himself, receives honor from others. This applies to individuals as well as nationalities.
Denni Hlasatel – June 14, 1901
The Home Takes Over Property
Yesterday afternoon, the Committee for the Bohemian Old People's Home, arrived at Mr. Pregler's place to take over the property. Mr. Pregler showed exceptional generosity to our humanitarian undertaking. He kept only his beloved personal collection, and turned over to the committee, everything else in the hostelry. The committee, which very carefully inventoried everything appraised the value of these articles, which Mr. Pregler left, at over $4,000. Mr. Pregler could have kept for himself very easily, articles valued at more than $1,000. Because he did not do so, he is deserving of full recognition by the Bohemian public. The Home received from him a collection of live animals, hundreds of rabbits and pigeons, thousands of trees, an ice-house full of ice, a large amount of hay and various machinery, rare flowers, dishes valued at several hundred dollars, bowling alleys in excellent conditions, etc.
Everything which Mr. Pregler called his own thus far, became the property of the Home yesterday. The committee which took over the property was composed of: Mrs. Sulove and Mrs. Liskove and Mr. Pech, Kacina, Minarik and Topinka. A manager for the property will be appointed as soon as possible and it is expected that the Bohemian public will visit the Home in large numbers and that it will support it in every way possible.
Denni Hlasatel – January 21, 1904
Old People’s Home and Orphanage
That the idea of building a home for our aged people and an orphanage for our orphans has at last been accepted everywhere was best demonstrated by yesterday's annual meeting of the representatives of that body, held in the lower hall of the Bohemian American Liberal School. In spite of yesterday's inclement weather, the meeting was numerously attended, more so than we are accustomed to seeing. In honor to the ladies, it must be said that they outnumbered the men, though the men were well represented.
The meeting was brought to order by the chairman of the association, Mrs. Liska, at 8 o'clock in the evening. Nearly all the newly elected representatives were present at the meeting and immediately inducted into the association. Various gifts were then announced, some of which were really remarkable.
Mr. Ant. Zahrobsky turned in a check for two hundred dollars from the Garden City: Brewing company.
Officers for the coming year were then elected. Mr. Eugene Frydl was elected chairman; 2Mrs. Liska, vice-chairman; Mr. Vaclav Klenka, secretary; Mr. Jos. Bozovsky, treasurer. The following were elected to the managing committee: Messrs. Jos. Smejkal. A. Charvat, Jan Pech, Ant. Zahrobsky, and Vojt. Suchy. The auditing committee is composed of Messrs. Matejka, Janda, and Skarda.
The meeting was then adjourned.
Denni Hlasatel – October 3, 1904
Meeting of the Executive Board of the Home and Orphanage
The executive committee of the Home and Orphanage met yesterday afternoon after a long recess. It was the first meeting since February 10.
Of course, we gladly forgive the committee for this long period of rest because by yesterday's meeting it proved to us, that although it has long been inactive, it is now taking up with renewed vigor the large amount of work which has accumulated during that time. The executive committee has done much for this national undertaking of ours in the short time of its existence; in fact it has pushed everything so far forward that what seemed to be in the immeasurable future is rapidly approaching accomplishment, and there is no doubt that if the committee continues to work as it has heretofore done, the building of the Home is only a question of a short time. Of course, everything depends upon the liberality of our people, but the committee can go ahead with full confidence on that score, because this liberality has already been proved so often that there is no doubt that it will again be manifested. To judge by the course of yesterday's meeting, we can expect that work will now be energetically begun, and that agitation in behalf of the undertaking will be extended among all classes of our people.
On the premises of the Bohemian-American Free Thought School on 18th Street a number of ladies and gentlemen, members of the committee, assembled yesterday and deliberated all afternoon on the most fitting manner in which to initiate the new enterprise. The meeting was presided over by Mr. Charvat. Jan Viska acted as secretary. It was resolved to accept the proposal of Judge [A. J.] Sabath that a bazaar be arranged for, to be held either in February or in March, to surpass by its originality all those that have thus far been organized. All Bohemian societies will be invited to participate. An entertainment committee of seven was elected, whose duty it will be to arrange all the entertainments given for the benefit of the Home.
The members of the executive committee came to the decision yesterday that it would be well to follow the advice given to it last year by Mr. [Charles J.] Vopicka, and therefore a committee was elected to visit Mr. Vopicka and invite him to do what he promised, that is, to arrange for the organization of a club which will promote the undertaking among the general public. It was also decided that one of the lots donated by Mr. F. Zajicek some time ago be placed on raffle. For this purpose two thousand lottery tickets will be sold at twenty-five cents each. There is no doubt that the tickets will readily be disposed of, for not only is the opportunity to win a valuable building lot offered, but by paying that twenty-five cents every purchaser of a ticket will have the knowledge that he has contributed his mite to a philanthropic undertaking. After giving expression to many very well considered reflections and opinions, the meeting adjourned. We hope that we shall soon hear the best possible reports about the activities of the executive committee.
Denni Hlasatel – September 22, 1910
Monthly Meeting of the Orphanage and Old People’s Home Association
Promptly at 8 o'clock yesterday evening the regular monthly meeting of the Orphanage and Old Peoples Home Association convened, with Mr. Pecha as chairman, in the lower hall of the Bohemian Liberal School on west 18th street.
Mr. Vlaciha, the secretary, sent his regrets for his absence, caused by illness, and Mr. Bolek acted in his stead as temporary secretary. The minutes of the previous meeting of September 17, 1910, were read and approved of.
At the request of the president the delegates present arose in respect to the memory of one of the deceased delegates, Mr. Prybl, who was a benefactor of the Orphanage and Old People's Home Association. The delegates also extended their heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved widow.
A communication was read from Vratislav Lodge No. 51 C. S. P. S. (Czecho-Slovak 2Benevolent Association) requesting the admission of Anna Trnka, who recently arrived from the old homeland, Bohemia, and will contribute the sum of $1,250. The matter was deferred for further investigation.
Svornost Lodge requests the admission of one of its members, Mr. Frank Syndilk, who has no property but has an insurance policy for $1,000 and is willing to make the Old People's Home Association the beneficiary. His sister is the present beneficiary. Therefore a resolution was moved and adopted that Mr. Syndilk should first have the policy changed to make the Old People's Home Association the beneficiary, and that then he should be admitted to the Old People's Home. Otherwise it will be his sister's duty to care for him.
America Lodge brought to the attention of the body of delegates that this Orphanage was built exclusively for orphans, and that it was not intended to admit children who have a father or mother unless one of the parents is able to pay for their care. This led to a heated discussion. It was resolved that for the present no change in policy shall be made, and that as heretofore each individual case shall be brought before the assembly of delegates and be acted upon accordingly.
Mr. John Vopicka made a request for admission to the Old People's Home, but since he has two sons who should be able to care for him, this matter was referred to the Bohemian Charitable Association for investigation, which will see to it that the two sons provide for their 72-year-old father.
Joseph Lestina made a request in writing for the admission of his 86-year-old mother and is willing to pay $10 monthly for her care. He gives as reason the fact that he has a family of eight children and has small living quarters, so that his mother would have to lie on the floor. This also led to a heated debate, and it was remarked that the Association does not provide for any one gratis; that inmates must pay for being cared for or will something of value to the Association.
The investigating committee gave a report concerning a five-year-old boy, Frank, the son of Mrs. Anna Stepan, deceased. The boy was born in a maternity hospital and is without relatives. He should be admitted to the Orphanage. Joseph Kloucka's request for admission was tabled for investigation. Mr. Kloucka states that his equity in certain property is in the hands of a bank in Kansas City, Mo., and amounts to $480, and that he has some cash on hand.
The semi-annual report of the Orphanage and Old People's Home Association was read. Resources amount to $67,000, an increase of $5,000 over the total given in the previous annual report.
Receipts were $250, and disbursements $532.45. The Orphanage has twenty-one inmates; the Old People's Home has eighteen inmates, fourteen women and four men.
Denni Hlasatel – January 30, 1912
Special Meeting of the Utulna a Sirotcinec
A special meeting of the Utulna A Sirotcinec (Old Peoples Home and Orphanage) Association was called yesterday for the purpose of approving changes in the bylaws. The amendments are insignificant. Section 5, paragraph 6, which sets forth that every inmate has the privilege to leave if he or she finds that they can no longer remain in the institution. In such cases their deposits, minus a deduction for their support, will be refunded to them. The charge for their support in such cases must not exceed five dollars nor be less than two dollars and fifty cents per week. A further amendment was that wards of the institution are to remain until they are sixteen years of age, instead of fourteen years of age. Section 5, paragraph 4, was amended to read: "This institution may accept as inmates persons having some means of support, if they or their relatives agree to pay the institution an amount such as may be required by the Board of Directors from time to time. This amount may consist of either bequests or cash payments. In the case of bequests, the Board of Directors will have in its keeping all papers relating thereto. These inmates must observe the rules of the institution the same as those who are admitted free of charge. People of sufficient means will not be admitted to the institution without paying for their upkeep." Several ladies moved to amend the bylaws with a provision that no one be elected to the Executive Committee unless they are members of the Association. This motion was directed at the present secretary, Mrs. Maravek, and the financial secretary, Mr. Novak, both of whom were unanimously reelected to office by the Association even though they were not reelected as delegates to the Utulna A Sirotcinec Association. On this subject there ensued a lengthy debate, which was very much out of order, because it ended in a regular vote upon a subject which should not have been discussed at this meeting. In the end, however, the motion was defeated.
The Utulna A Sirotcinec is the property of all the Bohemian people, and there is no reason why any restrictions should be placed upon anyone who wants, and is willing, to work, and who is recognized as capable by the Association. The Utulna A Sirotcinec Association has, and always shall have, the right to elect to office officials whom it recognizes as capable. Mr. Novak started a practical set of books for the Association and performed this work free of charge, because the salary which he receives as financial secretary is not enough to pay for one day of such work. The canvass of the votes cast at the last meeting, in favor of building a tavern on the Utulna A Sirotcinec grounds, or opposed to the undertaking, was postponed to the regular meeting.
Denni Hlasatel – April 4, 1912
A Special Meeting of the Ceska Utulna a Sirotcinec
The Ceska Utulna A Sirotcinec (Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage) held a special meeting Tuesday to consider proposals for improvements on a part of its property called the "Point". The meeting, which was attended by twenty-five representatives, was called to receive the proposals that were expected to result from an invitation that had been issued, but only one came in--that of the Pilsen Brewing Company. The Company proposes to lease the "Point" for twenty-five years and erect on it a building suitable for a restaurant for $12,000 and spend $5,000 for landscaping. If the landscaping should cost more, the difference would be paid by the Utulna.... [Translator's note: There follows a detailed description of the contract offered by the Pilsen Brewing Company.]
After a long debate the proposal was accepted, nineteen representatives voting for the proposal, one against, and four representatives of women's organizations abstaining from voting.
As we have pointed out several times in our previous issues, the matter of improving the property had been taken up only in order to insure a permanent and reliable source of revenue for the Utulna. It certainly is to be regretted that a majority of women's organizations have been against this proposal, and that they had caused a rift in the body by having recalled their representatives from the two most recent meetings.....
The whole affair could have been brought to an end a long time ago if all representatives had cared to consider it from a practical point of view.
Denní Hlasatel -- December 28, 1912
The Ceska Utulna a Sirotcinec
Since the old year is rapidly coming to a close, it may be advisable to make the Bohemian Freethinking people somewhat better acquainted with two of our most important charitable institutions in Chicago--the Ceska Utulna A Sirotcinec (Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage)--and their work.
These institutions are located on North 40th and Foster Avenues. The gounds cover about ten acres, and the buildings are rather new. The original building for the Old People's Home now houses the Orphanage, which has about thirty inmates at the present time. In addition to the children's quarters, the offices of the organization and rooms for the help, etc., are located there.
Then there is the older building which is used as a home for old men and women, of whom there are now about twenty Adjacent to these two, there are a number of other buildings used exclusively by the institutions, such as an icehouse, a woodshed, a barn where three cows are kept, etc. The institutions have a large garden, and a small patch where vegetables are raised.
All of this equipment is owned by a body known as the Sbor Utulny A Sirotcince (Board of the Old People's Home and Orphanage), consisting of representatives of our Free Thought societies, such as lodges of the Cesko-Slovanske Podporujici Spolky (Bohemian-Slavonic Benevolent Societies), the Cesko-Slovanska Jednota (Bohemian-Slavonic Unity), the Cesko-Americti Lesnici A Lesnice (Bohemain-American [men and women] Foresters), the Taboriti (Taborites), the Jednota Ceskych Dam (Bohemian Women's Unity), the Sesterska Podporujici Jednota (Benevolent Sisterhood), the Sokols, workingmen's organizations, and other societes, bodies and associations, educational clubs, singing societies, etc. In addition to these bodies--which are all "members" of the institutions--there are many individuals who are also members. The Sbor Utulny A Sirotcince is incorporated in the State of Illinois and consequently is subject to all Illinois. laws governing such institutions.
The purpose of this corporation is to give shelter to old men and women of 3Bohemian nationality who, through no fault of their own, have become destitute, and to furnish education, board, and shelter to Bohemian orphans.
The member organizations select the men (or women) who will represent them as members of the board. These representatives meet once a month and elect their officers at the annual meeting. These officers are: chairman, secretary, financial secretary, and treasurer. In addition to these, the representatives elect seven members who, together with the four officers, comprise the socalled "Predsednictvo" (Presidium) [a body comparable to and perhaps best translated as "executive committee"] of eleven members, whose duty it is to supervise all activities of the body, conduct its accounting, take care of all needs of the institutions, and execute all actions agreed upon by the representatives in their meetings.
In addition to this executive committee, an investigations committee of five members is elected whose duty it is to investigate applications for admission to the institutions and to report its findings to the representatives. The representatives then decide on the action to be taken in each individual case.
Other committees are the accounting committee, which audits the books twice a year, and the propaganda committee, whose duty it is to seek new sources of income for the institutions.
From the organization's set-up, it is evident that no small group of individuals or any clique can decide on admissions, and that in all actions of any importance, the decision is in the hands of all representatives.
The trouble is that the institutions are not large enough to be in a position to make a favorable decision on each application received. Thus, the board of representatives is occasionally criticized and wrongly accused of making arbitrary decisions.
The board recently applied for a new charter for the orphanage in order to be able to take advantage of the so-called Industrial Law. Once this new charter is secured, the county will have to pay the orphanage ten dollars monthly for every boy and fifteen dollars for every girl, that is for those boys and girls who are orphans and whose parents were citizens of the State of Illinois and the County of Cook.
Before the kind of charter the board has applied for is issued, the State of Illinois makes a very thorough investigation of the institution. The State sent an inspector, Mr. Chas. Wirden, to the Utulna a Sirotcinec, and it was most enlightening to watch his methods.
First he called together all officers and members of the executive committee and submitted them to a long questioning. They had to give a history of the orphanage, the way it is managed, what its income is, how it is derived, as well as detailed information concerning everything in connection with the institution. Then Mr. Wirden explained what improvements must be made, what the board must avoid, and offered many useful suggestions. The next day he came at 6:30 in the morning, had breakfast with the children, and stayed for dinner in order to see what they are fed. He wanted to see what kind of luncheon they take along to school. He paid close attention to all safety measures; state of cleanliness, appearance of the whole institution, the children's health, dress, and beds. He wanted to know whether the children are taught to love work, and he asked questions about everything in and connected with the orphanage.
After all this, he stated that we have a model, well run institution, and that as far as he is concerned, we can expect that the commission which issues these charters will receive the best recommendation for our orphanage.
The reason for this care is the fact that there are many similar institutions run purely for profit. Such institutions take in many orphans and get the county's subsidy for their support. Then, for example, a farmer comes and asks for a strong boy whom he could adopt. The institution gives him such a boy, but the county keeps on paying for him. The farmer buys him a pair of shoes for a dollar or so, a cheap suit of clothes, puts the boy to work, and saves the expense of a farm hand, to whom he would have to pay thirty dollars a month. Or, a lady comes and desires to take into her home a girl to whom she would like to give an education. But this education consists mostly of laundry work, scrubbing floors, etc., and the lady has a maid for nothing. This I mention only as a warning to our people and organizations, because such orphanages have many well-paid agents who go around soliciting contributions for their "charitable" institutions.
Our Utulna A Sirotcinec, because of the way they are managed and conducted, because of the supervision they are receiving from our member organizations, are two institutions that deserve complete confidence and general support.
In recent years, various orders of so-called "Good Fellows" were being organized among the American people. The members of these Good-Fellow organizations pledge to do good deeds of one kind or another. It is a pleasure to 8know that we have such "Good Fellows" among us also. One of them is certainly the Cesky Narodni Hrbitov (Bohemian National Cemetery) with its $500 contributions. Another is the Damsky Odbor Ceske Besedy (Ladies' Auxiliary of the Bohemian Club), which is helpful to the orphans in various ways. There is also the Dobrocinny Krovzek Dam Ceske Kalifonia (California Ladies' Benevolent Circle), and the Spolek Plzenskych Rezniku (Pilsen Butchers' Association), which has already donated two cows to the institution, besides other valuable gifts.
Mr. Jas. Vasumpaur's donation of a gramophone has afforded many a gay hour for the orphans. Would that we had more such good fellows among us, because they may be assured that every donation goes to the right place and is properly used.
In closing, I should like to give my readers an idea of the institutions' yearly financial requirements. We spend about $2,500 for meats and groceries, $600 for light and heat, and $1,040 for the pay roll. Other expenses, such as 9medicines and medical services, clothes, furniture, etc., raise the total to about $6,000.
The Sbor Utulny A Sirotcince expresses its thanks for the following donations: To Mr. Jas. Vasumpaur for a gramophone valued at approximately $85; the Fulton Market Company for six geese for the Thanksgiving Day dinner; Mr. Jan. Svoboda, owner of the Grand Leader, for a swing for the children; Mr. Jindra's grocery store for a branch of bananas; the girls of the Carter Harrison Technical High School for assorted linen of their own making; Chas. Novak and Company for six sets of water colors and brushes. All of these generous donors have not only the board's gratitude, but also the gratitude of the inmates of the institutions who have enjoyed their donations immensely. The Sbor Utulny A Sirotcince is thankful for any and all help given to the institutions and pledges again to devote itself honestly and lovingly to the care of our destitute old people and orphans, an increasing number of whom have sent in their applications recently.
We have been receiving complaints from out-of-town member organizations to the 10effect that they miss news and reports concerning our institutions. Since it is impossible for us to send out our reports all over America, I am requesting Bohemian Freethinking newspapers in America to publish this article. Greetings!
For the Sbor Utulny A Sirotcince,
Jos. Trnka, Secretary,
2866 Woodard Street,
Denni Hlasatel – October 22, 1917
Annual Inspection of the Orphanage and Old People’s Home
Inspections of the Bohemian Orphanage and Old People's Home have become customary events. This year, however, the new building, which was erected and equipped exclusively for the orphans, was exhibited before the members of the sponsoring association. We may state at the outset that the visitors viewed the new edifice with pride, because it was the result of hard work on the part of the friends and protectors of the institution and members of the managing committee. Needy orphans of our community will be given a comfortable home and the proper care they have been wanting.
The addition has placed a heavy burden upon the shoulders of the association, and the Chicago Czech public should help to pay off the debt by generous contributions. For if this burden is lightened, those warm friends who work for the maintenance of the Orphanage will be in a better position to devote their time and energy to the humanitarian cause.
There are eighty-one wards in the Orphanage now, and prospects indicate that this number will be considerably increased in the near future, for applications are arriving constantly. Almost every member of our community is acquainted with the origin and growth of the Orphanage, so that we may restrict our report to a description of the standards by which it is governed.
The visitor is impressed at the very threshold by the friendly atmosphere created by the spaciousness, simplicity, and usefulness of the interior which promises to be a veritable treasure box of comfort for the poor little ones whom an untoward fate has driven into the children's asylum. Our impression was strengthened by the appearance of the boys and girls when they assembled in the main hall. They did not look at all like children from an orphanage. They had ruddy cheeks and lustrous eyes in which youthful, impish joy sparkled. Their good looks and mirthful behavior gave vivid proof of the efficiency of the guardians who strive to make up for the lack of parental love by reasonable, gentle treatment. In the evenings the children are allowed to express their wishes or complaints to Mr. Otto Dusek, the warden, or Mrs. Augusta Dusek, the matron. The children take ample advantage of this house rule and never fail to get a hearing, no matter how manifold or trifling their desires may appear to be.
The main floor of the new building houses the office, dining room, kitchen, boilerhouse, and refrigerating plant with equipment. On the second floor a dormitory for the boys is on one side and one for the girls on the other side of the main assembly hall. On the third floor there are additional bedrooms for boys and girls which are separated by the rooms of the industrial school.
The visitors assembled in the big hall where they were welcomed by Mr. Vojtech (Adalbert) Suchy, chairman of the board of representatives of the Orphanage Association. A little girl named Kuntova recited a Czech poem, and another girl, M. Nebozka, also a ward of the institute, recited a poem "Incident of the French Camp" in English. A one-act play was given in which Miss Klecka, assisted by senior wards, played the leading role. Perhaps the most lively interest was evoked by a tableau in which junior wards appeared, representing the months of the year. Boys and girls were dressed to correspond with the colors and moods prevailing in the various months, and they sang tunes befitting the seasons. Several comic scenes enacted by the juvenile members furnished an exhilarating background for the entertainment.
Mrs. Marie Liska implored the audience not to forget the Orphanage in these times which are, true enough, not particularly propitious for institutes like this one. It is, she declared, not merely an asylum for children, but a place where the latter are brought up to become true sons and daughters of the Czech people. Mrs. Liska also offered a suggestion which deserves closer consideration: An association which sought to build a hospital for Czechs had to cease its activities because of the war. It has, however, a certain amount of money on hand which might well be used as a fund for a Czech hospital to be built upon some lots owned by the Orphanage.
Mrs. Marie Smrcek appealed to the ladies of the various women's organizations in behalf of the Orphanage. She pointed to a very efficient system adopted by the Jednota Ceskych Dam (Czech Ladies' Unit) which provides for the sale of five-cent stamps, which has netted $550 annually for the benefit of the eighty-one orphans and thirty aged men and women of the Bohemian Old People's Home.(The latter is located in the old building.)
The proposals of the two ladies who excel as untiring workers found great favor with the audience. The visitors then inspected an exhibition of manual and industrial work wrought by the pupils. They proceeded to the 6old building where an infirmary is located, but it was empty. The management is extremely proud of the fact that none of its wards are sick.
A party at which coffee and cakes were served ended the pleasant excursion.
Denni Hlasatel – October 21, 1920
Bohemian Old People’s Home and Orphan Asylum
Yesterday's well-attended meeting of the delegates of the Ceska Utulna a Sirotcinec (Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage) was called to order by the president, Mr. Vojtech Suchy, at the usual hour, and the secretary, Mr. V. K. Soukup, immediately began to read the minutes of the past meeting. These were approved as read. The secretary then read a communication from the Illinois grand committee of the Sesterska Podporujici Jednota (Bohemian Benevolent Sisterhood) announcing that the Sesterska Podporujici Jednota had accepted as an obligations the duty of urging each member to make a voluntary contribution to the Ceska Utulna a Sirotcinec of ten cents a year. The Sesterska Podporujici Jednota sent a check for $709.10 as head tax from 7,091 members. This announcement pleased the attending delegates immensely, and the president remarked how beautiful it would be if all the other Bohemian societies and organizations followed the noble example of the Sesterska Podporujici Jednota. Then, he said, the Ceska Utulna a Sirotcinec, two of our foremost and most needed institutions, which can never be renounced by anybody, would not have to beg for support and eke out a bare existence on alms. But at the same time he expressed a firm hope that all the other Bohemian societies will follow this example and then conditions may become altogether different.....
Mr. V. K. Soukup, temporary warden, reported that at the present time there are seventy-three boys and forty-five girls, altogether one hundred and eighteen inmates, in the Orphan Asylum. In the Old People's Home there are twelve men and sixteen women. Thus there are, in all, 146 inmates in both of these institutions....
Mr. Soukup presented a list of debtors, that is, a list of persons who obligated themselves to pay the expenses of certain inmates and who now, depending upon the leniency of the board of directors, are becoming tardy. A resolution was passed to the effect that all the debtors shall be reminded of their obligations and court action be started against those who remain delinquent.....
Mr. Suchy voiced the opinion that a regular warden should be appointed to fill the office temporarily held by Mr. Soukup. After a brief discussion, the position was offered to Mr. Soukup, who later was appointed as the regular warden of the Ceska Utulna a Sirotcinec. The committee in charge of running the farm reported the following yield: One thousand nine hundred and ten quarts of milk, which amounts to $286.50; seventy dozen eggs, $35.27; eleven spring chickens sold for $11. Total income from the farm in the past month was $333.77. The live stock consists of six milking cows, two heifers, and one calf. There are eighty-five chickens plus a number of spring chickens....
Total receipts of the past month amounted to $5,485.79. Total disbursements amounted to $3,592.70. The total receipts of the tag day held on October 18 were $1,536.42; total disbursements, $79.01; net proceeds, $1,457.41.
Denni Hlasatel – April 22, 1921
The Meeting of the Bohemian Old People’s Home and Orphanage Association of Chicago
In spite of rainy weather, many delegates to the Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage Association assembled yesterday evening to take part in the meeting called to order by Mr. Vojtech Suchy. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read. The secretary, Mrs. Bozena Krabec, then read a number of communications in which various organizations reported their contributions as follows:
The George Washington Lodge No. 22 of the Bohemian-Slavonic Fraternal Society is willing to pay a one-cent head tax for each of its members. The Naceradec and Vicinity Club sends the sum of $10 as a part of the proceeds of a theatrical performance, arranged in Sokol Jonas Hall, April 10, 1921. The Trocnov Court No. 15 of the Bohemian-American Foresters donates the sum of $2 for the purpose of buying musical instruments for the inmates. Mr. J. M. Kralovec sends the sum of $40.22 as the proceeds of a ball arranged by the Dobrovsky Club. The Dobroslava Lodge No. 7 of the Bohemian Ladies' Unity sends the sum of $5.20 as the proceeds of a cake raffle. The Circle of Enthusiasts sends the sum of $6 as the proceeds of a collection undertaken at Mr. Hendereich's place. Mrs. Barbora Zeman sends the sum of $1 for the purpose of buying musical instruments. Mr. Frank Petru sends the sum of $40 as the proceeds of a collection undertaken to honor the memory of his grandfather, to which the following contributed: Mr. Frank Vyhnalek, $6; Mr. Anton Vyhnalek, $6; Mr. Joseph Vyhnalek, $6; Mr. Jacob Vyhnalek, $17; Mr. Frank Petru, $5. The Karolina Svetla Lodge No. 17 of the Bohemian Ladies' Unity sends the sum of $10 to honor the memory of Sister Otilie Kolar. The Svatopluk Cech Court No. 30 of the Bohemian-American Foresters sends the sum of $5 as its annual contribution. The Czecho-Slavonic Relief Committee donates the sum of $215 for the purpose of buying musical 3instruments for the institution's proposed orchestra.....
The secretary of the board of directors, Mr. Joseph Trnka, then read the minutes of the board of director's meetings held March 24, April 1, and April 12, 1921, as follows:
The meeting of the board of directors of the Sbor Ceske Utulny a Sirotcince was held in the Husuv Jubilejni Dum (John Huss Memorial Building), March 24, at 8 P. M. [Names of directors who attended the meeting are omitted in translation.] The meeting was called for the purpose of holding a conference in regard to securing a new matron and other help for the institution. The meeting was presided over by Mr. A. Charvat; Mr. J. Trnka was the secretary.
The chairman, Mr. Antonin Charvat, presented for consideration the matter 4concerning the existing conditions in the Orphanage, facts that are well known to all members of the board of directors. For instance, because of the incapable personnel, especially the matron, discipline and obedience among the children of the Orphanage slackened to such an extent that in some cases physical punishment had to be inflicted. Inasmuch as such punishment is not expected to restore discipline, the whole matter was placed before the board of directors for consideration. In order to secure a qualified matron and other necessary personnel for the Orphanage, advertisements were placed in our daily newspapers. Answers were received, but none of the applicants met the requirements of the office of matron. A matron should be a woman who can devote all of her time to the institution. All the applications so far received came from women who have their own families to care for. Various propositions of how to secure a qualified person for this office were presented. Finally, through the efforts of Mrs. Urbanek, Mrs. Bozena Krabec agreed to accept the office and will try to restore order and discipline in the Orphanage. It was further proposed and unanimously approved that those inmates who seem to be incorrigible and who would only hinder the restoration of discipline, should be picked out and sent back to their parents or relatives.
It was also announced that a janitor is needed for the Orphanage. Messrs. Charvat and Trnka were authorized to hire a man for this work.....Mrs. Urbanek and members of the so-called house committee were authorized to provide and purchase anything that they think is needed in the Orphanage. Because of the late hour, the chairman adjourned the meeting and further proceedings were deferred to the mext meeting.
The regular meeting of the board of directors of the Sbor Ceske Utulny a Sirotcince was held in the office of the institution on Friday evening, April 1, and was attended by all of the directors. The meeting was presided over by Mr. Charvat; Mr. Trnka was the secretary. The minutes of the 6previous meeting were approved as read. Bills amounting to $2,128.57 were recommended to the board of delegates for approval.
It was resolved to pay out the sum of $246.84 to the Grand Lodge of the Bohemian-Slavonic Union for Marie David, an inmate of the institution, and to continue paying assessments on her one-thousand-dollar life insurance.
A communication received from the Department of Buildings of the City of Chicago, and in which the erection of a stairway and a certain exit in the hospital building is ordered, was referred to the building committee. A communication received from the Chicago Board of Health, with reference to new toilet rooms, was deferred.....
Mrs. Brychta announced that the Ladies' Society of Bohemian California [a Bohemian district of Chicago] bought a quantity of utensils for the institution. Through the efforts of Mrs. Hrisny, the Shedd Park Club arranged a minstrel show in the Orphanage on March 13. It was also brought to the attention of the directors that Mrs. Bozena Krabec cannot, for personal reasons, accept the office of matron.....
The chairman of the Sbor Ceske Utulny a Sirotcince, Mr. Vojtech Suchy, presented a letter sent to him by the chief inspector of orphan asylums in the state of Illinois, Mr. Charles Virden. This gentleman had been invited to inspect our Orphanage, and according to his letter, he was not fully satisfied with the administration of the same. In his letter, he gives several suggestions leading to the improvement of conditions and management of the institution. The contents of the letter were taken into consideration and after a brief debate, it was resolved to follow his suggestions.
The manager of the institution, Mr. V. K. Soukup, then presented his written 8resignation, saying that his health and personal business do not permit him to hold this important office any longer. The resignation of Mr. V. K. Soukup was accepted with the understanding that he will hold this office until a new manager is appointed. It was decided to advertise in our daily newspapers for a new manager, and Messrs. Charvat and Suchy were authorized to interview all the applicants and, if necessary, give them more detailed information. The meeting then was adjourned.
The meeting of the board of directors of the Sbor Ceske Utulny a Sirotcince was held Tuesday evening, April 12, 1921, at the Husuv Jubilejni Dum. [Names of directors who attended the meeting are omitted in translation.] The purpose of this meeting, as was previously agreed, was to read the applications received for the office of manager of the Ceska Utulna a Sirotcinec, and to decide whether or not any of the applications should be accepted. The meeting was presided over by Mr. A. Charvat. He read the many individual applications. Each was taken into consideration and thoroughly discussed. The directors were fully aware of the importance of their task. A decision was finally reached, and Mr. A. Charvat and Mrs. Marie Urbanek were authorized to give a personal interview to one of the applicants, Mr. Jaroslav Bukovsky, who at present time is a reporter for the Denni Hlasatel. If the said applicant meets the requirements of the office of manager of our institutions, he should be appointed as soon as possible. The meeting then adjourned.
To comply with a written request of the board of directors of the Bohemian National Cemetery Association, it was decided to permit all the children of the Orphanage to appear in the Memorial Day program. Several of the women delegates protested against the appointment of Mr. Jaroslav Bukovsky as manager. The chairman promised to investigate the objections. The secretary, Mrs. Bozena Krabec, then announced that this year's tag day for the benefit of the Ceska Utulna a Sirotcinec will fall on Monday, May 23, and that those ladies who will volunteer their services on that day will hold a meeting and be given tags on May 21, in the Pilsen Sokol Hall.
According to the report of a public accountant, receipts of the Ceska Utulna a Sirotcinec during the past year amounted to $41,534.01; disbursements, $32,980.52. Receipts for the month of March totaled $1,903.42; disbursements, $2,338.21. Following several proposals for the benefit of the Association, the meeting adjourned.
Denni Hlasatel – February 16, 1922
Meeting of the Board of Delegates of the Bohemian Old People’s Home and Orphanage)
There was a meeting of the board of delegates of the Ceska Utulna A Sirotcinec (Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage) which took place last evening at eight o'clock in the lower hall of the Cesko-Slovanske Podporujici Spolky (Czecho-Slavonic Benevolent Societies). It was very well attended. The meeting, which began promptly at 8 P. M., was opened by the president, Mr. Vojtech Suchy. [This meeting] marks the beginning of a new season for this charitable institution. After the minutes of the preceding meeting were read by the secretary, Mrs. Bozena Krabec, a motion was made and seconded that they be accepted as read. It appeared from the letters which were read that the Patronat Cesko-Americke Svobodne Skoly (Trustees of Bohemian-American Free Thought Schools) will discontinue the upkeep of its school due to an insufficient number of students; this organization has consequently divided its capital, giving $288.50 to the Utulna A Sirotcinec and a similar amount to the Ceske Sdruzeni Svobodomyslnych Skol (Federation of Bohemian Free Though Schools). The following societies and organizations have chosen their delegates to our board: [There follows a long list of lodges and their delegates.]
All of these delegates were appropriately greeted by the president and asked to work for the good of the Utulna A Sirotcinec. Thereupon, all the incoming bills were presented and read. The bills, totaling $2454.06, were approved by the delegates [and payment was ordered]. Mr. Trnka, as secretary of the executive committee, then read the minutes of the meetings of that body. The minutes revealed the following:
Mr. Bohumil Fiser was re-appointed managing director of the Utulna A Sirotcinec, and Mrs. Fiser was reappointed matron. Mr. Fiser, as the managing director of the institution, was also appointed by the Juvenile court to act as an assistant of that court.
Applications for the acceptance of the following children by the institution were made: Helena Hajek, aged 12 years; Katerina Hajek, aged 8 years; Libuse Hajek, aged 4 years. These children are now under the surveillance of the Probate Court, and a decision had to be made in this meeting whether they are to be accepted by the Utulna A Sirotcinec, and the said court was to be advised accordingly. Their mother is dead and their father is an inmate of the state hospital at Dunning. It was unanimously decided to accept these children and to inform the court about the action.
A blank contract form was submitted [to the delegates for approval]. This document is a legal and binding contract between the board of directors of the Utulna A Sirotcinec and such persons who wish to make applications for the Utulna A Sirotcinec's acceptance of any aged person to whose support they could contribute as relatives or as children. In this document they agree to pay a certain sum of money every month. The document was composed by an experienced lawyer, and since it is of great advantage to us, the form was approved and five hundred copies were ordered printed.
An insurance policy against theft for $1,500, covering the interior of [our] building, and for $1,500, covering the outside of it, was approved. The annual premium for this will be $30. Mesdames Smolar, Gruenwald, and Krabec reported [an incident] relative to the Children's Benefit League. It appears that on the last tag day, an error occurred, and, as some of the members of the said league claim, some of our ladies who tagged the passers-by for the benefit of our Utulna A Sirotcinec, did so on a street corner which was allotted to the members of some other institution; our ladies' committee is now being urged to return the boxes with money collected on that corner. Our ladies assert that they had a full right to tag people on that corner, and that the misunderstanding is the fault of some of the officials of the Children's Benefit League who assigned places to taggers, but who now do not want to acknowledge their own error. Such errors and misunderstandings are said to be quite usual in the aforesaid league, and due to the large number of organizations which are represented in it, they are easily committed. It is necessary [therefore] that our board defend our legal rights with firmness; it was approved that the board take the necessary steps in this direction.
For this year it will be our endeavor to secure as our representatives to the said league such ladies who are well acquainted with the English language and who would thus be enabled to represent the Utulna A Sirotcinec.
The managing director reported that all [our] children have been vaccinated; the medical services as well as the vaccines were furnished by Dr. Allan J. Hruby.....A letter was read from the principal of the school which our children attend. The letter praises the appearance of our children, saying that they are clean, both in their bodies and their wearing apparel, and that he is also satisfied with their progress at school.....The managing director reported our bank deposits, which amount to $13,197.67. As was decided in the previous meeting of the delegates, a reserve fund will be created from the sum of $20,000 and the money will be applied toward the purchase of gilt-edged securities which will bring earnings. These earnings, together with any bequests left us--if not utilized for any other definite purposes--should be deposited in the reserve fund until they reach the sum of $50,000. This matter is to be handled by the board of directors with the full approval of the board of delegates. Current gifts and contributions, however, as well as any other income, may not be used for this proposed reserve fund. This fund, to distinquish it from other funds--such as the clothing fund for children, etc.--shall be known as the reserve fund, and the board of directors may draw upon it only with the full approval of two thirds of the members of the board of delegates who are present in a meeting.....This matter is to be worked out in greater detail by Messrs. Suchy and Charyat.
Mrs. Urbanek reported on the matter of employing a registered nurse for our orphanage. This is also the wish of our Bohemian physicians.....The nurse, Miss Anna Lorenz, is well known by the recommending physicians.....
The president thanked everyone present, all of our institutions and organizations, and the representatives of the Denni Hlasatel and Svornost for their impartial reporting of all matters relative to the Utulna A Sirotcinec. He asked everyone to work unselfishly and thus furnish an example to others in their work. With this address, the memorable meeting came to an end, and we are now on the threshold of a new season and new work for the benefit of our most needy brothers of Czechoslovak origin--the helpless aged people of both sexes and the [unfortunate] orphans.
Denni Hlasatel – May 27, 1922
News from the Bohemian Old People’s Home and Orphanage
Thanks to the well-known Bohemian merchant, Mr. Karel Mrizek, owner of the Atlas Baking Company [a Bohemian business concern], the inmates of the Orphanage of the Ceska Utulna a Sirotcinec (Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage) now have a most excellent radio....Its reception is such that it may be comfortably heard by two hundred people, which is the capacity of our playroom. By his gift, Mr. Mrizek earned our undying gratitude, and we hope to be able to show that gratitude to him when an opportunity arises....The children, who never heard a radio performance before, stood around open-mouthed, wondering from whence the sounds issued. In spite of my explanation, it was hard for them to understand the principles of [this kind of] device; but they were satisfied with the fact that it "sings and plays nicely"....The larger boys now come to me with their requests to listen to it; they want to know the baseball scores particularly. This very fact is of great value to our little sportsmen. Our Sirotcinec has its own Sox baseball team in honor of the Chicago White Sox.....
Another very heartening piece of news is the completion of the children's playground which was well equipped with up-to-date apparatus such as trapeze, climbing pole, circular ring, tennis court, and a space reserved for baseball. There are three swings and a toboggan for the use of our tots. The playground was projected and put into use by our expert countryman, Mr. Miles Havlicek, who is the athletic director of the Hamilton Club and a former instructor at the Carl Schurz High School. The cost of the installation, etc., was borne by the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Sirotcinec. These ladies work tirelessly for the welfare of our inmates. Their activities cannot be disposed of by a few well chosen words, and those who have had a chance to watch their work knows their exemplary self-sacrificing efforts. The inmates will get new clothing on Memorial Day, thanks again to these ladies....
In the name of our orphans, I thank you, ladies.....
Bohumil Fiser, business manager of the Utulna a Sirotcinec.
Denni Hlasatel - April 20, 1922
A Meeting of the Delegates to the Utulna a Sirotcinec
The regular meeting of the delegates to the Utulna A Sirotcinec (Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage) was held yesterday in the hall of the Cesko-Slovanske Podporujici Spolky (Czecho-Slavonic Benevolent Societies), 18th and May Streets....The meeting began at 8 P. M. It was presided over by Mr. Vojta Suchy and attended by a large number of delegates....Minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved. The reading of letters followed....and all incoming bills were approved and ordered paid.
The secretary of the board of directors of the Utulna then read the minutes of two meetings of the board as follows: The meeting of March 31, 1922 took place in the Husuv Dum (John Huss Memorial Building). This meeting was a conference concerning the creation of a reserve fund. The representatives of the Bohemian banking institutions attended. They were: Mr. Lonek, of the Adams State Bank; Mr. Vilem F. Kosobud, of the American State Bank; Mr. E. F. Silha, of the First National Bank of Cicero; Mr. Evzen W. Kaspar, of the Kaspar State Bank.
The bank representatives as well as the attending members of the board gave their opinions regarding the creation of the reserve fund. The whole matter was discussed in great detail and the creation of the fund was unanimously approved. The fund will be handled and managed by the Kaspar State Bank. Everybody agreed that the fund will be safely deposited there and that it will be properly managed and increased.
The other meeting of the board took place on April 7, 1922 in the office of the board. Messrs. Evzen Kaspar, E. F. Silha, and Frank Mayer attended that meeting also. Mr. Mayer, who is a lawyer for the Kaspar State Bank, after elucidating the matter, submitted a resolution by which the president and the secretary of the Utulna are empowered to sign an agreement with the Kaspar State Bank, thus making it possible for the fund to become a fact. By that agreement the said bank is bound to protect all moneys of the Utulna, to purchase bonds and mortgages, to collect all interest accrued, to furnish statements about the fund, and generally to manage conscientiously all matters relative to it for a payment of one eighth of one per cent of the total amount deposited, which, according to estimates, would be about $25 annually. The offer by the Kaspar State Bank was willingly accepted by the board of directors of the Utulna and by the delegates. It was further decided to hire the services of a certified public accountant for our institution, and the position was given to Mr. S. J. Viescor, 11 South La Salle Street, who is of Czech origin, and who can be of help to us by auditing all of our books and accounts. Mr. Suchy then announced that he intends to secure the services of some radio station which would advertise the work of our Utulna.
The next item which came up for discussion was the preliminary work necessary for the building of a swimming pool for the children. The pool is to be furnished by the ladies auxiliary of the Pilsen Brewery Company. Mr. James F. Stepina sent us a check for $80 which amount is to be used for the purchase of furnishings of a room which bears his name. A bill for $125, sent by the firm Kroupa and Smejkal, attorneys, for some legal work done by that firm in behalf of the Utulna, was deferred for later action. The board of directors knows nothing about any legal work having been done by that firm The payment of a premium of $50 to insure the cashier against theft was approved. The face value of the policy is $2,000.
The matter of the reserve fund was then thoroughly discussed, and....the resolution [empowering the president and the secretary of the board] was read in English and Bohemian. After a lengthy debate in which Messrs. Zrust, Suchy, Novak, Spinar, Leahman, and Petru, and Mrs. Lorenz took part, it was unanimously decided to let the Kaspar State Bank manage the fund, and to let the board of directors take the necessary steps in that direction. The treasurer, Mr. Petru, reported that he received the obligatory amount of $1,252.50 from the county, this sum covering the months of December, January, and February. He also announced that Mr. Charles A. Mrizek, who is the president of the Atlas Baking Company, a well-known Czech enterprise, will have a radio installed for the inmates of the Utulna. Mr. Novak representing the committee on accounts made a report of the work of his committee which examined the books, checking accounts, etc....The expenses during the month of March, 1922 amounted to $2,383.43; the income for that month was $1,894.27....
Denni Hlasatel – September 21, 1922
A Meeting of the Board of Delegates to the Bohemian Old People’s Home and Orphanage
The meeting was opened at the usual time by President Suchy. Since Mrs. Bozena Krabec, secretary of the board, was absent, the minutes were read by Mrs. Ruzena Lorenc. Before the delegates had a chance to approve or disapprove the minutes, Mr. Lehmann arose and announced that Mr. Fiser, the former business manager of the Utulna A Sirotcinec (Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage) was present at this meeting, and that he desired to answer to the accusations made against him during the two previous meetings of the board. Mr. Zrust recommended that the board continue in its proceedings and defer Mr. Fiser's case till the end of the meeting....The minutes were approved as read. Mrs. Bozena Krabec's letter of resignation was read. In it [the secretary] announced that she was obliged to resign because of lack of time at her disposal, but that she would always co-operate with the board, attend its meetings, and take part in the tag day activities of the Utulna....On a motion made by Mr. L. Pinc, it was recommended that Mrs. Krabec's resignation be not accepted, and that a committee be appointed which would investigate the reasons for her resignation. Since this motion was carried by fourteen votes, the president appointed a committee whose duty it will be to call on Mrs. Krabec and ascertain the causes of and the reasons for her resignation. The president appointed Mesdames Vrchotka and Podolak and Mr. Lehman to serve on the committee. These three are to report on this matter at the next meeting of the board.
Radbuza Lodge No. 11 of the Cesko-Slovanska Jednota (Czecho-Slavonic Union) requested that the children of Antonin Janda, 2014 South Throop Street, be admitted to the Orphanage. The children are Anna, age 10 years, and Edward, age 7 years, and, according to the statement made by the Jednota, the father of these children would be willing to pay the necessary fees for their upkeep. The mother of these children has been committed to the state hospital for the insane at Dunning, Illinois, and their father is unable to give them sufficient care. At present they are living with their grandmother. Since recommendations were made that immediate action be taken in this case, the president pointed out that children are admitted to the Orphanage, depending on the merits in each case, as speedily as possible. It was decided that the investigating committee should handle the case and make recommendations.
Mr. Rudolf Rubringer informed the board by letter that he will be unable to give music lessons to the children of the Orphanage because he does not have time for this activity. The present business manager of the Utulna sent a letter of resignation to the board. Mr. Anthony Smith [the business manager] claimed in this letter that the institution lacks sufficient help, that its morale is thereby affected, and lastly, that the salary he receives is too low. He would, therefore, like to be absolved of his present duties as manager by October 1, 1922. Because matters of this kind belong rightfully to the board of directors, the letter and the subject it dealt with were referred to that board. The debate which followed this subject was interrupted by the president who declared that the board of directors would handle it.
All bills for the first half of 1922 were approved as presented. Mr. Trnka, 4secretary of the board of directors, who previously handed in his resignation, was asked to reconsider this matter and not resign. The president was sorry to announce in this meeting that Mr. Trnka has not reconsidered.
Rules relating to the reserve fund, which were discussed in a previous meeting, were read by the secretary and approved by a two-third's majority. According to the report made by the public accountant, the receipts of the Utulna for the first half of 1922 were $21,240.11. There was $14,650.13 in the treasury; the total, therefore, was $35,890.24. The disbursements for the same period amounted to $30,633.57. The total property of the Utulna A Sirotcinec was valued at $187,748.47. A bindery bill of $85, payable to Mr. Soukup....was approved.
Mrs. Marie Zeman requested that Edward, age 11 years, be admitted to the Orphanage. His mother is willing to pay for his upkeep. This case was settled favorably. Mrs. Marie Chmelir, age 73 years and residing at 2829 South Spaulding Avenue, desired to be admitted to the Old People's Home. This case was referred to the investigating committee. The application of Mrs. Barbora Balej is to be investigated by the proper committee which is to report [at the next meeting].
Mr. F. J. Petru, reporting for the entertainment committee, announced that all preparations and arrangements for a concert to be given on November 1, 1922, are in full swing. The musicians' union is to be invited to take part in this concert by furnishing an orchestra. The concert is to be given in the Pilsen Park pavilion. At its last [sixth] convention, the Sesterska Podporujici Jednota (Bohemian Sisterhood) made a contribution of $70 to the Utulna as follows: $50 to the institution, $10 to its music fund, and $10 in honor of two deceased sisters--A. Vodak and Belan--in lieu of flower offerings.
Mr. Petru recommended that when hiring the next business manager for the Utulna, attention should be paid to the qualifications of his wife who would act as co-manager. It would be desirable that she be possessed of a knowledge of Bohemian as well as of English, that she have some knowledge of bookkeeping--these qualifications enabling her to have dealings with American people as well as Bohemians. She would also be able to send receipts to contributors in either language. Mrs. Marek moved that each society or other organization delegate one member, preferably a businessman; the delegates thus assembled could form a committee which, in co-operation with the board of directors, would do away with all of the deficiencies arising in the institution because of insufficient personnel. The children often look unkempt; at least they are not as neat as they should be; the old apparel donated to the institution is not repaired, and one cannot expect the old folks that have come to the Utulna to find rest and surcease from daily activities, to run the institution. The committee, as suggested, would endeavor to put things in order and remove all shortcomings. The motion made by Mrs. Marek was favorably received and supported, although it caused quite a debate among the delegates which lasted for some time until quieted down by the diplomacy of the president. Mr. Suchy [the president] pointed out the unselfish attitudes and activities of the members of the board of directors who always worked without monetary compensation, and never expected any pay, and who are now willing to continue that work as unselfishly as before. Some delegates, [said the president], think that the proposed [new] "advisory board" could not be better qualified and perform better work than the present board of directors which is composed of competent individuals. The Utulna [that is, its board of directors] knows what is amiss; the board knows full well its shortcomings; it is fully aware of the fact that its personnel is insufficient, but the [present] financial status of the institution does not permit the hiring of additional employees to supply such a lack, and merely to elect or appoint a new advisory board would not help matters, but an unselfish and tireless endeavor on the part of the members of the board of directors will.
[As previously indicated in this report], Mr. Fiser, the former business manager of the institution, attended this meeting to answer to the accusations aimed at him, or rather, to clear up whatever misunderstandings 8might have existed in the minds of the delegates concerning his managing of the institution. Mr. Fiser asked that he be given full credit for the hardships and troubles he had experienced in running the institution, and that it is an obvious injustice to prefer any charges against him. He asked that he be given a vote of confidence. Mr. Suchy, in answering this request, stated that he never made any accusations as to Mr. Fiser's honesty; in fact, that he could never accuse him of dishonesty. He merely had in mind the welfare of the institution when the rather steep bill [for certain hardware supplies] was presented for payment. He never accused and never could accuse anybody of dishonesty, and under less trying conditions and with a greater calmness this or other unpleasantness’s could have been avoided.
The meeting adjourned after 11 P. M.
Denni Hlasatel – October 1, 1922
Report of the Business Manager of the Bohemian Old People’s Home and Orphanage
Having been requested by the board of directors of the Utulna A Sirotcinec (Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage) to accept the position of business manager of that institution, I hesitated at first; for to leave my old position as a business manager of a lithograph company, a position which was a steady one, with an assured future, was a considerable step to take. In short, it was difficult to make a decision. After having discussed the matter at some length with the directors and with my wife, the love for my fellow men won me over, and I decided to accept the offer made by the board, and to help those people who need help most, and who return love for love bestowed upon them....
Since the attitude of my wife was the same as mine I went to join that institution in which parentless and friendless children are being cared for; where a love for their fellow men and a love for their country is being inoculated in them; where they also receive training which will make them useful citizens.
I went also to join the aged inmates of that same institution, the "superannuated" fathers and mothers who come here to seek rest.....My heart beat fast when I entered the portals of the institution and saw both the aged and the parentless,....I promised them all that I would love them and help them. It was hard for me to hold back the tears which filled my eyes, and not wishing to cause them pain by such a show of emotion, I left them hurriedly to betake myself to the place where my actual work was to begin. I sat down at my desk and looked at the book containing the names of our self-sacrificing people; and while viewing this record I realized that I too am to bring in as many sacrifices as possible. I am glad that I accepted the position, and that I shall have an opportunity to help those who need help.
That the Czech people really care for their countrymen who are inmates of this institution is manifested by the gifts received by the Utulna during the month of August and up to September 22, 1922. I take this opportunity to publish the list of benefactors for the period stated above, and ask all those whose names and gifts do not appear, due to some oversight, to let me know.
Our people also take great interest in the entertainment of all our inmates. Thus, for instance, the inmates of the Sirotcinec-- 36 boys and 20 girls--were taken by Miss Anna Lorenz, their nurse, to see a ball game at Cubs Park, and all expenses associated with this were borne by Mr. Otto Pelikan, 2600 South Lawndale Avenue, Mr. Frank Kohout, 3634 West 26th Street, and Mr. Anton J. Cermak. These gentlemen also provided the refreshments for these children. The management of the Utulna hereby expresses its thanks for their great kindness. There were other ways in which our people have shown their interest in the welfare of our little ones. On "Cermak's Day" a huge cake was delivered to the Sirotcinec; we cut it into 100 parts thus having enough cake for all the children.....The children and the management are most grateful for this gift, especially to Mr. Kvidera who came at such a late hour to deliver the delicacy. [Here follows a list of contributors and the amounts contributed.
The list is one-eleventh of a column long, the total amount of contributions made being $175.39.] Mrs. Anna Karas, 2252 South Clifton Park Avenue donated some old clothing....; Mrs. Bily of 3024 West 26th Street donated five pillows, one dozen blankets, three pairs of slippers, ten pairs of men's underwear, fourteen shirts, four aprons, two women's jackets, one winter overcoat, and one topcoat. I thank you all in the name of the board of directors of the Utulna.
Denni Hlasatel – October 19, 1922
News of the Bohemian Old People’s Home and Orphanage Minutes of the Last Meeting
The meeting was opened by Mr. Suchy, president of the board of delegates to the Utulna a Sirotcinec (Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage). It began at the appointed hour and was well attended. Due to the absence of the regular secretary her place was taken by Mrs. R. Lorenz, who read the minutes of the previous meeting. The minutes were approved as read. Mr. Suchy pointed out an error, which had been missed both in the minutes and the press report of the meeting, pertaining to the resignation of Mr. Smith, former business manager of the Utulna. According to a report in the minutes Mr. Smith is supposed to have resigned because the renumeration was insufficient. This was incorrect because Mr. Smith resigned on account of the poor health of his wife, and he asked that a correction be made in the minutes accordingly. The president then introduced the new business manager, Mr. Jan Patak, announcing that he is subject only to the authority of the board of directors. The delegates were requested to take cognizance of this fact and were instructed not to try to question his decisions as it would only tend to confuse matters. Mr. Patak has shown himself to be a competent and meticulous manager and, being accountable only to the board, will work for the good of the whole institution. The secretary read the correspondence which did not contain anything important. The board will send a letter to the Ceskoslovenska Hudebni Unie (Czechoslovak Musical Union) in reply to their letter which was written in the form of a complaint. The answer will stress the fact that the board recognizes that an error has been committed and that it is fully aware of the merits of the Union and its accomplishments in behalf of the Utulna; further, that no insult to the Union was intended.
The treasurer, Mr. Petru, read a report on disbursements for the past month but, since the business manager did not have time to present his report, no total was given. The president reported that Mr. August Geringer made a gift of $200 to the Utulna and it was decided that a letter of thanks be sent to him The president further reported that the Tag Day collections for this year were much smaller than those of last year, the amount for last year being $2,000, whereas this year only a little more than $900 was collected [Translator's note: The correct amount was $973.21]. It would be worth while to find out the reason for such a discrepancy so that it could be rectified in the future.
It was pointed out that the playgrounds of the institution are not well located, and that it would therefore be desirable to change their location, building a lawn instead, and thus giving a more attractive appearance to the premises. The playgrounds ought to be located in the rear of the buildings. The house physician, Dr. Stulik, found the state of health of our children to be much better than at the time of his last examination; the dentist's report was similarly encouraging. The board of directors decided to keep the cows despite the fact that recommendations were made to obtain milk for our children from other sources, and that the latter method would prove to be more sanitary.
Our milk supply will be used for the manufacture of butter and cheese. The application of Mrs. Marie Chmelir for admission to the institution was rejected by the board; that of Mrs. Barbora Balej was favorably acted upon and the applicant will be admitted.
According to Mr. Petru, the treasurer, Attorney Lewy Mayer, recently deceased, bequeathed $100,000 to charitable institutions without specifically naming any. Mr. Petru mailed a request to the executor of Attorney Mayer's estate asking that our institution be remembered; his letter was answered by the executor who said that the request of the Utulna will be given consideration when the will of Attorney Mayer is probated.
A concert will be given for the benefit of the Utulna and the delegate, Mrs. Sedlacek, has suggested that Mr. De Rubini, whose real name is Evzen Plachy, be asked to perform some of his tricks on that occasion, thus making the concert more attractive. Mr. De Rubini will be requested to appear. The entertainment committee reported that an excellent program has been arranged and that anyone staying away would regret not having attended.
Milada Pechal, a five-year-old girl, has requested admission to the institution; her father died recently. The proper committee will investigate this case. Otilie Pechal, a three-year-old sister of Milada, also requested to be admitted. This application will be handled similarly.....Tomas Berdel, aged 10 years and living at 2551 South Troy Street, has also applied for admission. Another application was that of Frank Groessl, aged 82 years, residing at 3620 Southport Avenue. The applicant was born at Rousperk near Pilsen [Czechoslovakia] and speaks a broken Bohemian. He has seven children. This application was referred to the investigation committee. The parties who made application in behalf of the Pechal children are to call on Mr. Josef Oborny, at 1842 Fisk Street.
An election was held to fill the office of recording secretary to replace Mrs. Krbec; one member of the board of directors was to be elected also to replace 6the retired Mr. Trnka. Mr. Jan Lehman was nominated for the office of secretary, and when the nominations were closed, he was unanimously elected. The newly elected secretary was introduced by the president and took over his duties immediately. Mrs. Anna Kosandr was nominated as a new member of the board of directors. The nominations were closed and Mrs. Kosandr was unanimously elected. The new member of the board was....greeted by the president and she, too, took over her duties at once.
At the last convention of the Sesterska Podporujici Jednota (Bohemian Sisterhood) a banquet was given in honor of the delegates. At this banquet a collection was taken up for the benefit of the Utulna and realized the sum of $84.60. This amount was now presented to the treasurer by Mrs. Brychta, who accompanied the gift with a nice speech. Mr. F. J. Petru presented $18.50, collected in behalf of the Utulna during the convention of the Illinois aid societies meeting in Peoria, Illinois.....During an intermission in this meeting an apron was raffled off for the benefit of the institution. The raffle netted $7.30 and Mrs. Kosandr won the prize.
Thanks are due to all the Bohemian daily papers for their announcements made during the week preceding the Tag Day--the Denni Hlasatel and the Svornost. We are likewise grateful to the management of the Pilsen Sokol for the use of their hall on that occasion; we thank Mr. and Mrs. Zika for their work and patience, and finally we thank all the noble ladies for taking part in the Tag Day activity itself; without their help there would have been no returns.....
Denni Hlasatel – November 7, 1922
Current Report from the Bohemian Old People’s Home and Orphanage
.After a full day's work I hasten to submit my report to you at midnight. It is my duty to express my thanks to Alderman Anton J. Cermak, the Democratic candidate for the office of president and member of the board of county commissioners, and to the Telocvicna Jednota Sokol Rozvoj (Gymnastic Union Sokol Rozvoj [development]) for admitting the wards of our orphanage into their institution: twenty boys and eighteen girls were thus admitted; the very young children are receiving their instruction in physical culture inside the orphanage. This was a source of great happiness to me, for it proved that our youngsters desire to build up their bodies as well as their minds and to become the proud heritage of the Czech nation and of your and our institutions. I therefore render my thanks again to the brothers of the Sokol Rozvoj for their true understanding of the meaning of the Sokol idea, and call "Nazdar!" (to success!) to them.
It is self-understood that gymnasium suits were required for our wards in this new experience, and since we did not have any, I turned to our alderman and Democratic candidate for the presidency of the county board, Mr. Cermak.....That is, I mailed him my request, and early next morning I received a telephone call from him permitting me to buy whatever suits, etc., were necessary for our children. You may well believe me, my countrymen, that although I know the proverbial kindness of our countryman Mr. Cermak, I did not expect such prompt action on his part, or that he would make such an immediate and unselfish contribution. I was astonished and so were the children, who stood up and shouted a prolonged "Nazdar!" Thanks to our prominent Czech who aided us in such a prompt manner.
It took a long time before quiet was established again among the children; they were so excited with joy. You may well believe that if our children were entitled to vote every one of them would vote for Mr. Cermak as president of the county board of commissioners. They would thus wish to repay his love, his kindness, and his unselfishness. They know that he would continue to make their lives more bearable.
But you, my dear countrymen, you may do that which my wards may not; you may vote, and therefore it is these children who now call to you: "Vote for him!" Elect such a noble and honest countryman as Mr. Cermak! Do your duty as his countrymen, as Czechs; for we are certain, in this our home, that your vote will perform miracles and that by tonight we shall hear the news, "Cermak is elected!"
Jan Patak, business manager of the Utulna a Sirotcinec (Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage).....
Denni Hlasatel – November 16, 1922
A Regular Meeting of the Board of the Bohemian Old People’s Home and Orphanage
The meeting was opened at the appointed hour by the president, Mr. Vojtech Suchy. The secretary, Mr. J. Lehman, read the minutes of the previous meeting, which were approved as read. The Chicago Osteopathic Hospital informed the Board that in case any destitute woman needed obstetrical help, the staff of that hospital would be willing to give it upon recommendation made by the Board of the Utulna a Sirotcinec (Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage). The offer was accepted. Mrs. Marie Tlapa, of 1820 South Ashland Avenue, made a gift of six pillows in memory of her deceased husband. They were gratefully accepted. Mr. Novy, of 1935 South Clifton Park Avenue, sent five dollars as a gift made by an anonymous lady.
Mr. Josef Mandl, of 1823 South Millard Avenue, was inducted as a new member of the Board of Delegates. He will represent the Klub Dobrovsky, a Masonic organization.....Mr. Mandl is no novice in our clubs, since for more than 2twenty years he has taken part in the club life [of our community]. He pledged his support of the Utulna and was then introduced to the rest of the members of the Board.
The treasurer, Mr. F. Petru, reported that the total receipts during the month of October were $1,358.49, and that the disbursements for the same period amounted to $2,733.71. Following the request made by a delegate, Mr. Kolar, that account be made for the money disbursed, a debate ensued in which Mr. Patak, the business manager of the Utulna, endeavored to throw light upon the situation....but the president, Mr. Suchy, cut the debate short by declaring that once disbursements are approved by the Board of Directors, nothing remains but to allow the bills to be paid. This was followed by the reading of minutes of the meeting of the Board of Directors. The minutes were approved as read.
The receipts for the concert given on November 1 amounted to $1,629.35 net, but since about one thousand tickets have not yet been returned nor otherwise 3accounted for, there is hope that a few more dollars will come in, thus making the event of November 1 rather profitable.
A delegate, Mrs. Hrisny, pointed out that since Mr. Rubringer's resignation as teacher of music, the wards of the Orphanage have had no instruction, and recommended that a substitute teacher be appointed. Mr. Josef Kratochvil has consented to take charge of all music instruction for the time being.
The application for admission to the Utulna made by Mr. Frantisek Riha, as member of the Jungman Lodge of the Cesko-Slovanske Podporujici Spolky (Czecho-Slavonic Benevolent Societies) was approved by the investigating committee. Mr. Riha, who is seventy years old, now resides at 1653 Kimball Avenue. He will surrender the certificate of his lodge to the Utulna and, after all necessary formalities have been attended to, he will be admitted. Mr. Frank Grvessl of 3620 Southport Avenue, a native of Ronsperk near Pilsen, applied for admission to the Utulna; his case was recommended by the investigating committee but rejected by the Board of Delegates. [Translator's note: The translator of this 4article is well acquainted with the part of the country from which the applicant Grvessl hails. The country around Pilsen is inhabited by Czechs and Germans, and it is quite likely that the applicant was rejected on account of his nationality.] The cases of the ten-year-old boy Tomas Border, and the three-year-old girl, Ottilie Prchal, were investigated. The committee recommended that Ottilie and her sister Milada, age five years, be admitted to the Orphanage.
The Christmas season is approaching, and since the institution needs money, and since from its past experience such money has usually been supplied by charitable people, a motion was made by Mr. Petru that a committee be appointed which would mail cards to our benefactors, thus refreshing their memory. The motion was carried. There is no doubt that this year, too, as in the past, the contributions made to the Utulna will be satisfactory. The institution needs all the help it can get.
Mr. Bohumil Stastny, who is a member of the Bratrska Laska (Brotherly Love) 5Lodge No. 19 of the Cesko-Slovanska Bratrska a Podporujici Jednota (Czecho-Slavonic Fraternal and Benevolent Union), made an application for admission through his union. His family is willing to waive all rights as beneficiaries in his insurance policy and is willing that the Utulna be named a beneficiary instead. The Board requested the investigating committee to look the case over and report at the next meeting.
On motion made by Mr. Mandl, a committee was appointed to investigate the condition of our wards who attend the F. B. Zdrubek [Bohemian Free Thought] School. The following were appointed: Mr. Zrust, Mr. F. Stepanek, and Mrs. B. Lorenz. These members are to meet next Saturday and investigate the whole matter.
The meeting adjourned.
Denni Hlasatel – November 20, 1922
The Bohemian Old People’s Home and Orphanage – Report of the Manager
You may well believe me when I say that it is a difficult task to control the comings and goings of our youngsters, there being different hours set for school attendance and different hours for their return from school. Thus there is a constant traffic between 8 A. M. and 5 P. M., and I shall endeavor to arrange things so that there might be better uniformity and regularity as regards the time for attending classes. The classes in Czech [language and history] are also in need of adjustments. Our youngsters are rather lackadaisical when it comes to attending those classes, and I have no end of trouble trying to impress them with the necessity of regular attendance. I believe, however, that the situation may be greatly improved and that a love for the Czech tongue and the Czech school may be inculcated....
Gymnastic exercises are likewise being engaged in, and fifty-one pupils attend the Sokol Rozvoj (Development); the smaller children stay at home where they also have an opportunity to drill. The classes in embroidery are also in progress, and there is hope that our girls will some day become proficient in that art. One may also hear the strains of music resounding through the Utulna A Sirotcinec (Bohemian Old People's Home and Orphanage); that department is being managed by Mr. Rubringer, Mr. Hnatek (clarinet), and Mr. Coufal (piano).
I need not stress the fact that our children have time for play; much freedom is given them in that respect, and you may believe me when I say that in spite of my age I love to take part in their games. Singing, too, is practiced as is attested by the silvery voices of the children; oftentimes when I see a group of singing children I ask for the singing of a particular song, for it is their singing that brings back to me the memories of my own youth.
Nine o'clock has struck; it is evening, and silence reigns, throughout. Only the ticking of the clock is audible. Everybody in the Utulna is in deep slumber. But to be sure I make the rounds through the dormitories; here and there I inspect the pockets of the boys to see whether they conceal some forbidden article. From the Orphanage I pass into the Old People's Home and after ascertaining that all is well, I retire myself. By that time the hour of midnight has struck. I am up at 6 A. M. to rouse the sleepers. And thus passes the day and the routine is not greatly changed from day to day. When Sunday comes both the young and the old are on tenterhooks to greet their weekly visitors, to seek greater strength in their love.
That our appeal voiced on October 14, 1922 was heeded is now manifest in the many gifts of fruit, mushrooms, etc., which we received. Also the Czech Globe-trotters Club came to our Utulna on November 12 to bring merriment to our oldsters, and by its dramatic play to instill an appreciation of the Czech language in our children.....
I now assure you, my countrymen, that I shall continue to work for the benefits and well-being of the Utulna A Sirotcinec.....I greet you all, and all our inmates and wards greet you and look forward to the American Thanksgiving Day.
[Following are the names of contributors and their] gifts: Mr. Richard Velky, Clutier, Iowa, one-half gallon of honey; Mr. H. A. Vopat, 2107 59th Court, Cicero, Illinois, two winter overcoats; Mrs. Antonin Stuchlik, Algonquin, Illinois, one bushel of apples and one bushel of walnuts. Mr. P. Borek, 3028 West 26th Street, one cake....; Chicago Butchers and Packers, one barrel of sausages and wieners; Mrs. J. Schistek, one cake; Mrs. Josef Triner, one dozen bottles of the famous Triner's wine--this will be a fine remedy for our old people. The W. F. Severa Company made gifts of medicines, pills, salves, and other medical necessities; Mr. James Comohouz collected $6.60 in our behalf at a surprise party given in honor of Mr. Samuel Ukablik by the students of the Technical High School. Mr. Josef Dusek presented us with the sum of $150, this being the balance left from the Bohemian-American Commercial Expedition to Czechoslovakia. Other gifts will be announced later.
Many thanks for all.
Jan Patak, manager,
The Board of Directors of the Bohemian Home for the Aged, in 1992, embarked on establishing Tabor Hills, a 52 acre site in Naperville, Il as a new location for the home. It was their desire to provide a state of the art nursing home in connection with an attractive retirement community. The first residents moved into Tabor Hills in the spring of 1995. People of all nationalities and backgrounds are welcome here.