Dr. Jaroslav Egon Salaba Vojan
Author - Journalist
1872 - 1944
To summarize someone who, in their lifetime, does so much does not seem possible. Information on Dr. Vojan is found all over the Internet in bits and pieces too numerous to list. What is found is multiplied in its amount when one discovers that Dr. Vojan’s information is under various names he used during his life: Dr. J. E.S. Vojan, Dr. Jaroslav Vojan, J.E.S. Vojan, Jar. E. S. Vojan, Jar. E. Salaba, Dr. J.E. Salaba, Dr. Jaroslav Salaba Vojan, and Jaroslav E. Salaba. Fortunately, there are several articles, along with numerous newspaper clippings, that provide a framework to outline this man and his accomplishments.
On February 6, 1942, the Narodni Pokrok (Czech language newspaper of Omaha, Nebraska, Page 9) published a nearly full page article, providing a multi decades life summary of Dr. Vojan's life of activities. (View PDF of that page)
In 1926, August Geringer, newspaper man and publisher, printed the “Zlata Kniha”, ("The Golden Book", commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of one of August Geringer's Chicago foreign language newspapers) which provides a more detailed story of the life of Dr. Jaroslav Vojan. “Excellent Czech American Cultural Worker” (Translation through Google Translate – not perfect of course, but very helpful)
Jaroslav Vojan was born on February 3, 1872, Old Prague on Rytirska Street to Vincent and Anna Salaba. (It appears, so far, that Vincent would die and mother Anna married again, arriving as a widow in the United States with the last name of Klinger.) He received his education in Prague, and graduated from the University of Prague on February 12, 1898 with a doctor of law degree. There are hints that Vojan was already developing an affinity for the "Free Thinker" movement. Vojan was first employed, as an economics professor, by the Ceskoslov Commerce (Business) Academy in Prague. The Zlata Kniha article describes Dr. Vojan as being very active: working for the Prague Chamber of Commerce; editing the publication “Nova Ceska Review; editing the publication Ustred; writing articles in the Matic Skolske; managing the offices of the Business Musuem and Narodni Jednoty Svereoceske; lecturing throughout the region; and translating scientific articles; and writing for the Obzor and Roshledy publications. During his time in Prague, most of his records were under the last name of Salaba. (1)
Below - Sample Pages from Dr. Vojan involvement in Prague publications.
Jaroslav’s New York State (Southern District) Naturalization Record (10-27-1904) (already living at 420 E. 70th Street in New York City) lists his arrival in the United States on 8-17-1904. (2) Jaroslav arrived from Bremen to New York City on 8-17-1904 aboard the ship Barbarossa and first wife, Olga, arrived 3-1-1905, with their children, Tatiana, and Dagmar, under the last name of Salaba, from Bremen to New York City aboard the Grosser Kurfurst. (3)
Jaroslav’s mother, Anna … Salaba / Vojan Klinger would arrive on 6-29-1920 from Rotterdam to New York City aboard the ship Nieuw Amsterdam.
Not long after Jaroslav and his family’s arrival in New York City, Jaroslav was once again engaged in journalism, with a supporting job as a teacher.
The Zlata Kniha article describes that Jaroslav became an editor for “New York Liste” and somehow contributed articles to Rosicky’s Omaha newspaper.
He participated in New York Bohemian theatre, and showed his association with the “Free Thinkers” when he visited Chicago in 1907 as a New York representative to that movement.
Somehow, he had the time to write and have published a book on New York, “Velky New York”, in 1908. Vojan introduces the book as “The history of New York and the Czech settlement of New York”.
Advertisements and reviews of the book were carried by Czech language newspapers across the country. (4)
Dr. Vojan - Free Thinker - Bohemian American Press Bureau - Translator For BNC Memorial Book 1927
Journalism and the philosophy of the "Free Thinker" were part of Dr. Jaroslav Vojan's life from his university days in Prague until his death in 1944. That would continue when the Vojan family arrived in Chicago in 1909.
The 1910 Census for the Vojan family in Chicago, lists Jaroslav, wife Olga, and three children Tetliana, Dagmar and George. It also confirms Jaroslav as being the director of the Bohemian Press Bureau. In 1907 Dr. Vojan had traveled from New York to Chicago to participate in a "Free Thinker" convention. In 1910 he would travel to Brussels, Belgium to participate in another. Dr. Vojan applied for a passport which listed his goal to attend the August, 1910 International Free Thought Convention in Brussels, as a delegate representing the Bohemian American Press Bureau. The application included a letter of support from A. J. Sabath, USA House of Representatives. (5)
In 1909, still in New York, Dr. Vojan, with the support of Jan Rosicky (well known Bohemian editor and civic leader from Omaha, Nebraska) wrote to Frantisek Korbel asking for financial support to establish the Bohemian American Press Bureau. Funded by F. Korbel, the "Cesko Americka Tsikova Kancelar" (Czech American Press Bureau) was created.. (6)
The 1927 publication of the "The Semi Centennial Jubilee of the Bohemian National Cemetery Association is a very good resource which connects Dr. Vojan, Free Thinkers, the Press Bureau and the Bohemian National Cemetery together.
"( January 1927) The Board of Trustees also recommended that an English version of the Memorial book be published, in a succint form, which could be given as a souvenir to the guests who frequently were coming to see the cemetery and to the English speakers at the Memorial Day celebrations. It was resolved to publish 2,500 copies of this English Memorial book which was to contain about 120 pages exclusive of illustrations. Dr. Jar. E.S. Vojan was selected to write this English Version." (7)
Vojan's translation of Jelinek's information provides those associations:
- 1910 Dr. Jar E. S. Vojan, was the Bohemian speaker at the Memorial Day celebration at the Bohemian National Cemetery.
- 1911, 1912, 1913, the Bohemian National Cemetery Association makes $25 donations to the Bohemian American Press Bureau
- The Bohemian National Cemetery Association makes multiple $1000 plus donations to the Bohemian Freethought Schools.
- 1920 - "On July 7 Dr. J.E.S. vojan, editor of "Vek Rozumu" (Age of Reason, weekly Free Thinker publication, Chicago), and V.K. Soukup, secretary of the National Executive Committee of the Bohemian Free-Thought Federation of America, appeared before the meeting and submitted a request for voting a larger support to the Freethought Federation. Upon the recommendaton of delegates, Kroc, Nosek, Masek, Klaus and Frydl, a donation of $1000 was voted." (8)
Jaroslav's wife, Olga, died in 1913. He would marry again in 1915. His second wife was Marie Vozech.
In 1924 Marie filled out a passport application to attend the Olympic games as a delegate for Czechoslovakia and to visit her mother, still in Czechoslovakia.
It indicated that Marie Vozech was born 8-4-1888 at Trtice, Nove Straseci, Slany, Kladno and arrived from Bremen to New York City on 11-25-1912 aboard the George Washington with 5 others from Trtice.
Her father was listed as Anton, and an 1886 marriage exists for an Anton, but birth records for Marie do not appear to be available online past 1884. (9)
Dr. Jaroslav Egon Salaba Vojan is involved in Czech language journalism, supporting and promoting the Free Thinker philosophy, supporting Bohemian arts and culture, but also working at a job to support family and his other endeavors. The 1920 Census lists Dr. Vojan's occupation as "advertising manager". In the same year a newspaper article describes Vojan, working in that capacity, and his employer.
On November 13, 1920, the Chicago Eagle, a newspaper from Chicago, Illinois, published an article on Joseph Triner, a Czech businessman in Chicago. The article actually began with Dr. Vojan:
“Vojan Is Popular” – The record of a successful man who has had an active and honorable career in Chicago…….. Dr. Jar. E. S. Vojan was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1872, came to this country 16 years ago and till 1916 worked intensely among his fellow countrymen as editor of various dallies and weeklies and for three years (1909 – 1912) as general manager of the Bohemian American Press Association. He was the first secretary of the Chicago central committee of the Bohemian National Alliance, which was in connection with Prof. Masaryk, the present first president of the Czechoslovak Republic, and which financed the valiant fight of the great leader for the independence of Czechoslovakia. A graduate of the old University of Prague, Dr. Vojan stood at the head of the journalistic profession among the Bohemian Americans. Thomas Capek, in his book, “The Bohemians in America” (Boston and New York, 1920, page 216), says: “Dr. Vojan is a writer of subtle intellect and of pronounced artistic taste. His articles are noted for faultless phrasing and Literary finish.”
In August 1916, the late Joseph Triner, who was always very lucky in selecting his leading men, placed Dr. Vojan at the head of his advertising department, where the new manager soon developed all his eminent qualities. Joseph Triner Company advertises the famous Triner’s American Elixir of Bitter Wine…… and all other Triner’s remedies in 800 newspapers throughout the United States and Canada in 27 languages. Dr. Vojan, who reads and writes in more than half of this number and knows the psychology of all those various nationalities, is just the very man who can manage the advertising campaigns of such polyglot character. His work is highly successful………” (Triner Advertisement: Hospodar, Czech Language Newspaper, Saturday, January 1, 1944)
Dr. Vojan would continue his involvement with Free Thinkers throughout his life. In the 1930's Chicago newspapers are filled with marriage announcements which listed Dr. Vojan as the person officiating at the marriage as a member of the Bohemian Rationalistic Society, or Bohemian Free Thinker Congregation. (See Vojan Minister Page)
At the same time, Dr. Vojan never lost his love of Bohemian culture, the Bohemian arts, and would be involved and support them during his years in Chicago. (See Vojan Foreign Language Press Pages)
Dr. Vojan is named in articles in many states, over the course of decades. One state, outside of his residence states of New York and Illinois, perhaps contains the most online articles. That state is Nebraska. One could imagine that this is due to Vojan's strong connections with Nebraska Czech community leader and newspaper publisher, Jan Rosicky.
In 1939 a Nebraska newspaper ran an article of Dr. Vojan asking for donations (buying a stamp) to support invalid Czech soldiers. (View Article JPEG)
In 1942, Nebraska newspaper, published an article describing how Dr. Vojan wrote President Roosevelt pledging the support of Czech Rationalists in the war effort. (View Article - JPEG)
Dr. Jaroslav Egon Salaba Vojan died in 1944, and newspaper clippings of Vojan continuing to perform marriages, support the advancement of Czech culture, support the war effort and speak at Czech events are found in various papers.
When Dr. Vojan died in December of 1944, a Nebraska Czech language newspaper published a death notice. (View Obituary - JPEG)
Dr. Vojan, and his wives, Olga and Marie are buried in Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.
References - Resources
(1) "Zlata Kniha", Ceskoslvenskeho Chicaga, August Geringer Publisher, Chicago, Illinois, 1926, Editor R. Jaromira Plensky.
(2) Ancestry com, New York, U.S. State and Federal Naturalization Records - Vol 018 - 109 - July 11, Nov, 1904.
(3) Ancestry com, Year 1905; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial T715, 1897 - 1957; Line: 14; Page Number 59.
(4) "Zlata Kniha", Ceskoslvenskeho Chicaga, August Geringer Publisher, Chicago, Illinois, 1926, Editor R. Jaromira Plensky.
(5) Ancestry com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795 - 1925, origin National Archives, Washington, D.C., Volume: Unnumbered Passport Applications - Declarant.
(6) Amerikan Kalendar, August Geringer Publisher, Chicago, Illinois, 1921, Pages 264 - 265.
(7) The Semi Centennial Jubilee of the Bohemian National Cemetery Association in Chicago, Illinois - A free English version of J.J. Jelinek's Bohemian Historical Sktech, by Dr. J.E.S. Vogan, Chicago, Illinios, 1927, Page124.
(8) IBID, Page 105.
(9) Ancestry com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795 - 1925, origin National Archives, Washington, D.C.. Volume Roll 2488 - Certificates: 401350-401849, 26 April 1924.