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Josef Martinek, Czech Heritage Papers

Identifier: MS-0121

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the papers of Josef Martinek, including correspondence, manuscripts, publications, newspaper clippings, photographs, and audiocassettes.  The materials relate to his career as an author and journalist.


  • 1917-1979


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Josef Martinek was born March 23, 1889 in Podebrady, Bohemia, the son of John and Anna (Borecka) Martinek. After grammar school and high school he entered the Industrial School in Podebrady from 1903 to 1906. Martinek emigrated to the U.S. in 1909 and settled in Cleveland, Ohio. He became an instructor at the Workers Gymnastic Union, a socialist gymnastic and Czech compatriotic organization. From 1916 until 1934 Martinek edited the Czech labor newspaper Americke Delnicke Listy (American Workers' Papers). During World War I Martinek participated in the Czechoslovak liberation movement and signed the Pittsburgh Agreement in 1918, which supported autonomy for Slovakia. The document had no legal authority and the Slovaks gained self-government with the Zilina Agreement in 1938.

After World War I Martinek was involved in the Cooperative League of America, the Socialist Party, and from 1918 to 1934 he served as President of the Workingman's Cooperative (co-op grocery stores). As a member of the Socialist Party he ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner in 1926, state representative in 1928, and city council member in 1929 and 1933. Between 1934-1939, Martinek lived in Czechoslovakia and edited Delnicke listy (Workers' Papers) and Pravo lidu (The Right of the People). Martinek returned to the U.S. in 1939 as the Executive Secretary of the Czechoslovak National Council in Chicago.

Martinek moved to Tucson, Arizona, in 1947 where he wrote scripts for Radio Free Europe and Voice of America. He published several collections of poetry and a history of the Czechoslovak Society of America. Josef Martinek died in Tucson, Arizona, on March 21, 1980.


1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



Spanish; Castilian

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries Repository

Archives & Special Collections
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries
P.O. Box 884100
Lincoln NE 68588-4100 United States