October 29, 2022

Charles Vincent Svoboda, 1859-1953 [RG1245.AM]


RG1245.AM: Charles Vincent Svoboda, 1859-1953

Papers: 1845-1980, mostly 1889-1953
St. Paul, Howard County, Nebraska: Politician, historian
Size: 2.75 cu.ft.; 3 boxes


Charles Vincent Svoboda was born at Jaromerice, Moravia, Czechoslovakia on January 19, 1859 to John F. and Mary Svoboda and died June 7, 1953 in St. Paul, Nebraska. The Svoboda family came to Schuyler, Nebraska in 1874 and to Howard County in 1875 where they farmed and C.V. continued throughout his life. In 1887, Svoboda married Jane Sevcik. The couple had ten children, two of which (Anna and Stephen) died in infancy. Carl, Estella, Clement, Blanche, Alfred, Leona, Jerry, and William were their surviving children. Svoboda took a great interest in community, state and national affairs. He served his community as assessor, road overseer, and member of the St. Paul board of education and was county clerk from 1891-1897. He helped organize the Farmer’s Grain and Supply Company and was secretary of that organization for many years. Svoboda was a member of the Nebraska Constitutional Convention of 1919-1920 and was elected to the Nebraska legislature in 1923. He helped organize and was secretary for 15 years of the Farmers Union and Farm Bureau. Other business interests include ownership of the Sinclair station in St. Paul and land holdings in Nebraska, the United States, and Canada. Personal interests of Svoboda’s included the Farmer’ís Alliance, the Czech Historical Society of Nebraska, the Western Bohemian Brotherhood, Z.C.B.J., the Democratic county chairmanship, and the history of Howard County, Nebraska.


This collection relates to the life and career of Charles Vincent Svoboda and is arranged in ten series: 1) Political Material; 2) Writings; 3) Correspondence; 4) Diaries; 5) Biographical Material; 6) Howard County Historical Material; 7) Financial Records; 8) Z.C.B.J. Material; 9) Czech Material; 10) Miscellaneous Material

Series 1 contains publications including legislative reports, lists of members, proposed amendments to the Constitution of the State of Nebraska, 1919-1920, American Czechs in Public Office, the Supreme Court Decision on Nebraska District of Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri vs. Samuel R. McKelvie, reports on salaries and maintenance expense of the University of Nebraska, 1920-1922, agriculture and war related speeches and publications, and the 1923 Legislative Manual and Reference Manual. Correspondence in support of dissent of upcoming legislation and some correspondence and papers in Czech were already grouped with the political material. Svoboda’s folder entitled, “Marriage Law,” and a political speech by Svoboda are also included.

Series 2 is composed of Svoboda’s writings. Articles include historical material relating to Howard County and Czech pioneers, writings on his many trips (some in Czech), a speech to the graduating class of 1917, agricultural writings, and other Czech writings, including an article in a Z.C.B.J. publication. Two scrapbooks with clippings are included in Series 2.

Series 3 contains correspondence from Svoboda’s children, friends, and business associates. The letters from his children and friends deal with the family farm, personal stories, and requests for money. There are several congratulatory letters for the anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Svoboda as well as Charles’ birthday. Business correspondence comes from several sources and deals with Svobodaís land holdings, farm, bank business, and other projects.

Series 4 holds twenty-five diaries dating from 1889-1949. The diaries were kept by Svoboda and contain daily activities, appointments, weather, and farm records.

Series 5 contains biographical material including homestead and naturalization papers, the Svoboda family passport, and marriage and baptism certificates all in Czech. Many of these documents are in poor condition. Svoboda’s personal history of himself, business and membership cards, and his obituaries are also included.

Series 6 is composed of material related to the history of Howard County. Svoboda compiled historical sketches and descriptions of Howard County, one of which is in Czech, as well as county records such as government surveys and homestead entries from 1871. The “Komensky Fund” and “Bohemian History” folders contain some material in Czech. Also included in Series 6 is correspondence about Howard County, a journal listing Czechs in Nebraska counties, information on the Warsaw cemetery, topographical descriptions and maps of Howard County, and publications on the history of Howard County, one written by Svoboda. Please see Series 2 for more writings by Svoboda on the history of Howard County.

Series 7 contains bank statements of vouchers and deposits, tax receipts, bills, cancelled checks, mortgage payments, bills of sale, deeds, certificates of stock and lease, financial correspondence, a 1905-1912 bank book and ten ledgers.

Series 8 consists of material related to the Western Bohemian Brotherhood, Z.C.B.J. Svoboda recorded minutes from Z.C.B.J. meetings, which are located in a volume in this series. The correspondence and publications are mostly in Czech.

Series 9 contains letters, publications, and maps, all in Czech with no identifying English.

Series 10 includes travel itineraries and two travel journals from trips Svoboda took with Cornhusker Tours from 1930-38. There are many newspaper clippings and a few other publications, a reference manual, ticket books from the Nebraska State Fair, programs for different events, and two grammar and lesson journals compiled by Svoboda.


Series 1 – Political Material, 1908-1953
Box 1

  1. Political correspondence; July, 1914 – February, 1927
  2. Political correspondence written in Czech; 1913-1922
  3. Political publications; 1908-1927
  4. Political publications; 1920-1922
  5. Political publications; 1923
  6. Political publications; 1923
  7. Political publications; 1928-1948
  8. Political publications; n.d.
  9. Miscellaneous political material; 1913-1928
  10. Miscellaneous political material; 1919-1953
  11. Miscellaneous political material; n.d.
  12. Oversize political material (see OB126)

Series 2 – Writings, 1917-1948

  1. ZCBJ writings; 1937
  2. Cornhusker tour writings; 1937
  3. Miscellaneous writings; 1917-1939
  4. Miscellaneous writings; May 16, 1948
    Scrapbook-Howard County historical writings; ca. 1948 (see oversize)
    Scrapbook-Miscellaneous newspaper articles; n.d. (see oversize)

Series 3 – Correspondence, 1914-1953

  1. Carl; July 9, 1918 – June 28, 1935
  2. Clement; April 19, 1923 – February 9, 1930
  3. Edwin; 1923 – November 12, 1929
  4. V.V. Stepanek; June 14, 1926 – April 11, 1949
  5. Miscellaneous; February 2, 1914 – January 30, 1953
  6. Outgoing; ca. 1920 – April 14, 1946

Series 4 – Diaries, 1889-1949

  1. Volumes 1-2, 1889-1890, ca. 1896
  2. Volume 3, 1900
  3. Volume 4, 1908
  4. Volume 5, 1909-1910
  5. Volume 6, 1911
  6. Volume 7, 1912
  7. Volumes 8-10, 1913-1915

Box 2

  1. Volume 11, 1917
  2. Volumes 12-15, 1918-1920
  3. Volume 16, 1922
  4. Volume 17, 1924
  5. Volumes 18-21, 1925-1928
  6. Volumes 22-24, 1929-1947
  7. Volume 25, 1947-1949

Series 5 – Biographical Material, 1845-1953

  1. Naturalization/Homestead papers; 1845-1883
  2. Biographical clippings and writings; 1949-1953
  3. Business and membership cards; 1899-1953
  4. Oversize biographical material (see OB126)

Series 6 – Howard County Historical Material, 1871-1962

  1. Historical sketches, military occupancy; 1871-1881
  2. Historical sketches, Svoboda’s folders; 1871-1944
  3. Historical sketches, Haggart, Paul, and Paul; ca. 1899-1922
  4. Historical sketches, written in Czech
  5. Historical sketches, topography and maps
  6. Correspondence; 1918-1947
  7. Publications; 1876-1961
  8. Publications; 1901-1962
  9. “Komensky Fund”; 1914-1941
  10. “Bohemian History”; 1913-1931
  11. Journal; n.d.
  12. Warsaw Cemetery; 1931-1932
  13. Miscellaneous historical material; n.d.
  14. Oversize historical material (see OB126)
  15. Oversize historical material (see OB126)

Series 7 – Financial Materials, 1886-1953

  1. Correspondence; February 19, 1924-June 20, 1935
  2. Checks and receipts; June 4, 1900-June 8, 1929
  3. Stocks, deeds, warranties, contracts; 1886-1953
    Ledger, Volume 1 (see oversize)
    Ledger, Volume 2 (see oversize)
    Ledger, Volume 3 (see oversize)
  4. Ledger, Volume 4; 1925-1928
  5. Ledger, Volume 5; 1940
  6. Ledger, Volume 6; 1941
  7. Ledger, Volume 7; 1942

Box 3

  1. Ledger, Volume 8; 1943-1944
  2. Ledger, Volume 9; 1947-1949
  3. Ledger, Volume 10; 1950
  4. Miscellaneous financial material; 1905-1935
  5. Oversize financial material (see OB126)

Series 8 – ZCBJ Material, 1902-1947

  1. Correspondence; 1914-1939
  2. Publications; 1902-1927
  3. Publications; 1932-1942
    Minutes volume; 1907-1933 (see oversize)
  4. Miscellaneous ZCBJ material; 1927-1947

Series 9 – Czech Material, 1890-1953

  1. Correspondence; August 21, 1923- June 2, 1947
  2. Publications; 1890-1938
  3. Publications; 1939-1953
  4. Publications; n.d.
  5. Publications, Czechoslovakian maps
  6. Miscellaneous Czech material
  7. Oversize Czech material (see oversize)

Series 10 – Miscellaneous Material, 1886-1980

  1. Travels; 1930-1932
  2. Travels; 1936-1937
  3. Travel journal, Canada trip
  4. Travel journal; 1938
  5. Publications, scrapbook of clippings
  6. Publications; 1913-1980
  7. Publications, reference manual
  8. Miscellaneous material; 1886-1945
  9. Grammar and lesson journals, n.d.
  10. Miscellaneous oversize material (see OB126)

Subject headings:

Czechs — Nebraska
Howard County (Nebraska) — History
Politics — Nebraska
Svoboda, Charles Vincent, 1859-1953
Western Bohemian Fraternal Association

TH/kfk 04-30-2003
Revised TMM 05-03-2007

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