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Alice Simon collection on the Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol of America


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

In 1862 in the Czech region of Europe, Miroslav Tyrs and his father-in-law founded the Sokol movement. An all-age gymnastics organization based on the Ancient Greek idea "a sound mind in a sound body," Sokols used lectures and outdoor activities to train people physically, morally, and intellectually. Sokols aimed to be apolitical, but they contributed heavily to the development of Czech nationalism. When immigrants from Eastern Europe settled in the United States in the 19th century, several Czech and Slovak immigrant communities opened Sokols as places of moral, physical, and social training and as a way to build community and foster American patriotism. A national organization for the Slovak-based Sokols, the Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol of America (now Sokol USA), was established in 1896 as a non-sectarian fraternal benefit society that offered insurance and social and athletic programs to its members. Its members were organized in local branches called lodges, and each lodge organized activities to engage its members.

Alice Simon, a lifelong resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut and an employee of the Connecticut National Bank (retired in 1974) was a gymnast and officer of the Bridgeport Women's Lodge No. 3W. In addition to her involvement with her local lodge, Alice also was a member of Sokol USA's administration. In 1975, she was chosen to serve as treasurer for the organization's Ways and Means Committee at a time when Sokol USA sought new avenues for raising funds. As treasurer, she helped oversee several fundraising events that the Ways and Means Committee engineered. At some point, Ms. Simon merged her papers with those of Ms. Bessie W. Erhardt, Co-Chairperson of the Ways and Means Committee. Ms. Erhardt’s papers included financial records and correspondence that are mostly intermingled with Ms. Simon’s papers.

Alice Simon passed away in 1998.

The Alice Simon collection on the Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol of America contains materials related to the Slovak Gymnastic Union of America, now Sokol USA. It also contains materials connected to the Byram lodge in Connecticut and the Sokol Woodlands summer camp in Barryville, New York.

The bulk of the collection relates to the national organization, Sokol USA. Series 1 includes the organization's bylaws, meeting minutes, and convention summaries. Meeting minutes for the Byram lodge are also included in this series. Series 2 contains correspondence to and/or from members of Sokol USA's Ways and Means Committee of which Ms. Simon was Treasurer. The correspondence largely focuses on the organization's fund raising efforts. Series 3 contains both Sokol USA's and Byram lodge's financial records. The financial records for both organizations are incomplete. However, some records of donations made, dues paid, invoices, miscellaneous expenses, and bank account totals are included. Series 4 contains a variety of printed matter that the organization generated including flyers, pamphlets, and booklets that describe events and other activities. Also in this series are travel brochures connected to places where the organization held conventions and events. Series 5 contains information about the organization's slets (exhibition events for members to show off their athletic skills) including rules, scripts, and results. Series 6 contains materials from Sokol Woodlands, a Sokol USA-sponsored summer camp in Barryville, NY that was in use until 2008. Woodlands materials include programming material, minutes, financial notes, pamphlets, newsletters, and ephemera dating from the late 1960s to the 1980s. Finally, Series 7 contains several artifacts including a set of patches and a plaque each from a different slet.

Series I – Minutes and Summaries for Byram District, SOKOL USA, and National Convention

Series 2 – Correspondence

Series 3 – Financial Records and Life Insurance Materials

Series 4 – Printed Matter

Series 5 – Slet Rules, Scripts, Results, and Programs

Series 6 – Sokol Woodlands Summer Camp

Series 7 – Artifacts

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu and Michael DiCamillo
Finding Aid Date
; 2017.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

Byram District and SOKOL USA Meeting Minutes with three date books (1976–1986).
Box 1 Folder 1
Byram District and SOKOL USA Meeting Minutes (bound), 1976-1983.
Box 1 Folder 2
National Convention Minutes and Summaries for 1978, 1982, and Undated.
Box 1 Folder 3
By-Laws of the Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol of the United States of America (SOKOL USA), 1978.
Volume 1
Minutes of the Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol of the United States of America (SOKOL USA) 24th Convention July 8th to July 12th, 1974.
Volume 2
Minutes of the Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol of the United States of America (SOKOL USA) 25th Convention July 16th to July 21st, 1978.
Volume 3
Minutes of the Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol of the United States of America (SOKOL USA) 26th Convention August 9th to August 12th, 1982.
Volume 4

Mixed Correspondence from and to Alice Simon or Bessie Erhardt (1975-1986, 3 undated).
Box 2 Folder 1
SOKOL USA Donation Drive Correspondence 1976.
Box 2 Folder 2
SOKOL USA Donation Drive Correspondence 1977-1978.
Box 2 Folder 3
SOKOL USA Cookbook Campaign Correspondence (1982-1983).
Box 2 Folder 4
Miscellaneous Envelopes and other Ephemera.
Box 2 Folder 5

National and Local Financial Records, 1976-1985.
Box 3 Folder 1
National and Local Financial Records, 1963-1986.
Box 3 Folder 2
SOKOL USA Insurance Materials.
Box 3 Folder 3

National and Local Flyers, Pamphlets, Booklets, and Other Printed Matter.
Box 3 Folder 4
National and Local Flyers, Booklets, and Other Printed Matter.
Box 3 Folder 5
Songbooks and Sheet Music.
Box 3 Folder 6
Box 3 Folder 7
Travel Brochures.
Box 3 Folder 8
Sokol Times and other newspaper clippings (bulk 78-79, 83-85).
Box 3 Folder 9

Slet Rules and Results.
Box 4 Folder 1
Slet scripts.
Box 4 Folder 2
Slet scripts.
Box 4 Folder 3
Program for XIX SOKEL USA Slet and National Gymnastics Championship June 29th – July 2nd, 1983, 1970s-1993.
Volume 5
Program for XVI American Sokel Slet, June 26th—30th, 1985, 1970s-1980s.
Volume 6
Exercise books, 1948, 1983, 1985.
Volume 7

Meeting Minutes and Summaries (1977-1978).
Box 4 Folder 4
Meeting Minutes and Summaries (1979-1985).
Box 4 Folder 5
Flyers, pamphlets, and other printed matter.
Box 4 Folder 6
Financial Reports.
Box 4 Folder 7

Plaque, July 1934, 1934.
Box 5
1985 Slet patches, 1985, undated.
Box 6

Print, Suggest