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Slovak Catholic Sokol, Assemblies No. 61 and No. 173 (Philadelphia, Pa.) records


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. However, there were several Slovak Catholic communities in the United States that wished to incorporate their faith-based values and traditions with the teachings and ideals of the Sokol movement. To this end, a Slovak Catholic-based Sokol was organized in July 1905 by two groups of Slovak immigrants from Passaic and Hibernia, New Jersey. At its first convention in December 1905, the organization chose to be known as the Roman and Greek Catholic Gymnastic Union Sokol, but shortened its name to Slovak Catholic Sokol in 1933. The Slovak Catholic Sokol's newsletter, Katolicky Sokol (Catholic Falcon), was first published in 1910 and is still in circulation as of 2017.

The various local branches of the Slovak Catholic Sokol are called assemblies instead of lodges, which is the name used by local Sokol USA branches. In 1908, women were admitted as members in the Slovak Catholic Sokol and instead of assemblies, women's branches are called wreaths. Assembly number 61 and 173 were based in Philadelphia, PA and active circa 1920s to at least the 1960s. As of 2017 there are two branches active in Philadelphia, Assembly 048 and Wreath 013.

The Slovak Catholic Sokol, Assemblies No. 61 and No. 173 records, 1920-1966, consist of minute books and a member policy book. Loose materials that were found inside of the volumes have been placed into folders and include receipts, minutes, financial materials, and a membership form. The minutes in box 1, volume 1 are in Slovak. In the back of this volume is a member list with addresses. Box 1, volume 2 contains minutes (possibly from a wreath instead of an assembly) in the first part of the volume, but then switches to a list of names with numbers, possibly insurance policy payment records, 1957-1966. Box 2, volume 1 is in Slovak.

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

Collection Inventory

Assembly No. 61 - Minutes, 1920-1943.
Box 1 Volume 1
Assembly No. 61 - Minutes, 1948-1966.
Box 1 Volume 2
Assembly No. 61 - Loose items removed from volume 1, 1935-1943, undated.
Box 1 Folder 1
Assembly No. 173 - Insurance policy book, 1944-1962.
Box 2 Volume 1
Assembly No. 173 - Loose items removed from volume, undated.
Box 2 Folder 1

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