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. The national branch of the Slovak-based Sokols was the Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol of America, which was established in 1896 as a fraternal benefit society that offered insurance and athletic programs to its members. Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol of America is now known as Sokol USA.
Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol Lodge 93 was established in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1905. The Bethlehem Sokol expanded its numbers with the addition of a women's lodge, Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol Lodge 66W, and a juvenile branch of Lodge 93 in the 1910s. The groups acquired a lot and built Sokol Hall in Bethlehem, which they used for their headquarters. The building served as a place for both physical and social activities in the community. Both of these lodges were active into at least the 1970s.
Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol Lodges No. 93 and No. 66W printed matter and photographs, 1922-1976 (bulk 1965-1975), consist of typed organizational histories, photographs, programs, and typed articles for the "Sokol Times." The photographs include images of members and activities. The programs are from conventions and slets (competitions) and some contain histories of the Sokol movements and its various representations in the United States. Histories about lodges 93 and 66W can also be found in the articles for the "Sokol Times." There are no financial or administrative records for these organizations in this collection.
Old collection number: M99-36.
- 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.