Register of the Papers of
Vladimir Hurban was born in 1883 in Turciansky Svaty Martin in Slovakia. He was the son of the famous Slovak writer and nationalist leader, Svetozar Hurban Vajansky. From his early youth, Hurban was involved in the struggle against Hungarian domination of Slovakia and contributed articles to Narodnie Noviny, the leading nationalist Slovak newspaper in Hungary. These articles drew the attention of the Hungarian authorities, and young Hurban was arrested and jailed many times.
In 1914 Hurban left Slovakia to join the Russian army as a member of the general staff. Later, he helped organize Czech and Slovak prisoners of war into units of the Czechoslovak Legion in Russia. This activity led to his participation in the Czecho-Slovak National Council which later served as the provisional government of Czechoslovakia.
Hurban came to the United States in 1918, after participating in the famous march of the Czechoslovak legions through Siberia, and became a military aide to Thomas G. Masaryk, who was then in Washington, D.C. In 1919 Hurban married Olga Boor, daughter of Reverend Ladislav Boor of Langsford, Pennsylvania. In 1921 Hurban became the military attaché to the Czechoslovak legations in Washington, D.C.
After entering the diplomatic service in 1924, Hurban was appointed charge d'affaires at Cairo, Egypt. He served in that position until 1930 when he became minister to Sweden, Norway, and Lithuania. In 1936 he was appointed minister to the United States and Cuba, a position he held until 1946. During the period 1939-1946, Hurban was a member of the CzechoSlovak National Council which served as the government in exile of Czechoslovakia. He became a symbol of defiance against the Nazis by refusing to turn over to them the Czechoslovak embassy in Washington. Hurban returned to Prague in 1946 and died there in October of 1949. His family now lives in the United States.
Presented by Ladislav Boor and Viera Boor, 19 June and 22 July 1974. M7460 and M7492.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The Hurban collection covers the years 1917-1965 (containing some items pertaining to, and collected by, Olga Hurban after the death of her husband) and consists primarily of material relating to Czechoslovakia during the period 1939-1946, rather than directly to Hurban himself. Most of this material was generated by Hurban's position in the Czechoslovak foreign service until 1939 and on the Czecho-Slovak National Council from 1939-1946. The collection provides some valuable insight into Czechoslovak affairs and some of the activities of the Czecho-Slovak National Council during the occupation, liberation, and reconstruction of the country. The collection contains correspondence, memoranda, reports, printed material, certificates, and photographs and is divided into two series: general papers and photographs.
The GENERAL PAPERS are divided into two subsections. The first section contains material that relates directly to Hurban or his wife, plus material on prominent Czech and Slovak individuals. Included in this section is correspondence, 1944-1948, some of a personal nature but mostly requests for aid; a file marked "appointments," containing official notifications of Hurban's promotions and appointments within the Czechoslovak diplomatic corps, and civil service, plus lists of Czechoslovak civil servants from 1928, and ambassadors from 1936; certificates presented to Hurban by various governments; a magazine article titled "So Marched the Czechoslovaks," describing the march through Siberia and containing references to Hurban; radio scripts read by Olga Hurban over Radio Free Europe in 1951 about famous individuals in Czechoslovak affairs; a file on Slovaks in the United States, containing reports on their activities and their attitudes toward events in Czechoslovakia during World War II, plus some correspondence from prominent Slovaks in America to Hurban; and a speech by Hurban on "The Role of Czechoslovakia in the Present World Crisis."
Among the material pertaining to prominent Czech and Slovak individuals is a file on former Czechoslovak president Edvard Benes, containing biographical information plus correspondence relating to him. There are files on the Masaryks: biographical material on Thomas G., the first president of Czechoslovakia, and his son Jan and daughter Alice; a letter by Olga Hurban describing the trip by Thomas G. Masaryk to Palestine in 1927; newspaper clippings on the death of Jan Masaryk; Hurban's correspondence relating to the Masaryks; correspondence from the early 1960's between Olga Hurban and Alice Masaryk; and a medical report on the treatment of the Slovak national hero General Milan R. Stefanik at Johns Hopkins University medical center in 1917.
The second section concerns Czechoslovakia during the period 1939-1946. It includes general files on the occupation, liberation, and reconstruction of the country. These consist primarily of correspondence and official reports and memos relating to events concerning Czechoslovakia during that period, material covering the activities of the Czecho-Slovak National Council, and a list of Czech and Slovak officials and citizens arrested by the Nazis or in concentration camps.
Other files, of a more specific nature, pertain to the transfer of embassies to Germany in 1939 and Hurban's refusal to comply; Stefan Osusky, the representative of the Czecho-Slovak, National Council in Paris, including material on the activities of the Council and on his split with Benes; a letter former Czechoslovak Prime Minister Milan Hodza concerning the decentralization of his country, and a file relating to Czechoslovak participation in the San Francisco conference of 1945 at which the United Nations was created.
The PHOTOGRAPHS section consists primarily of individual and group photos of Hurban and other prominent members of the Czechoslovak, government such as Ed Benes, Thomas G. Masaryk, and Jan Masaryk. The photographs have been divided and identified according to subject and individuals, and dates have been noted whenever possible. Among the most notable photographs are those of Hurban in Siberia and a photo album of the visit of Czechoslovak president Thomas G. Masaryk to Palestine in 1927. The photographs have been separated from the manuscript collection. See the SEPARATION RECORD for PHOTO GROUP 122 and the visual catalog.
The box list of the register of the papers of Vladimir Hurban is four pages