Summary Information
Title: Thomas G. Masaryk Papers
Collection Number: SC.1983.01
Creator: Masaryk, T. G. (Tomáš Garrigue), 1850-1937

Collection Dates: Bulk, 1918-1919
Collection Dates: 1918-1938
Extent: 3.0 linear feet (2 boxes)

Language: Czech

The material in this collection is in English and Czech.

Thomas Masaryk was an Austro-Hungarian and Czechoslovak politician, philosopher, and an icon of Czechoslovak independence by becoming the founder and first elected President of Czechoslovakia in 1918. The collection includes mostly unpublished drafts of Masryk's letters and memoranda, interviews, and articles and drafts of later published writings. The date range of the collection (1918-1919) is significant as it was during this period that Masaryk’s ultimate goal of Czechoslovak sovereignty came to fruition.

ULS Special Collections Department
University of Pittsburgh Library System
Hillman Library, Room 363
3960 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:


Finding aid prepared by Andrew Keough.

Thomas Masaryk was born on March 7, 1850, in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, into a working-class family of Slovak, Moravian, and Slavic decent. This ethnic decent later informed and motivated much of his life’s work. After studying philosophy in Brno, Leipzig, and Vienna, Masaryk was named Professor of Philosophy at the University of Prague in 1882. As part of his dedication to Czech civilization, Masaryk began a magazine concentrated on Czech culture and science. Masaryk was also elected to the Austrian parliament, first, as a member of the Young Czech Party, and then again as a member of the Realist Party.

With the eruption of World War I in 1914, Masaryk found that the best way to attain his ultimate ideal of Czechoslovak independence from Austria-Hungary was through self-imposed exile. Between late 1914 and early 1918, Masaryk made his way across Europe and Asia to the United States -– promoting, organizing, and establishing the Czechoslovak cause along the way. His travels did much in the way of establishing the Czechoslovak Legions, which were military units designed to aid the Allied cause in Russia. The connections established by Masaryk during this period also provided the Allies with valuable intelligence and counter-intelligence information.

Named president of the provisional Czechoslovak government by the Allies, after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the close of World War I, Masaryk was elected the president of a sovereign Czechoslovak Republic in 1918. He was reelected in 1920, 1927, and 1934. Due to ailing health, he resigned as president in 1935, with Dr. Edvard Benes taking the office. Two years later, on September 14, 1937, Thomas Masaryk died of natural causes.

Collection Scope and Content Notes

The papers in this collection detail Masaryk’s work from 1918 to 1919 at the end of the First World War. This work includes the formation of a sovereign, internationally recognized Czechoslovak state, the situation of Czechoslovak troops in the final phases of the war, the state of the Czechoslovak people after the war, and the relations of Czechoslovakia with neighboring former Central Powers (especially Poland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire) in the immediate aftermath of the war. The papers are comprised of notes, interviews, memoranda, letters, drafts, articles, telegrams, and messages.

A later addition to the collection (Series 11) contains nine issues of Czech periodicals featuring articles and images of Masaryk's life and death.


The papers are stored in two document boxes and are divided into eleven series:

Series I. Czechoslovak Legion in Siberia

Series II. Letters to Woodrow Wilson and Robert Lansing

Series III. Articles and Interview

Series IV. The Poles: Tesin and Orava

Series V. Hungarian Invasion of Slovakia, Spring of 1919

Series VI. Messages to Benes in Paris

Series VII. Record of Discussion with General Smuts – April 7, 1919

Series VIII. Draft of First Message to Parliament

Series IX. First Outline of Nova Europa

Series X. Miscellaneous

Series XI. Czech Periodicals

Subject Terms

  • Presidents -- Czechoslovakia
  • World War, 1914-1918

Personal Names
  • Masaryk, T. G. (Tomáš Garrigue), 1850-1937

  • Czechoslovakia -- Foreign relations -- 1918-1938
  • Czechoslovakia -- History -- 1918-1938
  • Czechoslovakia -- Politics and government -- 1918-1938

  • Articles
  • Correspondence
  • Interviews
  • Memorandums
  • Notes
  • Telegrams

  • Personal papers

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of the Czechoslovak Nationality Room Committee of the University of Pittsburgh on March 6, 1983.

Preferred Citation:

Thomas G. Masaryk Papers, 1918-1919, SC.1983.01, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh.

Processing Information:

The Archivists' Toolkit version of finding aid prepared by Andrew Keough in September 2010.


The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright might still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the US Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or resproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Location of Original Documents:

Photocopies in this collection are derived from originals located at the National Archives State Department Files in Washington, D.C., the Richard T. Crane Papers at the Georgetown University Library, and the Woodrow Wilson Papers at the Library of Congress.

Collection Inventory

Series I. Czechoslovak Legion in Siberia, 1918

Scope and Content Notes:

This series includes telegrams, correspondence, notes, and memoranda regarding the situation of Czechoslovak troops deployed in Russia (most notably Siberia). Masaryk comments on the precarious situation of the Czechoslovak troops, essentially stranded in Siberia due to the withdrawal of Bolshevik Russia from the war and its ensuing compliance with the Germans.

Box 1
Folder 1 Statement of the Czechoslovak Government concerning the Principle of Nonintervention in Russia, undated
Folder 2 Return of the Siberian Legions to the Homeland, 1918
Folder 3 Telegram to the Czechoslovak Army in Russia, 1918
Folder 4 Confidential Memorandum: "Help of the Allies to the Czechoslovak Army in Russia Necessary," 1918
Folder 5 Report of Capt. Hurban Regarding the Chaos in Russia and Siberia – Emendations by Thomas Masaryk, 1918
Folder 6 Agreement with Gen. Janin on the Situation in Russia, 1918
Folder 7 Notes on the Memorandum of September 27, 1918, 1918

Series II. Letters to Woodrow Wilson and Robert Lansing, 1918

Scope and Content Notes:

These documents, dating from March and November of 1918, consist of English and Czech versions of Masaryk’s letters to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and Secretary of State Robert Lansing. The letters deal with the formation and hopeful U.S. support of a democratic union of mid-European states. The issue of war guilt is also discussed, with the case against the Austrians and Magyars being clearly made. Apprehensions over Polish intentions are also raised.

Folder 8 Letter to President Wilson on the Mid-European Union, 1918
Folder 9 Letter to Secretary Lansing Regarding War Guilt – Dr. Cisar’s Transcript with Masaryk’s Emendations and Additions, 1918

Series III. Articles and Interviews, 1918-1919

Scope and Content Notes:

This series is comprised of various articles and interviews featured in such periodicals as The Nation. The content of these articles and interviews surrounds the status of Czechoslovakia following the First World War. Masaryk details the significant historical and political dimensions of the new Czechoslovak state, as well as noting the value of recognition by the United States. He also makes known the plight of the Czechoslovak people in terms of the poverty and starvation they had to contend with. The documents are a mixture of hand-written and typed pages in both English and Czech.

Folder 10 The International Status of the Czechoslovak Nation, 1918
Folder 11 Interview with an Unidentified English Journalist, 1918
Folder 12 Article about the Impoverization of Czech Lands by War, 1919
Folder 13 The Austrophiles among the Allies, 1918
Folder 14 Response to the Swiss Inquiry concerning the Union of Austria and Germany, 1919

Series IV. The Poles: Tesin and Orava, 1919

Scope and Content Notes:

These papers, written during 1919, deal with the Czechoslovakian relationship with Poland. In particular, a defense is made of Czechoslovakia as regards Polish claims of their being “the Prussians among the Slavs.” The Interallied Commission is implored not to be swayed by Polish politicking against Czechoslovakia. Documents are in both English and Czech, handwritten and typed.

Folder 15 Transcript of Telegram from Mr. Paderewski with Draft of Masaryk’s Response, 1919
Folder 16 Masaryk’s Letter to Mr. Paderewski, 1919
Folder 17 Masaryk’s Letter to Dr. Svatek, 1919
Folder 18 Masaryk’s Letter to the Inter-Allied Commission at Tesin, 1919
Folder 19 Letter to Premier Kramer regarding Poland, 1919
Folder 20 Mr. Maxa’s Report from Warsaw, 1919

Series V. Hungarian Invasion of Slovakia, Sping of 1919

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains documents from 1919 which focus on relations with Hungary. All documents, both typed and handwritten, are in Czech.

Folder 21 Letter to Dr. Benes, 1919
Folder 22 Notes on Relations with the Government in Budapest, 1919
Folder 23 “Concerning the Advancement of our Army into Hungary," 1919

Series VI. Messages to Benes in Paris, 1919

Scope and Content Notes:

These documents consist of two forms of Masaryk’s correspondence with Dr. Benes – typed and handwritten. The communication dates from March of 1919. Both documents appear in the original Czech.

Folder 24 Message to Dr. Benes in Paris: Draft of Letter, 1919

Series VII. Discussion with General Smuts, April 7, 1919

Scope and Content Notes:

This series features the discussion with General Smuts on April 7, 1919. The document consists of six handwritten pages in Czech.

Folder 25 Discussion with General Smuts, April 7, 1919 (8:30-9:40), 1919

Series VIII. The First Message to Parliament, 1918

Scope and Content Notes:

Contained in this series is the draft of Masaryk’s first message to the parliament of the Czechoslovak Republic. The document consists of twenty-seven handwritten pages, in Czech, dated to December 22, 1918.

Folder 26 Draft of the First Message to Parliament, December 22, 1918, 1918

Series IX. First Outline of Nova Europa, 1918

Scope and Content Notes:

In this first outline of Nova Europa, Masaryk presents his introduction with a topical outline handwritten in Czech, accompanied by an index of subjects, namely nations, written in English.

Folder 27 Introduction and Topical Outline, with Index of Subjects, 1918

Series X. Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1918-1919

Scope and Content Notes:

These documents are comprised of miscellaneous documents ranging from 1918 to 1919. They include Masaryk’s correspondence with Herbert Hoover, communication with his Minister of Defense, and drafts of his wife’s correspondence. The documents are both typed and handwritten, and in both English and Czech.

Folder 28 Portion of a Letter Drafted to Herbert Hoover, 1918
Folder 29 Draft of a Letter to Col. House, 1918
Folder 30 Masaryk’s Draft about Mrs. Masaryk’s Appreciation of Greetings Received at Sokol Slet, undated
Folder 31 Letter to Defense Minister Klofac regarding Military Matters in Rusinia, 1919
Folder 32 Draft of Letter to Defense Minister Klofac regarding Military Matters in Italy, undated

Series XI Czech Periodicals, 1932-1938

Scope and Content Notes:

This series constitutes a later addition to the Masaryk Papers. It contains nine issues of Czech periodicals and one Czech magazine clipping with articles and images about President Masaryk,including his death and funeral. The titles include Pestrý týden [Colorful Week], one of the best illustrated magazines that appeared in the first and second Czechoslovak Republic, and Pražský ilustrovaný zpravodaj [Prague Illustrated Reporter], the first Czech magazine focusing on reporting through photography and images, thus initiating a new evolution in the Czech media market.

Box 2
Item 1 Pestrý týden : "In Memoriam TGM, 19. října 1937," October 1937
Item 2 Pestrý týden, July 1938
Item 3 Pestrý týden, Septmeber 1937
Item 4 Clipping from Unidentified Publication
Item 5 Pražský ilustrovaný zpravodaj, 1937
Item 6 Pražský ilustrovaný zpravodaj, 1937
Item 7 Ozvěny domova i světa, 1937
Item 8 Pražský ilustrovaný zpravodaj, 1938
Item 9 Slavnostní list, July 1932
Item 10 Slavnostní list, June 1932