Summary Information
Title: Czechoslovak Nationality Room Committee Collection
Collection Number: UA.40.05
Creator: University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program. Czechoslovak Nationality Room Committee.

Collection Dates: 1925-2013
Extent: 5.0 linear feet (10 boxes)

Language: English

The language of the material in this collection is primarily English, with some Czech and Slovak.

The Czechoslovak Nationality Room Committee contains correspondence, photographs, drawings, minutes and publicity relating to the Czechoslovak Room's construction, as well as committee functions subsequent to the room's dedication. After the dedication in 1939, the committee shifted its efforts to the organization of local cultural events and the sponsorship of an annual exchange scholarship. The bulk of the collection dates to the second half of the twentieth century and includes committee correspondence, programs, publicity, essays and other papers relating to its latter role in scholarship and cultural activities. Digital reproductions of all of the photographs are available online.

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:

July 2013

Finding aid prepared by Carly Lough.
Revision Description:
September 2015:
Addition of the original records boxes as artifacts within the collection.


The Czechoslovak Nationality Room was dedicated in 1939 as one of the original 19 Nationality Classrooms in the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. The Nationality Rooms Committees formed at the invitation of Chancellor John G. Bowman and Program Director Ruth Crawford Mitchell, who envisioned the rooms as apolitical monuments to the cultural roots of Pittsburgh. The completion of the Czechoslovak Room, like all Nationality Rooms, was an international effort. Committees in both Pittsburgh and Prague jointly oversaw the room's design, construction and decoration in a traditional, folk-inspired aesthetic. Ruth Crawford Mitchell spearheaded early construction efforts at the University of Pittsburgh, while Alice Garrigue Masaryk advised affairs in Prague, where she engaged architect Bohumil Slama, artists Karel and Marie Svolinsky, and other contributing artisans. After the dedication of its classroom, the Czechoslovak Room committee continued its role as an arbiter of cultural exchange, both locally and internationally. The committee sponsors one of the annual exchage scholarship provided by the Nationality Rooms program. Members also participate in the organization of local cultural events, such as concerts, lectures, memorials, and community gatherings.

Collection Scope and Content Notes

The Czechoslovak Nationality Room Committee collection incorporates correspondence, photographs and minutes documenting the room's construction and dedication, as well as administrative materials from World War II to present, after the dedication of the Czechoslovak Room at the Cathedral of Learning in 1939. During the war, the running affairs of the committee primarily included donation and relief efforts for civilians and soldiers overseas. The bulk of the collection covers the second half of the twentieth century, and is concerned with its participatory and organizational roles in the Nationality Rooms international exchange scholarship program and local cultural events. Materials from the collection represent committee meetings, planning of local Czech and Slovak cultural and memorial gatherings, entertaining national and international dignitaries and visitors, maintaining the classroom and support of the committee scholarship. Included are correspondence, programs, invitations, essays, publicity, transcripts of speeches and remarks, as well as as incomplete sets of minutes and committee newsletters.


The collection is arranged in two series according to subject. Series I contains four subseries ordered by genre. Series II contains three subseries arranged by genre.

Series I. Room Construction and Dedication

Series II. Committee Administration

Subject Terms

  • Classrooms -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Czech Americans -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Slovak Americans -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Universities and colleges -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh

Corporate Names
  • Nationality Rooms (Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program. Czechoslovak Nationality Room Committee.
  • University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program.

Personal Names
  • Getting, Milan
  • Masaryk, Alice Garrigue, 1879-1966
  • Masaryk, Jan, 1886-1948
  • Masaryk, T. G. (Tomáš Garrigue), 1850-1937
  • Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, 1890-
  • Sláma, Bohumil
  • Svolinský, Karel, 1896-1986

  • Architectural drawings (Visual works)
  • Clippings (Information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Financial records
  • Minutes
  • Photographs

  • University of Pittsburgh

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Deposited by Cristina Lagnese in June 2013.

Alternate Format:

Digital reproductions of the photographs in the collection are available online.

Preferred Citation:

Czechoslovak Nationality Room Committee Collection, 1925-2013, UA.40.05, University Archives, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Carly Lough in June 2013.


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

Collection Inventory

Series I. Room Construction and Dedication, 1925-1957

Scope and Content Notes:

The bulk of the materials within this series predate the room's construction in 1939, and contain local and international correspondence, architectural renderings and artist's sketches relating to committee and organization and the planning of the rooms. Also included is a subseries of photographs depicting committee members, events and meetings, as well as the Czechoslovak Room and interior details.

Subseries 1. General Correspondence

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains correspondence and associated papers exchanged by committee members and Nationality Rooms Program officers, such as Ruth Crawford Mitchell, relating to room and committee organization.

Box 1
Folder 1 General Correspondence 1925-1927
Folder 2 General Correspondence
Folder 3 General Correspondence
Folder 4 General Correspondence 1933-1934
Folder 5 General Correspondence 1935-1936
Folder 6 Dr. Benes' Visit to the University of Pittsburgh May 13, 1939
Folder 7 General Correspondence 1937
Folder 8 General Correspondence 1938
Folder 9 General Correspondence 1939-1940

Subseries 2. Publicity Materials

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains publicity materials relating to the Czechoslovak Room, the Czechoslovak Room Committee, and the Nationality Rooms Program.

Folder 10 Publicity Materials 1925-1939
Folder 11-12 Newspaper Clippings 1925-1939

Subseries 3. International and Architectural Correspondence

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains correspondence between committee organizers Ruth Crawford Mitchell and Alice Garrigue Masaryk, Pittsburgh and Prague committee members, and Prague-based architect Bohumil Slama.

Folder 13 International and Architectural Correspondence 1927-1929

Box 2
Folder 1 International and Architectural Correspondence 1930
Folder 2 International and Architectural Correspondence 1931-1932
Folder 3 International and Architectural Correspondence 1933-1935
Folder 4 International and Architectural Correspondence 1936
Folder 5 International and Architectural Correspondence 1937
Folder 6 International and Architectural Correspondence 1938
Folder 7 Czechoslovak Room Dedication 1939

Subseries 4. Photographs and Drawings

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains decorative sketches, architectural renderings, and photographs of the Pittsburgh Czechoslovak committee, its events, the finished classroom and interior details. All of the photos have been scanned and available online as part of the University of Pittsburgh Historic Photographs collection.

Folder 8 Czechoslovak Room Committee
Folder 9 Czechoslovak Room Architect and Artist Drawings
Folder 10 Czechoslovak Room Decoration and Interior Details
Folder 11 Czechoslovak Classroom
Folder 12 Czechoslovak Room Dedication 1939
Folder 13 Dr. Benes' Visit to the University of Pittsburgh May 13, 1939

Subseries 5. Minutes 1927-1939

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains a bound volume of committee minutes and financial statements covering the planning and construction of the Czechoslovak Room.

Box 9
Volume 1 Minutes, 1927-1939

Subseries 6. Committee Archives Boxes

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries consists of the four boxes that served as the original enclosures for the records of the Czechoslovak Nationality Room Committee. These ornate containers were likely to be kept within the Nationality Room, but as the room began to collect artifacts for display, there was no longer room for the records and they were transferred to the University Archives.

Box 10
Volume 1 Box for "General Correspondence, Dedication Ceremony and Visit of Dr. Benes"
Volume 2 Box for "Foreign Correspondence, Prague Committee and Architect"
Volume 3 Box for "Drawings and Photographs"
Volume 4 Box for "Publicity Material and Newspaper Clippings"

Series II. Committee Administration

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains materials that postdate the dedication of the Czechoslova Room in 1939. At this time, the committee's attention turned to the organization of cultural events in Pittsburgh, participation in European relief efforts and national Czechoslovak associations, and the sponsorship of exchange scholarships for the Nationality Rooms Program. Included are correspondence, incompete newsletters, publicity, memos, speeches and essays.

Subseries 1. Running Affairs

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains materials relating to the general running of committee affairs. These records primarily include correspondence and memos, but are interspersed with committee newsletters, member lists, as well as well as an incomplete set of minutes, programs, and invitations for committee meetings, associated organizations and efforts.

Box 3
Folder 1 Hunt, "Thomas Garrigue Masaryk" Brochure 1956
Folder 2 Committee Members 1958
Folder 3 Czechoslovak Committee 1952-1962
Folder 4 Czechoslovak Cabinet and Archives 1959-1968
Folder 5-6 Czechoslovak Committee 1943-1971
Folder 7 Committee Correspondence 1959-1971
Folder 8 Committee Members 1966-1971
Folder 9 Czechoslovak Room Maintenance

Box 4
Folder 1-2 Committee Correspondence 1974-1978
Folder 3 Czechoslovak Committee Gifts 1945-1981
Folder 4 Committee Correspondence 1977-1981
Folder 5-6 Czechoslovak Committee 1979-1982
Folder 7-8 Czechoslovak Committee 1979-1982
Folder 9 Czechoslovak Committee 1985

Box 5
Folder 1 Stanley Postrednick Correspondence 1979-1986
Folder 2 Czechoslovak Committee 1986
Folder 4 Czechoslovak Committee 1971-1989
Folder 5 Czechoslovak Committee 1990-1992
Folder 6 Czechoslovak Committee 1993-1994
Folder 7 Czechoslovak Committee 1995-1997

Box 6
Folder 1 Czechoslovak Committee 1998
Folder 2 Czechoslovak Committee 1999
Folder 3 Czechoslovak Committee 2000
Folder 4 Czechoslovak Committee 2001
Folder 5 Czechoslovak Committee 2002
Folder 6 Czechoslovak Committee 2003
Folder 7 Czechoslovak Committee 2004
Folder 8 Czechoslovak Committee 2005
Folder 9 Czechoslovak Committee 2006

Box 7
Folder 1-2 Czechoslovak Committee 2007
Folder 3 Czechoslovak Committee Newsletters

Subseries 2. Events

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains papers relating to specific committee events, Czechoslovak Room projects, members and donations. Records include correspondence, transcripts, invitations and publicity.

Folder 4 Committee WWII Relief Effort 1943-1945
Folder 5 Masaryk Memorial Service 1948-1956
Folder 6 Czechoslovak Room Redecoration 1959
Folder 7 Masa Riegl Memorial 1965
Folder 8 Special Events 1958-1968
Folder 9 Committee Events 1959-1968
Folder 10 Karel Svolinsky Visit 1968
Folder 10 Committee Events 1970-1974

Box 8
Folder 1 Masaryk Papers Presentation 1983
Folder 2 Committee Events 1988-1994
Folder 3 Publicity 1991-2000
Folder 4 Publicity 1988-2001
Folder 5 Pittsburgh Agreement 2001

Subseries 3. Subject Files

Scope and Content Notes:

This subseries contains files originally compiled alphabetically by individual or subject name for Nationality Rooms Program office reference purposes. Included are speech transcripts, historical and biographical essays and notes, memorial programs, correspondence and publicity.

Folder 6 Czechoslovak Room, Books and Articles 1990-2001
Folder 7 Czechoslovak Room, Charles IV Brocade
Folder 8 Czechoslovak Room, Charles University
Folder 9 Czechoslovak Room, Culture 1988-1996

Box 9
Folder 1 Folk Dances, Czechoslovak
Folder 2 Gaul, James 1945
Folder 3-4 Getting Family Memoir 1985
Folder 5 Czechoslovak, History 1974-1996
Folder 6 Czechoslovak, Holidays 1953-1973
Folder 7 Macek, Josef 1958
Folder 8 Masaryk, Thomas 1993-2001
Folder 9 Riegl, Masa 1964-1967