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October 2001

Release Date: October 22, 2001

West Texas Collection Exhibit to Highlight Czech Heritage in Texas

The Dr. Ralph R. Chase West Texas Collection at Angelo State University will host a Czech Heritage Reception Thursday, Oct. 25, in conjunction with an exhibit of Czech materials at the West Texas Collection.

Open free to the public, the reception is scheduled 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday in the West Texas Collection on the second floor of the Houston Harte University Center. The display is scheduled to be on exhibit through Nov. 30.

Items in the Czech display are on loan from the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas (SPJST) Museum, Library and Archives in Temple. The SPJST facility contains more than 23,000 books and manuscript collections documenting the state's Czech heritage. In addition to the printed and written materials, the museum holds musical instruments, dolls, coins and other artifacts pertinent to the Czech experience in Texas.

Items on loan to the West Texas Collection from the SPJST Museum for display in San Angelo include Czech language literature and memorabilia such as tools, toys and other artifacts. Some items are from the Czech Republic and some belonged to Czech immigrants who came to the United States and settled in Texas.

Between 1834 and 1900 approximately 200,000 people of Czech descent left their native lands for America. A significant number of those immigrants ultimately settled in Texas. The Czech fraternal organization SPJST was organized and received its charter in 1897. Originally, there were 782 members and 25 SPJST lodges statewide.

The SPJST Museum stands as a memorial to the pioneer Czech forefathers and mothers who settled in Texas and seeks to preserve that colorful Czech heritage for future generations.

For more information on the exhibit and the reception, contact the West Texas Collection at 942-2164.