A Guide to the Charles Kinzek Papers, 1950-1951
Charles Knizek (later Kinzek) established and was the first instructor of Czech and Russian languages at the School of Slavic Languages at the University of Texas. In 1913, Knizek was the president of the UT student club Cechie, and wrote a petition to the UT Board of Regents to try to establish a Department of Slavic Languages at the University. In 1914, he was appointed to teach in the UT German Department, where he obtained a promise from UT President Mezes that one course in Czech would be offered in 1915. When Mezes resigned in December 1914, the acting President refused to abide by the agreement. Knizek took his case to the Texas Legislature, but was unsuccessful there as well, due to fears of the Legislature that the anti-University block would provide stronger opposition to the entire University budget. In May 1915, Knizek approached the leader of the anti-University block, Representative F. Burmeister, who offered an amendment providing $1800 annually for an adjunct professor of Czech. Knizek agreed to transfer from the German Department to head the new school, which was named the School of Slavic Languages and offered Czech and Russian courses. He taught in the School until 1924.
Knizek eventually changed his name to the more American spelling of Charles Kinzek, and went on to teach in the Department of Foreign Languages at Compton Junior College in Compton, California.
The Charles Kinzek Papers, 1950-1951, include letters written by Kinzek to and regarding Dr. Henry R. Maresh, whose 1934 book Czech Pioneers of the Southwest conveyed an inaccurate history regarding the establishment of the School of Slavic Languages at the University of Texas. Letters from witnesses and others who had a stake in the establishment of the School are also included, defending Kinzek's stance, as is a document entitled "Facts and Truth Pertaining to the Establishment of the School of Slavic at the University of Texas". Items of note include correspondence between Kinzek and W. J. Battle and J. Frank Dobie.
This collection is open for research use.
Charles Kinzek Papers, 1950-1951, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by archives staff, 1951.
Detailed Description of the Papers