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Bzduch Family Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Bzduch

Scope and Content of the Collection

Around 75 photographs and 75 postcards showing Slovak life and correspondence between around 1900 and 1945.

Photographs in the collection are for the most part unidentified, but are from people and families in the Eastern European neighborhoods of Chicago in the first half of the twentieth century. Many of the photographs are formal portraits of women, men, children, and families, with many wedding party and wedding couple photographs. The ones listing the photographic studios are overwhelmingly from the immediate and surrounding neighborhoods. Postcards are primarily to Mary/Maria Kostial, before she was married to Samuel/Samko Bzduch. They are from Samuel while he was away during World War I, or friends of hers. Many of the pictures on the postcards are humorous or related to World War I; many from someone named "Jan" or "JH" are of Racine, Wisconsin.


  • Creation: approximately 1900-1945



Materials are in Slovak and English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Bzduch Family Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Bzduch Family Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Maria Kostial Bzduch

Photographs and postcards of Slovak immigrant to Chicago, Maria Kostial Bzduch.

Maria Kostial was born in 1892 in O-Tura, Hungary, now Stara Tura, Slovak Republic. She came to the United States in 1907 at age 15, and settled in Chicago. Before she married Samuel (Samko) Bzduch, she worked as a maid at 4744 South Prairie Avenue, Chicago. Family lore says that her Prairie Avenue employer was a Jewish woman doctor who was very kind to Maria (sometimes referred to as Mary) and helped her learn English. Maria was courted by Samko Bzduch in the 1910s, when Bzduch was a Sargeant in World War I, stationed in Rockford, Illinois and in Texas. The two married in 1923, and lived in a neighborhood that was populated with immigrants from Eastern Europe, and is now called McKinley Park (near Pilsen and Back of the Yards neighborhoods). They opened a grocery store on 3402 South Leavitt Street, and it catered to Czech and Slovak clientele. Maria became a U.S. naturalized citizen in 1936.

Samko died in 1939, and Maria died in 1963, in a car accident.


2.2 Linear Feet (2 boxes and 1 oversize box)


Postcards and photographs relating to Slovak woman Maria Kostial Bzduch (1892-1963), who immigrated to Chicago in 1907 and with her husband Samuel (Sanko) Bzduch ran a grocery store in the McKinley Park neighborhood. Postcards are primarily to Maria from Samuel, who was a Sargeant in World War I and was stationed in Rockford, Illinois and Texas. Photographs show women, couples, children, wedding parties, and couples who lived in the neighborhood. Photographic studios from the Pilsen and Back of the Yards neighborhoods are prominently printed on the photographs or mats. Postcards are written in Slovak and English.


Arranged by type of material and size.

Collection Stack Location

1 8 7


Gift, Jarmila Zemla, 2019.

Processed by

Alison Hinderliter, 2019.

Inventory of the Bzduch Family Papers, approximately 1900-1945
Alison Hinderliter
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States