MsC 284

C ollection Dates: 1835 -- 1899
1.75 linear ft.

Collection Guide

This document describes a Manuscript Collection held by the

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries

Guide Contents

Administrative Information

Biographical and Historical Information

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Related Materials

Acquisition and Processing Information

Box Contents List

Administrative Information

Access and Restrictions: This collection i s open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

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Biographical Note

Francis Kun was minister of the Czech-Moravian Brethern Churh near Ely, Iowa in the years just before the turn of the twentieth century. He is said to have been the first missionary among the Czech peoples in the midwestern states. He was born in Javornik in Moravia in 1825. His father and grandfather were ministers as well. His father gave him private instruction in languages and in addition to Czech, he learned German, Magyar, Latin, and Greek. At the end of his life he could speak and write twelve languages, according to one account. He was ordained in 1849 in the Reformed Church of Moravia and served at a church in Miroslava, Moravia until 1856, when he came to America.

While working as a farmer in Tama County he began preaching. He married Anna Budka, with whom he would have nine children. He did not have a church and held his services in the woods. In 1859, he was called to serve a small community near Racine, Wisconsin. In 1860, he moved to Ely, where he remained the rest of his life. He never affiliated with any Reformed denomination in the United States, and sometimes preached in a nearby Lutheran Church. He also ministered to people in Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, and the Dakotas, and tried to visit these places once a year. His own congregation was eventually able to build a parsonage and a church. He started two publications, The Voice of Truth and the Herald, both of which failed. Though these are not mentioned in the biographical sketch in the collection, the library owns two published collections of sermons, published in Cedar Rapids. Francis Kun died on January 6, 1894.

Scope and Contents

Kun wrote many sermons, and these make up the bulk of this collection. They are handwritten texts, all in Czech, the only exceptions being two exercises handwritten in Hebrew characters with English translations of the characters. There are three hardbound books. The other texts are mostly sewn into little booklets. They range in date from 1835 to 1899. The proces sor has added a biographical sketch of Kun from Koreny, the Journal of the Czech and Slovak American Genealogical Society of Illinois.

J. Roethler 11/2005

Related Materials

Main Library BX8566 K8 Verny Sluzebnik. (In Czech.) (Translation of title: The Faithful Servant: A Biography and Selected Sermons.)

Main Library BX8574 K8 Postilla. (In Czech.) (Translation of title: The Light of Life: A Homily, Sermons for all of the Lord's Days and Annual Holidays Through the Entire Church Year, With the Appropriate Prayers.)

Acquisition and Processing Information

These papers were given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Norman Zahradnik in 1973.

Guide posted to Internet: November 2005

Box Contents List

Box 1

Hardbound book (of sermons?)

Hardbound book marked Villem Kun, dated 1835

Hardbound book titled Postilla. (Image of first page shown below.)

Box 2

Booklets, folders 1 -- 4

Box 3

Booklets, folders 5 -- 9

Box 4

Booklets, folders 10 -- 12

Nemecek, Paul. "Francis Kun: A Czechooslovak Pioneer." CSAGSI Koreny, Winter 1998.


Central West Presbytery (Bohemian), 1910 -- 1948. A Historical Sketch

Our First Hundred Years Serving Our Lord. First Presbyterian Church Near Ely, Iowa. Centennial Observance October 10, 11, 13, 1958.

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