In the early 1970s, due to dwindling membership, the temple was sold. Many of the younger generation left the orthodox traditions of Shomre Hadath in favor of more reformed practices. In addition, a large majority of the membership relocated in the suburbs of Cleveland and joined other temples, such as the Temple on the Heights.


       Hungarians in Cleveland were organizing dramatic presentations and choirs before a definite community structure evolved. In 1891, Ferenc Apáthy organized the First Hungarian Dramatic Society. The first choir was founded in 1892 by Béla Olchváry. By 1910, nearly a dozen Hungarian cultural and civic organizations were active in Cleveland. The success and growth rate of these cultural organizations, established both on the east side (Buckeye Road) and the west side (Lorain Avenue) was phenomenal. Many of these organizations, fostering the arts, drama and sports since the early days of Hungarian community life in Cleveland, continue in this tradition to the present time.

       The first large-scale theater production, "János Vitéz" was presented by the Cleveland Hungarian Self-Culture Society in 1906. It was a phenomenal success. In the following years, the number of locally-sponsored presentations continually increased, providing culture and entertainment for Hungarian audiences. Later, a professional theater company was founded in Cleveland by Sándor Palásthy; their first performance took place in 1914. By the early 1920s, "Sándor Palásthy's theatre group consisted of





Stage player presenting "The White Stag." The play was sponsored by the Pro Hungarian Societies in the 1950's


St. Stephens Hall at 11213 Buckeye Road (established : 1904)





25 professional actors, an orchestra and a large managerial staff; it regularly toured the larger Hungarian communities between New York and Chicago."27

       Hungarians were described by the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1927 as "omniverous readers," and the number of Hungarian books drawn from the foreign book section of certain libraries demonstrated that this was in fact true.28 Rice Public Library, located at East 116th Street and Buckeye Road, acquired over 1,000 Hungarian books to meet the demand. An extensive collection was initiated at the Main Library in downtown Cleveland and at the Carnegie West Branch on Bridge Avenue and Fulton Road. The majority of lodges owned by community organizations housed libraries and reading rooms.


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       Numerous Hungarian cultural, civic and community service organizations were founded in Cleveland by 1910. The activities of these organizations branched out into many areas: choirs, drama troupes, literary circles as well as football, soccer, basketball and baseball teams. Most of the cultural organization owned lodges which usually housed library facilities, reading rooms and a performing hall with stage. The amateur drama troupes presented stage productions on a regular basis. Constantly improving the caliber of the performances were the combined effects of the competition between the various groups along with the community's ever increasing support and enthusiasm.

       One of the oldest cultural and community service organizations on the east side, the Cleveland Hungarian Young Men's and Ladies' Society, was founded in 1891. For several decades, the Society maintained a lodge





and library at 11213 Buckeye Road. In 1935, membership was reported at 1,020.

       The St. Stephen's Dramatic Club was established in 1904 under the auspices of the King St. Stephen Catholic Hungarian Society. Initially formed as an amateur dramatic troupe, the members also initiated a choir within a few years. The Club maintained an important role in the cultural life of the community and featured, through large-scale productions, popular theater, operettas, comedy and drama. The presentations were of the highest caliber. The operettas included, on the average, 120 actors and actresses with live music and song.29 The home and meeting place of the Club, St. Stephen's Hall, located at 11205 Buckeye Road, still serves as a meeting place for the local Hungarian community. Even as recently as the 1950s, new divisions of the Club were formed, such as a soccer team.

       St. John's Dramatic Club was founded in 1911 by members of St. John's Greek Catholic Church. The Club produced countless amateur shows, organized educational lectures and maintained a soccer club and a baseball team. Through the years, income from the various functions has been donated to charitable causes. The clubhouse at 11111 Buckeye Road, which houses a separate library, was purchased in 1926.

       In addition to the many choirs formed under the auspices of individual organizations, independent choirs were also established. The East Side Hungarian Workers' Singing Society provided live music and entertainment at community functions, in addition to promoting Hungarian chamber and folk music. Generally, these amateur groups devoted endless hours to practice and their performances evidenced the great time and effort expended.





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       The Cleveland Hungarian Self-Culture Society was founded on the west side in 1902 by twelve young men for the preservation and promotion of Hungarian culture. The Society sponsored programs featuring the literary works of such writers and poets as: Jókai, Mikszáth, Figyelmessy, Széchenyi, Petofi and Arany. According to the organization's 30th Anniversary Booklet, they were the first to organize English language instruction for Hungarian immigrants in the city. The classes began in January 1903.

       In a short time, a home was purchased at 3829 Lorain Avenue which housed a library, reading rooms, a large hall with a stage, a valuable picture collection and kitchen facilities. The Society's drama troupe, which eventually earned city-wide fame, sponsored four dramatic presentations annually. American and Hungarian national holidays were commemorated at the clubhouse. The women's division was established in 1922 with 100 members. Its present home is located on Fulton Road near Lorain.

       The Magyar Athletic Club, or M.A.C. was organized in 1908 to serve sports, culture and the community. The membership first met at Olsen Hall and later the German Hall on the west side, until 1917 when they purchased a clubhouse on Vestry Avenue.

       The members participated in a variety of different competition matches and from the start, reaped many victories. At a sporting event held in New York in 1918, the club was awarded five silver trophies and several medals.30 In June 1927, the City of Cleveland organized a competition at which M.A.C. athletes took the top medals in the ten-mile run, the 440 yard dash, the shotput and the high jump. By 1930, a football,


The West Side Hungarian self-culture society (Onkepzokor). Founded: 1902


Soccer team of Magyar Athletic Club-1917





basketball, wrestling and boxing division were active. These activities were halted, however, by the depression.

       The West Side Hungarian Workers' Singing Society, established in 1908, earned a reputation as one of the most active Hungarian organizations in Cleveland. In 1911, a clubhouse and hall was constructed at 4309 Lorain Avenue, to serve as a permanent home for the Singing Society. The annual concerts in addition to the numerous plays and operettas presented by the group became increasingly popular during the 1920s and 1930s. The Society produced radio shows and performed at park festivals and parades. In 1938, membership was reported at 100 singers, with forty-six supporting members.31


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       Mrs. Helen Horváth (nee Zalaváry) was a renowned social activist who was determined to assist immigrants in the difficult and many times painful adjustment to life in America. Mrs. Horváth came to Cleveland in 1897. One of Helen Horváth's experiences as a newcomer to this city was something which hundreds of immigrants before her and thousands after her also experienced: the intolerance of more established Americans towards the immigrants' accent , mode of dress, etc. Mrs. Horváth went into a dry goods store intending to buy braid, however, instead of braid the store clerk understood her to have said "bread". The clerk had a good laugh, thereby attracting other customers and clerks around her, and told them all that this woman had asked for bread, why then didn't she go to a bakery? Mrs. Horváth determinedly went to the counter where the braid was and made it clear what she wanted.32 Afterwards, however, she made herself





a promise that she would not suffer such humiliation again. Horváth studied the English language until even her pronunciation was impeccable and initiated classes for the foreign-born to assist others in attaining a working knowledge of the English language and American ways.

       Helen Horváth opened her first school in 1901. The first classes were held specifically for Hungarians, however, within a few years her work encompassed nearly all immigrant groups. Mrs. Horváth's motto: "Speak United States" embodied the philosophy of her work. While emphasizing never to forget one's own culture, she transformed bewildered and isolated immigrants into self-confident individuals with a greater understanding of American culture. The opening of the first school became a landmark year in the history of adult education in Cleveland.

       For nearly thirteen years Mrs. Horváth worked alone and unrecognized. The advent of the First World War altered this situation, however, as fear of the foreigners heightened and the gap between established Clevelanders and the immigrant population became more pronounced. Adult education classes for the foreign-born in Cleveland were virtually non-existent, except for the work directed by this lone Hungarian woman. Suddenly realizing the importance of her work, the Cleveland Board of Education invited Mrs. Horváth to join the city school system with her already established schools and authorized her to open new schools and expand the existing programs.

       The trailblazing work of Helen Horváth proved to be of invaluable service to the City of Cleveland at this time, substituting education and understanding where only distrust and fear had existed before. Not only did her work provide a comprehensive course of study for immigrants, she





English-languange clasees organized for foreign-born by Helen Hovath c.1910


Play presented by students of Americanization classes Helen Horvath is seated in the center of the middle row.





was also requested on frequent occasions to organize Hungarian-American cultural exchange programs.

       In 1928-29 Helen Horváth was requested to organize Hungarian concerts under the direction of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. For five years a Hungarian Forum was conducted by Horváth at the request of the city. In addition to all these activities, she served as founder and first President of the Cleveland Chapter of Pro-Hungaria, a world-wide Hungarian women's association organized for the preservation and promotion of Hungarian culture. Through this organization, countless cultural programs were presented, the majority of them being presented in English and open to the general public.

       In addition to "Speak United States," Helen Horváth also advocated the concept of "See United States." Each year, starting in 1925, she organized tours to Washington, D.C. for her students and anyone else who was interested. As an immigrant herself, Mrs. Horváth believed all Americans and all immigrants who are thinking of becoming U.S. citizens should experience the nation's capital.

       The tours expanded and gained considerable prestige through the years. In 1926, Mrs. Calvin Coolidge received the members of the tour at the White House. Following that occasion, the Horváth Educational Tours were regularly received by other First Ladies, including: Mrs. Herbert Hoover and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt. The countless gifts of Hungarian art, embroidery and unique books presented to the First Ladies by members of the tour enhanced the interior of the White House for generations. Horváth Educational Tours were also conducted to California, Yellowstone Park, Estes Park (Colorado) and even to Alaska.





       Helen Horváth was the recipient of numerous honors and awards in her lifetime. Her portrait is displayed at Carnegie West Library in Cleveland, where she initiated the famed School for Mothers and where, due to her efforts, a large Hungarian collection is still maintained. In 1929, the Hungarian government bestowed her with the Order of the Red Cross for her efforts in helping to ease the post-World War I sufferings in Hungary. Helen Horváth contributed significantly to the development of adult education for the foreign-born in Cleveland. She proved to successive generations that being an immigrant and a woman are not necessarily handicaps, if one is truly committed to a goal.


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       After twenty years as founder and editor of Szabadság, Tihamér Kohányi wrote:


I am tired my friend, terribly, mortally tired... Twenty years is an immense amount of time and during these twenty years I have worked, toiled and suffered to such extent, as I would have never worked or toiled had I remained with my first occupation in America, as a mine worker, shoveling coal... I tell you that if one is truly cursed by fate, he will become a Hungarian-American newspaper journalist.33


The life of Kohányi was indeed uphill work; he succeeded in establishing a Hungarian daily which was a self-supporting business enterprise with an entire staff of workers. In order to accomplish this, however, he went without income, a home and family life. Often, he didn't even know where his next meal was coming from. The pace with which he kept the newspaper going eventually hastened his death.

       Generally, Hungarian immigrant journalists, writers, poets, and novelists had difficulties, to say the least, in supporting themselves. Often the





unfortunate individual, whether talented or not, toiled in a factory by day and wrote by night. Szabadság alleviated this situation to some extent by hiring a number of them; this was the only means by which many survived in America. Despite the hardships, countless Hungarian-language newspapers were founded in Cleveland. Numerous novelists and poets succeeded in publishing their works.

       The Képes Világlap (Illustrated World Review) was founded in 1915. The first illustrated literary and news weekly, it was edited by John Biro. Árpád Tarnóczy, lyricist, arrived in America in 1911. Tarnóczy was editor and founder of several Cleveland-based newspapers, including: Bukfenc (Topsy-Turvy), a humorous paper and Mákvirág (Poppyseed Flower), a literary magazine. Gyorgy Kemény, an epic poet who immigrated to the United States in 1896, edited Dongo (The Buzz). Following the First World War, two Americanization newspapers came into existence: Amerika, published in Hungarian by Dr. László Pólya and Speak English, edited by Dr. Arthur Winter and Dr. Joseph Reményi. These newspapers were extensions of a large-scale program promoting the rapid assimilation of ethnic immigrant groups living in the United States.

       László Pólya was a renowned poet who wandered from place to place, never settling down anywhere for long. Pólya authored several books of poetry; of these My Pipe was published in Cleveland in 1937. Louis Linek was a famous caricaturist whose drawings and cartoons are widely distributed in various issues of the Szabadság. Linek also painted portraits and/or caricatures of celebrated Hungarian-Americans.

       Hungarian immigrant novelists included: Julius Deri and Stephen Linek. Ferenc Bizonfy compiled the first Hungarian-English dictionary published in the United States. Géza Kende authored the first extensive history of Hungarians in America; the two-volume text was





published by Szabadság in 1927. Another researcher of Hungarian-American history was John Korosfoy.


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       Joseph Reményi, novelist, poet and essayist arrived in America in 1914, after receiving a Ph.D. in comparative literature in Szeged, Hungary. In Cleveland, he was first employed as a social investigator by the Cleveland Foundation and later was a journalist for the Szabadság. Reményi was appointed to the Chair of Comparative World Literature at Western Reserve University in 1929. Through this position, he became known as "an apostle of literature," who emphasized literature as the key to international understanding.34

       During his lifetime, Reményi published over seventy essays and dozens of books in English and Hungarian, advancing considerably the cultural exchange between the two nations. His contribution as professor of the only comparative literature class in the City of Cleveland was significant. (There were only about a dozen comparative literature courses being taught in the United States at this time.) He was first in America to give literature courses on television. In addition to countless awards and honors bestowed upon him by American and Hungarian literary and scientific associations, Reményi was elected to membership of the International Academy of Literature and Science in Paris.

       Joseph Reményi compiled anthologies of Hungarian literature was called upon frequently to contribute Hungarian sections in world anthologies





published in the United States. His numerous publications and essays enhanced the knowledge of Hungarian literature in the English-speaking world, introducing the works of such writers and poets as: Dezso Kosztolányi, Mihály Babits, Attila József, Ferenc Molnár, László Németh, and Sándor Petofi.

       Reményi translated the works of English and American authors into Hungarian as well, including the works of such poets as: Hart Crane, Vachel Lindsay, John Crowe Ransom, Edwin Arlington Robinson and Allen Tate. It was through Reményi that Hungarians were introduced to the writings of Emily Dickinson, Henry James and Herman Melville.


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Banquet honoring visiting dignitaries from Hungary held at the Masonic Auditorium downtown in March, 1928.