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George Jure Prpic 1920-2009 Croatian-American historian
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  08/7/2010 | People , In Memoriam , History , Education | Unrated
Truly a gentle soul, a genuinely good person

George J. Prpic, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of History, John Carroll University, Department of History, Cleveland, USA

I apologize to my former professor and dear friend, the late Dr. Jure Prpić, and his family for not being able to write a timely obituary in his honor for the Fall 2009 issue of the ACS Bulletin. At the time, my family and I were too preoccupied with our move to Croatia/Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, this short text about him should remind our ACS members and his friends of the life and work of this wonderful man, husband, father, friend, and scholar.

Jure Prpić was born on November 16, 1920, of Croatian parents in Djala, Banat, where his father moved from Lika and his mother from Hrvatsko Zagorje. His elementary schooling took place in Nasice and Pozega. After graduating from the Real Gymnasium in Pozega in 1939, he and his family (parents and six more siblings) moved to Zagreb where Jure began his university studies. He received his diploma in Jurisprudence in 1944. However, his life dramatically changed soon after graduation.

As a war-time young university graduate, Jure was caught up in the great tragedy that beset the Croatians at the time. In May of 1945, with thousands of others, he found himself as a post-war refugee in Austria. While in Austria (1945-1948), he studied history at the University of Graz and, with some of his friends, tried to promote at least a minimum of cultural activities among his fellow Croatian refugees. From this time we find a collection of poems, expressing the anguish of those unstable times.

After coming to the U.S.A. in 1950, Jure lived for a few months in Cincinnati and then moved to Cleveland, where he labored as a factory worker in the Cleveland Twist Drill Co. for five years. In 1951, he married Hilda Hermann (Slovenian-born) in Montreal, Canada, whom he had met earlier in Graz, Austria. While working full-time at his factory job, he enrolled as a part-time student at John Carroll University and, in 1956, he received an M.A. in history. Shortly after that, in 1959, Jure earned his Ph.D. in history from Georgetown University. His dissertation turned later into a well-known book The Croatian Immigrants in America, which was published in 1971. From 1958 until his retirement in 1989, George Prpić taught history at John Carroll University in Cleveland, where he became a well-respected personality among his colleagues and students. I was one among numerous other graduate students who were not only his students but also his friends. Jure shared with us more than his knowledge of history. He taught us with love, and he really cared for each one of us. Who can forget his deep voice, his always calm personality, and his favorite saying at times of exams and also of political turmoil: ?This too shall pass.?

Dr. Prpić authored numerous books, booklets and articles. He wrote many articles in various Croatian immigrant publications (Journal of Croatian Studies, Hrvatska Revija, Zajednicar, Hrvatski Glas, Danica, Hrvatski kalendar, Nasa Nada, Studia Croatica, etc.). Besides his contributions in historical literature, especially in the history of Croatian immigration, he was also a poet. Some of his well-known works are: The Croatian Immigrants in America (1971); South Slavic Immigration in America (1978); Croatia and Croatians: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography in English (1982); with his wife Hilda Croatian Books and Booklets Written in Exile (1973 and in Croatia in 1990); and A Century of World Communism (1973, 1975); Posljednji svibanj (1973 and in Croatia 1990).

Dr. Prpic deserves a special place in the history of the Association for Croatian Studies. Besides being one of its founders (1977), for quite a long time he was its main pillar and promoter. He selflessly served as ACS secretary/treasurer and editor of the Bulletin from 1977-1991. He was tireless in expanding ACS membership and soliciting support for its activities. The ACS and its members will remain thankful to him, as well as to his wife Hilda, for all that they did for Croatian studies in America.

After 88 years of a not so easy but fruitful life, Dr. Prpić  passed away on April 23, 2009. The Mass of Christian burial was at St. Paul Croatian Catholic Church in Cleveland. Those of us who had the privilege of knowing Jure Prpić as a friend and colleague can bear witness that he was truly a gentle soul, a genuinely good person.

May his wife Hilda and their children, Frank and Maya, find comfort in the fact that they shared their lives with a wonderful man. I remember him fondly.

God bless, dear friend and mentor.

Ante Čuvalo

Published in
Bulletin - Association for Croatian Studies
Issue No. 54 - Spring 2010


Tamburitza instruments exhibited in the Museum of Croatian Fraternal Union in Pittsburgh, USA.
Source: George Prpic, The Croatian Immigrants in America, New York, 1971.


George Prpic in his extraordinary book (which actually is his doctoral dissertation) The Croatian Immigrants In America above all describes the interesting experiences of our people, who individually or in smaller groups have been coming to America already from the days of her discovery. It is likely that some of these immigrants were on Columbus's ship when he discovered America in 1492. It is well preserved information that the brothers Mato and Dominko Konkendjevic sailed to America in 1520, where after having lived there for 30 years, amassed a vast fortune of 12,000 gold ducats! During the 16th century, people from Dubrovnik came to the American continent, and some even died here. In addition, there is a very interesting story about a northern American Indian tribe, which was called "Croatoan". Many believe that this name has a connection with the Croatians who came to American in the early centuries after Columbus (probably in the 16th century), who stayed and lived with the tribe, and thus gave the tribe its name. Some researchers claim that members of this tribe can even be physically differentiated from others American Indians. One Croat, Ferdo Basic, wrote a novel about the communal life of the Croatians with the American Indians and about their chief who was named Hrastov Cvor, the same name as the novel.

The greatest number of Croatian immigrants came to America from Dalmatia, which is quite understandable, since they were primarily sailors, and of all Croatians, they had the greatest amount of contact with the distant world, and thus with the new continent. The great majority of them, at least in the first centuries of immigration, came to the western coast of America, primarily to California, where many of them, in a very short time became very wealthy and respected members of the American community. The 19th century saw the beginning of a greater immigration of Croatians from all Croatian provinces (which at that time were divided among many countries: Austria, Hungary, Italy, Turkey). These new immigrants sought employment wherever they could find it. At that time, most of them worked in mines, for the railroad and on the building of new roads, especially the railways. From that time Croatian settlements have existed throughout the entire United States. Due to the political and economic situation of that time, Croatia was left without its young people, and this trend followed the Croatian people even to this present day. Croatian history is full of many difficult separations and departures to far away lands, especially to America. A torrent of tears flowed from the eyes of many mothers, wives and children who either felt or knew that they would never see their loved ones again in their Croatian homeland.

Croatian priests soon followed the immigrants to the new land in order to make it somewhat easier for their fellow countrymen. Little by little, and with great difficulty, these priests found the Croatian communities and began to establish Croatian parishes, so that, in this way the Croatian immigrants could feel a connection to their homeland in the far away land of America. These priests tended not just to the spiritual needs of the Croatian immigrants, but also worked with the practical needs of the people in order to help them make a life for themselves and to adapt to American society.

Some priests came to America as missionaries (to convert the American Indians from paganism) long before the start of Croatian settlement in America. The earliest well-known Croatian missionary was a Jesuit named Ivan Ratkaj, who arrived in Mexico already in 1680, and worked among the Indians of Northern Mexico. Due to his early death, he never made it to California. There was another Croatian Jesuit priest named Fr. Ferdinand Konscak, however, who at the beginning of the 18th century spent the greater part of his missionary life in California. By the middle of the century he established many new missions among the American Indians and among them he was extraordinarily beloved. He was perhaps the most famous missionary of his time, and he established some missions that even today are well known on the West Coast. A third well known Croatian missionary was Fr. Josip Kundek, who arrived in America at the beginning of the 19th century. He established new missions and worked primarily with the German Catholics in a diocese that included Indiana and a part of Illinois, including Chicago. In 1839 he established a new city and called it Ferdinand (South of Jasper), and in 1843 he established Celestine, both of course with parishes. He was everywhere where there were Germans and in this way he became the first Croatian in Pittsburgh and New Orleans.

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Croatian immigration was especially large due to wide spread poverty and difficult political circumstances (during the time of the cruel reign of Khuen-Hedervari). Great waves of immigration have always happened during difficult times in Croatian history: the time after the Second World War was especially tragic, when thousands and thousands of Croatians had to flee from the Serbian-communist regime into foreign lands the world over. It is impossible to correctly guess the number of Croatian immigrants in America because at that time they were listed in grouping with the Slovenians. Croatians from Bosnia-Herzegovina were listed as Bosnians or Herzegovinians. Or if you were a Croat from another country, you were listed as a citizen of that country or locality. Later people were listed as simply being Yugoslavian. It is estimated that in the United States today there are over 2 million Croatians and their descendents.

A significant event occurred at the end of the 19th century with the establishment of the Hrvatska Bratska Zajednica (Croatian Fraternal Union) and other Croatian social associations. Particularly because of frequent injuries on the job, and because there was no one to care for the immigrant Croatians and their families after their work-related injuries or deaths, there was a great need to establish such associations, in which naturally Croatian culture was also fostered. Many of these associations published their own newspapers.. The high quality newspapers and magazines, however, would have to wait until after the Second World War, when a great number of newsmen and intellectuals would come to America.


Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich has honored Ivan Miletic, George Prpic, and Ivan Cizmic for their
book published in 2003 about Croatians in Cleveland (From the Adriatic to Lake Erie: A History of Croatians in Greater Cleveland) by inserting in the Congressional Record the following statment about the book.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in re- cognition of esteemed author Ivan Miletic, who co-authored: From the Adriatic to Lake Erie: A History of Croatians in Greater Cleveland. Through the research and writings of Mr. Miletic, an accomplished historian, and equally esteemed historians and educators - Dr. Ivan Cizmic and Dr. George J. Prpic - the public now has permanent access to understanding the significant impact that Croatian Americans have had upon the Cleveland community.

This important book chronicles the history and evolution of Croatian immigrants, and their individual and collective influence on the Northeast Ohio region - from the first wave of Croatian immigrants seeking opportunity and freedom, to modern-day Americans of Croatian descent.– all of whom have added to the rich cultural fabric of Cleveland. Croatian Americans have positively defined, and greatly contributed to, all aspects of our community - from religion, culture, and the arts, to politics and law, to education and the sciences.

Mr. Speaker, please join me in honor and tribute of author Ivan Miletic, who, along with authors Dr. Ivan Cizmic and Dr. George J. Prpic, have succeeded in the eloquent and adept historical account of Croatian immigrants, and their profound collective impact on all aspects of the Cleveland community. Moreover, as an American whose grandfather emigrated from Croatia, I am honored that my family, and my own public service, was noted in this book. The struggles, hardships and injustices that many immigrants have experienced, and overcome, are significant aspects of American history, that deserve an accurate and permanent historical account - to be learned from for generations to come — as is From the Adriatic to Lake Erie: A History of Croatians in Greater Cleveland.”

(Congressional Record - Proceedings and Debates of the 107th Congress, First Session. June 2002, Vol. 147)

The book can be ordered from American Croatian Lodge Kardinal Stepinac, P.O.Box 1060, Willoughby, OH 44094. Price is $25.00 plus $3.00 shipping. Make checks payable to Croatian American Heritage Foundation.



George J. Prpic, Ph.D - A Biography

George J. Prpic, Ph.D

November 16, 1920 - April 23, 2009

From the Adriatic to Lake Erie...
A Celebration of a Life of Freedom, Patriotism and Love.

George J. Prpic, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of History
John Carroll University

Biographical Summary

George (Jure) Prpic was born on November 16,1920 in Djala, Banat where his Croatian parents lived at the time. He grew up and was educated in Croatia, graduatingfrom the Real Gymnasium in Požega in 1939. At the Croatian University in Zagreb he received his diploma in Jurisprudence in 1944. He started to write and publish while he was still a teenager. At the same time he was busy painting and drawing which he continued throughout his life.

In the spring of 1945, when Croatia was subjugated by communism, GJP settled as a refugee in Austria. He studied history at the University of Graz. In May 1950, he emigrated to the United States, first to Cincinnati, then to Cleveland, Ohio. In January of 1951 he married Hilda Hermann (Slovenian-born) who had emigrated to Montreal, Canada. They had first met in Graz, Austria. For 6 years, George was a factory worker like thousands of other newcomers, and found work at Cleveland Twist Drill. At the urging of Hilda, he began to study part-time at John Carroll University. In June of 1956, he received his Masters degree in History. He and Hilda then moved to Washington DC. At Georgetown University he majored in American history. Supported by his working wife (there were no scholarships at that time) he earned his PH.D. in June of 1959. His doctoral dissertation (over 650 pp.) topic was “The Croats in America”

George taught history at John Carroll University in Cleveland from 1958 until 1989. His courses included: Historical Method, Modern Middle East, U.S. Immigration andthe Balkans. Dozens of  graduate students received their degrees under his guidance.At the same time, he was a member of JCU’s Institute for Soviet and East European studies. He belonged to a number of professional organizations and was cofounder of the Association for Croatian Studies. He extensively lectured at various forums, panels, and conventions. George published many books, scholarly articles, essays, and reviews in both English and Croatian, with some translations in Spanish and German. Among his booksare: A Century of World Communism (1973,1975); The Croatian Immigrants in America (1971); South Slavic Immigration in America (1978); Croatia and the Croatians (1982); with Hilda Prpic Croatian Books and Booklets Written in Exile (1973 US, 1990 Croatia).

In Croatian, he published Posljednji Sviban, a book of poetry in Rome in 1973 and in Zagreb in 1990. Partly in Croatian and partly in English is his Baklja u Luci-The Torch in the Harbor: Poems Notes, Drawings (1989). He illustrated both books. “The Torch” depicts his immigrant experience.

In 1969, George, Hilda and their two children visited Croatia. In 1993, they again paid a visit to the now “liberated” homeland. In November of 1997, Hrvatska Matica Iseljenika published his lifework Hrvati u Americi (480 pgs.); George, as Matica’s guest, was present at the introduction of his book and was subsequently interviewed by the media and warmly welcomed in Zagreb and Croatia. “We were happy to see a liberated Croatia for who’s freedom we had struggled over the decades. Thank God!” In 2000 George coauthored, with Ivan Miletic and Ivan Cizmic, From the Adriatic to Lake Erie: a history
of Croatians in Greater Cleveland. The book was published by the American Croatian Lodge in Eastlake, Ohio and by the Institute for Social Sciences in Zagreb.

In his retirement in Euclid, Ohio George continued to write and to be a resource to fellow historians, media sources and educational institutions in his various areas of expertise. Over the past decade he has been sending his vast collection of books, papers, archives and personal notes to the Croatian Archive in Zagreb. This body of work is in the capable hands of his former student and long-time colleague, co-author and friend, Ivan Miletic.

At 88 years of age, George passed away peacefully on April 23, 2009 at 2:30 PM. Hilda and his children were at his side.

Personal notes on my father the historian.

This biography is the product of various sources from working copies George had used over the years. I am certain of, and will be grateful for the corrections I am sure to receive. In preparing this document I find myself seemingly drawn into the process that was his life’s passion. As with many writers, historians, and artists, Dad had an immense treasure trove of piles, boxes, shelves, shoeboxes, envelopes, filing cabinets, various pieces of furniture stuffed with papers, notebooks and folders. As Maya and I begin to mine his collective artifacts, I feel as if we are in a way taking on his roll as historical explorers.We began this process wishing to show many of his photos, but soon realized that this is an immense body of images, artwork, drawings, and writing.

Jure was also a prolific artist, working in a number of media. We found that we quickly had to narrow our scope. We hope to share many images and works in the near future.

I find it necessary to add some personal observations to these historical facts. George, my father, was a brilliant scholar. He could go into his mind and produce data and lay bare history with conviction and verbose accuracy. His dedication to the intellectual pursuit of writing as a means of fostering freedom in his native Croatia, was as strong as his gratitude and patriotism for America, his second country and home. Freedom is a state of being he greatly treasured.

I was also fortunate to see a side many did not. The gentle soul that he was. He cherished Hilda and Maya and myself, and all of his family, He valued his friends and many colleagues at John Carroll and around the world. I remember the constant flow of letters from far away places, in various languages (Jure spoke 5), and phone calls from around the world. His hand-colored (each one) Christmas cards are a fond memory. He was a soft spoken, supportive, tolerant, yet private individual, and he was generous with his time and money. George gave to dozens and dozens of individual charities and causes, showing no agenda in his generosity.

He showed a quiet satisfaction in his accomplishments and was settled into a simple lifestyle with simple needs. He loved his various homes and yards over the years, and planted on each, a willow tree, all of which are now beautiful specimens. He received great pleasure from his Christmas trees, and in correspondence with his family around the world. I have been able to share his love of art, and we have had the great pleasure to visit Croatia. I have seen the many places he passed through... where he was educated, where he met my mother... I now understand more of his mind, and of both his and the world’s need for historical record; This power of truth in knowledge; The great and the small mysteries to be uncovered: The need to understand clearly what had been, so as to have a better understanding of the present and future.

I will remember him as gentleman, reserved but steadfast in his faith and in his personal convictions. He was kind, generous, patient and comfortable with anyone he had dealings with.

He has truly been the greatest example of the human traits of gentleness, tolerance, gratitude, generosity and unwavering love; to God, his dual homelands, and to his family. Truly his is a life to celebrate. Živili tata!

Frank Prpic, Cleveland, OH. April 25, 2009

George J. Prpic Partial Bibliography

- From the Adriatic to Lake Erie: A History of Croatians in Greater Cleveland by Cizmic, Ivan; Miletic, Ivan; Prpic, George J. 2000

- Hrvati u Americi (Croatian Edition) 1997

- Prose, poetry, drawings : Proza, lirika, crteži 1983

- Croatia and the Croatians: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography in English 1982

- South Slavic Immigration in America 1978

- The Croatians in New Jersey 1977

- Role of the returned emigrants in Croatia: A historical assessment 1977

- The modern Middle East: A reference guide 1977

- Croatia and Hungary duringthe Turkish era (Southern-Hungarian and Balkan studies) 1973

- Tragedies and migrations in Croatian history 1973

- Ireland, Croatia and Bangladesh 1973

- Posljednji Svibanj Hrvatske knjige i knjižice u iseljeništvu

- Croatian books and booklets written in exile 1973, G. Prpic and H. Prpic

- Nationality studies on Southeastern Europeans in America: With emphasis on Yugoslavia -1972

- Bibliography on South Slav immigrants in America and their historical background 1972

- The Croatian Immigrants in America. 1971

- Rev. Juan M. Ratkay, S.J.;: First Croatian missionary in America, 1647-1683 1971

- A Century of World Communism 1970

- The Croatian publications abroad after 1939;: A bibliography. 1969

- Communism and nationalism in Yugoslavia 1969

- Fifty years of world communism, 1917-1967; A selective chronology, 1967

- The Croatian immigration to America after 1945 . 1967

- Eastern Europe and world communism; A selective annotated bibliography in English 1966

- East Central Europe and its Sovietization; A selective bibliography 1966

- French rule in Croatia: 1806-1813 1964

- Maximilian Vanka, his contribution to the arts of America 1958

I am with you always!
To those I love and to those of you who love me.

When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have many things to see and do.

You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears.
Be happy that we had so many years.

I gave you my love, you can only guess,
how much you gave me in happiness.

I thank you for the love you’ve shown,
but now it’s time I travel on alone.

So grieve a while for me if grieve you must.

Then let grief be comforted by trust.

It’s only for a while that we must part,
so bless the memories within your heart.

I won’t be far away, for life goes on.

So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near.

And if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear
all my love around you soft and clear.

And then, when you must come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and say
“Welcome Home.”

Author Unknown

Ja sam s tobom uvijek!
S onima koje volim i s vama koji volite mene.
Kada nestanem, odriješi me, pusti me da idem.
Trebam Puno toga vidit’ i uciniti.
Ne veži se uz mene sa suzama.
Sretan budi zbog mnogih zajednickih godina.

Dao sam ti svoju ljubav, ti možeš tek slutiti
koliko si mi srece dala.
Hvala ti za svaki izraz ljubavi,
ali je vrijeme da dalje putujem sam.
Oplakuj me samo na cas, ako žalovati moraš.
Potom utješi žalost u vjeri.
Samo na casak se rastati moramo,
zato blagoslivaj uspomene u srcu svome.

Necu biti daleko od tebe, jer život ide dalje.
Trebaš li me, zovni, i ja cu doci.
Ne možeš me vidjeti niti opipati, ali blizu sam.
Ako slusas srcem svojim cut' ceš moju ljubav
oko sebe, svuda, nježnu i shvatljivu.
A poslije, kada sama moraš doci 'vamo
pozdravit cu te smješkom i rijecima,
“Dobro došla Doma”

Croatian Translation by Hilda Prpic


Dear Family, Friends, and Colleagues

We are saddened at the loss of our dear father George Jure Prpic. Dad passed away very easily and quietly, with his immediate family present, at 2:30 EST April 23, 2009. He lived a very good life to the grand old age of 88. We will miss our gentle scholar, and we are blessed with a tremendous legacy of his work and art that we look forward to sharing in the future.

Frank, Daneta, Hilda, Maya, and family

Enclosed is the obituary text

GEORGE J. PRPIC, age 88. Scholar, Educator, Author, Gentle Soul. Beloved husband of Hilda; dearest father of Frank T. (Daneta) and Maya T. Chaille (Steve); loving grandfather of Jack Ryan Chaille. Friends received at DiDONATO FUNERAL HOME, 21900 EUCLID AVE, EUCLID ON SUNDAY APR. 26 FROM 1-7PM. Funeral Monday, 10 AM St Paul's Church 1369 East 40th Street, Cleveland,OH Internment All Souls Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory would be appreciated to: John Carroll University, 20700 North Park Blvd., University Hts., OH 44118.


Dr. Jure Prpic rodjen je 16. studenog 1920, u mjestu Đali u Banatu, gdje mu je otac Tomislav, Licanin iz sela Ledenika iznad Karlobaga, tada službovao kao oružnik. Majka Izabela, rod. Toldy, rodila se u Bedekovcini, u Hrvatskom zagorju. Jure je bio naj stariji od sedmero djece (cetiri sina i tri kcerke).

Pucku školu pohadao je u Podgoracu, Našicama i Požegi, gdje je 1939. maturirao u Državnoj realnoj gimnaziji. Tada se cijela obitelj preselila u Zagreb radi daljnjeg školovanja djece. Jure je studirao pravo na Zagrebackom sveucilištu (koje se od 1941. do 1945. zvalo Hrvatsko sveucilište). Pocetkom 1944, diplomirao je i poceo spremati doktorat, koji nije postigao jer su u svibnju 1945, na vlast došli komunisti.

U sijecnju 1945, emigrirao je u Austriju, u kojoj povremeno boravi (u Becu) od studenog 1942. U Grazu je od 1945. do 1948. studirao povijest. Povijest ga je oduvijek više zanimala nego pravo, a zapravo ga je najviše zanimalo slikarstvo. Rano je poceo crtati i slikati, ali se stjecajem prilika nije upisao na umjetnicku akademiju.

U svibnju 1945., zajedno s tisucama Hrvata iz svih hrvatskih podrucija, postaje izbjeglica u Austriji. Proživljavajuci sve tegobe hrvatskog egzodusa pocinje se zanimati za povijest hrvatskih iseljavanja, osobito za useljavanja u Ameriku (Sjevernu i Južnu). Živio je kao izbjeglica u Gornjoj Austriji, Salzburgu i Štajerskoj.

Kao raseljena osoba (displaced person) stigao je u Ameriku u svibnju 1950., tocno pet godina nakon Ťposljednjeg hrvatskog svibnjať i pocetka tragedije pod tudinskim jarmom. Nastanio se u gradu Cincinnatiju, u državi Ohio. Sponzor mu je bio Jure Šaric iz Sv. Roka, daljnji rodjak Mile Budaka. U Sjedinjene Države Prpic je došao s dobrim znanjem engleskog jezika. U Cincinnatiju je radio kao pomocni licilac (painter s helper). Nakon tri mjeseca preselio se u grad Cleveland, gdje je bilo veliko naselje hrvatskih useljenika. Radio je nekoliko mjeseci u tvornici boja, a zatim se (pocetkom 1951.) zaposlio u Cleveland Twist Drillu, tvornici svrdala i alata, gdje je radio do veljace 1956.

U sijecnju 1951. Jure se vjencao u Montrealu, u Kanadi, Hildom r. Hermann, Slovenkom. Upoznali su se još u Grazu. Nastanili su se u East Clevelandu, predgradu Clevelanda. Mnoge dojmove iz tog razdoblja opisao je u svojim pjesmama koje su, kao Treca smjena, kasnije objavljene u knjizi pjesama, bilježaka i crteža naslovom Baklja u luci.

Od 1953. do proljeca 1956. je uz svoj je redoviti posao studirao na John Carroll University. Diplomirao je u lipnju 1956. (master of arts).

Hilda i Jure su nakon toga preselili u glavni grad SAD-a Washington. Tu je Jure studirao povijest na poznatome Georgetown University (najstarije katolicko sveucilište u SAD-u). Doktorirao je u lipnju 1959. obranivši disertaciju (više od 600 str.) The Croats in America (Hrvati u Americi). Supruga Hilda, koja je za to vrijeme radila, pružala mu je veliku podršku u njegovu usavršavanju. Vec u jesen 1958. dobio je mjesto profesora na John Carroll University, gdje je radio 31 godinu.

Posljednjih 20-ak godina bio je redoviti profesor tog sveucilišta i clan Instituta za sovjetske i istocno-europske znanosti. Predavao je više predmeta, medju ostalima povijest americkih useljavanja, povijesnu metodologiju i Bliski istok. Na njegovim je kolegijima diplomirao mnogo mladih Amerikanaca, od kojih su brojni bili hrvatskog podrijetla. Neki su odabirali teme iz hrvatske povijesti, a kasnije su, nakon diplome, predavali u razlicitim školama i pisali o Hrvatskoj.

Prpic je od rane mladosti pisao i crtao. Prve je radove objavio u ŤAndelu cuvaruť i u nedjeljnom djecjem prilogu ŤJutarnjeg listať. Kao gimnazijalac i sveucilištarac suradivao je u publikacijama ŤNezavisnostť, ŤHrvatska smotrať, ŤHrvatska revijať, ŤHrvatski narodť i nekim drugima. Vec kao izbjeglica u Austriji poceo je suradivati u emigrantskim novinama ŤDaniciť i ŤHrvatskojť. Tu je suradnju nastavio i iz Amerike te je proširio na nekoliko drugih hrvatskih listova u djaspori.

Tijekom mnogih godinama pisao je i objavljivao na engleskome i hrvatskom jeziku, i to više na engleskome. Tada je bilo vrlo važno širiti objektivnu istinu o Hrvatskoj i Hrvatima upravo na engleskome jer je jugopropaganda stalno širila laži i neistine o hrvatskom narodu. Na hrvatskome je pisao pjesme, clanke, književne prikaze, kritike, eseje, reportaže, putopise i tri knjige pjesama. Na engleskome je objavio desetak knjiga, više znanstvenih rasprava, clanaka te književnih prikaza i kritika. Dosta je njegovih napisa prevedeno na španjolski i tiskano u publikaciji ŤStudia Croaticať (Buenos Aires). Veci broj clanaka i prikaza objavio je u Nikolicevoj ŤHrvatskoj revijiť, a pretežiti dio clanaka na engleskome tiskao je u ŤZajednicaruť, tjednom glasilu Hrvatske bratske zajednice, najvecim hrvatskim novinama u Americi. Dosta prikaza objavio je u raznim uglednim americkim znanstvenim casopisama i revijama. Velik broj radova na engleskome i hrvatskome tiskan je u ŤHrvatskom glasuť u Kanadi, u kojemu su osim Bogdana Radice suradjivali mnogi hrvatski pisci i znanstvenici.

Svi koji su u to vrijeme objavljivali na hrvatskome, engleskome i ostalim jezicima cinili su to da bi pomogli domovini Hrvatskoj koja je od 1945. desetljecima stenjala pod jarmom i terorom Srba jugokomunizma.

Ta je djelatnost bila osobito potrebna i korisna nakom što je Tito potkraj 1971. ugušio hrvatski narodni preporod poznat pod nazivom hrvatsko proljece. Prpic je sa svojom obitelji posjetio Hrvatsku upravo u vrijeme tog proljeca (u ljetu 1969). Nakon toga kao Ťekstremni emigrantť nije mogao niti želio putovati u potlacenu domovinu.

Dr. Prpic sa suprugom posjetio je oslobodjenu Hrvatsku u svibnju i lipnju 1993. Na Majcin dan je sa svojim bratom (dr. Vjekom koji je živio u Opatiji) posjetio Bleiburg. Bleiburška tragedija i sve što je slijedilo nakon nje teško je pogodilo i obitelj Prpic u Hrvatskoj... To stradanje hrvatskog naroda i tuga izbjeglištva tema su Prpicevi zbirke pjesama Posljednji svibanj (ZIRAL, Rim, 1973.; pretisak Školskih novina, Zagreb 1990).

Knjiga Baklja u luci (Associated Book Publishers, Phoenix, Arizona, 1989.) zbirka je pjesama, proze i crteža o autorovu useljenickom životu u Americi i vezama s Hrvatskom. Najvažnija mu je knjiga The Croatian Immigrants in America (Hrvatski useljenici u Americi), objavljena u New Yorku 1971. (na više od 500 str.). To je prva sažeta povijest americkih Hrvata. Knjiga se potkraj 1995. pocela prevoditi u Zagrebu, gdje je vec 1996. trebala biti tiskana. Inace, sve su knjige dr. Prpica u socijalistickoj Hrvatskoj bile zabranjene.

Dr. Prpic pripadnik je naraštaja koji je doživio velika stradanja za vrijeme Drugoga svjetskog rata, 1945. i kasnje. Ta se Hrvatska mladež borila i ostvarila Nezavisnu Državu Hrvatsku, smatrajuci da se za Hrvatsku treba boriti na Drini kao istocnoj granici Hrvatske i Zapada. U emigraciji se od 1945. do 90-ih godina izgradio jak pokret za punu hrvatsku samostalnost (Hrvatske i Bosne i Hercegovine). Hrvatska je dijaspora na svim kontinentima s oduševljenjem pružila potporu dr. Franji Tudjmanu i njegovu pokretu prije i nakom 1991. (dr. Tudjman je prvi put došao u Cleveland 1966...). Danas kad su se unuci domobrana, ustaša i mnogih partizana našli zajedno u oružanim snagama Republike Hrvatske, hrvatska je dijaspora ponosna na svoju ulogu jer duga borba nije bila uzaludna. Ujedno je sigurna da hrvatska buducnost nece biti osigurana dok se ne oslobode svi krajevi Republike Hrvatske i Republike Bosne i Hercegovine. U zajednickoj fronti domovine i iseljeništva svi Hrvati u tudini, osobito intelektualci, pisci, strucnjaci i poslovni ljudi, nastavit ce pomagati domovini. To je bila i glavna pokretacka snaga u radu i stvaralaštvu autora ove knjige tijekom posljednjih pedeset godina. Bogu hvala!

Prof. Dr. Jure Prpic


1. studeni 2007


On October 15, 1977, a small number of Croatian scholars in America, gathered at the Annual Convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS) at Capital Hilton Hotel, Washington D.C., and laid the foundation to the Association for Croatian Studies. The idea for such organization was circulated among Croatian scholars participating at the AAASS Convention in Atlanta a year earlier, but someone had to take the initiative and do the work.

For those who are not familiar with the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, suffice to say that the AAASS was established in 1948 and it is a leading private organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about Russia, Central Eurasia, and East and Central Europe. It publishes the quarterly Slavic Review, the leading journal in Slavic studies.

The provisional name of the new Croatian scholarly organization was "Society for Croatian Studies." Its first officers were: Dr. Joseph T. Bombelles, President; Dr. George J. Prpić, Secretary-Treasurer, Dr. Ante Kadić and Dr. Francis H. Eterović, Vice Presidents.

Drs. Bombelles and Prpić were entrusted to affiliate the Society with the AAASS and to register the organization in the State of Ohio as a scholarly not-for-profit society.

On November 27, 1977, during the Twelfth Annual Seminar of the American Croatian Academic Society at Case-Western Reserve University in Cleveland, the name of the newly formed "Society for Croatian Studies" was changed to "Association for Croatian Studies" (ACS).

At the beginning of 1978, a proposed Constitution and By-Laws of the ACS were submitted to the membership for approval and a request was sent, with the necessary documentation, to the AAASS for acceptance as an affiliate scholarly society. At the same time, Dr. Prpić issued the first ACS official bulletin, called the "Announcement."

The affiliation process was not so easy as one might assume. Actually, the AAASS officials at the time implemented delaying tactics, in order to dampen the desires of Croatian scholars to affiliate their organization with the AAASS. We can probably guess what might have been the reasons for not welcoming the ACS to this large association of Slavic scholars, but we have to move on, just as the ACS officers at the time did. They persisted, and the Association was officially affiliated with the AAASS in October of 1978, and the ACS was allotted an official panel session for that year's National Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

The ACS' first panel was entitled "Croatia and the Croatians in the 1970s". The participants were : Dr. Joseph Bombelles, Chair; Prof. Mirko Vidović (France), Dr. Ante Kadic, Dr. George J. Prpic, Presenters, and Dr. Thomas F. Magner was a discussant. Dr. Prpić later reported: "The meeting was attended by more than sixty people of whom about a dozen were American Croatians." A day later
(October 13), the Provisional Executive Committee of the ACS was elected to serve a year term and the Constitution and By-Laws were unanimously accepted, under the condition that they may be revised, if necessary, in order to make them acceptable to the AAASS and the State of Ohio.

The Association was incorporated in the State of Ohio on June 8, 1983, and on November 14, 1984, the ACS became “exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501 9c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.” In December of the same year the name of the ACS' official publication was changed from Announcement to the Bulletin of the ACS.

Purpose and Activities

The main purpose of the Association for Croatian Studies, as defined in its Constitution, is “to foster closer communication among scholars interested in Croatian Studies” and to “promote the dissemination of scholarly information on Croatia and Croatians through the organization of meetings, conferences, and panels at conventions devoted to Slavic and East European Studies.” Its particular and most important mission, however, is to organize scholarly panels at the AAASS National Conventions dealing with Croatian issues. Furthermore, the ACS encourages its members to organize and/or participate in scholarly panels that foster comparative studies with other affiliates of the AAASS and scholars from other countries and backgrounds. It also promotes scholarly activities and cooperation among its members, especially the younger scholars. Moreover, the Association often serves as a resource hub where various scholars and institution turn for assistance and information dealing with Croatian subjects and issues.

The ACS Bulletin, besides informing the members of AAASS convention activities, brings news about the association and its members, and it often publishes relevant articles and/or book reviews. It frequently includes selective bibliography of new titles and Ph dissertations dealing with Croatia and the Croatians. For this reason, a number of academic libraries receive the Bulletin, and it has been included in some bibliographies as a resource publications.

The ACS founders have established a wonderful tradition, according to which during every AAASSS convention ACS members, their friends, and individuals from the local Croatian community, get together for a "Croatian Dinner." We all look forward to this annual event in order to meet new scholars and friends, and to renew old friendships and acquaintances. It is in such gatherings that quite often new ideas for work and cooperation are born. We are pleased to announce, that this year’s "Croatian Dinner" will be at the famous Drago's Seafood Restaurant, in the Hilton Hotel, New Orleans. It will be Croatian style and hospitality with New Orleans flavor! In 1986, the ACS enjoyed its "Croatian Dinner" at Drago's restaurant, but at that time it was at the original location in the city's suburbia. This year, it will be at the downtown Hilton hotel.


Since its inception, the ACS and its members have organized numerous panels dealing with a wide range of topics. Just to mention a few: Renaissance in Croatia, Marko Marulić, Faust Vrančić, Ivan Gundulić, Bartol Kašić, Rudjer Bošković, Juraj Križanić, Illyrian Movement, Kašić Miošić, Ivan Mažuranić, Krleža, Budak, Ujević, Film, History of Music, Theater, Croatian Dissent in the 1960s and 1970s, History of Dubrovnik, Croatian Language, Economic issues, Croatians in America, Croatian History, Vojna Krajina, Radić Brothers and HSS, Croatian Nationalism, Jews in Croatia, Religion, US Foreign Policy and Croatia, Croatians in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Independence and War of Liberation, Regionalism in Croatia, International War Crimes Tribunal, Dayton Accords, BiH Constitution, Geography, Politics, Ideologies, Croatia and European Integration, and many other topics. The list of participants at ACS panels is very long. It includes almost all Croatian scholars in the West, and also many non-Croatians who study Croatia or the region. Many of such scholars are also members of the ACS, and some of them have served or are serving as officers of the association.

Looking back at the three decades of ACS activities, one might divide the life and work of the association into three main periods. First, from its beginnings to 1989.  This was the era of the Cold war. The AAASS was seen by the East as an instrument of Western interests and, as they would put it, scholarly propaganda. The ACS was seen in a similar, but worse light not only by the Yugoslav regime but also by Yugoslav sympathizers among American scholars. Furthermore, it was not permissible for scholars from Croatia to participate on ACS panels or Croatian scholarly institutions to be in touch with the Association. For example, the late Ivan Supek came to the 1987 Convention to participate on a panel about Ruger Bosković, but he was told by the regim's officials he better stay away. He was actually in the convention hotel while his paper was read by an American Croatian colleague. This might sound bizarre today, but it happened not so long ago!

The second period began in 1989. For the first time scholars from Croatia began to participate at the ACS activities and panels. The guests from Croatia at the Chicago convention of that year were: Ivan Supek, Franjo Tudjman, Dalibor Brozović, Ivo Smoljan, and Vladimir Konšćak. The Iron Curtain was cracking and the dawn of freedom was on the rise. However, the early 1990s brought not only freedom but, unfortunately, also war to Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the war years, the ACS and its members in their panels and presentations made an effort to clarify the causes and issues dealing with the wars of aggression, that most often, intentionally or not, were portrayed even in scholarly circles and by "experts" in a twisted light.

During the post-1995 era, scholarly activities of the ACS and its members have been oriented toward a variety of subjects and scholarly interests. In the last few years there is an increase of interest in Croatian studies among young scholars who are not of Croatian ethnic background. The ACS encourages such scholars to join the association, as well as those of Croatian heritage, so that in cooperation with each other we may contribute to the understanding of the Croatian past and present.

Although there are no more political, ideological or other barriers that might prevent cooperation of the ACS with cultural and scholarly institutions in Croatia, the bridges between the ACS and the homeland are not as strong as they could and should be. It seems to us that the homeland institutions, and (too) many scholars, don't realize the importance of participating in scholarly activities on this side of the ocean. There has been an improvement, but both sides must cooperate in order to advance knowledge and understanding of our Croatian heritage and culture.


Thirty years have passed, and, one might say, passed too fast. But a lot has been accomplished, thanks to the ACS founders and members, living and those who have passed away. At the present, the ACS is healthy, doing well, and it is fulfilling its mission as defined by its Constitution. A good indicator that it "promotes and disseminates scholarly information on Croatia and Croatians," are a number of panels and lectures that are on the program of this year’s AAASS National Convention in New Orleans. As long as there is Croatia and the Croatians there will be an interest and need to study the country and the people. The ACS’ mission, therefore, continues. We hope and believe that the younger scholars of Croatian and non-Croatian heritage will have interest, will, and stamina to carry on and build on the foundations that were laid thirty years ago, and keep the ACS young forever.

Ante Čuvalo

See also ACS Bulletin

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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