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 »  Home  »  People  »  Croatians in America - photo collection by Vladimir Novak, part 1
 »  Home  »  History  »  Croatians in America - photo collection by Vladimir Novak, part 1
Croatians in America - photo collection by Vladimir Novak, part 1
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  01/7/2008 | People , History | Unrated
Croatian Energy, page 5

The American ship honoring Tesla, built in 1943 at Betlehem Steel Shipyard in Baltimore.

Ships for Victory

For more than fifty years Emil Blazevic contributed to American and Croatian music and to the education of many good singers. He was born in Kraljevica, Croatian Littoral, in 1880; he came to America around the turn of the century. A teacher of music and singing, he had his own school of music in New York. He was an excellent singer, composer, conductor, and popularizer of the tamburitza music. Blazevic was eighty years old when he died in New York in October, 1960.

Source: Adam Eterovich web site

Hrvatska sokolska glazba, Los Angeles

A brass band in Los Angeles formed in 1917 by the members of "Sokol" (The Falcon), a Croatian patriotic organization.

Frank Hoffer from Karlovac (first from left) is among the first who introduced the tamburitsa instrument to America. Next to him is  Paval Pavlinac and Mima and Katica Hoffer. Hoffer arrived in America in 1887 and setlled in Philadelphia with his wife. In 1891 he moved to Steelton, Pa. where a large Croatian colony was in the making. In 1893 his group performed at the Chicago World's Fair. He taught his group by rote and they always played by ear.

Frank Hoffer with two Croatian trademarks: tamburitsa and cravate. Note that his tamburitsa is adorned with a small white handkherchief, and each tamburitsa has a similar decoration.

From by Adam Eterovich:

Apparently the very first introduction of tambura playing in America was linked with a man named Frank Hoffer. Born in Karlovac, Croatia, he immigrated to the United States in 1887 at the age of twenty-seven. He and his wife settled in Philadelphia where they proceeded to raise a family of four daughters. Being knowledgeable sornewhat in music and woodworking, he began making instruments by hand. In 1891, he moved his family to Steelton, Pennsylvania, and in that same year he and his troupe supposedly played in a vaudeville revue in Harrisburg.

In 1893, Mr. Hoffer and his group are reputed to have appeared at the Chicago World's Fair. They also claim the distinction of performing at the first Croatian Fraternal Union Convention held in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Paval Kekic Hall. Mr. Hoffer taught the troup by rote; the group always played by ear. The performers were: (1) Mr. Frank Hoffer - Director and bisernica player; (2) Mr. Paval Pavlinac - berde; Miss Mima Hoffer - bugarija; Miss Katica Hoffer, bugarija. Later, the two other daughters, Anna and Frances, joined the group when they became old enough. Frances Hoffer placed a brac while sister Anna Hoffer played a kontrasica.

All instruments appear to be home-made. The bisernica played by Mr. Hoffer is fretted Farkas-style in a series of whole and half frets. It had four strings in two courses of double strings, all tuned to the pitch of D. The berde, also home-made, consisted of four strings tuned in Gg and Dd, also of the Farkas system. The quartet contained two rhythm instruments in the form of three-toned bugarijas, one probably tuned D B G and the other tuned G D B. Thus, it appears possible that the Hoffer Family Tamburica group became the very first players of this Croatian National Instrument in America.

Flying Cloud

Florio Antonovich from Konavlje he came to San Francisco on Flying Cloud clipper ship in 1851. With this ship he made the record time from New York to San Francisco around Cape Horn.

From, Adam Eterovich:

Florio Antonovich, from Konavlje, Dalmatia, Croatia arrived in San Francisco in 1851 on the famous clipper ship, "The Flying Cloud," the ship that made the record time from New York to San Francisco around Cape Horn.  He was a member of the Tuolomne Society in 1853 and probably made a gold strike, as he returned to San Francisco and operated a coffee saloon and restaurant at the corner of Clay and East at 403 East Street.  He listed as a capitalist in 1891 and voted in 1871.  He was from Konavle. He was a Charter Member of the Slavonic Illyric Mutual Benevolent Society.  He was President of the Society at one time. 

In 1868 he returned to his native country, and there he married a young lady from Bresecine, returned to San Francisco with his bride same year, and brought into the world a lovely family of children. He died in 1898 at the age of seventy-three. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Florio Antonovich, daughter Mrs. Annie Ashley, and two sons, William G. Antonovich, a well-known attorney in our colony, and Emile P Antonovich, Captain in the United States army. 

In 1882, Mrs. Nicholas Buja and Mrs. Florio Antonovich, were selected by the Slavonic Society to raise money for the Society's new banner, Majika Slovinska (Mother Slavia).  the presentation of the banner to the Society was made by two young girls, now married ladies, Mrs. Cora Maroevich and Mrs. Antionette Forrest, in old Platt's Hall, located on the Montgomery Street where now stands the Mills Building.

The end of Part 1

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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  • Comment #1 (Posted by Mira Plecko)

  • Comment #2 (Posted by John Ceperich)

    Hi Mr. Novak,
    That is my dedo in front of the Croatian Home in your photo from 1950. Seeing this picture was a pleasant reminder of what a leader and proud hrvat John G. Ceperich really was. Hvala.
  • Comment #3 (Posted by ECK SPAHICH, FRITCH, TEXAS)


  • Comment #4 (Posted by Anton Angelich)

    What a wonderful photographic odyssey of Croatian-Americana. Please continue the process and showcase more from your archives. We hope that you share some of the photos that the Croatian New Yorker Club sent to you years ago... Puno hvala. Anton Angelich, Trustee, Croatian New Yorker Club ( P.S. There also was another man with ancestry from our part of the world lost on the U.S.S. Arizona: Jerry Angelich
  • Comment #5 (Posted by Nedjeljko Jerkoviæ)

    This is excellent.I d like you to help me if you can.My grandfather had gonne to America 1913,and after few mounts he went to Aberdeen(probably).He is Ante Jerkovic,and i think that he married Mara Setka.If you have any information about this please return e-mail back because i am writeing a book about familly.thank you very much.
  • Comment #6 (Posted by george novak)

  • Comment #7 (Posted by felix vlacic)

    Cestitam g.Novak na ulozenom trudu.Koliko energije asamo jedna osoba Lijep pozdrav iz canade
  • Comment #8 (Posted by Ahmet)

    Have been following this a bit, and find a mere 28 % of the elttcoraee voting for membership astonishing. A Danish referendum would be invalid with those numbers.Was in the EU Parliament back in 2005, watching the parliamentarians as hungry wolves putting pressure on the Croatian Government to get Gotovina, disregarding all other points towards EU membership. The parliamentarians made it clear that it was an obligation of the Government to change the opinion of the citizens to no longer admiring him for winning the war and bringing lasting peace to Croatia. The foreign minister explained that they had undertaken extensive efforts to influence public opinion, but still drew the line at going into private homes to take down pictures of the national hero.They got Gotovina later, he now sits in Hague accused of "Not preventing the death" of 150 people during Operation Storm. To my knowledge still not convicted, he is widely considered a "War criminal" in the press, who reports it as a fact, not as a charge.Looks to me like a choice between national pride already heavily damaged and dismal economy. I understand that most Croatians chose not to vote at all.
  • Comment #9 (Posted by John Sabo)

    My great-grandfather is the Frank Hoffer shown in Part 1, Croatian Energy, page 5. He came to the U.S. as Andrej Uršanović. He changed his name to Frank Hoffer while in Philadelphia. My grandmother was his youngest daughter - Frances Dulcie Uršanović Hoffer Sabo, born in Karlovac in 1884. Thanks for giving him the credit for the bringing of the Tamburica to America!
  • Comment #10 (Posted by Jeanne Therese Sabo Finn)

    Thank you for your credit given to our great grandfather, Frank Andre Ursanovec Hoffer, and to his daughters, our aunts- Mima, Katica, Anna, and to his daughter, our grandmother, Frances Dulcie, for his contribution of building, introducing and playing the Tamburitza,a national Croatian musical stringed instrument, along with his daughters at the Chicago World Fair in 1893 and various other events. His daughter, Frances, was our grandmother, mother of our father, John W. Sabo Jr.,born April 29,1907,in Pueblo, Colorado,where he was a life-long resident until he departed this life. His siblings included Russel C. Sabo (a long -time resident of Cheyenne,Wyo.,and Gladyce Sabo Krutak (a long-time resident of New Orleans, LA)
  • Comment #11 (Posted by Chad Martinac)

    My names Chad Martinac, born and raised in Kansas City Ks, Strawberry Hill. Where our beautiful little retreat from the world on top and overlooking KC, From St John The Baptist Catholic Church right here. I long to know where I came from. So I had fraternal grandpa named George and his brother Butch. My uncle John Martinac,Dad Jay Anthony Martinac and by marriage John and James Vrbanic. My name isn't widely used so where did I come from? Do I have Martinacs in Croatia now,still? And would they welcome me? My great grandfather Vladimir came here at what time or why, I don't know. Strawberry Hill was and Is Kansas City's "Little Croatia" please google us and email me at I would love some info , or contact.

    Chad Martinac.
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