Members of the Hanus family met here at the Museum this week to research their family history in our genealogy library. Sisters and brother Joyce Hanus Lamprecht, Barb Hanus and James Hanus drove up from Austin and Cibolo, Texas. They are originally from Skidmore. The siblings were able to find new information about their family in our library and also a copy of a book dedicated to their family history.
Their father's cousin, Otto Hanus, was the first librarian, archivist and curator of the Museum, so we were delighted to meet them!
Otto Hanus is one of the pillars of the history of the Czech Heritage Museum. His first involvement was to transport 1,500 books from storage at West, Texas to the SPJST building at Second Street and Central Avenue in Temple. The books, sent by donors from across several states, was the result of discussions between several Czech fraternal organizations in Texas who agreed that a museum, or at least of library of Czech literature, should be established.
Nick Morris, editor of the SPJST weekly newspaper, Vestnik, took on the challenge and started the book collection. Interested donors sent them from all over Texas and several other states and before long, the large collection had accumulated. The following year, 1969, Hanus became the curator and administer of the collection.
Morris wrote of Mr. Hanus’ work in A History of the SPJST: A Texas Chronicle 1897-1980.
“He does not know what a clock is, and the SPJST could not have a more devoted worker. He, on the other hand, extends credit to all others who donated items … and to the cooperation and understanding of the Supreme Lodge.”
Today, visitors from around the world and Texans of Czech ancestry alike enjoy the legacy left by Mr. Hanus here at the Czech Heritage Museum.