FYI August 04, 2019

On This Day

1863 – Matica slovenská, Slovakia’s public-law cultural and scientific institution focusing on topics around the Slovak nation, is established in Martin.
The Matica slovenská (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈmacitsa ˈslɔʋɛnskaː]) is Slovakia’s scientific and cultural institution focusing on topics around the Slovak nation.

This all-nation cultural institution of the Slovaks was established in 1863 as a result of the Slovak national efforts to lay the foundations of Slovak science, libraries and museums. Nowadays it is governed by the “Act on Matica slovenská” of 1997.

The modern sense of the name is Slovak Foundation/Association, historically: Slovak (Bee) Mother. Matica slovenská’s name is a source of puzzlement among many Slovaks. “Matica” used in this context is a Serbian word and means “source” or “mother bee”. The Matica concept of volunteer cultural associations became popular in other Slavic countries.

In today’s Slovak language, “matica” means “matrix”. “Matica” used in this context is as well a Slovakian word and it means to: connect to something more solid (connect to motherboard): [“pritiahnúť ku, skrútiť, pripojiť, spojiť a neoddeliť”]. In this context “matica slovenská” could easily be understood as sort of attachment, being linked to its Slavic predecessors and its Slavic history to its motherland.

The anniversary of the 1863 establishment of Matica slovenská on August 4 is locally known as Deň Matice Slovenskej, a Remembrance Day in Slovakia.

The first Matica (1863 – 1875)

The founding of the Matica was inspired by the establishment of the Serbian Matica (Matica srpska) in 1826 and of the Czech “Matice česká” in 1831. The Slovak Matica went on from the Tatrín association (1844 – 1849, the first Slovak nationwide cultural institution).

Slovakia was part of the Kingdom of Hungary, which in turn was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was the Austrian emperor who – as a reaction to the many requirements of the 1861 Memorandum of the Slovak Nation – allowed the Slovaks to found a national cultural institution – they were allowed to found a “unity of lovers of Slovak life and nation”. As a result, the Matica slovenská was founded on August 4, 1863 at an assembly of some 5000 Slovak patriots in Turčiansky Svätý Martin (today Martin). It was based in the same town and was financed exclusively by voluntary donations from Slovaks and from the Austrian emperor. The first chairman was Štefan Moyses and his vice-chairmen were Karol Kuzmány, Ján Országh and Ján Francisci-Rimavský. In 1873, the Matica had some 1300 members, many of which included entities such as municipalities, libraries, schools and associations.

The Matica slovenská drew members from all parts of the nation. It became the representative and symbol of Slovak “independence”. From the beginning, the Matica was forbidden to be involved in political activities and to establish local branches. Nevertheless, its supporters could be found in many towns and settlements and its membership was quite large. The Matica was especially involved in collecting activities – it laid the foundation of national librarianship, and of archives and museum sciences in Slovakia. It also developed a broad education program for the public, published various practical manuals, calendars, readers, and scientific monographs, and initiated the development of amateur theatre and of social singing. It also supported research activities and published the results of the research in the first Slovak scientific journal “Letopisy” (literally: annals). Finally, the Slovak National Museum was founded within the Matica. The establishment of scientific departments (linguistics, law and history, philosophy, mathematics etc.) was in preparation in 1871, but could not be carried out anymore before 1875 (see below). Gradually, Matica became a center for organizing the national life of the Slovaks and served as a substitute for national political institutions, whose establishment was prohibited in the Kingdom of Hungary under the conditions of strong Magyarisation efforts.

The then Hungarian minister of the interior Kálmán Tisza had Matica abolished by force – by the decree No. 125 of April 6, 1875 and confiscation of its property (consisting exclusively of donations) in favour of the state. The official reasons given were that Matica was “against the government” and “anti-patriotic” – statements for which there was not the least evidence. The confiscated property went to support the process of enforced Magyarisation (e.g. the foundation of the pro-Magyarisation Upper Hungary Magyar Educational Society). When interpellated by a Serbian member of the Diet (there were no Slovak deputies in the Diet) why Matica’s property was not returned to the Slovaks, the then prime minister Kálmán Tisza answered that he did not know of a Slovak nation.



Born On This Day

1904 – Helen Kane, American singer and actress (d. 1966)
Helen Kane (born Helen Clare Schroeder, August 4, 1904[1] – September 26, 1966) was an American singer. Her signature song was “I Wanna Be Loved by You”. Kane’s voice and appearance were a source for Fleischer Studios animator Grim Natwick when creating Betty Boop. Kane attempted to sue the studio for claims of stealing her signature “boop-a-doop” style. However, it was revealed that Kane copied that style from Harlem jazz singer Baby Esther leading to the case’s dismissal.




By Adam Sweeting, The Guardian: DA Pennebaker obituary Maker of idiosyncratic documentary films including Dont Look Back, about Bob Dylan’s 1965 UK tour

Donn Alan Pennebaker (/ˈpɛniːbeɪkər/; July 15, 1925 – August 1, 2019) was an American documentary filmmaker and one of the pioneers of Direct Cinema. Performing arts and politics were his primary subjects. In 2013, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized his body of work with an Academy Honorary Award or “lifetime Oscar”.[1]

Pennebaker has been described as “arguably the pre-eminent chronicler of Sixties counterculture”.[2]

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