When I arrived to Texas for the first time in 2014, I discovered a great history of the Czech immigrants who moved there and settled in farming communities. With them the so-called kolache came, an open-faced pastry traditionally prepared with a sweet filling. Today, this tasty Czech pastry has become an inseparable part of Texas culture.
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I was so impressed by the story of the Czech immigrants that I decided to conduct a research and write a bachelor thesis: The History of the Czech Immigration to Texas in the Nineteenth Century.
Thanks to my stays in Texas, I not only learned about the remarkable history of thousands of the Czechs who settled in Texas, but I was also able to visit the local towns that once used to be the thriving Czech communities, see the Czech signs at the shops and streets, enter the Czech bakeries to smell and taste the renowned kolaches, attend the Czech festivals, and last but not least, to speak with the Czech descendants whose enthusiasm when speaking of their ancestors amazed me.Their striking pride of being of Czech ancestry raised my interest in learning more about the history of their ancestors.
After coming home and starting to research the available sources, I could not find any particularly useful literature as sources of reference, and therefore I decided to return to Texas in the following year. Thanks to my dear friends Kathy and John Hillman, I was able to stay at their house for five weeks in the summer in 2015.
This enabled me to undertake my research at the Library of Baylor University, visit Czech museums and heritage centers, attend the traditional mass at the Praha Feast, and of course I was able to meet more Czech descendants who were more than willing to share with me their personal experiences.