Date Original



From description on inventory from donor Albert Kennedy: The collection is comprised of material related to three generations of the Kennedy, Guidos, and Bednar families, all of whom lived in Arkansas from the early 1900s. The photos, correspondence, and other materials document life in the Slovak settlement in Hazen, also called Slovaktown, Arkansas, and the German community in Subiaco, Arkansas. The records and photos then show the transition in the early 1940s from these rural areas to the city of Little Rock, Arkansas. In addition to rare family and community photos, the collection holds correspondence and photos from soldiers serving overseas during WWII, copies of correspondence from one of the Kennedy children serving in Vietnam, prayer books and prayer cards in Slovak, early 1900s heal and cookbooks, and materials and newsletters related to the early days of the Arkansas Foundry Company.

Biographical/Historical Note

Between 1880 and 1920, more than half a million immigrants came from present-day Slovakia to the United States due to the same political unrest in Europe which led to the First World War. More than half of these immigrants settled in Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh remains the center of Slovak-American life, with Cleveland, Ohio, a close second. The Slovak Colonization Company, a Pittsburgh company, purchased land in Prairie County, Arkansas, in 1894 for the purpose of settling Slovak families. The settlement, known historically as Slovaktown but now simply Slovak, remains unincorporated, so addresses in and around the community are often given as being in either Hazen (to the north) or Stuttgart (to the south). Donor Albert Kennedy’s mother, Mary Ann Guidos Kennedy was born in this community in 1926, with Slovak immigrants on both sides of the family. This collection consists primarily of materials documenting the lives of those two families: the Guidos and Bednar families. John (Ján) and Anna Hritz Bednar were born in present-day Slovakia (then the Kingdom of Austria- Hungary) in the early 1870s. They came to Arkansas via Pennsylvania (and possibly Cleveland) and in 1914, became founding members of Saints Cyril and Methodius Church on Highway 86. John Joseph “Joe” Guidos and his wife Elizabeth Bellak Guidos followed a similar path to the Bednar family, bringing them to Prairie County in the early part of the 20th century. In 1922, John “J.J.” Guidos married Justina “Tinnie” Bednar at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church, and the two quickly had five children, including Mary Ann Guidos. In the early 1940s, J.J. found work with the railroad in Little Rock and purchased a small house at 3309 W. 11th St. in Little Rock, eventually selling the Guidos farm while maintaining close ties to the community. The Guidos children were educated at the city’s Catholic institutions, often returning to Slovak to visit relatives and work on the farm. The First Catholic Slovak Union (often referred to simply as “Jednota,” the Slovak word for “union”) was a Cleveland-based fraternal organization established in 1890 to provide insurance to Slovak immigrants, but which also became a staple in the Slovak-American community through its Slovak-language publications. This collection contains Slovak-language Catholic prayer books printed in Pittsburgh and Middletown, Pennsylvania, as well as insurance materials and annual publications associated with Jednota. Mary Ann Guidos was graduating high school just as all the young men her age were sent off to World War II. The second portion of this collection contains extensive correspondence between Mary Ann and her friends abroad, including her future husband, Robert W. Kennedy, a native of Subiaco, Arkansas, and a part of the German Catholic community there.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area

Slovak, Prairie County (Ark.); Arkansas





Resource Type



Kennedy, Guidos, and Bednar families collection, MS.001008


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Kennedy, Guidos, and Bednar families collection, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History