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Zlatko Balokovic papers

Identifier: IHRC274


Autobiography, correspondence, diaries, contracts, handbills, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, published articles, speeches, photographs and tour itineraries of or collected by the Balokovics. Also includes organizational papers and records of various Yugoslav and Croatian groups interested in the establishment and development of a federated Yugoslav republic during and after World War II. The papers relate chiefly to Balokovic's involvement with Yugoslavian and Croatian organizations and to his musical career.Correspondents include Ivan Subasic, General Velebitu, newspaper editors, U.S. congressmen, Louis Adamic, James Brunot, U.S. attorney general Tom Clark, Mirko G. Kuhel, Hilton H. Railey, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Thomas J. Watson. Also included are materials on Stojan Pribicevic (1944-1946), the "Eric Pridonoff" case (1946-1951), Cardinal Stepican (1946-1947), and a manuscript of Francis Ralph Preveden's "History of the Croatian People" (l949).


  • 1924-1965



Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

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Zlatko Balokovic was born on March 21, 1895, in Zagreb, Croatia (at the time part of Austria-Hungary). He began violin lessons at age ten, and made such astounding progress in the next three years that he was sent to Prague to continue his studies at the "Meisterschule" there under Professor Otakar Sevcik. In 1913, Zlatko was invited to play with the Moscow Philharmonic, and he also won the annual Austrian "Staatspreis" that year. Soon afterwards he made tours to Berlin, Vienna, Genoa, and Trieste. He remained in Trieste during the First World War. After living in Great Britain from 1920 to 1923 and learning English, Zlatko accepted an offer of an American tour. On January 1, 1924, he sailed for New York. Remaining in the United States, on May 11, 1926, he married Joyce Borden, heiress to the Borden family fortune. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the couple toured the Eurpean continent repeatedly, performing before most of that continent's royalty. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, Zlatko and Joyce settled with their adopted children at Hillside Farm in Camden, Maine. The couple became involved in many wartime political efforts. Zlatko served as chair of six particular orginizations: the Yugoslav Division of the U.S. Treasury War Bond Drives; the Russian War Relief's Nationalities Division, the United Committee of South Slavic Americans; the American Slav Congress of Greater New York; the American Croatian Congress, and the American Committee for Yugoslav Relief (which had Eleanor Roosevelt as its honorary president). Zlatko was an untiring advocate for Tito's Yugoslav Partisans; in November 1944, with the help of Adlai Stevenson (nephew by marriage) he went to Washington demanding the shipment of medical supplies to the Partisan forces. In one day's time he saw President Roosevelt, Vice President Wallace, Secretary of State Stettinius, Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, and Admiral Land. The medical supplies reached their destination. In 1946, the Balokovics returned to Yugoslavia as official representatives of the American Committee for Yugoslav Relief and were showered with that nation's gratitude. Zlatko gave 36 concerts and hundreds of speeches, while travelling the entire country in a private railroad car. The couple came to know personally many high-ranking figures in the Yugoslav government, including Marshall Tito, plus Georgi Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Enver Hoxa of Albania. Upon their return to the United States, the couple went on a coast-to-coast speaking tour in 1947 to advocate for the People's Republic of Yugoslavia and to relate their experiences there. As a result of their ties to the Yugoslav government and their membership in those wartime organizations which had come to be considered "subversive," the Balokovics were labelled as "fellow travellers" by the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1949. After quite an ordeal (and legal action), the Balokovics cleared their names. In 1954, Zlatko and Joyce made a second "jubilee tour" of Yugoslavia. Tito presented Zlatko with the Grand Cross of the Yugoslav Flag"in recognition of his artisitic and humanitarian achievements and his contribution to closer relations and better understanding between the peoples of Yugoslavia and the United States of America." through the late 1950s and 1960s, Zlatko continued giving concerts around the world. On March 29, 1965, en route to his 70th birthday celebration in Zagreb, Zlatko passed away in Venice. He was taken to Zagreb where a state funeral and burial took place on April 3. (Adapted from a statement submitted by Mary Borden Bok.)


2 Linear Feet

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Autobiography, correspondence, diaries, contracts, handbills, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, published articles, speeches, photographs and tour itineraries of or collected by the Balokovics.


Series I - Personal Papers Series II - Political Organizations Series III - Miscellany Series IV - Photographs


The Zlatko Balokovic Papers were given to the Immigration History Research Center Collection by Mary Borden Bok in 1972. There are no restrictions on their use. The inventory to this collection was compiled by Todd. M. Michney in 1997, and prepared for the Internet by Student Assistants Paul Bowman and Andrew Svendsen, and Assistant Curator Daniel Necas in 2002-2005.

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