Introduction
1882 - I
1887
1891 - II
1895 - III
1898
1899
1900
1901 - IV
1902
1903
1904
1905
1906
1907 - V
1908
1910
1911
1912 - VI
1913
1914
1915
1916
1918
1919
1920 - Local Events
1920 - VII
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926 - VIII
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932 - IX
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938 - X
1947
1948 - XI
1989
1994 - XII
1996
Undated cards
London 1943
Chile
USA
Workers Olympics
Catholic Eagles
Slovak Catholic Sokol
Poster Stamps
Links
References
UPDATES

SOKOL POSTCARDS
Introduction

1882-1994

                   

(Click on any image to view an enlarged version)

SOKOL SLET XIV - read interviews with attendees at the fourteenth international Slet in Prague, July 1-7, 2006.

Founded in 1862 by Miroslav Tyrs, Jindrich Fugner, Em Tonner, and brothers Eduard and Julius Gregr, Sokol is a Czech athletic and patriotic organization.

I first encountered Sokol through my stamp collecting. Several issues of postage stamps have been released over the years to honor Sokol and its founders, including a US stamp in 1965, honoring the movement's centennial in this country. There have also been numerous poster stamps (or Cinderellas) to advertise or commemorate Sokol activities.

But once I saw them, it was the postcards that enthralled me.

Sokol developed and thrived during the heyday of postcards, the late 19th and early 20th century. Hundreds of postcards, many designed by famous artists of the era, were produced as advertising and souvenirs for Sokol events, called Slets. There were local and Regional Slets yearly, with huge "All-Sokol" national and even international Slets at longer intervals. (See Links for more about the history of both Sokol and postcards.)

The word "Sokol" means falcon, a symbol of freedom among Slavs at the the time. The Sokol uniform, khaki pants with red shirt and skull cap adorned with a falcon's feather, was based on the Italian Garibaldist uniform, as a symbol of the organization's nationalist patriotic ideals. Images of falcons and of members in their uniforms are popular themes on the postcards, as are lions (another symbol of strength and freedom) and patriotic banners.

Gymnastics and calisthenics are central to the Sokol physical culture system, and Slets incorporate demonstrations and competitions of those activities, which are featured prominently on many of the postcards.

Slavic groups outside Czechoslovakia also found the Sokol ideals and goals attractive, and formed Sokol units. The area that became Yugoslavia was the most active, with several major Slets in Ljubljana and Zagreb. Postcards from those events are shown on some of these pages. Slets in Bulgaria and Poland are also commemorated here.

Postcards for Sokol events are displayed by year. Click on one of the links at the left side of any page to view the cards for that year. I have included as well other ephemera such as poster stamps. (I have created a page with just the Sokol poster stamps - GO HERE.) The years with Roman numerals next to them had all-Sokol national events in Prague.

I have tried to sort the cards within years to some extent, either by location, or by type. I have provided limited information about the individual cards. If any viewer can provide relevant details about specific cards, I will be pleased to add it.

Translations of the text on cards are also welcome - I do not speak Czech or any of the other non-English languages represented.

If you wish to contribute scans of other cards, especially for years or events that are not represented here, I will be pleased to add them to this site. Scans should be at least 150 dpi. Please include both front and back, and indicate whether you wish to be credited by name as the contributor. Send to

 

The most comprehensive history of Sokol on the web is the one at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokol.



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Created -- 10/25/2005
Revised -- 02/02/2007