...was a very generous philanthropist and patriot. His mother came from a family of mill owners and Vojtech was her youngest child. She was a very capable woman who managed not only her family, but also a brewery, restaurant and winery. She was known as "the little mother" from the house called "U Halanku" which still exists in the Old Quarter of Prague.
Vojtech studied at the Academic Gymnasium, later at Charles University and finally he studied law at the University in Vienna. He was also very interested in the orient. He took part in the 1848 Czech uprising against Austro-Hungarian oppression. The revolution was not successful and thus young Vojtech had to leave his homeland for America. Here the beginning were unusually hard but eventually he succeeded in acquiring a bookstore and a lending library. In addition he became very active among his fellow countrymen and helped them to organize various associations. He was not able to return home for many years because of political persecution- not even for a short visit- and his applications to do so were rejected. He kept on sending home various ethnographic collections. Finally he was allowed to come to Prague in 1858.
He took part in all the educational and cultural activities that were part of the national revival of the Czech nation together with many other leading personalities. The house "U Halanku" became an intellectual and political center. He founded a museum which was originally called Czech Industrial Museum. His efforts were supported by the famous travelers E. Holub, E. S. Vraz, J. Korensky, V. A. Fric and others. He wanted to bring home everything that was new in the world.
He was also a supporter of the emancipation of women. He founded an association which was called "American Club of Women" The word "American" then meant anything that was modern and progressive. The purpose of the club was further education and training of women so that they could support themselves in case of need. Many outstanding persons presented lectures, for example prof. J. Goll, J. E. Purkyne, J. Vrchlicky, S. Podlipska, and T. G. Masaryk. The women were also given the opportunity to study various foreign languages.
Eventually the old house "U Halanku" became too small. Thus another house was built by Vojtech and it became known as "Naprstkovo Muzeum." In his will Vojtech donated to it all of his possessions including his vast library and photographic documents.Abstract by Marie Dolanska
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