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Kratina Family Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 0337

Scope and Content

The Kratina collection primarily consists of correspondence between the Presslys and Kratinas, families that occupied interesting times and spaces. Charles Pressly often writes to his wife Maude from his various assignments. Later, Marguerite writes to her parents of her daily experiences in Dresden in the 1920s and 1930s, detailing obstacles she faces on imports, how her family is affected by the depreciation of German money and harsh import taxes, and even the presence of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in Germany. In the postwar period, family and friends remaining in Dresden describe life under Soviet occupation.

The collection includes genealogical documents and newspapers relating to both the Kratinas and the Presslys as far back as the family could trace themselves. In addition to correspondence and genealogical documents, the collection includes photographs and newspaper clippings featuring the Kratina family; and works by and about Rudolph Kratina, including lithographs of sketches he created, music he composed or arranged, and performance posters and pamphlets.

The music series contains sheet music, mostly handwritten and mostly by Kratina. These pieces date from 1935 to 1962, though the majority of them are not dated. The works included are mainly for cello and piano or for voice and piano, though a few chamber music arrangements are also present. Similarly, some works have been arranged into a number of formats, for example the Adagio in the first folder is written for cello and organ (or piano), and is also arranged for string quartet. The works here are arranged alphabetically by title, and unless noted otherwise, are written or arranged by Kratina. Most of the works in this series appear to be unpublished.

Dates

  • 1841-1967
  • Majority of material found within 1885-1955

Creator

Language of Materials

Includes materials written in English, German, and French.

Access

This collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Kratina Family Collection documents several generations associated with Frederic's grandfather, Charles Payton Pressly. Pressly was born to Dr. Joseph Pressly and Tallulah Frazier on July 4, 1860 in Cedar Springs, Georgia. Upon completing his law studies at Erskine College, and being admitted to the Georgia bar in 1882, Pressly established a law practice in Augusta, Georgia and then began a career in the American diplomatic corps. After serving in several diplomatic posts upon initial appointment by President Cleveland in 1894, President Wilson appointed Pressly as Vice and Deputy Consul General to France during World War I.

In December of 1887, Pressly married Maude Margaret Stovall, daughter of Confederate Colonel Massillon Stovall and his wife Margarite Stovall. Pressly's union to Stovall brought one daughter, Marguerite Terrell Pressly (1890-1971). In 1925, Marguerite would go on to marry Rudolf Kratina (1891-1967), an Austrian cellist and son of the well-known Czech solo violinist Josef Kratina. After their marriage, Marguerite primarily resided with her husband and son Frederic in Dresden, Germany, where Rudolf was a concert cellist.

Rudolf Kratina made his concert debut at the age of twelve. Later, in 1913, he would become the solo bass singer for the Dresden Opera. In 1925, Kratina accepted a position as a cellist for life in the Dresden Opera. In 1939, the political turmoil in Germany led Kratina to move his family to Georgia. It was there that he would join the University of Georgia at Athens as the chair for cello and chamber music for twenty years. While in Georgia, he performed for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Community Orchestra.

In addition to being a highly skilled cellist, Rudolf Kratina was a bass soloist, composer, and a skilled artist. Twelve of Kratina's lithographs are featured in the Library of Congress and twenty-five of his sketches are in the New York Museum of Art. Other pieces of his artwork can be found at the British Museum in London, and at the Berlin and Dresden Museums in Germany.

Extent

7 Linear feet (17 Boxes)

Abstract

The Kratina Family Collection documents several generations associated with the Pressly and Kratina families. These records primarily consist of correspondence that highlights the interesting times and spaces the families occupied, including subjects such as the effects of the depreciation of German money and harsh import taxes in the 1920s and 1930s, the presence of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in Germany, and life under Soviet occupation in the postwar period. The collection includes genealogical documents; photographs and newspaper clippings featuring the Kratina family; and works by and about Rudolph Kratina, including lithographs of sketches he created, music he composed or arranged, and performance posters and pamphlets.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into four series: 1. Correspondence, 1841-1967; 2. Documents, clippings and photographs, 1887-1962; 3. Artwork, undated; and 4. Music, 1935-1962.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Gift of Frederic Charles Josef Kratina (1926-2010). The bulk of the collection was discovered by a student at Emory University in the attic of a house he was renting and was subsequently given to Frederic (Fred) Kratina. Dr. Kratina donated the collection to the University of Florida in 2009 along with additional materials already in his possession.

Title
A Guide to the Kratina Family Collection
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid created by Staff
Date
September 2015
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

Contact:
George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America
352-273-2755