The Emil Kubek Project

View of Mahanoy City’s West End (c. 1930).
Courtesy of the Mahanoy Area Historical Society.

The Emil Kubek Project is a scholarly resource dedicated to researching and publishing the history of the Slavic and Eastern European communities in Pennsylvania’s Coal Region. The project was created in the summer of 2015 by professor Nick Kupensky (Comparative Humanities & Russian Studies, Bucknell University) and Erin Frey, ’17 (Comparative Humanities, English, & Economics, Bucknell University) and was supported by a Coal Region Field Station Grant through ActionResearch@Bucknell, Bucknell’s program in Comparative Humanities, and the Mahanoy Area Historical Society.

The project is named in honor of Father Emil Kubek (1857-1940), a resident of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, who was an amateur agronomist, accomplished lexicographer, beloved priest, and prolific writer of journalism, poetry, short stories, and the first Carpatho-Rusyn novel Marko Šoltys. As a prominent cultural and spiritual leader of the Carpatho-Rusyn community in Mahanoy City, Father Kubek exemplified the qualities of a humanist in every sense of the word. As such, the Emil Kubek Project embodies the spirit of its namesake by providing insight into the art, economics, history, literature, and religion of the Coal Region’s Slavic and Eastern European immigrant communities and their enduring legacy today.

Ongoing Projects

  • The Emil Kubek Digital Archive
    Read the work by Emil Kubek in Carpatho-Rusyn and in new English translations by Nick Kupensky. Research secondary sources about Emil Kubek in English, Carpatho-Rusyn, Slovak, and Ukrainian.
  • West End Walking Tour
    Discover Emil Kubek’s Mahanoy City through the poetry and prose of its most prolific author.

12 thoughts on “The Emil Kubek Project

  1. My Great Grandmother was Margaret Gudd, the owner of Gudd’s cafe. Nice to find this resource. If you want some rare pictures, I have a few that the Mahanoy City Historical commission doesn’t have.


  2. Emil Kubek was also my great grandfather & feeling nostalgic about my family I came upon this project. How wonderful to share this. I remember the wonderful times we spent in the Rectory when visiting from California with all our cousins. It will always be forever a great memory. The old soda fountain, Adolph’s butcher shop.


  3. Father Emil Kubek’s 1906 – “СЛОВАРЬ” ( “ SLOVAR’ ”) Dictionary printed in the Cyrillic alphabet known as Кіріліця – Kírílícja , or Кирилика – Kirilika, presents comparative definitions for the Carpatho-Rusin Old (ancient)Church Slavonic language, {Karpato-Rus’koje Starodavnyj Cer’kovno-Slavjaňskyj jazyk} -{Карпато-Руськоє Стародавный Церьковно-Славяньскый язык} in the Old Church Slavonic alphabet script style common in that era. The short description is “Старославянскій” – “Staroslavjanskíj” or “Старославяньскый” – “Staroslavjaňskyj” – “Old Slavonic”. The script has a unique old Cyrillic script style shared with numerous religious publications by the Eastern Slavic peoples. It is also called Церьковно-старо-славяньскый язык, Cer’kovno-staro-slavjaňskyj jazyk – Church Old Slavonic language.
    Father Kubek translates the Rusin Old Church Slavonic language to comparative equivalents into: Carpatho-Rusin (Карпато-Руськый, Karpato-Rus’kyj), Угорскій- Madjar (Magyar – Hungarian), Нѣмецкій – Njímeckíj – German and sometimes Latin. It is a multi-alphabetical cross cultural experience to read the Cyrillic alphabet alongside parallel Latinika alphabet entries for Hungarian, German, and sometimes in Latin.
    There are 387 pages with two columns on each page. It is an amazing practical compendium to help us understand the powerful depth of vocabulary and spiritual expression that exists in the Carpatho-Rusin Old Slavonic language that became codified as Rusin Church Slavonic, the prayer language that serves as the common unity of expression among Eastern Christian Rusins everywhere.
    The Kubek slovar’- dictionary of 1906 is a great language study achievement, a bold intellectual linguistic church life education project at a time in Carpatho-Rusin history when the language consciousness of Rusins in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1906 required the support of strong educational maintenance and stewardship to raise the understanding and living practice of Eastern Christian, Rusin Greek Catholic prayer life, and to raise the living connection to the Bible.


  4. 05/12/2020 I just found you so I am going to make some comments which may alter your perspective of Father Kubek. My name is John Sekura. My father wafis the cantor at St. Mary’s in Mahanoy City from the late 1930’s to the early 1950’s. Father Kubek was our priest. Father Kubek was a wonderful painter, and he painted the interior ceilings of St. Mary’s as well as many other sites. I don’t know how you date him 1857 to 1940 when he was very much alive when I was born unless my Father Kubek is the son. If you go into the archives of the church, you will find many references to Father Kubek, my father, and the activities they were involve with including First Communion, St Nicholas Day, Choirs etc.


    1. Hi John — Father Anthony Kubek was the son and painted the murals in St. Mary’s. Father Emil Kubek, the father, was the writer. Thanks for your comment! –Nick


    1. With COVID, it is hard to say when we will be able to do another walking tour. We had planned to do one in April 2020, but we ended up having to cancel it. As soon as another walking tour materializes, you’ll be able to hear about it here!


  5. Hello
    I have a painting signed A. Kubek, 1917 that was handed down to me by my grandmother. It is in Russian, or Slovac, I am not sure which, and it is the Ten Commandments (I believe). Is there anyone who could tell me more about this painting?


    1. I would love to see a photo of it. Father Anthony Kubek was my grandfather. We have many if his paintings but I don’t recall ever seeing that particular one. My mother was Terez Kubek.

      Terez Blanchard


  6. I came across this project while researching my paternal grandparents. A Rev. Kubek is listed on my uncle’s birth certificate as the attendant during birth. My uncle was born in Bock Mountain, Mahanoy City PA in 1908. I was trying to locate the parish and the Kubek Project came up. Not only was I able to narrow down St. Mary’s as the parish, but was able to get a wonderful history of Reverend Kubek as well as Mahanoy City This is a very resourceful project and I am thankful it has led me towards my next step in the discovery of my family history. Also, I find it interesting I have another uncle with the middle name of “Emil”.


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