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Title Bread with Seven Crusts [Joseph Splivalo Memoir]
Author Splivalo, Joseph
Date 1922-1987
Document Type Personal Account
Reference IHRC2487
Library / Archive Immigration History Research Center Archives, University of Minnesota
Collection Name Splivalo, Joseph Papers
Description An autobiography of Joseph Splivalo, a Croatian immigrant to the United States. The memoir focuses on his time employed on board a variety of ships, mostly in the Adriatic, but travelling as far as Australia. Also includes details of life in the Austro-Hungarian Empire prior to its collapse, and the Italian occupation of former Austro-Hungarian territory in Dalmatia.
Biographical Note / History Joseph Splivalo lived in Viganj, Dalmatia (part of Croatia in Austria-Hungary). His mother was born in Egypt. His father had lived in Egypt. He had spent time in America and become a citizen. In 1912 at the age of 12, he worked on the steamer "San Marco". He later worked as a waiter on the "Maria-B". His third job was waiter and cabin boy on the ship "Maria Immaculata". He returned to his village and helped his father fish and design and cut sails. On the "Knez", he worked as a cook. In 1916, he had to leave after he and other seamen asked for more wages and threatened a strike. In 1917 he became a helmsman on the "Juraj Subic". He later left when draft inductions of young boys started. He went on the ship "Petar Zrinjski" as a waiter. In 1919 he started work on the "Nad". He later returned to the "Juraj Subic" as a waiter. He had a boat built and spent time sailing and fishing. He then took a job on the "Monte Grappa" which paid for his passage to Australia. Splivalo left Europe to avoid the draft. He also felt he did not have opportunity in Europe so his brother advised him to leave. He decided to go to Australia in 1921 where his two brothers lived. He settled in San Francisco, California later. Splivalo wrote of how difficult it was to leave his parents and sister when he first left for the sea. The family was a very close one. While on ship his mother wrote to him in Italian mixed with Croatian words. He also had close ties with his godparents. Leaving his village for Australia, he thought he would never see his parents again. The father was the main source of discipline in the family. Young men would stand in back of the church where they could watch their girlfriends. They would try to get their girlfriends' attention but were certain not to let the parents see. Custom prevented widows of seamen from marrying for many years. In some cases the sailors came home after they had been thought dead. Splivalo had a childhood sweetheart who broke off the friendship. When a couple broke off a friendship, hay was hung on the door of the person who had been left. Some jobs on certain shiplines were reserved for Italians. Splivalo felt he was slighted by people because of his lack of education. When Splivalo's brother deserted the Austrian army during World War I, the family feared reprisals. His mother burned her husband's American citizenship papers. In Australia Splivalo's brother advised him not to act foreign, since Australians did not like foreigners. War veterans especially hated Europeans. Splivalo wrote about life in his coastal village and the various nationalities that lived in the village. He described the various locations he visited. He also wrote about the poor working conditions on some ships and his solo efforts to change these conditions. Widows of seamen were given no compensation. He also wrote about the beginning of World War I and the ship "Veribus Unitis" which carried the bodies of Prince Ferdinand and his wife. He discussed his brother's activities during World War I and the different views of World War I by the older and younger generations. After World War I, Italy invaded Dalmatia. Splivalo wrote constantly about his frustration concerning his lack of education and his efforts to get an education. He traveled on the Orient Express to go to school but found he did not have enough educational requirements. Splivalo was employed on the "Monte Grappa" which would take him to Australia. On the "Monte Grappa" he heard about a seaman's organization which helped better the working conditions of seamen. Splivalo described his impressions of Australia. These autbiographical notes are from the published Guide to "American Immigrant Autobiographies, Part I: Manuscript Autobiographies from the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota".
Theme(s) Ships and Shipping Lines; Journey Conditions; Motives for Emigration; Departures: Port Conditions and Organisation
Country (from) Croatia
Country (to) United States of America
Places Rijeka, Split, Pula, Croatia; Aden, Yemen
Ports Rotterdam, Holland; Trieste, Italy
Nationality Serbian; Croatian; Croatian; European
Ships San Marco; Maria Immaculata; Krez
Keywords emigration, holidays and celebrations, education, diet, food, socialism, communism, religion, music, travel, seasickness, newspaper, customs, First World War
Additional Information Please note: Some of the metadata for this document has been taken from the Immigration History Research Center Archives catalogue.
Catalogue Link Immigration History Research Center Archives Catalogue
Language English
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