University of Minnesota

Berlisg, John, Papers

Finding Aid


Immigration History Research Center, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota

Descriptive summary

Creator: Berlisg, John, 1882-1945.
Dates: 1920-1945
Abstract: Papers (1920-1945) of John Berlisg (1882-1945) include a short biography of him; photographs of him and the singing group "Svoboda"; translations of operettas, sheet music and an obituary.
Quantity: 5 linear in.
Language: In Slovenian, some English.
Collection ID: IHRC310


Collection acquired from John Berlisg's daughter, Frances Trelz, in 1964. Processed by Daniel Necas in 2005, selected items digitized by Erik Moore for IHRC COLLAGE, and finding aid included in IHRC VITRAGE in 2005.


John Berlisg (1882-1945), a self educated Slovenian American musician, was born in Skala near Slovengradec. In 1908, he came to the United States with his wife and stepchildren and became a coal miner in Stone City, Kansas, where he also organized his first singing club and tamburtiza band, and directed plays and operettas. He organized and directed musical groups, and taught music, in Utah, Kansas, and Detroit, Michigan. Berlisg taught tamburtizas, composed and translated music, and directed bands and choruses. He was the leader of the Singing Society Club 14 "Svoboa" in Detroit, Michigan.



The Berlisg, John collection is available for public research.


The Berlisg, John collection is the physical property of the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota.

For further information regarding the copyright, please contact the IHRC.


The Berlisg, John Papers, Slovene American Collection, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota

Index Terms

Slovene Americans--Music.
Choral societies--Michigan--Detroit.
Slovene American musicians.
Berlisg, John, 1882-1945.
Singing Society Club 14 "Svoboda" (Detroit, Mich).

Detailed Description of the Collection

BOX 1. John Berlisg

FOLDER 1. Biographical materials 1882-1945
Typed biographical sketch by Michael Berling (JB's son), obituary by Adolph Koss, chronology of activities of Slovene Cultural Association in Kansas, Berlisg listed as participating in some of them
FOLDER 2. Publicity
Program brochures for "Ciganska Nevesta" (Gypsy Bride) operetta translated by John Berlisg, performed in the Czech/Bohemian Hall in Detroit, Michigan in 1934, newspaper clippings
FOLDER 3. Photographs
Selected photos from this folder available in digital form, please follow the links below.
IMAGE: Slovenian singing group 1928 8 x 10 in. Photography view
Members of John Berlisg's Detroit-based singing society, "Svoboda," pose for a group photograph. John Berlisg sits in the center. Each member of the group wears a sash that reads "S.S. Pev. D. "Svoboda."
IMAGE: Band members n.d. 3.5 x 5 in. Photography view
John Berlisg, far right, poses for a photograph with his band.
IMAGE: Slovenian-American musicians n.d. 7.5 x 9.5 in. Photography view
Slovenian-American musicians pose for a photograph. Each member holds an instrument; mandocellos and mandolins are among the instruments represented here.
FOLDER 4. "Ciganska Nevesta" libretto
FOLDER 5. "Ciganska Nevesta" libretto (individual parts)
FOLDER 6. "Sanje pod Lipo" libretto
FOLDER 7. "Biserno Slavje" libretto
FOLDER 8. Sheet music - "Alfred in Liza" duet

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