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Sign Here: 1924

Sign Here: 1924

        UPDATE: This is the Croatian-American "world walker" Joseph (Josip) Frank Mikulec. More here and here. And here.

August 6, 1924. "Joseph Frank [illegible] at White House with album for autographs." His pencil, however, was not allowed in. View full size.

 

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I need to do some research

I'd be interested to see if he's in our family tree somewhere down the line. My dad's parents emigrated from that area back before World War 2.

Dream Stirring

I'm really disappointed the book is missing because this post really piqued my interest. I think to view it would be utterly fascinating the way Mikulec attached notes, photos, seals and postage stamps of the people concerned.

Joseph Frank Mikulec

No word on what happened to Joseph’s giant books of autographs.


New York Times, September 2, 1923.

Autograph Collector Here in World Tours

Joseph Mikulec, autograph collector, has covered several hundred thousand miles and twice traveled around the world to get signatures of prominent persons in all countries. In travel-stained clothes and with his huge book strapped upon his back, he went to City Hall a few days ago and got the signature of Mayor Hylan.

After visiting several local celebrities in financial circles, Mikulec started West again. His leather-bound book, which weighs fifty-seven pounds, is the second he has carried to the far corners of the world. In it he proudly exhibits the signatures of five Presidents—Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. The book is heavy with seals of many States and cities, and contains the names of Lloyd George, Lord Curzon, the Prince of Wales, Prince Lubormirski, the President of China, Admiral Togo of Japan, J. Pierpont Morgan, a long list of United States Senators, American Ambassadors, Ambassadors to the United States and many editors and noted writers.

Mikulec left his home in Stubica, Croatia, twenty-two years ago, when he was 23 years old, and began his long pilgrimage on foot, traveling from city to city in Central Europe. After several years of incessant travel on the Continent he visited the United States, making his home in Philadelphia and becoming a citizen in December, 1910. Later he returned to his wanderings and visited Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, India, Egypt, the Holy Land and South Africa.

Mikulec said he was now about ready to settle down. He hoped to see his autograph books placed in a position of honor in a museum. Then, he said, he would get a small farm of his own somewhere in the Middle West.


The Baltimore Sun, July 1928.

Tracking down the Autograph

… The enlightened collector seeks items which stir his feelings for the past. This change in the aim of autograph collecting has been the tragedy of one man, Joseph Frank Mikulec, who twenty-nine years ago started around the world collecting the autographs of the great ones of every land. When he ran out of money he painted portraits, houses and landscapes until he had a stake for his next pilgrimage. As he circumpedaled the globe his album grew until it became a sort of great register of the noted men and women of the nineteenth century. Mikulec developed a set of Atlas-like shoulder muscles from packing his giant album on his back. Finally, when he found himself staggering under the fifty-eight pounds of autographs, he had a perambulator made and today he wheels his life work about. A generation ago his book might have been a treasure, but today dealers are not interested.

Trend Setter

About fifty years thence, his carry style would make a big hit with owners of portable stereos.

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