Pavol Socháň, an ethnographer, photographer, journalist and dramatist, is a significant personality of the science, culture and art from the end of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. He was born on 6th June 1862 in Vrbica (nowadays a part of Liptovský Mikuláš) in a craftsman family and studied at Kežmarok lyceum and education institute in Lučenec where Hungarian authorities expelled him from all schools in Hungary for promoting Slovak language and literature. In 1881 – 1885, he studied Art History and Ethnology at the Prague Painting Academy and the Charles University. He continued in his art studies in Munich where he completed an internship in a photographic studio. After his return to Prague, he devoted himself to ethnological activities and prepared numerous exhibitions. In 1889, he got a vocational certificate of photography – as a freelancer in J. Eckert’s
studio in Prague. He opened his own photographic studio in 1893 in Martin upon the invitation of S. Hurban Vajanský. Two years later, he prepared, in cooperation with D. Jurkovič, the Slovak department at the Ethnological Exhibition in Prague. After accusations of pan-Slavism, he was forced to leave for the USA in 1914, where he worked as a journalist and a publicist and joined the foreign resistance. He returned to his homeland in 1919 and worked as a clerk and editor in Prague and Bratislava. He died in Bratislava on 26th January 1941 and is buried at the National Cemetery in Martin.
The list of Socháň’s ethnological works is represented by more than 500 bibliographic units, and several hundreds of furtherunits include all-society, historical and literary issues. He was concerned with photography in the period of 1889 – 1912. He was issuing postcards in editions of Slovak traditional costumes, Pictures from Slovakia and Slovak albums (Portraits of national activists) until 1924. A total of approximately 400 postcards were issued. P. Socháň is the author of ten dramas, two of which appeared on the Slovak National Theatre stage in Bratislava in 1921 – 1922.
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