Preliminary Guide to the Szablya Family Papers circa 1960s-1990s

Summary Information

Washington State University Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections
Szablya, Helen M.
Preliminary Guide to the Szablya Family Papers
Date [inclusive]
circa 1960s-1990s
15 Linear feet, 15 Boxes
(MASC STAFF USE) MS.2009.03: 2-8-8-6; MS.2009.06: 2-5-18-3; MS.2010.07: 1-38-3-6
Collection materials are in English.
Papers of Helen Szablya, with a small amount by John Szablya.

Preferred Citation

[Item description]

Preliminary Guide to the Szablya Family Papers, circa 1960s-1990s (MSSM.082)

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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[From the guide to the Helen and John F. Szablya Papers (Cage 728)]

Helen M. Bartha-Kovács was born in 1934 in Budapest, Hungary. She married John F. Szablya (1924-2005) in 1951. John had graduated from József Nádor University in 1948 and while being employed by the Ganz Electrical Works also worked as a lecturer and research associate at his alma mater.

After the failed Hungarian uprising of 1956, Helen and John escaped from Hungary to Vienna. They then moved to Vancouver, Canada, and in 1957 John became an associate professor of electrical engineering at the University of British Columbia. In 1963, the Szablyas moved to Pullman, WA, where John was employed as a professor of electrical engineering at Washington State University (WSU). Helen graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Diploma in Sales and Marketing Management, and in 1976 received a B.A. in Foreign Languages and Literatures from WSU.

Over the next three decades, Helen and John Szablya lived and taught in several different countries, including Germany and Trinidad, finally settling in a suburb of Seattle, WA. Helen wrote Flame of a Dream, co-authored a commemorative play titled Hungary Remembered for the 30th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising, and published extensively in special interest publications such as Our Family, Inland Register, and the Hungarian Business Weekly. She served as the President of the Washington Press Association and as the Consul of the Republic of Hungary in the Pacific Northwest.

John became a full professor in 1965. During his tenure at WSU he was involved with the Electrical Power Research and Development Center (EPRDC) project, and spent several years abroad as a visiting professor at the Technical University of Braunschweig in Germany and the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. After retiring from WSU, John went on to work in the electrical engineering field as a consultant, becoming the Manager of the Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Department for Ebasco in 1981.

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Scope and Content

MS.2009.03: Papers of Helen Szablya, with a small amount by John Szablya. Newspaper columns, papers related to oral history projects and workshops, and other professional papers.

MS.2009.06: Papers of Helen and John Szablya, including photographs (prints and slides), primarily from energy projects in Alaska circa 1987-1990 (John Szablya?); resumes, correspondence, writings of Helen Szablya; publisher catalogs.

MS.2010.07: Szablya family papers. Mostly Helen Szablya material: manuscripts (book drafts, speeches, correspondence), printed materials (Hungary International newsletter--possible duplicate; clippings); media. Subjects include: promotion of Helen Szablya's work, especially writing and speaking; project files for Flame of a Dream, "Troop with no number" (book), "Extra! Extra!" (Washington centennial project on journalists); oral history grant.

Preliminary inventory:


Box 1. Helen Szablya writings and research files, circa 1970s-1990s.

Boxes 2-4. Issues of the Catholic News, and clippings and photocopies from the same title, with Helen Szablya columns, 1980-1991.

Box 5. Helen Szablya writings (newspapers and clippings), circa 1980s. John Szablya lectures (undated) on microfilm (1 reel). Hungary Remembered on videotape (VHS). Postcards and photographs.

Box 6. "Hungary Remembered" videotape (continued from Box 5). Helen Szablya oral history files.

Box 7. Helen Szablya writings; Washington Press Association files including award applications; National Federation of Press Women files; miscellaneous including correspondence files and files on Hungary; circa 1960s-1990s.


Box 1. Photographs (prints and slides). Mostly from Alaska, related to energy projects; carton marked "APU Photos" and "Prudhoe." Includes typescript (possibly a narration for a presentation or slide show?); some loose unidentified photographs, and some from California.

Box 2. Photographs (continued from box 1); papers.

Boxes 3-4. Papers

MS.2010.07: no inventory available.

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This is an unprocessed collection. Arrangement reflects a pre-existing order from the records’ creators or previous custodians.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections  © 2020

Terrell Library

P.O. Box 645610

Pullman, WA, 99164-5610 USA


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open and available for research use.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Acquisition Information

Helen Szablya donated these materials to the Washington State University Libraries in multiple installments beginning in 2009 (MS.2009.03, MS.2009.06, MS.2010.07).

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Related Materials

Related Material

Helen and John F. Szablya Papers, 1962-2004 (Cage 728)

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Names and Subjects

Family Name(s)

  • Szablya family.
  • Szablya family.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Hungary -- History -- Revolution, 1956.
  • Hungary -- History -- 1945-1989.

Personal Name(s)

Subject(s) :
  • Szablya, Helen M. -- Records and correspondence.
  • Szablya, John F. -- Records and correspondence.
Creator(s) :
  • Szablya, John F.


  • Communism -- Hungary -- History -- Sources.
  • Government and Politics

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