An early photo of Milan's father-in-law, Nikola Mamula, taken for the Christmas (Jan.1948) issue of AMERICAN-SERB LIFE Magazine that Milan started. Nikola was making beeswax candles that the family still uses today for special occasions.
(See the special page on this website dedicated to Andja Mamula Mamula's folk costume and read about how Nikola & Andja met and married, 1900!)
"No One Could Write Like Karlo Did!"
Milan Karlo, the oldest of nine children, was self-educated. Totally deaf by his late teens, nevertheless, he took English composition correspondence courses with the University of Chicago and a news course with the Newspaper Enterprise of New York City while "boo-jacking" newspapers during the Depression. He never let his lack of hearing handicap his abilities.
From 1938 to 1940, he was sports editor of the late Lou Christopher's Yugoslav REFLECTOR magazine, then was the English Section editor of the American SRBOBRAN newspaper of the leading Serb National Federation fraternal with a circulation then of 14,500. In 1944, he joined the copy desk of the San Francisco CHRONICLE, but quit his job in 1946 rather than print what he knew had to be lies about General Draza Mihailovich.
In 1948, he started up his own monthly AMERICAN-SERB LIFE magazine which was well-received, but lacked finances. He returned to the SRBOBRAN in the 1950s and stayed there until 1965. In the meanwhile, he graduated from the prestigious Rochester Institute of Photography in New York and operated his own photo studio while also doing custom negative and print processing the the leading Pittsburgh Photo Lab Company. Together with his wife, Laura Mamula Karlo, he also operated Karlo's Confectionary, one of the leading book and magazine stores at 25th and Carson Streets on Pittsburgh's South Side.
In 1958, the Pittsburgh Press newspaper wrote a feature article on Milan appearing in the Sunday, Nov. 16th edition, written by Press Staff Writer Leonard Thompson, and entitled, "His Eyes Are His Ears."
This book has over a thousand photos takne by Milan Karlo.
It may be purchased for $25 + $5 shipping in USA.
Click here to order: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aunt Josephine Mamula, Kuma Sonya Kalember, and Alexandra M. Karlo
The Mitrovich Family of Youngstown
Just one of hundreds of photos taken of Milan's beloved SHADELAND, St. Sava's Children's Camp, in Shadeland, PA. (Click on the bottom right hand corner of all photos to enlarge to see faces better.)
Milan Karlo was everywhere with his camera. Here is Pete Puhar on Bass.
St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church at 21st and Sidney Streets, Pittsburgh's South Side @ 1958
Milana Karlo Bizic wrote on the occasion of the building the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh well before its dedication in 1991:
I was born in the alleyway of 26th and Carey Way to Milan and Laura (Mamula) Karlo. We subsequently lived a 1/2 block away when we owned Karlo's Confectionery on South 27th Street, a perfect location, as it was only 1 block away from the Jones and Laughlin (J&L) Mill gate. We sold newspapers, magazines, cigarettes, toys, candy and had a soda fountain too. We always attended the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church on South 21st and Sidney Streets, where my maternal grandparents were members. At one time, both sets of my grandparents went to the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church on South 16th Street on Pittsburgh's South Side, but there was an argument that ensued, and many of the parishioners left and formed St. Sava's.
Thank God after several decades, the two Pittsburgh churches formed HOLY TRINITY CATHEDRAL, and although I have attended St. Elijah's Serbian Orthodox Church in Aliquippa, PA from the time I was married in 1963, I'll always feel I have one leg in Holy Trinity too, as Pittsburgh St. Sava, will always be a special part of me.
As for growing up, all of my life was spent on the South Side of Pittsburgh, close to family, friends and church, except for two years that we lived in California, when my father, Milan Karlo, worked for the San Francisco Chronicle. He quit his job when the newspaper started downplaying the deeds of General Draza Mihailovich and substituting Tito's name instead. Even with a wife and two children to feed, he quit rather than print what he knew had to be lies. At my father's graveside eulogy, I spoke and said that he never had riches, and yet he have/bequeathed to us the best of treasures. And that was, to never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, regardless of the consequences. We are all very proud of that and remembered it throughout our lives. That philosophy has served us well so far.
Both parents worked extremely hard to further their children's educations. It was hilarious that after spelling many much harder words, I stumbled on the word “handicapped” and had to sit down at the Pittsburgh Press Spelling Bee. I thought the judges said “handicap.” So I spelled it real cockily as “I knew it!” They were kind and gave me a second chance. “Handicapped,” they emphasized the ending. “Oh, just add an ‘ed!” Again they were kind, asking me to spell it again. And I missed doubling that consonant in my puffed-up buffoonery. But still, I was the last sixth grader down. Every time I look at that ballpoint pen I won (amongst Pittsburgh’s 6-8 graders), I think of my wonderful parents.
I had the best of parents, although both of them were severely handicapped, we three girls (Mim, Rose and Alexandra) never ever thought about it until much later in life.
Our Dad, the oldest of nine children-one dying in childhood-was totally deaf from the age of seventeen, with no hearing aid available for his kind of deafness. He was an expert lip reader, and graduated from the prestigious Rochester Institute of Photography in NY, although totally deaf. The Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph wrote a story about him with the headlines of "Milan Karlo: The Eyes and Ears of His People." Dad worked most of his life as the English Section editor of the American SRBOBRAN, a Serbian newspaper located in Oakland, Pittsburgh, and did Photography on the side. Nary a bride got married that didn't have my Dad as their expert photographer.
Our mother Laura, the youngest of seven children (plus three who died in childhood), worked very hard in our "new" Karlo's Confectionery Store on 25th and Carson Street when we came home from California. (While there, she operated a small grocery store with a gas station, and then later, worked for Kaiser, teaching the women who fled the Dust Bowl, how to do data processing). Our store on Carson was much larger than our first store, and again, we had the good fortune of being right across from the beginning of the J&L Mill. We sold newspapers, magazines, candy, cigarettes, had a huge ice cream counter, pin ball machines, and a dry cleaning business in the back. We all helped in the store. But our Mom was the mainstay. I remember her working all day in the store, then about ten minutes to four, she would leave our Aunt Josephine in charge of the store, and go to work at the Plastic Factory two blocks away. My father would come home from work about 5:00 and take over watching the store until we closed at 9:00. At midnight, our Mom would come home from the factory and mop the huge floor of our store, getting it ready to open for the next day. On Saturdays, our Mom, Rose and I would go and clean the offices of Stylette Plastics. Later, my Mom became their office secretary.
Both parents were firm in their belief as Serbian Orthodox Christians, as were their parents. Our grandparents always made sure we knew who we were and what we stood for, and how many were martyred for the faith from the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 on. I remember a T-shirt with the words, "Ja Sam Ko Sam, i Volim STO sam." --- I am who I am, and I LIKE who I am." We were always, ALWAYS proud to be Serbian Orthodox Christians.
Thanks to Pete and Branko Puhar for these photos from my Dad which indeed show how much he chronicaled all the events in Serbian history in the '50s-'80s.
Milan Karlo documented Serbian history more than any other American Serb alive today.
Action or Posed Shots, all were so crisp and clear!
Sports tournaments, choral festivals, tamburtizan folklore groups, church dedications, picnics, all were subjects for Milan's great eye! ANYTHING SERBIAN! Milan is best known for his book EARLY DAYS: Serbian Settlers in America, as the editor for many years of the American SRBOBRAN in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania publsihed by the Serb National Federation, and the Diocesan Observer published in Libertyville and Gray's Lake, Illionis.
It didn't matter whether it was WWI or a local basketball tournament, if it involved Serbians or Serbian Americans, chances are Milan Karlo wrote about it. Mr. Karlo, who was deaf, spent much of his time traveling across the U.S. and Canada photographing and writing about his people. "I never met a man so determined, so devoted to a cause," said Robert Rade Stone, Mr. Karlo's friend and editor of the American SRBOBRAN. "He would go to events, get quips from everybody and write," Stone said. "He was a rather tremendous writer. He served this organization well, and he served our people across the country well."
By Monica L. Haynes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 12/11/1995.
Defender of Justice, Member of the Savez Youth Organization, SNF Photographer, SNF Sports Edition, SNF Basketball Coach for Pittsburgh, and English Section Editor of the Amercan SRBOBRAN. Author of EARLY DAYS: SERBIAN SETTLERS IN AMERICA and numerous magazine and newspaper articles and Serbian colony Spomenicas.
In 1959, Milan was presented with an icon from Mt. Athos of St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker by the Icon Society of America, "in recognition and appreciation of the many lasting contributions to the Eastern Orthodox Church," by Attorney Michael Czap.
In 1962, Milan Karlo was singled out for his countless hours of voluntary service to Shadeland (Springboro, PA). For the souvenir booklet printed in 1962, Milan took over 1,000 photos, including prize portraits of the old men at the Home, the young campers and hard workers, the animals, the picnic grounds, etc. "He is known to young and old, both at Shadeland and throughout our colonies for he is somehow always there, silently observing, documenting on film, and expressing an enthusiastic 'Oh boy!' when big plans are unfolded. Similarly, he is quick to register displeasure when a group indicates a reluctance to "Think big, do big,' as he wonderfully puts it, " the grateful publishers of the Spomenica wrote.
In 1965 he founded the weeked OBSERVER newspaper of the original Serbian Orhtodox Diocese in Libertyville, Illinois and stayed there until his retirement at age 65 in 1978. He and his 2nd wife, Helen Vukovich (married 4/6/69), moved to Tucson, Arizona, and finally to New Mimbres, New Mexico, where he passed away in 1995.
His book, EARLY DAYS: SERBIAN SETTLERS IN AMERICA, published along with his wife Helen in 1984, was the culmination of research that covered 4 years and more than 100,000 miles of travel. He financed the book himself in the burning desire to leave something for future generations of the Serbian pioneer history never recorded, and to pay just due homage to the memory of his parents, Samojilo and Stana (Batalo) Karajlovich, of Pittsburgh. The book is filled with over a thousand of his own photographs.
Thanks to Valerie for sending me these photos my Dad took when the children were just youngsters:
At this time, Metropolitan Christopher was known as Fr. Velimir Kovachevich to his Pittsburgh, PA parishioners at St. Sava's Church on 21st and Sidney Streets.
There was a nice article written about Milan M. Karlo in the American SRBOBRAN by Vaso Mihailovich, as Writer #64 in his famous SERBIAN AMERICAN writer series, published in the Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003 edition.
Milan M. Karlo was one of the most enthusiastic writers among the American-born Serbs. Born on March 7, 1913, as the oldest of nine children in the family of Serb immigrants, he went through the typical experiences of a Serbian youth in the life of a colony and the church. He developed an early liking for sports and covered as a reporter many Serbian sport events. Although suffering from a severe hearing impairment, he managed to write for newspapers in New York and San Francisco, among others. He also wrote for Serbian magazines and founded his own, American-Serb Life, in 1948, and the Observer twenty years later. In late 1930's he became an editor of the English section of American Srbobran, which he did again in the 1950's till 1965. Thus he truly became "the eyes and ears of his people.' More impor tantly, he was an avid defender of Serbdom, as illustrated by his quitting the job at the San Francisco Chronicle in 1946 rather than print lies about General Draza Mihailovich. After graduating from Rochester Institute of Photography in New York, he had his own studio in Pittsburgh, where he had also a book and magazine store, Karlo's Confectionary. Revered and rewarded for his multi-faceted contributions to Serbian affairs, he retired in 1978, although never completely stopping his work on Serbianna which he had pursued for almost sixty years, and for which he was nominated for the Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award. He died in New Mexico on December 8, 1995. Karlo's crowning achievement is the book, Early Days: Serbian Settlers in America (1984), which he wrote with his second wife, Helen Vukovich Karlo, and published in Tucson, Arizona.
Encompassing a research of four years and over 100,000 miles of travel, the book contributes to the history of the immigration of the Serbs. The book is also illustrated by over a thousand of Milan's own photographs, thus offering not only the written account but also a pictorial presentation of the settlers. With this book Milan and Helen paid homage to their parents and left for their siblings and all descendants of the Serbian settlers, something to remind them of their ancestors. Below are excerpts from this book.
"The first significant immigration of Serbians in America occurred in the 1830's to the New Orleans area. The settlers were tradesmen, linguists and sailors drawn from Yugoslavia s Adriatic coast. Bokans, Dalmatians and Montenegrin Serbs, they were well educated and often bilingual, which made their success and absorption easy. Few were poor.
"Among the more notable, as mentioned by countless historians, was the attorney, George Fisher, who later became a plantation owner, then a respected jurist in San Francisco. Another was prominent in the Confederate Army.
"When gold was discovered in 1849, many of these New Orleans Serbs formed the vanguard for the California Gold Rush, including the parents of the subsequently illustrious missionary priest, Archimandrite Sebastian Dabovich. His parents had crossed the Isthmus of Panama on a donkey.
"Another New Orleans-based group fanned out to the industrial Mid-West: to the packing houses and farms in St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago, where a large fraternal order later was to be organized and would serve as impetus for other migrations and the presentation of national customs, traditions and ideals. . . .
"Most of the Serbs not in the goldfields were small merchants, poolroom owners, fruit peddlers and suppliers. As the gold fever spread East to Nevada, and then North to Alaska and the Klondike, they followed the miners, whose ranks now also included many Austro-Hungarian subjects from the seized provinces of Herzegovina-Bosnia, and a few Lichani from other Dual Monarchy territories in what is now Northern Yugoslavia. Few of the miners struck it rich, but the tradesmen prospered. Their large families and tight clannishness helped them cope with the vicissitudes of the then wide- open West. Few were the attacks noted on them that were not promptly avenged as deterrents.
+St. Bishop Nikolai from the front cover of Milan Karlo's American SERB LIFE magazine from 1948. Thanks to Mary Ann and Nick Tomich for sending a copy of this photo that Bishop Nikolai had personally signed for Kay Ciganovich. My father, Milan Karlo, had taken the photo and had given his good friend, Kay Ciganovich, a copy of it. We're glad the signed copy by Bishop Nikolai of Milan Karlo's photograph is saved and now hangs in the hall of St. Nicholas' gathering space in Monroeville, PA.