The late Martin Himler, a Magyar (Hungarian) immigrant who came to Eastern Kentucky, affected the region’s economy with the founding of the Himler Coal Company and impacted people’s lives by the way he lived his own. Now, an event is being organized on the Morehead State University campus that gives insight into his life and legacy.
Author Cathy Cassady Corbin presents “The Making of an American: The Autobiography of a Hungarian Immigrant, Appalachian Entrepreneur, and OSS Officer, Martin Himler” at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, at the Athena Room at Camden-Carroll Library.
Cathy Cassady Corbin, retired teacher and lifelong resident of Rowan County, was asked to edit the autobiography of Martin Himler through her connection with the Martin County Historical and Genealogical Society. She will be joined by special guest Doug Cantrell, professor of history at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College and an expert on Appalachian immigrants in the U.S., who wrote the introduction to the book.
“Martin Himler and his legacy are important to the Eastern Kentucky region because Himler is a Hungarian immigrant who brought industry, prosperity and international attention to 1920s Martin County,” said Robert Sammons, who works with the Special Collections and Archives in the Camden-Carroll Library. “Presentation attendees will gain a clearer understanding of the life of immigrants in early 20th century Kentucky and of Colonel Himler’s service to America, Hungary and the world.”
Proceeds of sales of the book go to the Martin County Historical and Genealogical Society to benefit the Himler Project, an on-going project to reconstruct the home of Mr. Himler in what was once a “coal town,” called Himlerville (now called Beauty).
The “Himler House” hosted many meals and special events while accommodating several dignitaries from far and wide. The vision of the Himler Project is for the Himler House to become a center for both Hungarian immigrant culture and Kentucky coal mining history.