Thursday, January 7, 2016

Michael V. Simko (1893-1989)

Author, Editor, Podiatrist
Born December 15, 1893, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Died July 15, 1989, Bridgeport, Connecticut

Michael V. Simko was born on December 15, 1893, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His parents were Slovak-Americans, his father a grocer. Michael Simko graduated from St. Charles School in his home city in 1909. He furthered his education at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and graduated with honors from the First Institute of Podiatry in New York in 1917. During World War I, he served as camp podiatrist at Camp Devens, Massachusetts. Podiatry was thereafter his vocation. Writing was a seemingly equal avocation.

Simko was an extremely prolific author who sold his first juvenile story when he was still a young seminarian. By 1935, only a third of the way through his writing career, he had sold more than a million words. His innumerable short stories and articles appeared in Baptist Boys and Girls, Boy's Comrade, Boys' LifeBoys' MagazineCatholic World, Junior Boys, The LampMessenger of the Sacred Heart, New England Homestead, The Observer, The PaduanSt. Anthony Messenger10 Story BookTop-Notch MagazineWriter's DigestYoung Catholic Messenger, Young People's Paper, Youth's ComradeYouth's World, and other titles. He also contributed to specialty publications on podiatry and to the Slovak journal Furdek. Here is the briefest of lists of his many stories and articles. Part of this list came from The FictionMags Index:
  • "The Little Patriot," Boys’ Life, July 1917
  • "Contrary Chiropody Comments," The Pedic Times, 1918
  • "The Feet of Democracy," The Pedic Times, 1920
  • "When the Ghost Went Courting," Top-Notch Magazine, Mar. 1/15, 1920
  • "Goal Supreme," Top-Notch Magazine, May 1, 1920
  • "The Miracle Watch," The Lamp, Nov. 1922
  • "On the Wall," Catholic World, June 1927
  • "The Uncorked Vial," 10 Story Book, June 1928
  • "One More Greeting," The Observer, Dec. 19, 1935
  • "Slovak Day Benefits," Furdek, 1936
  • "The Gun Sang Alleluia," St. Anthony Messenger, Sept. 1944
  • "Main Street Shepherds," Herald Magazine (Bridgeport, Conn.), Dec. 23, 1956
Simko wrote one story for Weird Tales, "The Witch of Kravetz," which appeared in the June 1925 issue. He also wrote for True Detective Stories and had two novels to his credit, The White Birch Mystery (1926), for children, and Mila Nadaya (1968), a novel of immigrants in America. Of the latter he said, "I've finally achieved what I have always wanted to do and that is to write a history of the Slovak people in our city [Bridgeport] and what they accomplished in adopting the American way of life." (1) 

Simko's Connecticut State Chiropody Magazine was a one-man show, with him as writer, editor, and designer. He was also president of the Connecticut Pedic Society and an officer or member of many clubs, groups, and associations. Dr. Simko went into semi-retirement in the 1960s and died on July 15, 1989, at age ninety-five.

(1) Quoted in "Dr. M.V. Simko Authors Novel of Slovak Life in Bridgeport" by Ann V. Masters, Bridgeport Sunday Post, June 23, 1968.

Michael V. Simko's Story in Weird Tales
"The Witch of Kravetz" (June 1925)

Further Reading
There are snippets of information on Michael Simko on the Internet.

Dr. Michael V. Simko (1893-1989)

Thanks to Nicholas Roman of the Bridgeport Public Library, Bridgeport, Connecticut, for further information on Dr. Simko.
Text copyright 2016, 2023 Terence E. Hanley


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