Jaroslav Šalda

March 27, 1880 in Prague (Praha), Czechia
May 31, 1965 in Karlovy Vary, Czechia

From 1924 to 1945 Jaroslav Šalda was the central director of the Melantrich joint-stock company, the largest and most important publishing group in the First Republic of Czechoslovakia (1918-1938). The Melantrich Publishing House (Czech: Nakladatelství Melantrich) was as well the largest Czech publisher of books, magazines and newspapers in the first half of the 20th century. Šalda worked at Melantrich Publishing House since 1905 and already in 1907 a new daily newspaper České slovo ("Czech Word"). The Melantrich brand became a symbol of national pride, national mindset and a sign of cultivating the Czech language. It existed from 1897 to 1999.

A man who belonged to the social and cultural elite of the First Republic he decided to built his villa at a very prominent part of Prague, at the Strahov hill. He found a suitable architect for the most modern trends and collected contemporary art, e.g. from Václav Špála.

He was not a shy man: "I know that many people in Melantrich saw only a well-run business and in its director an ordinary businessman without special focus.I truly had American success. If at some point someone should write the history of Czech book printing, graphics and journalism in the first half of the 20th century, they have to deal with my person, my beginnings ... It will be a reading book example of American success. Except for millions, that I don't have. But if the history of Melantrich ever is written, where will the great Melantrich be?"