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John Dominic Kodet was born Jan Kodet August 3, 1875 in Bohemia, then part of Austria. He emigrated to the United Sates in 1880 with his parents Josef and Josefa, and three siblings.
Kodet claimed in a 1921 Billboard article to have been in the museum business since he was a boy under the tutelage of Professor Worth of Worth's Dime Museum on 14th Street.