Thursday, June 11, 2020

Wiktor Labunski - A Polish American Pianist and Composer

Wiktor Labunski (Łabuński;1895-1974).

Many eminent Polish musicians settled in the United States during the 20th century. Among them was the celebrated pianist, composer and pedagogue Wiktor Labunski (Łabuński; 1895-1974). Born in a Polish family in St. Petersburg in Russia and educated as a pianist at St. Petersburg Conservatory, Labunski spent the post WWI years in Poland, teaching in Cracow and Lviv and giving concerts as a virtuoso pianist. He married Wanda Młynarska, the daughter of the eminent conductor Emil Młynarski. His wife’s sister Aniela (Nela) was married to the celebrated virtuoso Artur Rubinstein. His older brother, Felix (Feliks, 1892-1979), was also a musician, composer, and conductor.

In 1928 Wiktor Labunski moved to the United States, initially serving as Director of the Nashville Conservatory and later as Director of Piano Studies at Bohlman School of Music in Memphis. At that time, he was highly respected as a virtuoso pianist. The Curtis Institute of Music awarded him in 1936 with an Honorary Doctorate, a title shared at that time only by two world-class pianists: Sergei Rachmaninov and Joseph Hofmann. 

In 1937 Labunski relocated from Tennessee to Kansas City to serve as Director of Kansas City Conservatory. Later, when the Conservatory was incorporated into the University of Missouri, Labunski remained on faculty as Artist-in-Residence.

Over the years, through his tireless musical activism, Labunski became a local celebrity. During his thirty-seven years as Kansas City resident he gave locally over two hundred piano recitals. To mark the Polish-American musician’s 70th birthday. Mayor of the city, Ilus W. Davis proclaimed April the 14th, 1965 “Wiktor Labunski Day”. In 1971, Labunski became the Honorary Member of Kansas City Musical Club. He died on January 26th, 1974 in Kansas City.

Today, very few people remember this remarkable musician from Poland. After his death, Labunski’s personal archives, photos, autographs, recordings, manuscripts of his compositions, as well as the manuscript of his extended memoirs were all deposited in the Special Collections at the Miller Nichols Library at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The materials at UMKC contain several published and unpublished compositions, a great majority of them works for the piano, many of them in manuscript. 

Although composition was not at the center of his daily activities, Labunski produced an impressive body of high quality music which deserves examination and recognition. While he was active throughout his life as a virtuoso romantic pianist, his compositions indicate fascination with modernity and an acute awareness of contemporary musical fashions.

Dr. Slawomir Dobrzanski
Kansas State University

Member of PAHA, Dr. Slawomir Dobrzanski, Professor of Piano at Kansas State University, recently researched and recorded Wiktor Labunski’s complete solo piano music, soon to be released as a CD by the Acte Prealable label in Poland.

Friday, June 5, 2020

News from Polish Archives and Collections in America

Jerzy Skwarek's Polish American Photographic Collection at the Polish Museum of America

The Polish Museum of America in Chicago, Il, is pleased to announce adding a photographic collection by Jerzy “George” Skwarek to its permanent collection. Mr. Skwarek grew up in German-occupied Poland and spent his youth in Soviet-occupied Poland after WWII. After emigrating to the U.S. and settling in Chicago in 1971, he became a photographer and journalist documenting Polish American life. Since moving to Chicago, Skwarek worked as an author and travel guide; he published Polish-language travel books on the National Parks, Florida and an “Around The World” guide. As photographer and journalist for the Polish Daily News, Skwarek was given an opportunity to document major events in cultural and social life of Polish Americans.

Pope John Paul II’s Mass in Brighton Park 1979, Skwarek’s photo (Polish Museum of America, Chicago, Il.)

The Polish Museum of America was established in 1935 as the “Museum and Archives of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America.” The first public display area opened on January 12, 1937 in a specially designed and constructed room within the headquarters building of the PRCUA. From that date the Museum’s collection and importance grew very rapidly and quickly gained autonomous status as “The Polish Museum of America” with its own governing board of directors. There were two events that caused the rapid expansion of the Museum’s collections. The first originated from the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City, New York. Unfortunately, in September of 1939 Poland was invaded and war had gripped Europe. At the close of the World’s Fair, it became clear that the Polish exhibits could not return to Poland and their disposition was uncertain. In order to preserve at least a portion of the exhibits the directors of the Museum determined to purchase from the government of Poland nearly three fourths of the exhibits.The second significant event was the donation to the Museum of the personal possessions of Ignacy Jan Paderewski following his death in June 1941. Both Ignacy Paderewski and his sister, Antonina Paderewska Wilkonska, were enthusiastic supporters and generous sponsors of the Museum. Antonina, executor of Ignacy’s will, decided to donate these personal possessions to the Museum. In addition, the management of the Buckingham Hotel in New York City, where Ignacy spent the last months of his life, allowed Antonina to obtain the furnishings from the suite of rooms he had occupied.
More information about PMA:

Alfred Szebla's Historic Donation to the Pilsudski Institute

In September 2019, The Pilsudski Institute was pleased to announce that a letter of King Sigismund I (1467-1548) from Vilnius, dated October 17, 1513 was donated to the Pisudski Institute. The letter, whose originality has already been pre-confirmed, is addressed to Jan Mikołajewicz Radziwiłł, land marshal in the then Duchy of Lithuania, and concerns the land of Bogusz Bohovalnowicz in the Słonim poviat. The letter is signed "Zygmunt". This unique document from the Jagiellonian era is a gift from Alfred Szebel, a famous collector from Chicago, who has been working with the Pilsudski Institute and supporting the Institute for many years.

The Jozef Pilsudski Institute of America was established on July 4, 1943 in New York City as a major research archival and science institution for research of modern history of Poland. It was founded by a group of Polish-American community leaders, prominent Polish statesmen, and political expatriates.The Institute houses a rich collection of primary sources covering the period from the 1863 Insurrection to the present day. The collection includes documents, photographs, films, posters, periodicals, books, personal memoirs of diplomats, and political and military leaders. The archival collection contains over one million documents, or 150 linear meters of shelf space.  It is one of the largest and most important archives outside of Poland. The most important documents relate to the following subjects: the Polish-Bolshevik War of 1919-1922, Marshal Jozef Piłsudski, the Silesian Uprisings of 1919-1921 and more. 

The Library contains about twenty thousand books and many rare manuscripts mainly related to the modern history of Poland. The Institute also houses 20,000 photographs covering the period from the beginning of twentieth century related to Polish and European political, military and cultural institutions, events, and personalities. The collection includes 2,450 maps from the second half of the nineteenth century through 1999. An art gallery with more than 240 items features oil paintings, watercolors, drawings and illustrations by such artists as Jan Matejko, Józef Chełmoński, Juliusz Kossak, Tadeusz Styka, Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski, Leon Wyczólkowski, Aleksander Gierymski, and Jacek Malczewski.

New Polish-American Composers' Collections at Polish Music Center, California

Manuscripts by Witold Lutoslawski at PMC since 1985.

Located at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the Polish Music Center collects items pertaining to Polish music and culture. The PMC Archives began when the Polish Manuscript Collection was established in 1985 with a gift of five original manuscripts from Witold Lutosławski (with Mi-Parti, Paroles tissées, Preludes and Fugue, and Novelette). Works by Grażyna Bacewicz, Tadeusz Baird, Joanna Bruzdowicz, Marta Ptaszyńska and Stanisław Skrowaczewski created the core of the collection, enlarged in 2000-2002 by gifts from over 30 Polish composers (Rafał Augustyn, Zbigniew Bujarski, Krzysztof Knittel, Zygmunt Krauze, Hanna Kulenty, Szymon Laks, Roman Maciejewski, Krystyna Moszumanska-Nazar, Krzysztof Meyer, Krzysztof Penderecki, Elżbieta Sikora, Edward Sielicki, Aleksander Tansman, Romuald Twardowski, Tadeusz Wielecki, Lidia Zielińska, and many others). Recent additions include the Ludomir Różycki Collection

 From the core of the Manuscript Collection, the PMC Archival Collection has grown with the addition of full collections held by several important composers. Encompassing not only original musical manuscripts, but also rare printed scores, letters, photographs, books, personal items and much more, these collections are:

  • Henryk Wars [Henry Vars] Collection (donated by the Vars family in 2005) – featuring the composer’s newly discovered symphonic music
  • Zygmunt and Luisa Stojowski Collection (donated by Alfred and Henry Stojowski in 2006) – featuring Zygmunt Stojowski’s manuscripts and first editions of scores, as well as articles, personal notes and a portion of his private library
  • Bronisław Kaper Collection (donated by his former agent in 2007) – featuring his film scores and popular songs
  • Paderewski Archive—the Paso Robles Collection (donated by related persons and collectors in 2008) – featuring items relating to his travels in the US, visits in California, and his life in Switzerland, illustrated by rare photographs, documents and personal memorabilia
  • Roman Ryterband Collection (donated by the Ryterband and Eisele families in 2016) – featuring manuscript scores, drafts of compositions, correspondence, photographs, artwork and personal items

The Polish Room at SUNY Buffalo's Lockwood Library

The Polish Room, room 517 in the State University of New York at Buffalo’s Lockwood Library, is open by appointment to the general public as well as to the UB community. The collection includes over 12,000 volumes. Its website notes: “Its strengths are in literature and history, but the genealogical literature and the language sections are very strong for a collection of this size.

In addition to the book collection, the Polish Room possesses a number of unique materials, which include 21 manuscripts of the Polish kings from the 16th to 18th centuries, by Sigismund August (1548-1572), Stefan Batory (1576-1586), Sigismund Third Vasa (1587-1632),  Ladislaus Fourth Vasa (1632-1648), John Casimir (1648-1668), John Third Sobieski (1674-1696), August Second of Saxony (1697-1733) and 

Stanislaus August Poniatowski (1764-1795). The collection also holds letters and other signed documents of important people of the 20th century, including writers such as: Stefan żeromski, Maria Konopnicka, and Maria Dąbrowska. Other items include hundreds of video recordings, some Solidarność documents; 135 underground press books on microfiche, along other microfische documents.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

New Books on Polish Emigration and Diaspora

Poles in Illinois - edited by John Radzilowski and Ann Hetzel Gunkel

Illinois boasts one of the most visible concentrations of Poles in the United States. Chicago is home to one of the largest Polish ethnic communities outside Poland itself. Yet no one has told the full story of our state’s large and varied Polish community—until now. Poles in Illinois is the first comprehensive history to trace the abundance and diversity of this ethnic group throughout the state from the 1800s to the present.

Authors John Radzilowski and Ann Hetzel Gunkel look at family life among Polish immigrants, their role in the economic development of the state, the working conditions they experienced, and the development of their labor activism. Close-knit Polish American communities were often centered on parish churches but also focused on fraternal and social groups and cultural organizations. Polish Americans, including waves of political refugees during World War II and the Cold War, helped shape the history and culture of not only Chicago, the “capital” of Polish America, but also the rest of Illinois with their music, theater, literature, food.

With forty-seven photographs and an ample number of extensive excerpts from first-person accounts and Polish newspaper articles, this captivating, highly readable book illustrates important and often overlooked stories of this ethnic group in Illinois and the changing nature of Polish ethnicity in the state over the past two hundred years. Illinoisans and Midwesterners celebrating their connections to Poland will treasure this rich and important part of the state’s history.

How Languages Saved Me: A Polish Story of Survival   
by Stefanie Nauman and Tadeusz Haska

In the growing repertoire of "post-memory" books written by children and grandchildren of Polish survivors of WWII— deportations, exile, concentration camps, persecutions—"How Languages Saved Me" (Koehler Books, 2019) takes the place of honor.  Written by Stefanie Nauman, Professor of Management at the University of the Pacific, and based on unfinished memoirs of her grandfather, Tadeusz Haska, as well as many other primary sources, documents, memoirs, letters, etc., this book is a story of survival and resilience. It would make a great mandatory reading for high school and college classes in the U.S., established to teach American students about immigrant history.

This slim volume (127 pp.) contains great lessons about responsibility, hard-work, dedication and ingenuity of an emigre to America who survived the war in German-occupied Poland, and had to escape prosecution by Soviet-run government of the Polish People's Republic in 1947. In a notable stunt, he smuggled his wife to Sweden in a coffin! They lived in Sweden for a while, but in search of a better future, they decided to emigrate to America. A talented linguist who spoke nine languages, Haska received a Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley and taught at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA.

The value of this well-researched-and-written book stems from its factual content, portraying a man of outstanding virtues and talents, an exemplar of surviving adversity, without becoming a victim, resentful and enraged at the world that treated him so unfairly. Illustrated with family photos, documents and translations of letters, this book is a valuable contribution to the fields of immigration studies, Polish-American history, and the history of Poland. 

1917-19 Documents about Polish Army Camp Gathered in a Book   

The Polish Army Camp Kosciuszko, Niagara Camp, 1917-1919: The Newspaper Columns of Elizabeth Ascher, St. Catharines Standard, 1917-1920.  Edited by Stan Skrzeszewski

     This volume presents a chronology of life at the Polish Army Camp at Niagara-on-the-Lake based on the news items and columns which appeared in the St. Catharines Standard from 1917-1920. St. Catharines is the largest city in the Niagara area on the Canadian side. The Standard was the major newspaper in the area, and Mrs. Elizabeth Ascher, was their correspondent reporting from Niagara-on-the-Lake. Ascher wrote almost daily columns which present an amazing detailed day-to-day report on what was happening at the camp and describes conditions in the camp and in the town. They provide a remarkable snapshot of the life of Polish soldiers in Niagara Camp from the establishment of the camp in 1917 to its closure in 1919 and the Polish relief efforts and pilgrimages to Niagara-on-the-Lake which followed.

This work speaks to topics ranging from accommodations, special visitors, dances and to baseball. Many of the volunteers at the camp were having the time of their lives. Mrs. Ascher was nicknamed the "Godmother of the Polish Army" and was awarded the Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta in 1922, the Haller Medal in 1923, Miecze Hallerowskie in 1926 and a life time membership in the Polish Army Veteran's Association. The book (219 pages) is available for $25.00 plus shipping. Order by sending an email to Stan Skrzeszewski,

Polish War Veterans in Alberta by Aldona Jaworska     

In the aftermath of World War II, over 250,000 Polish soldiers and their families ended up in Great Britain – these were the troops fighting alongside the Allies and led by Gen. Władysław Anders. In 1947, the British government decided to disperse them among the Common-wealth countries and passed The Resettlement Act. More than 4,500 Polish veterans were resettled in Canada as farm workers; 750 of these men were accepted by the province of Alberta. They were paid 25% less than the prevailing wages, but managed to rebuild their lives, and create a lively émigré community. Polish War Veterans in Alberta examines how these former soldiers came to experience their new country and its sometimes-harsh postwar realities.

This compelling work of social history is brought to life through the words and stories of four veterans, whose remembrances provide an intimate first-hand look at a moment of Canada’s past that is at risk of being forgotten. Published by the University of Alberta Press in 2019, the book was based on oral histories of veterans, such as Władysław Niewinski, Zbigniew Rogowski, and Anatol Nieumierzycki. It was written by Aldona Jaworska who was born and raised in Poland and came to Canada as a refugee in 1990, to settle in Calgary.

These notices about new books are from PAHA Newsletter Vol. 77 No. 1, Spring 2020

Friday, March 13, 2020

Send Family Memoirs and Letters to Polish Heritage Collection in Connecticut


Polish Migrant Memoirs and Letters: Documenting the World War II Diaspora

With the outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939, the Polish nation faced an overwhelming experience of displacement and dislocation. As a consequence, close to six million Poles found themselves outside Poland's new borders; at the end of the war, nearly 500,000 Poles remained in exile, scattered over many countries on all continents. About 140,000 Polish immigrants -- political exiles, civilian refugees, displaced persons, former soldiers, slave laborers, and prisoners of concentration camps -- settled permanently in the United States.

With this war generation passing, it becomes ever more urgent to tell their story, to preserve the record of their experience and make it available to the next generations. The Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) is a professional organization international in scope and in existence since 1943, whose goal is scholarly research and promotion of the study of the history and culture of the Polish American diaspora.

PAHA is alarmed by the disappearance of documentation on the history of the World War II and immediate postwar wave of Polish migration to the United States. Recognizing the contributions of Polish migrants to Polish American as well as American history, PAHA appeals to the members of the exile generation, their families, and their organizations to deposit their existing records in archival and research institutions.

To facilitate the preservation effort, the Polish American Historical Association is inaugurating a new project titled “Polish Migrant Memoirs and Letters: Documenting the World War II Diaspora.” In collaboration with the Central Connecticut State University’s Library (Polish Heritage Collection) and Stanislaus A. Blejwas Chair in Polish and Polish American History, the Polish American Librarians’ Association, PAHA is announcing search in the United States for the following documents among members of the WWII Diaspora in North America: memoirs (published and unpublished); diaries; letters; interviews and photos. The war and immediate post-war period is the main focus of the search, however, we are interested in the entire life of these migrants, not just the war years.

The documents, along with the deed of gift,  should be sent to:

Central Connecticut State University
Elihu Burritt Library
Attention: Ewa Wolynska, Head, Special Collections
PAHA Memoirs Project
1615 Stanley St.
New Britain, CT 06050

If you are interested in donating to this project and are seeking more information please contact:

Dr. Ewa Barczyk ( 414-412-6456).

You can find the Deed on Gift on our website:

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Call for Papers for PAHA's January 2021 Conference in Seattle - Due June 1, 2020



The Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) will hold its 78th Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA as part of the 135th yearly meeting of the American Historical Association from January 7-10, 2021.

We invite scholars who study the Polish-American communities or the greater Polish diaspora as well as those who deal with migration, ethnic, and regional studies and would like to join discussions related (but not limited) to the following topics:

• Polish-Americans and their relationship to Poland

• Polish-Americans and their contribution to the civic, institutional, and political life of the U.S.

• Intersections of ethnicity, class, gender, and race

• The changing understanding of the ethnic heritage

• Identity politics and the role of migrations in the past and contemporary world

• Immigration to the USA and state building in Poland and in the United States

• Transatlantic migrations to the Americas and state building in Poland and migrant communities in North and South America

• Heritage, legacy, and a new understanding of the role that ethnicities play in the modern world

• Polish Americans vs. other ethnic groups in a comparative perspective on both American continents and in Europe

• Responses to Polish transatlantic migrations in Europe, also in a comparative perspective

We invite proposals for sessions as well as individual papers related to all aspects of the Polish-American experience (in history, sociology, literature, art, music, etc.) on both American continents. We are committed to putting together well-researched and argued proposals in panels consisting of 3 participants with commentators. Please note that membership in PAHA is a requirement for inclusion in the program as a presenter.

Individual participants should include the following information when submitting a proposal:

   - Paper title(s) and short abstracts (of no more than 300 words)
   - Biographical paragraph (up to 250 words)
   - Please indicate if you are willing to serve as a chair and/or a discussant for a session
   - Also, note if you need A/V.

Session organizers should include the following information when submitting a panel proposal and session organizers:

   - Paper/Session abstract(s) (up to 300/500 words)
   - E-mail address for each participant
   - Biographical paragraph (up to 250 words) for each participant
   - Chair and commentator for the session
   - Also, note if you need A/V.

Please be advised that it is not always possible for PAHA to provide A/V equipment for all sessions due to the high mandatory rental fee from AHA. Most likely we will try to gather all presentations that require A/V equipment in one day. It is therefore important for the presenters to indicate their need for A/V when submitting their proposal.

All presenters are encouraged to consider submission of their papers for publication in PAHA's peer-reviewed journal, Polish American Studies:

The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2020. Abstracts for papers and panel proposals are now being accepted and should be submitted to Neal Pease at

Saturday, January 18, 2020

PAHA Awards and Awardees for 2019 Presented at the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York, 1/4/2020

PAHA Awardees with the Board of Directors 

During a well-attended Awards Ceremony held at the elegant ballroom of the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York, on Saturday, January 4, 2020, the following Awards were presented by PAHA's President Dr. Anna Muller and PAHA's Vice President, Dr. Marta Cieslak, assisted by Dr. Pien Versteegh, PAHA's Executive Director.

Marek Skulimowski, the KF President/Executive Director

The ceremony started from a welcome by Marek Skulimowski, President and Executive Director of the Kosciuszko Foundation, expressing delight about this renewed collaboration and hope for a variety of joint projects between PAHA and the KF in the future. Prof. Neal Pease, First Vice President of PAHA, discussed a history of the collaboration between PAHA and the Kosciuszko Foundation, and Prof. Anna Muller presented PAHA's achievements in the past year, and the role of PAHA Awards and Awardees in Polish and Polish American culture.


Oskar Halecki Prize recognizes an important book or monograph on the Polish experience in the United States. The award was presented to Grażyna J. Kozaczka, Writing the Polish American Woman in Postwar Ethnic Fiction (Ohio University Press, 2019)

Kozaczka's book investigates the construction of Polish American womanhood in the fiction by Polish American authors of the second half of the 20th and early 21th centuries. It demonstrates how Polish American women writers have responded to the gender expectations of their communities, societies, and nations and how their heroines sought empowerment. One of the reviews calls it a unique scholarly work that "positions ethnic gender construction and performance at an intersection of social class, race, and sex."

Prof. Kozaczka with her Award


The Swastek Prize is awarded annually for the best article published during the previous year in a given volume of Polish American Studies, the journal of the Polish American Historical Association. This award, established in 1981, is named in honor of Rev. Joseph V. Swastek (1913-1977), the editor of the Polish American Studies for many years, and a past president of PAHA. It was presented to Stephen M. Leahy for his article “George Wallace and the Myth of the White Ethnic Backlash in Milwaukee, 1958-1964” (PAS 75, no. 2, Autumn 2018)

While the PAS Editorial Board members valued all of the contributions to volume 75, Stephen M. Leahy’s article “George Wallace and the Myth of the White Ethnic Backlash in Milwaukee, 1958-1964” (PAS 75, no. 2, Autumn 2018) has been selected for the Swastek Award for the best article in the 2018 volume of Polish American Studies. Leahy's article is a timely and careful analysis of the heated political atmosphere during the Civil Rights era. Leahy effectively questions the sweeping thesis that working-class Polish Americans were particularly receptive to Wallace's racist message in Milwaukee, WI. Leahy’s article is a fine example of meticulous research, which challenges a long-established opinion by cross-checking and triangulating a variety of sources. It offers a compelling political microhistory and it should have an impact on the historiography of race relations in twentieth-century America.


Skalny Civic Achievement Awards honor individuals or groups who advance PAHA's goals of promoting research and awareness of the Polish American experience and/or have made significant contributions to Polish or Polish American community and culture.

TEOFIL LACHOWICZ is a historian, archivist, journalist, and teacher with a long list of projects that all contribute to the popularization and preservation of Polish and Polish American experience in the US. Mr. Lachowicz is a historian and history teacher but his work includes also a wide variety of activities in the Polonia community. He has been an archivist at the Polish Army Veterans Association in America since 1998 and is also editor of the monthly "Weteran." He is an author of several works on military Polish American history and has also contributed to Polish American newspapers.

Dr. JOHN GUZLOWSKI, a former PAHA Board Member and Awardee, has published in a wide range of genres: poetry, prose, literary criticism, reviews, fiction and nonfiction. Born in a refugee camp in Germany after World War II, Guzlowski came to America with his family as a Displaced Person in 1951. His parents were Polish slave laborers in Nazi Germany during the war. In much of his work, Guzlowski remembers and honors the experiences and ultimate strength of these survivors. His critically acclaimed 2016 volume of poetry Echoes of Tattered Tongues is as beautiful as it is harrowing. He has also been able to weave the Polish American experience in his 2018 novel Suitcase Charlie. In his very frequent public speaking engagements with audiences of all sorts (academic, non-academic, all ages), he is promoting the experience of Polish immigrants in the post-WWII years and the generations that followed.

Geoffrey Gyrisco and Michael Retka.

SPENCER HOWE, STANISLAW POSZWA, GEOFFREY GYRISCO and MICHAEL RETKA are a team of scholars and activists spanning MN and WI who conduct research and community engagement efforts regarding the work of early 20th century Polish-American architect VICTOR CORDELLA, active in Minnesota. Fr. Spencer Howe and Fr. Stanislaw Poszwa represent the Holy Cross Church in Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Geoffrey Gyrisco is a resident of Madison, WI and Michael Retka resides in Little Falls, MN.   Over the past two years they have come together to document Cordella’s extensive body of architectural design in Minnesota and Wisconsin and assess his lasting impact and influence on two dozen mostly Polish Roman and Eastern Rite Catholic communities. Cordella was a graduate of the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts who immigrated to the US in 1893 and was in active architectural practice between the 1890s and mid-1930s. The list of the team’s achievements includes preservation, popularization, and academic efforts that highlight, investigates, and brings to the general and academic audiences Cordella’s legacy.

Norman Kelker accepts his award


The Amicus Poloniae Award recognizes significant contributions enhancing knowledge of Polish and Polish-American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish-American community.

Dr. NORMAN E. KELKER has had a long career as a microbiologist. For many years now Dr. Kelker has been an active member of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America and a supporter of the Kosciuszko foundation. His interests in history and family history resulted in his many presentations. Most recently, Dr. Kelker presented his research on Ernestine Rose, a Polish Born Leader of the American Suffrage Movement and Herbert Hoover’s support for Poland. Dr. Kelker is a long-time friend of Poland and Polonia.

Dr. Kelker with his Award

 The second Amicus Poloniae Awardee was JOANN FALLETTA.  Ms. JoAnn Falletta, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra received the award for continuous support of Polish and Polish American composers and musicians. Falletta has led numerous projects and events that showcased Polish and Polish American composers as well as invited Polish musicians to play with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. 


James Pula Distinguished Service Award is given to a member of PAHA who has rendered valuable and sustained service to the organization.

Dr.  Iwona Korga, Executive Director of the Pilsudski Institute was nominated by several individuals and an excerpt from one nomination reads as follows: "For years she has been promoting Polish history and culture though both research and public programming as Executive Director of the Piłsudski Institute and more recently as a member of the Board of Directors of the Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union."  Dr Ewa Hoffman Jędruch, who is a Board Member of the Pilsudski Institute received the award on behalf of Dr. Korga.

Dr. Hoffman Jedruch with Dr. Korga's Award.


Joseph W. Zurawski Prize is awarded for the best article or book published on the topic of Polish American screen images in films or television presented to audiences in the United States and released by American companies.

Sonia Caputa for "Stereotypes of Polish American Women in American TV Series" from volume Histories of Laughter and Laughter in History, (ed. by Rafał Borysławski, Justyna Jajszczok, Jakub Wolff, Alicja Bemben), Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016.

Dr. Puchalski with his Grant Certificate


The Young Scholar Travel Grant ($500) supports a graduate student's/young scholar's participation in the PAHA upcoming annual conference.

 OLEKSANDR AVRAMCHUK is a Ph.D. student at the University of Warsaw. He is currently writing a doctoral dissertation on the vision of Ukraine in Polish émigré historical thought in the United States during the Cold War. The scope of his academic interests ranges from Polish-Ukrainian relations to modern nation-building processes in Central and Eastern Europe. He is an author of several scholarly articles and essays on Polish, Ukrainian and Russian historical thought in the 20 th century, as well as the American attitudes toward Eastern Europe.

Dr. Puchalski and Mr. Avramchuk with their Grant Certificates.

DR. PIOTR PUCHALSKI of the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the time of award. Dr. Piotr Puchalski was born in Warsaw, Poland and moved to New York City at the age of thirteen. He attended high school in Brooklyn and earned Bachelor’s degrees in European Studies and French from New York University. When Piotr applied for this award, he was still a Ph.D. candidate in modern European history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since then, not only did he defend his doctoral dissertation but also accepted the position of assistant professor of history at the Institute of History and Archival Studies of the Pedagogical University of Cracow, where he currently lives.

The Awards Committee has decided not to award the Creative Arts Prize and the Haiman Award this year.

Attendees before the ceremony

Dr. Pien Versteegh

Dr. Neal Pease
Dr. Anna Muller and Dr. Marta Cieslak Present the Awards

 Geoffrey Gyrisco and Michael Retka 

Dr. Maja Trochimczyk 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Program of PAHA's 77th Annual Meeting in New York, January 3-6, 2020

Painting by Julian Stanczak

PAHA’s 77th annual meeting will be held in New York as part of the 134th meeting of the American Historical Association on January 3–5, 2020 (Friday to Sunday).

PAHA Chair of the Program Committee: Anna Muller, Ph.D.;, University of Michigan-Dearborn
Painting by Julian Stanczak

2020 Annual Meeting Program 
77th Annual Meeting of Polish American Historical Association

Friday, January 3, 2020: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM Harlem Room (New York Hilton, Fourth Floor)
Chair: Neal Pease, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

⨀ Ewa Barczyk, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee;
⨀ David A. Gerber, State University of New York at Buffalo;
⨀ James Pula, Purdue University Northwest


Friday, January 3, 2020: 3:30 PM-6:30 .
Midtown Room (New York Hilton, Fourth Floor)
PAHA BOARD MEETING. Chair: Anna Müller, President

Saturday, January 4, 2020: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Hudson Room (New York Hilton, Fourth Floor)

Chair: Marta Cieślak, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

⨀ The Polish Rifle: Connie Wisniewski and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League - Neal Pease, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee;

⨀ Helena Modjeska’s Bilingual Morality Tale of 1896 - Maja Trochimczyk, Moonrise Press;

⨀ "There Are No Capitalists among Our Kind”: State, Nation, and Class in Dymytry Vyslotsky’s Interwar Lemkovyna - Nicolas K. Kupensky, Bowdoin College;

⨀ Stanisław Gutowski: America’s Secret Weapon in World War I - James Pula, Purdue University Northwest

Comment: Marta Cieślak, University of Arkansas at Little Rock


Saturday, January 4, 2020: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Hudson Room (New York Hilton, Fourth Floor)

Chair: Piotr Puchalski, Assistant Professor, Pedagogical University, Kraków


⨀ The Polish Democratic Society and the Enthusiasts: Conflict and Cooperation in 1840s Poznań - Natalie Cornett, Brandeis University;

⨀ Education in Exile: The Committee for the Education of Poles in Great Britain, 1947–54: The Importance of Education as the Route to Civic Integration - Agata Błaszczyk, Polish University Abroad (PUNO);

⨀ An Immigrant Voice in Canada: Czas Polish Press Ltd - Magda Blackmore, University of Manitoba;

⨀ Zygmunt Haupta's Broadcasting Work at "Voice of America," 1951–60 - Barbara Krupa, Stanford University. Comment: Piotr Puchalski, Pedagogical University, Kraków


Saturday, January 4, 2020: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Midtown Room (New York Hilton, Fourth Floor)

Chair: Wiktor Marzec, R. Zajonc Institute for Social Studies, UW


⨀ Looking at Both Sides of the Pond: Kashubian Fishermen Families from the Hel Peninsula, Poland and Jones Island, Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Anne Gurnack, University of Wisconsin–Parkside;

⨀ Mobility Patterns of Polish Migrants in the US, 1900–40: A Comparison between Pennsylvania and Illinois - Pien Versteegh, Maastricht University;

⨀ Going Home? Poles’ Return Migrations from Chicago to Poland - Hubert Izienicki, Purdue University Northwest;

⨀ Explaining Serfdom: Post-1945 Historians on Eastern Europe - Anna Sosnowska, University of Warsaw

⨀ Comment: Wiktor Marzec, Robert Zajonc Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw


Saturday, January 4, 2020: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Hudson Room (New York Hilton, Fourth Floor)

Chair: Anna Sosnowska, University of Warsaw


⨀ The Dangerous Intersection of Ethnicity and Sexuality in Migrant Fiction - Grażyna Kozaczka, Cazenovia College;

⨀ Between Assimilation and Resistance: The Transatlantic Modernity of Polish Rural Women - Marta Cieślak, University of Arkansas at Little Rock;

⨀ Mining “The Twenty” via Memory Work: Reinterpreting Story, Rewriting Identity - Kristina Kwacz, Empire State College, State University of New York.

⨀ Comment: Anna Sosnowska, University of Warsaw

Saturday, January 4, 2020: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Midtown Room (New York Hilton, Fourth Floor)

Chair: John Bukowczyk, Wayne State University


⨀ Natalia Aleksiun, Touro College, Graduate School of Jewish Studies ;
⨀ Anna Müller, University of Michigan–Dearborn;
⨀ Wiktor Marzec, Robert Zajonc Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw;
⨀ Janine P. Holc, Loyola University Maryland

Saturday, January 4, 2020: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Hudson Room (New York Hilton, Fourth Floor)

Chair: Anna Müller, University of Michigan–Dearborn


⨀ Interconnections and Parallels between Muslims and Polish Catholics in Hamtramck - Alisa Perkins, Western Michigan University;

⨀ Moving Out, Moving Back, Moving Over: 21st-Century Polonia in Hamtramck - Karen Majewski, University of Michigan;

⨀ Hamtramck, Poletown, and Bangladesh Avenue: Exploring the Intersection of Communal Autonomies in the Formation of Diaspora Identities - Sunanda Summadar, Wayne County Community College

Comment: Anna Müller, University of Michigan–Dearborn


Sunday, January 5, 2020: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Hudson Room (New York Hilton, Fourth Floor)

Chair: Neal Pease, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee


⨀ Poland’s Colonial Aspirations as a Diplomatic Instrument, 1932–39 - Piotr Puchalski, Pedagogical University, Kraków;

⨀ From Revolution to Nation: Popular Unrest in Russian Poland, 1907–18 - Wiktor Marzec, Robert Zajonc Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw;

⨀ Reconsidering the Christian View of the Jews in the Reality of the Holocaust - Rachel Brenner, University of Wisconsin–Madison;

⨀ A Patriot, a Soldier, a Confederate: The Life of Gaspard Tochman, 1799–1880 - Piotr Derengowski, University of Gdańsk

Comment: Neal Pease, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee


Sunday, January 5, 2020: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Hudson Room (New York Hilton, Fourth Floor)

Chair: Nicolas K. Kupensky, Bowdoin College


⨀ Martha, Anna, and Pierogi: Mainstreaming Polish Identity through Polish Food - Anna D. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann, Eastern Connecticut State University; With Illustrations by Zygmunt Iwanowski:

⨀ Recovering a Polish American Artist of America’s Golden Age of Illustration - Jill Noel Walker Gonzalez, La Sierra University;

⨀ Polish Emigrant Composer Karol Rathaus and His Work in Europe and in the USA - Mateusz Strzelecki, Academy of Music in Łódź

Comment: Nicolas K. Kupensky, Bowdoin College


Sunday, January 5, 2020: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM

Hudson Room (New York Hilton, Fourth Floor)

SESSION 10: POLAND/POLONIA: GREENPOINT AND BEYOND. Chair: Pien Versteegh, Maastricht University


⨀ Relational and Material Aspects of Transnational Home Making by Migrants from Poland to the US: A Cross-Generational Context - Karolina Nikielska-Sekula, University of South-Eastern Norway;

⨀ Seeing Greenpoint Change - Judith DeSena, St. John’s University;

⨀ Teaching How Krakow Changed, Visually - Jerome Krase, Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

Comment: Pien Versteegh, Maastricht University


Sunday, January 5, 2020: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Hudson Room (New York Hilton, Fourth Floor)

Chair: Anna D. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann, Eastern Connecticut State University


⨀ Polish Cold War Émigrés as a Part of Institutionalized American Sovietology: The State of Research - Sławomir Łukasiewicz, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin and IPN;

⨀ Émigré “Scholarly Offensive”: Polish Historians, Ukrainian Studies, and the Making of the “Intellectual Cold War” - Oleksandr Avramchuk, University of Warsaw;

⨀ My Stormy Life Has Shaped It for Me: Jan Sawka—His Life and Work as a Record of Perturbations of History - Anna Rudek-Śmiechowska, Polish Institute of World Art Studies.

Comment: Jonathan W. Daly, U. of Illinois at Chicago

Painting by Julian Stanczak