Halecki Prize


Established in 1981, the Oskar Halecki Prize is given annually by the Polish American Historical Association. This Prize “recognizes an important book or monograph on the Polish experience in the United States.” 

OSKAR HALECKI (1891-1973) was a Polish historian, social and Catholic activist, a graduate of Jagiellonian University (1914), who also studied in Vienna, taught at Jagiellonian University, Warsaw University, Fordham University and Columbia University. He was a member of Polska Akademia Umiejetnosci and a co-founder of PIASA in 1942 (also its Executive Director and President). As a historian, Halecki was an expert on medieval history of Poland and Lithuania, and history of Byzantine Empire, author of Borderlands of Western Civilization: A History of East Central Europe,Jadwiga of Anjou and the Rise of East Central Europe (with Thaddeus Gromada), and The History of Poland. He received honorary doctorates from: the University of Lyon, University of Montreal, De Paul University and Fordham University.


The Halecki Prize recognizes an important book or monograph on the Polish experience in the United States.  Eligibility  is  limited  to  works  of  historical  and/or  cultural  interest,  including  those  in the  social sciences or humanities, published in the two years prior to the award.  The 2017 Halecki Prize was presented to Joanna Wojdon for White and Red Umbrella: The Polish American Congress in the Cold War Era 1944-1988 (Helena History Press, 2017). The award was received by the publisher, Katalin Kadar Lynn, Publisher of Helena History Press and faculty member at Eotvos Lorand University. (For the list of past winners visit this page of PAHANews blog)

The White and Red Umbrella recounts the goals and everyday activities of the Polish American Congress under the presidencies of Charles Rozmarek (1944-1968) and Aloysius Mazewski (1968-1988) who shaped the organization's image in the Cold War era. It deals with the issues of both the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of the PAC in representing Polish American interests, as a coordinator of various Polish American endeavors, as a lobbying organization, and as an institution providing cultural and social unity for Americans of Polish descent in America. It discusses internal and external factors that influenced the Congress and portrays the personalities of it’s activists and examines the PAC’s achievements and failures.

Joanna Wojdon is an Associate Professor at the Institute of History, University of Wroclaw. The history of Polish Americans after World War II is one of her major research interests, alongside the history of education under communism. Her research in the Polish American archives was made possible thanks to a Kosciuszko Foundation Fellowship(2003) and a Fulbright Senior Award (2014).


At the 74th Annual Meeting of PAHA in Denver, Colorado, the Oskar Halecki Prize was awarded to Prof. Mieczysław B. Biskupski, for his book The Most Dangerous German Agent in America (NIU Press, 2015). 

The book summary: " On the morning of April 27, 1935, Louis N. Hammerling fell to his death from the nineteenth floor of an apartment in New York City, where he lived alone. Hammerling was one of the most influential Polish immigrants in turn-of-the-century America and the leading voice and advocate of the Eastern Europeans who had come to the country seeking a better life. He was also a pathological liar, a crook, a swindler, a ruthless entrepreneur, and a patriot--of which nation he could never decide. In the United States, Hammerling rose from the poverty of his youth to the heights of wealth and power. He was a timberman and mule driver in the Pennsylvania coal mines, an indentured worker in the Hawaiian sugar fields, one of the major behind-the-scenes powers in the United Mine Workers, an employee of the Hearst newspaper chain, an influential figure in the Republican Party, the owner of an advertising agency that made him a millionaire, a correspondent of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, and a senator of the Polish Republic. A Jew whose conversion to Catholicism did not protect him from anti-Semitism, Hammerling was monitored by state and federal agencies and was, in the words of his pursuers, "the most dangerous German agent in America."



Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann and Theodore Zawistowski, for Letters from Readers in the Polish American Press, 1902-1969: A Corner for Everybody. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2014. http://www.worldcat.org/title/letters-from-readers-in-the-polish-american-press-1902-1969-a-corner-for-everybody/oclc/862041514

The 2015 Halecki Prize was presented to Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann and Theodore Zawistowski, for Letters from Readers in the Polish American Press, 1902-1969: A Corner for Everybody. This is a unique collection of close to five hundred letters from Polish American readers, which were published in the Polish-language weekly Ameryka-Echo between 1902 and 1969. In these letters, Polish immigrants speak in their own words about their American experience, and vigorously debate religion, organization of their community, ethnic identity, American politics and society, and ties to the homeland. The translated letters are annotated and divided into thematic chapters with informative introductions. The Ameryka-Echo letters are a rich source of information on the history of Polish Americans, which can serve as primary sources for students and scholars. They also provide a new, fascinating, and lively look into the passions and experiences of individuals who created the larger American historical experience.


Anna Mazurkiewicz, ed., East Central Europe in Exile, vols. 1-2: Transatlantic Migrations, and  Transatlantic Identities (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013) 

This outstanding two-volume work, published under the general editorship and direction of Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz of the University of Gdansk, takes up an extremely significant area of research in the broad field of Polish American studies, namely the experience of emigration and resettlement in a new homeland. The product of a recent academic conference held in Poland, these books include contributions by thirty-eight scholars from North America and Europe. Their contributions have a broadly comparative character, inasmuch as they include a number of presentations by scholars who examine aspects of both the Polish emigration and settlement experiences, along with those of other peoples from East Central Europe. There are also historical pieces as well as presentations having a more contemporary character. All in all, Dr. Mazurkiewicz's effort makes an inestimable contribution to scholarly research and knowledge in the important field of emigration studies - and with special attention to the experiences of peoples who are all too often overlooked in discussions of this subject.


Beth Holmgren, Starring Madame Modjeska: On Tour in Poland and America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012).

Review by Maja Trochimczyk in the Polish American Studies (spring 2013) opens with: “this handsomely produced volume about Poland’s legendary actress is a must for every library and every Polonian home”. Kazimierz Braun who had authored a play devoted to Modjeska wrote: “this is an excellent and meticulously rendered book” (Modern Drama 56/2, 2013). Upon examination of the review copy provided by the publisher, the Awards Committee found the above-mentioned reviews very well grounded. In our opinion, this book deserves the Halecki Award for its merits and also bears the potential of promoting the story of Helena Modrzejewska (Modjeska) among Polish-Americans as well as Polish and Polish-American heritage among the larger, non-ethnic audiences in the U.S. Beth Holmgren is the Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies and Slavic and Eurasian Studies Department Chair at Duke University.


Brian McCook, The Borders of Integration: Polish Migrants in Germany and the United States, 1870-1924 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2012).


James S. Pula, ed., The Polish American Encyclopedia (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011).


M. B. B. Biskupski, Hollywood's War With Poland, 1939-1945 (Knoxville: University of Kentucky Press, 2010).

Danusha V. Goska, Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish  Relations and American Popular Culture (Boston: Academic  Studies Press, 2010)


Alex Storozynski, The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2009).

M. B. B. Biskupski & Antony Polonsky, Polish-Jewish Relations in North America (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization for Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies and American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies, 2007).

William J. Galush, For More Than Bread: Community and Identity in American Polonia, 1880-1940 (Boulder, Co.: East European Monographs; New York : Distributed by Columbia University Press, 2006).

John Radzilowski, Poles in Minnesota (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2005).


Mary Erdmans, The Grasinski Girls: The ChoicesThey Had and the Choices They Made (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2004).

Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, The Exile Mission: The Polish Political Diaspora and Polish Americans, 1939-1956 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2004).
Karen Majewski, Traitors and True Poles:Narrating a Polish-American Identity, 1880-1939 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2003).

Joseph Bigott, From Cottage to Bungalow: Houses and the Working Class in Metropolitan Chicago,1869-1929 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001).


Stephen Leahy, Clement Zablocki, Milwaukee's Most Politician: A Study of Local Politics and Congressional Foreign Policy (Lewiston, N.Y.: EdwinMellen Press, 2002).

2001: No award

Deborah Anders Silverman, Polish-American Folklore (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000).

Thomas S. Gladsky and Rita Holmes Gladsky, eds.,Something of My Very Own to Say: American Women Writers of Polish Descent (Boulder, Colo.: East European Monographs; [New York] : Distributed by Columbia University Press, 1997).


Joseph Wieczerzak, Bishop Francis Hodur: Biographical Essays (Boulder: East European Monographs; [New York]: Distributed by Columbia University Press, 1998).

Mary Patrice Erdmans, Opposite Poles: Immigrants and Ethnics in Polish Chicago, 1976-1990 (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998).

Suzanne Strempek Shea, Hoopi Shoopi Donna (New York: Pocket Books, 1996).

1996: No award

James S. Pula, Polish Americans: An Ethnic Community (New York: Twayne Publishers; London: Prentice Hall International, 1995).

Anthony Bukoski, Children of Strangers: Stories (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1993).

Thomas Gladsky, Princes, Peasants, and Other Polish Selves: Ethnicity in American Literature (Amherst, Mass. : University of Massachusetts Press, 1992).

Dominic Pacyga, Polish Immigrants and Industrial Chicago: Workers on the South Side, 1880-1922 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1991).

James S. Pula and Eugene E. Dziedzic, United We Stand: The Role of Polish Workers in the New Mills Textile Strikes , 1912 and 1916 (Boulder, Colo.: East European Monographs ; New York : Distributed by Columbia University Press, 1990).

Barbara Stern Burstin, After the Holocaust: TheMigration of Polish Jews and Christians to Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh : University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989).

Sister Ann Marie Knawa, O.S.F., As God Shall Ordain: A History of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, 1894-1987 (Lemont, Ill. : Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, 1989).

Josephine Wtulich, Marcin Kula, Witold Kula, and Nina Assorodobraj-Kula, Writing Home: Immigrants in Brazil and the United States, 1890-1891 (Boulder: East European Monographs; New York: Distributed by Columbia University Press, 1986).

John Bukowczyk, And My Children Did Not Know Me: A History of the Polish-Americans (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987).
Eugene Obidinski and Helen Stankiewicz, Polish Folkways in America: Community and Family (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1987).

Frank Renkiewicz, For God, Country, and Polonia:One Hundred Years of the Orchard Lake Schools (Orchard Lake, Mich. : Center for Polish Studies and Culture, Orchard Lake Schools, 1985).

Donald Pienkos, PNA: A Centennial History of thePolish National Alliance of the United States of North America (Boulder: East European Monographs, New York: Distr.  By Columbia Univ. Press, 1984).

John Bodnar, Roger Simon, and Michael Weber, Lives of Their Own: Blacks, Italians and Poles in Pittsburgh,1900-1960 (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1982).

Joseph Parot, Polish Catholics in Chicago, 1850-1920: a religious history (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois Univ. Press, 1981).

Lawrence Orton, Polish Detroit and the Kolasiński Affair (Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1981).

Anthony Kuzniewski, Faith and Fatherland: The  Polish Church War in Wisconsin, 1896-1918 (Notre Dame: Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 1980).



Established in 1997 and discontinued in 2006, the Stanley A. Kulczycki Prize was "granted occasionally in recognition of an important dissertation on the Polish experience in the United States offered for graduate and post-doctoral research in Polish-American studies."

2006: Iwona Drag Korga, “Dzialalność propagandowa rządu RP na uchodźstwie wobec społeczenstwa amerykańskiego 1939-1945” [propaganda activity of the PolishGovernment in Exilewithin American society] (Akademia Pedagogiczna im. Komisji Edukacji Narodowej, Kraków, 2003) http://www.pilsudski.org/portal/pl/zbiory/ksiegarnia

2005: Brian McCook, “The Borders of Integration: Polish Migrant Workers in the Ruhr Valley of Germany and the Pennyslvania Anthracite Regions of the United  States, 1870-1924”

2001: Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, The Exile Mission: Polish Political Refugees and American Polonia, 1939-1956 http://www.ohioswallow.com/book/The+Exile+Mission

2000: Karen Majewski, Traitors and True Poles  http://www.ohioswallow.com/book/traitors+%26+true+poles

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