The Swastek Prize is awarded annually for the best article published 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 Polish American Studies for many years, and a past president of the Polish American Historical Association.

2018: Prof. Neal Pease

Prof. Neal Pease

 The PAS Editorial Board has decided to award the Swastek Prize to “Mighty Son of Poland: Stanislaus Zbyszko, Polish Americans, and Sport in the 20thCentury,” by Prof. Neal Pease, PAS, 74/1 (2017): 7-26. This well-written and well- organized study of professional wrestler Stanislaus Zbyszko (Jan Stanislaw Cyganiewicz) makes a persuasive argument based on extensive use of primary resources.

2017: Dr. Marta Cieslak

For the Swastek Prize for the best article in volume 73 (2016) of Polish American Studies, the Editorial Board nominated Marta Cieślak's "Crossing the Boundaries of Modernity: The Post-Abolition Journey of Polish Peasants to the United States." As some of the board members noted, this original piece is based on the author's 2014 dissertation and does not only reflect extensive archival research but also a thorough understanding of the social and economic conditions in mid-19th century Poland, of the transatlantic migration, and the social and economic situation of emancipated slaves in the postbellum South. Cieślak's argument is original and compelling, and constitutes a historiographically significant project.

2016: Prof. Paweł Ziętara of Warsaw, Poland, “Troubles with ‘Mela’: A Polish American Reporter, the Secret Services of People’s Poland, and the FBI” (Polish American Studies, Vol. 72, No 1, Spring 2015). Prof. Ziętara’s article assembles massive, painstaking research and presents a portrait of communist activity in the USA in the postwar period that is not well known. It brings to light a subject both significant and fascinating, and is based almost entirely on original archival sources.

2015:  Lori A. Matten for "Scouting for Identity: Recruiting Daughters to Save the Traditional Polish Family During the Interwar Years" (PAS 71/1, Spring 2014). The author presents sound exploration of the history and formation of Polish American organizations conceptualized by questions of gender and ethnicity. She skillfully examines understudied processes of identity transformations and assimilation of the second generation in the interwar period, as observed through the lens of gender distinctions present in the Polish scouting organizations in the United States.

2014: Leon Kurdek “The Real-Life Story Behind ‘Call Northside 777’: The Crime, the Conviction, and the Search for Justice”  Polish American Studies, Vol. 70, no. 2 (Autumn 2013): 5-78. 

“The subject matter is particularly important given the prominence of the Hollywood movie, its influence on how Polish Americans are viewed, and the many Polish American aspects that were left out of the film. The editors consider it a meticulously researched reconstruction of a story with compelling human interest which also deals with the interplay of life with art and Hollywood’s depiction of Polish Americans. A very detailed piece of detective work, it holds the interest of readers from start to finish, is clearly written, and raises a number of very serious and provocative questions about the character of American justice and the consequences of injustice as experienced by a family of poor, working class Polish Americans during the worst times of the Great Depression—a topic that has implications for all disadvantaged peoples. The treatment is objective, with ample evidence provided to support its assertions. The article brought to light an important chapter in Polish American history that had been largely forgotten even within Polonia.”

2013: Anna Mazurkiewicz "'Join, or Die'--The Road to Cooperation Among East European Exiled Political Leaders in the United States, 1949-1954," Vol. 69, No.2 (Autumn 2012). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/poliamerstud.69.2.0005

2012: Myron Momryk, “Ignacy Witczak’s Passport, Soviet Espionage, and the Origins of the Cold War in Canada,”Vol.68, No. 2 (Autumn 2011). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23075179

2011: Robert Szymczak, “Cold War Crusader: Arthur Bliss Lane and the Private Committee to Investigate the Katyn Massacre, 1949-1952,” Vol. 6, No. 2 (Autumn 2010). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41162458

2010: Suzanne M. Zukowski, "From Peasant to Proletarian: Home Ownership in Milwaukee's Polonia" Vol. 66, No. 2 (Autumn 2009). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25594426

2008: Iwona Drąg Korga, “The Information Policy of the Polish Government-in-Exile toward the American Public During World War II” Vol. 64, No. 1 (Spring 2007).

2007: Maja Trochimczyk, “The Impact of Mazowsze and Sląsk on Polish Folk Dancing in California” Vol. 63, No. 1 (Spring 2006). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148738

2006: Adam Walaszek, “Tomasz Siemiradzki: An Intellectual in Ethnic Politics,” Vol. 62, No. 2 (Autumn 2005). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148727

2005: Neal Pease, “The Kosciuszko Reds, 1909-1919: Kings of the Milwaukee Sandlots,” Vol. 61, No. 1 (Spring 2004). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148690  

2004: Ann Hetzel Gunkel, “The Sacred in the City: Polonian Street Processions as Countercultural Practice,” Vol. 60, No. 2 (Autumn 2003). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148668

2003: Stanislaus A. Blejwas, “American Polonia and the School Strike in Września,” Vol. 59, No. 1 (Spring 2002). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148625

2002: Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, "The Mobilization of American Polonia for the Cause of the Displaced Persons" Vol. 58, No. 1 (Spring 2001). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148599

2001: Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann, "The Polish Post-World War II Diaspora: An Agenda for a New Millenium” Vol. 57, No. 2 (Autumn 2000). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148590

2000: Timothy G. Borden, "The Salvation of the Poles: Working Class Ethnicity and Americanization Efforts During the Interwar Period in Toledo, Ohio" Vol. 56, No. 2 (Autumn 1999) Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148566

1999: Stanislaus A. Blejwas, "The Republic of Poland and the Origins of the Polish American Congress" Vol. 55, No. 1 (Spring 1998). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148529

1998: Francis C. Kajencki, "Kościuszko's Role in the Siege of Ninety-Six" Vol. 54, No. 2 (Autumn 1997). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148519

1997: Celia Berdes and Adam Zych, "The Quality of Life of Polish Immigrant and Polish American Ethnic Elderly" Vol. 53, No.1 (Spring 1996). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148481

1996: John Radziłowski, "’The Other Side of Chicago’:  The Poles of Arizona" Vol. 52, No. 2 (Autumn 1995). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148469

1995: Robert D. Ubriaco, Jr., "Bread and Butter Politics or Foreign Policy Concerns?  Class Versus Ethnicity in the Midwestern Polish American Community During the 1946 Congressional Elections," Vol. 51, No. 2 (Autumn 1994). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148441

1994: Stanislaus A. Blejwas, "Stanisław Osada: Immigrant Nationalist," Vol. 50, No. 1 (Spring 1993). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148403  

1993: Adam Walaszek, "How Could It All Appear So Rosy?--- Re-emigrants from the United States in Poland, 1919-1924" Vol. 49, No. 2 (Autumn 1992) Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148389

1992: John Radzilowski, "One Community, One Church, Two Towns: The Poles of Southwestern Minnesota, 1882-1905" Vol. 48, No. 2 (Autumn 1991). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148360

1991: William J. Galush, "Purity and Power: Chicago Polonian Feminists, 1880-1914," Vol. 47, No. 1 (Spring 1990) Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148315

1990: Marcin Kula, "Those Who Failed to Reach the United States: Polish Proletarians in Cuba During The Interwar Period," Vol. 46, No. 1 (Spring 1989) Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148280

1989: Mary E. Cygan, "A ‘New Art’ for Polonia: Polish American Radio Comedy During the 1930s," Vol. 45, No. 2 (Autumn 1988). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148258

1988: Anthony J. Kuzniewski, "’Jesteśmy Polakami': Wenceslaus Kruszka and the Value of America's  Polish Heritage" Vol. 44, No. 2 (Autumn 1987). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148240

1987: David G. Januszewski, "The Case of the Polish Exile Government in the American Press, 1939-1945" Vol. 43, No. 1 (Spring 1986). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148190

1986: Stanislaus A. Blejwas, "Puritans and Poles: The New England Literary Image of the Polish Peasant Immigrant" Vol. 42, No. 2 (Autumn 1985). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148179

1985: John J. Bukowczyk, "Polish Rural Culture and Immigrant Working Class Formation, 1880-1914" Vol. 41, No. 2 (Autumn 1984) Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148154

1984: Stanley L. Cuba, "Reverend Anthony Klawiter: Polish Roman and National Catholic Builder-Priest" Vol. 40, No. 2 (Autumn 1983). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148133

1982: Stanislaus A. Blejwas, "Old and New Polonias: Tensions Within an Ethnic Community" Vol. 38, No. 2 (Autumn 1981). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148080

1981: Daniel S. Buczek, “Ethnic to American: Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Stamford, Connecticut” Vol. 37, No. 2 (Autumn 1980). Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148049


The Distinguished Service Award  is “given occasionally to a member of PAHA who has rendered valuable and sustained service to the organization.” T
he Award was renamed in 2017 to honor Prof. James S. Pula, a long-time editor of the Polish American Studies, PAHA's past president, current treasurer, awards recipient, and the editor of two PAHA flagship publications, the critically acclaimed Polish American Encyclopedia (McFarland, 2011) and PAHA: The 75th Anniversary of the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA, 2017). 

Prof. James S. Pula, January 2019

2018: Prof. Dorota Praszalowicz, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland

The 2018 Award was presented to Prof. Dorota Praszalowicz of Jagiellonian University in Poland, who has been contributing to the success of PAHA for a long time, including her role in securing Polish grants for PAHA’s 75th Anniversary Conference. The series of conferences titled American Ethnicity that she organizes every two years offers an outstanding opportunity for PAHA members to present their work, advance their expertise and knowledge, and connect with distinguished European scholars.

Dr. Kozaczka with PAHA President, Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz

2017: Prof. Grazyna Kozaczka, Cazenovia College

Professor of English at Cazenovia College in New York state, Dr. Kozaczka is a long-time PAHA Board Member, PAHA  President in 2015-2016 and a faculty member at Cazenovia College since 1984. She currently directs the college-wide Honors Program and took a leadership role in securing trademarks for PAHA's logo and name, organizing many PAHA conferences, and representing the organization at international events, especially in Poland. Dr. Kozaczka's research interests include ethnic American literature, women's literature, literature of the Holocaust as well as traditional Polish folk dress and adornment. She has published scholarly essays, short fiction and popular articles in both English and Polish. She is currently working on a monograph devoted to the representation of immigrant and ethnic women in Polish American literature after World War II.

2016 -  Dr. Stephen Leahy, Co-Founder and Moderator, PAHA's Facebook Group

Dr. Stephen Leahy of Shantou University, China, received the Distinguished Service Award, given occasionally to a member of PAHA who has rendered valuable and sustained service to the organization. Dr. Leahy’s crucial role as the co-founder and moderator of PAHA’s Facebook group is just one of his many achievements as a long-time PAHA Board member, dedicated to the promotion of the association and its research interests world-wide.

2015 - Dr. Pien Versteegh, PAHA Executive Director

The 2015 Award was presented to Dr. Pien Versteegh. Her role as executive director of PAHA since 2007 years has been vital to the smooth and successful operation of the organization and its annual meetings. As Dean of the Avans School of International Studies at the Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda, Netherlands she directs two bachelor programs: International Business and Management Studies (IBMS) and International Financial Management (IFM). Her own scholarly interests focus on Migration/ and Ethnicity and her contributions as a scholar and as a PAHA officer are a model of service and scholarship to the academic community.

2014 - Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, Editor, PAHA Newsletter and Online Communications Director

 Dr. Trochimczyk joined the PAHA Board as Editor of PAHA Newsletter in 2009 and has redesigned and expanded the newsletter to include a variety of short articles about the Polish American experience, including features on personal immigration histories, Polonia organizations, anniversary celebrations, new or forthcoming books, and other items of interest to the organization. The newsletter is illustrated and well designed.  In 2012, in order to provide a more efficient and faster communications resource to the organization, Dr. Trochimczyk created  a blog called PAHANews.blogspot.com, which to date has 38 posts that include information about PAHA awards, program deadlines, and reprints of selected general interest stories from the PAHA Newsletter. The blog has had over 13,700 views and has become an important venue for publicizing the activities of the organization. She has also contributed to the expansion of the PAHA Facebook page and is one of its co-facilitators, making frequent posts and comments. The Facebook page has over 1950 readers. In 2014, Dr. Trochimczyk redesigned PAHA's print publicity materials (a trifold flyer and a postcard) that used artwork by Julian Stanczak, PAHA's Creative Arts Prize winner.

2013 - Dr. Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann

She is PAHA’s former President (2007-2009), and first Vice President (2004-2007), a former member of Awards Committee, Associate Editor of the Polish American Encyclopedia (ed. by James Pula), serves on the editorial board of Polish American Studies. Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann teaches at the Eastern Connecticut State University, continuously rendering excellent service to PAHA; PAHA board member for many years she’s been instrumental in developing new strategies, alert in PAHA’s PR activities. Recipient of many prestigious awards –Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann has devoted her time and her skill to the organization caring for the study and promotion of the Polish-American history and culture with visible, positive results.

2012 - Thaddeus V. Gromada & the Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences of America. 

Dr. Thaddeus Gromada joined PIASA in 1961, holding posts such as Secretary General, Vice-President, and Executive Director. He also served as a Professor of European History at New Jersey City University. While he edited and contributed books dealing with Polish history, Gromada and PIASA constantly supported the many activities of PAHA.

2011 - Cheryl Pula 

Pula read the entire manuscript of The Polish American Encyclopedia twice - once in draft form and once in page proofs. The first time she listed 71 pages, single-spaced, or errors, missing information, or unclear statements. The second time she noted over two dozen pages of corrections of the page proofs. In addition, she also authored approximately 15 to 20 individual entries.

2010 - Jagiellonian University, 
Kraków, Poland

The Jagiellonian University has a long history of supporting foreign exchange programs with American Universities. UJ received the honor also for the institution's recent hosting of PAHA's mid‐year meeting and conference in the summer of 2010.

2009 - No Award Given

2008 - Thomas Duszak 

Mr Duszak was nominated for this award for his extensive efforts in working to ensure that PAHA’s journal - Polish American Studies is incorporated into online databases such as EBSCO and J-STOR. Mr. Duszak’s devotion and persistence to the project has been exemplary and has proved instrumental at all levels relating to the digitization project. Though Mr. Duszak’s work, PAHA has been able to substantially raise its academic profile, and the journal is now available to a global audience.

2007 - Dr. Mary Patrice Erdmans

Dr. Erdmans has held several important posts within PAHA, including most recently serving as President from 2003-2006. During her tenure, Dr. Erdmans guided PAHA through a successful reorganization that has now placed the Association on a firm financial footing with an expanding program of scholarly activities and membership base. 

2006 – Joseph Wieczerzak and Theodore Zawistowski

Joseph Wieczerzak is Professor Emeritus of History, Bronx College, CUNY. He has served two terms as PAHA president, is a past recipient of the organization’s Haiman Award, and is a current member of the PAHA Board. He is now editor of The Polish Review.
Theodore Zawistowski has taught college courses in the fields of Sociology and Psychology, and has served as a consultant on history and archives to the Commission of the Polish National Catholic Church. He has edited PNCC Studies, The Polish Review, and the PAHA Newsletter. In addition, he has contributed greatly to the annual PNCC conferences.
2005 - Dr. Mark Kulikowski 

Mark Kulikowski is Associate Professor of History at State University of New York-Oswego, with expertise in modern Russian and U.S. diplomatic history. Among other works, he has written the well-known Bibliography of Slavic Mythology (1989). Professor Kulikowski has been a longtime member of the editorial board of Polish American Studies, as well as a frequent contributor.

2004 - No Award Given
2003 - Dr. Tom Napierkowski  

Dr. Napierkowski is a professor of English at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. His area of specialization is medieval English literature, with particular emphasis on the works of Geoffrey Chaucer and the fifteenth century. Tom has also worked and published in the fields of Slavic literature and Eastern and Central European Culture and Politics. Dr. Napierkowski has served as PAHA president twice, which required that he organize two national conferences. He has been a board member for numerous years, helped to recruit the Kulczycki monies ($20,000+) for what is now the Kulczycki scholarship. In addition, Tom has also helped to broaden the scope of PAHA by including Polish-American literature as a key tool to understanding the Polish migrant experience in America.

2002 - Dr. Karen Majewski

Dr. Majewski has served as PAHA Executive Director for many years, and has published many important books and studies on the history of American Polonia and its literature.


2001: John J. Bukowczyk

2000 - Thaddeus V. Gromada

1999 - James S. Pula

1998 - Stanislaus Blejwas

1997 - The Skalny Family

1996 - Bolesław Wierzbiański

1995 - Rev. Senior Casimir Grotnik

1994 - No Award Given

1993 - Msgr. John P. Wodarski

1992 - Frank Harasick   
1991 - Walter Lasinski

1988 - Henry Archacki

1987 - Sister Clarent Marie Urbanowicz

1986 -  Sister Ellen Marie Kuznicki, CSSF, and Mieczysław Haiman (posthumously)


In January 2016, during the 73rd Annual Board Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, the PAHA Officers and Council decided to replace the Graduate Student Research Paper Award with a more broadly defined Graduate Student/Young Scholar Travel Grant that was awarded for the first time at the 74th Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado in January 2017.

Florence Vychytil-Baudoux and Weronika Grzebalska in Chicago

2018 (Chicago): Weronika Grzebalska and Florence Vychytil-Baudoux
Aleksandra Kurowska-Susdorf with President Kozaczka

2017 (two awards): 1) Aleksandra Kurowska-Susdorf, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Gdańsk, Poland, received the Graduate Student/Young Scholar Travel Grant for her paper “Creating Identity: Discussion around Kashubian and Polish Identity in Canada and Poland.”

2017: 2) Sarah "Moxy" Moczygeba, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Florida.


Established in 2008, the Graduate Student Research Paper Award recognizes outstanding research into Polish-American history and culture by a young scholar in the humanities or social sciences. The winner received a travel grant to present the paper at the PAHA Annual Meeting and is encouraged to submit the work for consideration by the Polish American Studies (the publication is not guaranteed and the decision is made by the PAS Editor). To 2017 this Award was called the Graduate Student Research Paper Award and then it was replaced by the Travel Grant

2016:  Joanna Kulpińska, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland

Ms. Kulpinska was honored for her paper “Multigenerational Migration Chains of Families from Babica: An Attempt at Typology.”

2014 - Rachel Rothstein (Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Florida, Gainesville), “Defending the Remnants: American Jews Respond to Poland’s 1968 Anti-Zionist Campaign” 

2013 – Two Awards Given

1: Marta Cieślak (Transnational Studies Department, SUNY at Buffalo), "Crossing the Boundaries of Modernity: The Transatlantic Journey of Polish Peasants to the United States"

2: Piotr Derengowski (Department of History, University of Gdansk, Poland), "Capt. Alexander Raszewski's Polish Legion and Other Less Known Polish Troops in the Union Army During the American Civil War"


Michael T. Urbanski. In 2008, PAHA recognized Michael Urbanski (Central Connecticut State University) for the paper entitled: "Polite Avoidance: The Story of the Closing of Alliance College," which was subsequently published in the Polish American Studies, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Spring, 2009), pp. 25-42. This paper focuses on the history and controversial closing of the Polish National Alliance’s College in Cambridge Springs Pennsylvania.Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20533157


In addition to the various awards, the Polish American Historical Association has also recognized its supporters and eminent members by bestowing Honorary Memberships and Certificates, as follows.


2013: Honorary PAHA membership was conferred upon Victor Greene.

Victor R. Greene, is a historian and educator, born Nov. 15, 1933, Newark (NJ), U.S.; a graduate of Harvard University (Bachelor of Arts, 1955) University of Rochester (Master of Arts, 1960) he received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in 1963.  He served as a professor at Kansas State University, 1963-71, and the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Milwaukee, since 1971 -. His books include: Slavic Community on Strike, 1968; For God and Country, 1975; Immigrant Leaders, 1987; and A Passion for Polka, 1992. His doctoral dissertation was recognized by an award from the Kosciuszko Foundation, 1965; he held a Fulbright scholarship to Germany, 1980-81, and another Fulbright scholarship to the United Kingdom, 1990-91. His research awards and grants include two National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) fellowships, in 1977, 1987.


1988: Aniela Skalny
 Anna Skalny
 Ben Skalny
 John Skalny
 Joseph Skalny
 Eugene Dziedzic
 Michael Dziedzic

1991: Anthony Podbielski
 John and Stefanie Stenclik
 Stanislaus Blejwas
 Thaddeus Gromada

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