Polish Resources in the CCSU Library

Polish Studies


Contact Information

M. B. B. Biskupski
Professor of History
Stanislaus A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish and Polish American Studies
Coordinator, Polish Studies Program

Connecticut Polish American Archive

The Polish Studies Program at Central Connecticut State University was initiated by local Polonia activists in 1974 with the donation of books on Poland. Community donations continued, leading to the creation of the Polish Heritage Collection http://library.ccsu.edu/. The gifts also included a substantial number of archival materials, and in 1986 the program received a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to establish the Connecticut Polish American Archive (CPAA) with the mission to collect, preserve, and make accessible these materials. Links to selected CPAA collections can be found on its web page at http://library.ccsu.edu/help/spcoll/cpaa/index.php and on the Connecticut Online Archive at http://library.wcsu.edu/cao/. Inventories to remaining CPAA collections are available on demand.

The CPAA is a repository of documents related to the history of the Polish American community in the United States, with a special emphasis on the history of Polish Americans in Connecticut and New England. It is located in the Elihu Burritt Library at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut, and is an integral part of the Stanislaus A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish and Polish American Studies. The core of the collection consists of records of Polish American organizations, societies, and institutions. The majority of the records pertain to local chapters of national institutions­, including the Polish American Congress, Polish Falcons, all three Polish veteran organizations (Polish Army Veterans Association of America, Polish Veterans of World War II, Inc. and Polish Legion of American Veterans); fraternal (Polish National Alliance, Polish Women's Alliance, Polish Roman Catholic Union), cultural societies (American Council for Polish Culture, Polish Singers Alliance in America); Roman Catholic and the Polish National Catholic Church parishes; charitable organizations; the Polish Junior League; and Polish scouting. Some represent community organizing at the regional, state or town level including political clubs, societies, choirs, Sunday schools, and others.

Two major collections contain complete archives of national entities — the American Council of Polish Cultural Clubs and the North American Study Center for Polish Affairs. Among other CPAA holdings are several collections of grassroot Solidarity support organizations that cover their local, national, and international activities.

The second largest group of archival materials consists of collections of personal papers. Among these are the papers of prominent Polish American figures with local links such as Stanislaw A. Blejwas, Ewa Gieratowa, Elizabeth Wasiutynski, Andrzej Blaszczynski, Thaddeus Maliszewski, Msgr. John P. Wodarski, Msgr. Alphonse J. Fiedorczyk, and many smaller collections with papers of local activists and ordinary Polish Americans of different generations.

Three collections at CPAA record the publishing activities of the Polish American community all over the United States. These are the Polish American periodical collection, Polish American publications (non-serial) collection, and a Polish American anniversary and ephemeral imprints collection. The periodical collection holds titles produced from the 1870s to the present in different locations throughout the U.S. with a predominance of titles published on the East Coast. Included are all formats of periodical publications — newspapers, magazines, scholarly publications, bulletins, newsletters, and yearbooks. The Polish American publications collection preserves monographic imprints (books, pamphlets, musical scores) published by large companies such as the Polish American Publishing Co., Antoni Paryski, Wladyslaw Dyniewicz, the Worzalla Brothers, and W. H. Sajewski, as well as smaller publishing houses.

The CPAA anniversary booklet collection consists of occasional booklets, programs, and other smaller ephemeral publications issued by Polish American parishes and local organizations, most of them based in New England, although there are many examples from other parts of the United States and Canada. In 2009 the CPAA started digitizing this collection and the pamphlets can be viewed at http://content.library.ccsu.edu/.

The archive also collects examples of music recordings made by Polish American bands and choirs.

For more information please contact Ewa Wolynska, Special Collections Librarian and Archivist at wolynska@ccsu.edu or 860-832-2086; or Renata Vickrey, University Archivist and Outreach Librarian at vickreyr@ccsu.edu or 860-832-2085