Guide to the Polish Nationality Room Committee Collection, 1926-1981 UA.40.17

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ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Polish Nationality Room Committee Collection
Creator
University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program. Polish Nationality Room Committee..
Collection Number
UA.40.17
Date
1926-1981
Extent
2.5 linear feet (4 boxes and 3 volumes)
Abstract
The Polish Nationality Room Committee Collection details the planning, funding, construction, and dedication of the Polish Nationality Room. The majority of the documents range from 1926 to after the room’s dedication in 1940. The collection contains correspondence, both between the committee members and with the Polish architect, as well as a running memo, newspaper clippings, photographs of the room and committee, finical statements, and other documents pertaining to the establishment of the Polish Nationality Room. A digital reproduction of a photo album is online.

Preferred Citation

Polish Nationality Room Committee Collection, 1926-1981, UA.40.17, University Archives, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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History

Though the idea of building a Polish Nationality Room first came up in 1925, it was only discussed in earnest in the late 1920s. Planning began in 1930 and the committee for the erection of the Polish Hall in the Cathedral of Learning was organized February 5, 1931. Fundraising for the room occurred until the German invasion of Poland in late 1939, when the Polish community focused instead on creation the Polish Emergency Relief Committee. The University of Pittsburgh provided the remaining funds for the construction of the Polish Nationality Room, which was dedicated on February 16, 1940, before a group of both American and Polish representatives.

The first chairman of the committee was Colonel Theophilus A. Starzynski, who served in that capacity until 1939. After him, Dr. Chester S. Sierakowski was appointed chairman and held that position until the end of World War II. The committee worked closely with both the Polish Women’s League and Ruth Crawford Mitchell, who was the Advisor to the Nationality Rooms. The Polish Falcons of America and the Polish National Alliance of North America were also involved with providing publicity and funds for the establishment of the room. Professor A. Szyszko-Bohusz, a famous Cracow-based architect, provided the design for the Polish Nationality Room.

The room is designed in the style of the 1500s Polish Renaissance and was based on Wawel Castle, which overlooks the city of Cracow. The entrance door was carved out of oak by a Lwow craftsman and was gifted to the room by the Polish Women’s Alliance. The cornerstone, presented by the faculty of the University of Cracow, is a fragment from the oldest university building in Poland, the Jagiellonian Library. Behind the professor’s chair hangs an oil painting of the Polish astronomer Copernicus, a copy of a famous work by Anna Szyszko-Bohusz. Also in the room is the Jagiellonian Globe, a reproduction of a 16th century object that also serves as a clock and a calendar.

The Polish Room still provides a scholarship for students studying abroad in Poland, dedicated to the memory of Dr. Donald Mushalko.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Polish Nationality Room Committee Collection details the planning, funding, construction, and dedication of the Polish Nationality Room in the Cathedral of Learning. The majority of these records range from 1926, when Chancellor John H. Bowman first approached the Pittsburgh Polish Community on the building of the Polish Nationality Room, to the dedication of the room in 1940. The collection contains general correspondence, much of which is between the Polish Committee and Ruth Crawford Mitchell, as well as the room's architect. Also included are photographs of the room and committee, newspaper clippings, memorial letters, dedication papers, a running memo, publicity materials, finical statements, committee minutes, and other documents related to the room and the Polish community in Pittsburgh. The materials are primarily in English, but some of the newspaper clippings are in Polish.

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Arrangement

This collection has been arranged into two series:

Series I. Room Construction and Dedication

Series II. Committee Administration

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, October 2015

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Copyright

The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the University Archives by the Nationality Rooms Program on August 3, 2014.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Alexandra Hebda in October 2015.

Existence and Location of Copies

A digital reproduction of a photo album is available online.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Nationality Rooms (Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program. Polish Nationality Room Committee..
  • University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program.

Genre(s)

  • Architectural drawings (Visual works)
  • Clippings (Information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Financial records
  • Minutes
  • Photographs

Personal Name(s)

  • Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, 1890-
  • Starzynski, Theophilus A.

Subject(s)

  • Classrooms -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Polish Americans -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Universities and colleges -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • University of Pittsburgh

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Previous Citation

Polish Nationality Room Committee Collection, 1926-1981, UA.40.17, University of Pittsburgh Archives

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Room Construction and Dedication, 1926-1952 

Scope and Content Notes

This series primarily consists of correspondence, publicity and memos documenting the efforts of the Polish Nationality Room Committee as they worked to fund, design and build the room in the Cathedral of Learning. Also included are some records pertaining to events hosted in the room after it was dedicated in 1940 which were stored with the earlier documents in elaborate enclosures that were to be kept in the Polish Room.

  BoxFolder
Deed of Gift for the Polish Room in the Cathedral of Learning, June 4, 1931 11
  Folder
Photographs 2
  Folder
Newspaper Clippings, 3
  Folder
The Polish Classroom Booklet, 1941 4
  Folder
Colonel T.A. Starzynski Memorial Letter, 1952 5
  Folder
Draft of Speech for the Presentation of Three Volumes of "Manru" 6
  Folder
Reception For Professor Halecki, November 14, 1938 7
  Folder
Reception for Professor Swietoslawski, Apri 19, 1940 8
  Folder
Christmas Supper Program 9
  Folder
Cornerstone Laying Ceremonies of the Polish Room, June 26, 1938 10
  Folder
Presentation of the Portrait of Paderewski and Correspondence with Paderewski, 1937-1940 11
  Folder
Dedication Ceremony Papers, February 16, 1940 12
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1927-1930 13
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1931-1932 14
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1933-1934 15
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1935-1936 16
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1937-1938 17
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1939 18
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1940 19
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1941 20
  Folder
Digest of Running Memo, 1926-1939 21
  BoxFolder
Foreign and Architectural Correspondence, 1931 21
  Folder
Foreign and Architectural Correspondence, 1932 2
  Folder
Foreign and Architectural Correspondence, 1933 3
  Folder
Foreign and Architectural Correspondence, 1934 4
  Folder
Foreign and Architectural Correspondence, 1935 5
  Folder
Foreign and Architectural Correspondence, 1936 6
  Folder
Foreign and Architectural Correspondence, 1937 7
  Folder
Foreign and Architectural Correspondence, 1938 8
  Folder
Foreign and Architectural Correspondence, 1939 9
  Folder
The Jagellonian Globe Correspondence, 1931-1941 10
  Folder
Life History of Henry Waldyn 11
  Folder
Lists of Polish Coats of Arms and Seals 12
  Volume
Running Memo, 1927-1941 1
  Volume
Clippings and Publicity, 1933-1964 2
  Volume
Photographs 3
("Photographs" online pending)

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Series  II. Committee Administration, 1932-1981 

Scope and Content Notes

This series includes committee correspondence and newsletters documenting their activities to maintain the Polish Nationality Room and provide programming after it was dedicated. Also included are histories that explore how the room came to fruition and files on the room's design that were not stored with the majority of the earlier records.

  BoxFolder
Polish Room Publicity 31
  Folder
Polish Room Newsletter, 1977-1981 2
  Folder
Polish Room History 3
  Folder
Description of Room 4
  Folder
Memos on Design, 1932-1937 5
  Folder
Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences 6
  Folder
Committee Meeting Minutes, 1942-1970 7
  Folder
Copernicus Quadricentennial, 1943 8
  Folder
Running Memo, 1942-1948 9
  Folder
Colonel T.A. Starzynski, 1948-1949 10
  Folder
Polish Room Maintenance, 1947-1955 11
  Folder
Cabinet Dedication, 1954 12
  Folder
Correspondence with Nationality Rooms Director, 1954-1956 13
  Folder
Polish Books, 1956-1960 14
  Folder
Polish Room Committee Members and Officers, 1960-1969 15
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1956-1959 16
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1960 17
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1961-1964 18
  BoxFolder
General Correspondence, 1965-1968 41
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1969-1971 2
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1972-1973 3
  Folder
General Correspondence, 1974-1981 4
  Folder
Polish Arts League, 1964-1966 5
  Folder
Choir Reception, 1965 6
  Folder
Polish Room Committee Guest Lists 7
  Folder
Slavic Cultural Variety Program, 1969 8
  Folder
Polish Studies Seminar, 1970 9
  Folder
Polish Studies Workshops, 1971-1972 10
  Folder
Piotr Janowski Concert, 1972 11
  Folder
First Secretary Edward Gierek's Visit, 1974 12

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