Our history

About Archives

The Archives are not accessible to the public. The archival holdings can be accessed only by calling or writing in advance (minimum two day notice). Once the request is processed, the archival material is available for use in the PMA Library Reading Room, or can be reviewed with the Archivist by appointment. Patrons can also request research to be done by staff; research fee is $20 per hour. Genealogical material is not available.

Halina Misterka & Edyta Targonska Photo Julita Siegel

The Archives of the Polish Museum of America are the center for documentation and research on the history of Poles and Polish Americans. Located on the fourth floor of the Museum’s building they are considered to be one of the most important sources of information for those interested in the Polish past in America. The archival holdings consist of the following:

  • Records of fraternal, veteran and professional organizations predominantly active in the state of Illinois (among them the Polish Roman Catholic Union, the Polish National Alliance, the Polish Women Alliance, the Advocates Society, the Polish Medical Society, etc.)
  • Records of the Polish National Committee
  • Recruitment records of the Polish Army in France (WWI)
  • Papers and documents of the American Relief for Poland (WWII)
  • Correspondence and memorabilia of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Helena Modrzejewska and Marcela Sembrich-Kochanska
  • Private collections that include personal and official correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, book collections, etc. of Poles active in political and social venues (among them papers of Waclaw Gawronski, Mieczyslaw Haiman, Tymon Terlecki, Leonidas Dudarew-Ossetynski and many others)
  • Jubilee books, missals and other publications of Polish Roman Catholic parishes in the United States
  • Collection of newspapers and magazines (about 1500 titles) published in Poland, the United States, and other countries
  • Records of Dziennik Chicagoski a daily printed between 1890 and 1971
  • Collection of Polish books and pamphlets printed in the USA by such Polish publishers as Dyniewicz, Paryski, Worzalla, and others
  • Historical collection of maps and atlases from 15th to 20th centuries as pertaining to Poland and Polish history
  • Old rare Polish books from the 17th and 18th centuries published in Poland
  • Photographs documenting political, social, and religious history of Polish Americans
  • Other: oral history collection; film, video and musical collections; genealogical collection

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