On January 15 we mark the 71 anniversary of Mieczyslaw Haiman’s untimely death in 1949 at age 61. The Polish Museum of America was his brainchild.
This Polish pioneer of Polish American history was a renaissance man. In his youth Haiman joined the Austrian Navy corps (Austria occupied Poland) travelling to China and Japan. In 1918 he set foot on American soil working in Polish American media from Boston and Buffalo to Chicago. Here President of PRCUA Joseph Kania asked Haiman to head the Organization’s archives and serve as first Director of the newly born Polish Museum. He began the Historical-Museum Society and developed global relations for the museum. He belonged to prominent American scientific and historical assns. He wrote his beloved parents to Poland in poetic form. He composed poetry. A titan of work, Haiman facilitated the freshly opened Museum to house the Polish Pavilion which was part of the 1939 New York World Fair exposition. Stranded in New York as Germany invaded Poland and started the hell of WWII, this unprecedented historic collection of Polish paintings, sculpture, lithographs and much more was rescued from unforgivable loss by Mieczyslaw Haiman. Thanks to him today you can marvel these treasures right here in Chicago at the PMA. Assuming continuous projects, epic in size like the history of the PRCUA, Haiman literally worked himself to death. His last Museum Archives annual report went to print in 1948. He died Jan.15, 1949. His immense popularity among co-workers was due to virtues such as courage, kindness and sacrifice. In the pantheon of Polish American heroes Mieczyslaw Haiman joined such giants as Kosciuszko and Pulaski. Come join our virtual Museum tour, see his legacy and personal effects. The PMA Team is working hard to make his powerful message and dream for Polish-American historiography to continue.
Photos shows Haiman’s oak bureau and his portrait