January 15, we recollect the founder and first director of the PMA - Mieczyslaw Haiman.
He was born March 31, 1888, in Zloczow, then Poland. His illustrious life spanned barely six decades during which he did more for Polish and Polish-American studies than most people in several lifetimes. He travelled to the far East, in 1918 he immigrated to America where Mieczyslaw Haiman worked as writer, journalist and editor from Boston to Buffalo to Chicago. The Polish Roman Catholic Union of America based in Chicago tasked Haiman with the foundation of the Polish Museum-a safe haven for Polish treasures which Haiman had been tracking and collecting serendipitously ever since he made USA his home. Unprecedented in quality and quantity, Mieczyslaw Haiman's collection and his sacrifice to develop the PMA into a modern exhibiting institution is just one of his achievements. Besides being a member of America's most prestigious historical and academic assns. during his lifetime, in 1969 the Polish American Historical Assn. initiated the Mieczyslaw Haiman Award "for sustained contribution to the study of Polish Americans". Until today Mieczyslaw Haiman holds the honor of being the most celebrated historian of American Polonia in the twentieth century. Haiman died Jan. 15, 1949, in Chicago. We honor his memory and strive to come close to his genius!
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