Polish-American Relations, 1918 to Present: Manuscript Resources at the Library of Congress
Primary sources are available in the papers of diplomatic, political and cultural figures. This guide focuses on the multitude of materials related to Polish-American relations in history, 1918 to present, found in the Manuscript Division's holdings.
The Manuscript Division primarily collects materials related to the United States and American political, cultural, and social events, movements, and persons. The collections include significant documentation of United States diplomatic, political and cultural exchanges with other nations. Only the official records of the State Department, held by the National Archives and Records Administration, surpass the richness of the Manuscript Division's holdings for documenting American foreign policy.
Researchers interested in 20th Century Polish-American relations will find a multitude of relevant resources in the Manuscript Division, including the personal papers of Presidents, State Department officials, members of Congress, and military and political leaders. Correspondence with Polish dignitaries reveal much about the relationship between the United States and Poland, as well as provide insight into reactions to events of the times. Several early collections include correspondence with prominent Polish figures such as Tadeusz Kościuszko, Casimir Pulaski, and Adam Gurowski.
One particular treasure among the Manuscript's Polish materials is The Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States, a collection of 111 volumes of signatures and greetings presented in 1926, to President Calvin Coolidge. The gift commemorated the 150th anniversary of U.S. independence and acknowledged American participation and aid to Poland during World War I. The volumes were assembled during an eight-month period with submissions from nearly one-sixth of the population of Poland as it then existed, including the signatures of national, provincial, and local government officials, representatives of religious, social, business, academic, and military institutions, and approximately 5.5 million school children. Many pages are also richly illustrated with original works by prominent Polish graphic artists.
Attention: All researchers are advised to contact the Manuscript Reading Room prior to visiting. Many collections are stored off-site, or may have access restrictions, and advance notice is needed to retrieve these items for research use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the division's collections are strongly encouraged to write the Manuscript Reading Room via the Ask a Librarian form or email at [email protected] to inquire about the status of collections of interest.