Polish immigrant who worked in a basket shop and as a machinist while residing in Florence, Massachusetts. Includes nine volumes of Kislo's writing (mostly in Polish and thematically religious, patriotic, personal, and autobiographical) and artwork (drawings and paintings with religious allusions, Polish costumes, weapons, imaginary animals and fanciful landscapes).
The collection is open for research.
Background on Michael Z. Kislo
Michael Z. Kislo (1896-1978) of Dzieciekowo, Poland, immigrated to the United States and married Mary A. Skowronek (1907-65) of Holyoke, Massachusetts. He began work in a basket shop in Northampton and eventually became a machinist at International Silver Company. The Kislos lived in Florence, Massachusetts.
The collection comprises 9 volumes (1954-74) of Michael Kislo's writing and artwork. The writing, mostly in Polish, handwritten and typewritten, is frequently religious, but also patriotic, personal, and autobiographical. It is usually in the form of "songs," as Kislo calls them. Allusions to the F.B.I., especially in 1962, are of interest.
The drawings and paintings are Chagall-like at times-a floating world of religious allusions. At other times, Polish costumes make appearances, as do weapons, imaginary animals, and fanciful landscapes. It is unclear whether the images are traditional, re-interpretations of traditional ones, or unique to Kislo's imagination.
The notebooks make accessible the thoughts and feelings of a Polish immigrant in a uniquely intense way, when ordinarily the inner life of this generation is lost to the future.
Volume numbers taken from cover.
Acquired from: Susan Kislo via Stanley Radosh, 1989.
Processed by Linda Seidman.
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Cite as: Michael Z. Kislo Notebooks (MS 246). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.