The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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Kislo, Michael Z., 1896-1978

Michael Z. Kislo Notebooks

3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 246

After emigrating from Dzieciekowo, Poland, Michael Kislo found work in a Northampton basket shop and later as a machinist at International Silver Company. He was a resident of Florence, Mass.

The Kislo collection contains 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).

Biographical Note

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.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

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.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Michael Z. Kislo Notebooks (MS 246). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection

Acquired from: Susan Kislo via Stanley Radosh, 1989.

Processing Information

Processed by Linda Seidman.

Additional Information

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

English and

Contents List

Volume numbers taken from cover.

Polish and English; much art; remarks on writing
1954-1955, 1962
Vol. 5
1955-1956, 1962-1963
Vol. 6
1956-1958, 1962-1963
Vol. 7
No artwork; nearly all Polish
Vol. 8
“John told the truth” around page ends
Vol. 9
March-June, 1971
Vol. un-numbered
Many drawings
November 1971-September 1972
Vol. un-numbered
No artwork
Vol. un-numbered
No artwork
Vol. un-numbered
Acquired from Susan Kislo via Stanley Radosh, 1989
Language(s): Polish


Art, Polish--Massachusetts--20th centuryFlorence (Mass.)--BiographyImmigrants--Massachusetts--FlorencePolish American artists--Massachusetts--FlorencePolish Americans--Massachusetts--FlorenceUnited States. Federal Bureau of Investigation


Kislo, Michael Z., 1896-1978

Types of material

DiariesNotebooksWatercolors (Paintings)