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Joseph A. Kszepka Collection, 1906-1949

8 items (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 276

Collection of printed materials, primarily the constitutions and by-laws of Massachusetts Polish-American organizations, including publications of the Pilsudski Polish-American Citzens Club in Southbridge, St. Stanislaus’ Polish Lyceum in Three Rivers, and the Polish American Citizens’ Club also in Three Rivers, which contains study questions for the U.S. citizenship exam. Also a prayerbook (1906) and a textbook for parents and teachers, Masturbation in Men and Women and Its Effects (1912), translated to Polish from German.

Subjects
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Kszepka, Joseph A.

Lesinski-Rusin Family Papers, ca.1910-1925

2 boxes (1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 131

The Lesinski and Rusin families represent the average working-class Polish family settled in the Pioneer Valley during the early twentieth century. Numerous family photographs document important occasions for the families, such as baptisms, first communions, and weddings, while photographic postcards and commercial postcards document their relationships, interests, and travel. The collection also includes Polish-language textbooks and a Polish-English dictionary, which suggest that learning English may have been both a challenge as well as a priority.

Subjects
  • Lesinski family
  • Rusin family
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Postcards
  • Scrapbooks

John Libera Collection, 1934-1988

1 flat box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 048
John Libera Collection image
Polish Tigers baseball team, ca.1935

A member of the Polish community in Southbridge, Mass., John Libera (1919-2007) was a long-time employee of American Optical Company, but was best known as a promoter of polka music and dancing. A performer, song writer, and host of a radio show for over thirty years, Libera was inducted into the Polka Music Hall of Fame in 1982 and invited to perform at the American Folklife Festival in 1988.

The Libera collection consists of four photographs of the Polish community in Southbridge during the 1930s along with fourteen photos, a videotape, and some correspondence and ephemera relating to the American Folklife Festival.

Subjects
  • Baseball teams--Massachusetts--Southbridge--Photographs
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Southbridge--Photographs
  • Southbridge (Mass.)
  • Women--Societies and clubs--Massachusetts--Southbridge--Photographs
Contributors
  • Libera, John
Types of material
  • Photographs

Stanley Lipski Papers, 1939-1990

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 357

Born in 1911, Commander Stanley Lipski was an Annapolis graduate and Naval intelligence officer. A Russian language expert, Lipski had been stationed in Finland prior to the start of World War II and was in Riga, Latvia during a Russian invasion in 1940. He died in the Philippine Sea when the USS Indianapolis was sunk by a Japanese submarine in July 1945.

The Stanley Lipski Papers contain newspaper articles about Lipski, a letter informing his family that he was killed in action, as well as information pertaining to the court martial of Charles McVay, captain of the USS Indianapolis. Also included are photographs of the Polish officer corps that Lipski took with him when he escaped Latvia in 1940.

Subjects
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
  • World War, 1939-1945

Joseph Obrebski Papers, 1923-1974

48 boxes (24 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 599

A student of Bronislaw Malinowski, the Polish ethnographer Jozef Obrebski was a keen observer of cultural change among eastern European peasantry in the years before the Second World War. After working with the resistance in Warsaw during the war, Obrebski went on to do additional ethnographic research in Jamaica (with his wife Tamara), taught at Brooklyn and Queens College and C.W. Post University, and from 1948-1959, he was senior social affairs officer with the United Nations. He died in 1967.

The Obrebski collection consists largely of ethnographic data collected by Obrebski in Macedonia (1931-1932), Polesia (1934-1936), and Jamaica (1947-1948), including field and interview notes, genealogies, government documents relating to research sites, and ca. 1000 photographs; together with correspondence (1946-1974), drafts of articles, analyses of collected data, and tapes and phonograph records, largely of folk music; and papers of Obrebski’s wife, Tamara Obrebski (1908-1974), also an ethnologist and sociologist.

Subjects
  • Anthropologists--Poland
  • Ethnology--Jamaica
  • Ethnology--Macedonia
  • Ethnology--Poland
  • Peasantry--Macedonia
  • Peasantry--Poland
Contributors
  • Obrebski, Joseph, 1907-1967
Types of material
  • Photographs

Mary Lou Panus Polish American Collection, 1895-1997

3 boxes (1.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 378

Mary Lou Panus documented Polish American life in Massachusetts by collecting newspaper clippings, business cards, programs, and Polish language prayer books and prayer cards.

The Panus collection includes photographs of Polish churches in Massachusetts, reflecting the important role religion played in the culture and in various communities. The collection also includes a doll dressed as a nun.

Subjects
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Panus, Mary Lou

Leokadia Rowinska Papers, 1917-1988

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 102

Courier for the underground in Nazi occupied Poland during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising who was apprehended and placed in a concentration camp. After the war she and her husband moved from England to Holyoke, Massachusetts. Includes typescripts and photocopies of short stories; “Ameryce”, a booklet of poems; Poklosie, a book of poems published in Polish and English (Artex Press, 1987); audiotaped oral histories of Leokadia and Stanley Rowinski (primarily in Polish) done by their children; and photographs, audiotape, program and text of poems read at a public reading.

Subjects
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Holyoke
  • World War, 1939-1945
Types of material
  • Oral histories

Sroka Family Papers, 1842-1960

1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 216

Polish family who emigrated to the United States in 1912-1913 and settled in Chicopee, Massachusetts, working in meat packing firms and textile factories, and also as seamstresses and farmers.

Includes birth and wedding certificates, military and employment documentation, residential and passport applications, photographs, and lists of baptisms, weddings, and deaths. Also contains a family history written by Gary Sroka, correspondence, payment book for the Society of St. Joseph (Chicopee, Massachusetts), and a news clipping. All materials exist as photocopies and are written primarily in Polish, German, and Hungarian, though some are in English, Ukrainian, and Russian.

Subjects
  • Chicopee (Mass.)--History
  • Immigrants--Massachusetts
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts

St. Kazimier Society Records, 1904-1984

15 boxes (8 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 253 bd

The St. Kazimier Society was an early mutual aid society formed in the Polish community in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Established in 1904, the Society preceded the founding of Our Lady of Czestochowa Church by five years.

Records of the St. Kazimier Society of Turners Falls include administrative files, financial records, educational materials, and photographs. Account books generally reflect members’ premium payments and benefits, the income and expenses of the society itself, and of the club.

Subjects
  • Mutual aid societies--Massachusetts
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Turners Falls
  • Turners Falls (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • St. Kazimier Society (Turners Falls, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Account books

St. Stanislaus Society Records, 1959-1969

2 vols. (0.15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 254 bd

Named for Polish saint Stanislaus Kostka, the St. Stanislaus Society of Turners Falls was most likely a part of a larger fraternal society, possibly the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America. Ethnic parishes and the fraternal societies that often sprang up around them, served as buffers between the customs and language immigrants brought with them and the new traditions and language they were expected to learn upon entering American society. Fraternal socities like St. Stanislaus offered members a place to celebrate their Polish heritage and Roman Catholic faith, while also assisting them with some of the more practical matters of living in a new country, such as securing life insurance and home mortgages.

Subjects
  • Fraternal organizations--Massachusetts
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Turners Falls
  • Turners Falls (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • St. Stanislaus Society (Tuners Falls, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Account books
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