Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
March 24, 2005
Selected Volumes of "Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States" Now Online
Volumes from 1926 Honor 150th Anniversary of Declaration of Independence
"Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States," a presentation of selected manuscript volumes from the Manuscript Division, is now available on the Global Gateway Web site at http://international.loc.gov/intldl/pldechtml/.
"Polish Declarations" offers the first 13 volumes of a larger collection of 111 volumes compiled in Poland in 1926 and delivered to President Calvin Coolidge at the White House to honor the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Richly illustrated with original works by prominent Polish graphic artists, the collection includes the greetings and signatures of national, provincial and local government officials; representatives of religious, social, business, academic and military institutions; and approximately 5.5 million schoolchildren. At President Coolidge’s behest, this unique gift was transferred to the Library of Congress, where it remained largely unused for some seven decades. In 1996 the collection was "rediscovered" serendipitously during the visit of Polish first lady Jolanta Kwasniewska and other dignitaries from the Embassy of Poland. The collection generated such intense interest that the Library, in cooperation with the Embassy of Poland, organized a special program on May 2, 1997, to showcase this symbol of the enduring friendship between Poland and the United States.
More than an impressive artifact, the collection is an important, largely unexplored primary source for genealogical, historical and sociological research, for it includes the signatures of nearly one-sixth of the population of Poland as it existed in 1926.
This searchable online presentation is a complete facsimile of the six oversized presentation volumes and the seven volumes of secondary school signatures. With the exception of famous people after whom institutions are named, such as the Maria Konopnicka Municipal Gimnazjum in Leszno or the Queen Jadwiga State Gimnazjum in Pabianice, personal names are not searchable. However, researchers are now able to search by keyword (English or Polish without diacritics) and locate information about particular villages, cities, districts, provinces, institutions or organizations.
This online presentation of "Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States" joins other world history collections available on the Library of Congress' Global Gateway Web site at http://international.loc.gov/. This Web site features the extraordinary international collections of the Library of Congress as well as those of its partners from libraries in Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands and Russia. This site also makes available such rare items as "The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake," "The Lewis Carroll Scrapbook" and "Selections from the Naxi Manuscript Collection," which documents ceremonial writings of the Naxi people of China, who write using the only living pictographic language in the world.
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