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Polish Declarations: Sharing a Forgotten Treasure Through Digitization

This unusual collection was neglected by researchers for more than seven decades largely because of the lack of a detailed finding aid. The secondary school signature sheets (Volumes 7-13) are bound in random sequence. Although most of the elementary school volumes (14-110) are arranged alphabetically by administrative district (powiat, plural powiaty), unless the researcher happens to know in which powiat a school was located, he/she will not know in which volume to search. Powiat boundaries of 1926 Poland do not coincide with present-day administrative districts. Moreover, volumes 94-110 contain signature sheets that for unknown reasons were not bound with the other elementary school entries from their respective powiaty.

The digital version of Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States resolves some of these issues of searchability, at least for those volumes that were digitized. With the exception of famous persons 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.

The names of cities, towns, and villages are presented precisely as recorded in the original Polish, although diacritic marks have been stripped to facilitate searching. Variant spellings in other languages of the region are not offered.

Although they lack precise equivalents in American usage, the Polish administrative units are translated as follows: wojewodztwo (abbreviated woj.)–province; powiat (abbreviated pow.)– district; and gmina (abbreviated gm.)–township. The Polish terms gimnazjum [later spelled gimnazium] and liceum remain untranslated, as they have no counterpart in the American educational system.

A complete inventory of all the place names in Volumes 14-110 is posted on the European Reading Room site at Eventually it may be possible to digitize those volumes. Until then, researchers can consult the originals in the Manuscript Reading Room. Since the volumes are held in remote storage, researchers should submit requests at least one day in advance of their visit to the Manuscript Reading Room. For Manuscript Division contact information, visit:

Global Gateway | Polish Declarations >> Sharing a Forgotten Treasure Through Digitization