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Letters from Readers in the Polish American Press, 1902–1969

A Corner for Everybody

Edited by Anna D. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann - Translated by Theodore L. Zawistowski and Anna D. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann

A Corner for Everybody is a unique collection of close to five hundred letters from Polish American readers, which were published in the Polish-language weekly Ameryka-Echo between 1902 and 1969. In these letters, Polish immigrants speak in their own words about their American experience, and vigorously debate religion, organization of their community, ethnic identity, American politics and society, and ties to the homeland. The translated letters are annotated and divided into thematic chapters with informative introductions.
Polish Americans formed one of the largest European immigrant groups in the United States and their community (Polonia) developed a vibrant Polish-language press, which tied together networks of readers in the entire Polish immigrant Diaspora. Newspaper editors encouraged their readers to write to the press and provided them with public space to exchange their views and opinions, and share thoughts and reflections. Ameryka-Echo, a weekly published from Toledo, Ohio, was one of the most popular and long-lasting newspapers with international circulation.
For seven decades, Ameryka-Echo sustained a number of sections based on readers’ correspondence, but the most popular of them was a “Corner for Everybody,” which featured thousands of letters on a variety of topics. The readers eagerly discussed everything from occurrences in local communities, to issues paramount to the formation of their ethnic identity and assimilation, church, religion, gender, politics, relations with new immigrant waves, and other ethnic groups. The letter-writers debated the American labor movement and strikes, described hardships of the Great Depression and World War II, and argued about American domestic politics, and foreign policy. They also keenly followed changes in their homeland and called for work on behalf of the Polish nation.
The Ameryka-Echo letters are a rich source of information on the history of Polish Americans, which can serve as primary sources for students and scholars. They also provide a new, fascinating, and lively look into the passions and experiences of individuals who created the larger American historical experience.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 592Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-0-7391-8872-9 • Hardback • December 2013 • $147.00 • (£95.00)
978-0-7391-8873-6 • eBook • December 2013 • $139.00 • (£90.00)
Anna D. Jaroszynska-Kirchmannis professor of history at Eastern Connecticut State University.
Theodore L. Zawistowski taught sociology at Pennsylvania State University and psychology at Marywood University prior to retirement.
Preface and Acknowledgments
Chapter One: Religion, Church, and Spiritual Life
Chapter Two: Polonia Communities in the United States and in Diaspora
Chapter Three: Polish American Identity
Chapter Four: The American Nation
Chapter Five: Homeland
This is a delightful, informative, and poignant book. . . .[The book] provides[s] an excellent history of Polish immigration in the U.S. and a summary of the relevant socio-political issues. . . .[This book] is a valuable contribution to the study of Polish-American immigration. It is a wonderful combination of historical background and primary sources, and it makes for a fascinating, often very moving, reading.
Slavic and East European Journal

This exceptionally well-edited and gracefully translated collection provides unparalleled insight into the evolution of the mentality of the average member of the Polish population of America throughout most of the twentieth century. It represents a prodigious work of scholarship.
Mieczyslaw B. Biskupski, Central Connecticut State University

Rarely do scholars benefit from a vast trove of new primary sources such as this collection of letters written over seven decades to the influential Ameryka-Echo. The editor’s insightful comments place the collection in its historical context, while the excellent translations capture the spirit of their authors, not just their words, as they debate critical issues of life, faith, work, and politics. Researchers in immigration, gender, religion, politics or a wide variety of other fields of study will welcome this excellent volume.

James S. Pula, Purdue University

• Winner, Polish American Historical Association’s Oskar Halecki Award