Polanie Club Records to the Immigration History Research Center Archives

By Ellen Engseth
Curator of Immigration History Research Center Archives and Head, Migration and Social Services Collections

Cover of "Treasured Polish Recipes" with a drawing of a woman holding a tray of steaming food.

The Immigration History Research Center Archives (IHRCA) is very pleased to announce a major addition to their collections, the Records of the Polanie Club of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Due to the archival vision and stewardship of Club leaders Marta Swica and Deb McPherson, approximately 30 feet of Club records and books arrived this winter at their new home, the IHRCA. The Polanie Club Records will become a key collection at the IHRCA, contributing to the broader story of the role of immigrant clubs, women, and female-led ethnic organizations.

The Club’s 87 years of historical records are comprised of administrative material, scrapbooks, books, photographs and audio-visual material; taken as a collection, they comprise a full and rich history of this local club and its role in the national landscape of Polish American organizations.

Polanie Club founded in 1927

Polanie was founded in 1927 by Polish American women living in the Twin Cities. An invitation-only club, with a strong tradition in publishing, it is a prime example of a female club publishing venture. Polanie published numerous books through the years, including their revered Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans first published in 1948. Other major club activities included hosting conventions, Wigilia celebrations, and a scholarship program.

This gift provides the IHRCA an exciting opportunity to “cross-collect” with our colleagues the Children’s Literature Research Collections (CLRC); the donation included a group of Displaced Persons post-World War II children’s literature. These titles were published in Poland in the 1940s and 1950s, and according to Club members, provide today and tomorrow’s researchers with an excellent example of Communist-era published propaganda emanating from Poland. These books will become part of the CLRC, cross-referenced to the collection of records in the IHRCA.

Polanie Club generously provided with the records a welcome one-time gift of $20,000, for which we are most grateful. The Polanie Club Records are currently being arranged and prepared by Archives and Special Collections’ Central Processing, along with the IHRCA’s staff, and the University Libraries’ Metadata Unit. It will be available this summer to the public for research.

Thank you Polanie Club!


  1. This is great news. Several years ago I posted something on my blog about the Polanie Club – I have always hoped that the the story would get broader play. I fascinated by the connection with the CLRC – will have to learn more. This sounds like a great collaboration. MT


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