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Awards of the Polish American Historical Association

Amicus Poloniae Award - Creative Arts Prize - Distinguished Service Award - Graduate Student Paper Award - Miecislaus Haiman Award - Honorary Membership - Kulczycki Prize (Books) - Skalny Civic Achievement Award - Swastek Prize (Best Article)


Established in 1981, the Oskar Halecki Prize is given annually by the Polish American Historical Association. This Prize recognizes an important book or monograph on the Polish experience in the United States and commemorates Oskar Halecki (1891-1973), a Polish historian, writer, and social and Catholic activist. Dr. Halecki was a graduate of Jagiellonian University (1914), who also studied in Vienna and taught at Jagiellonian University, Warsaw University, Fordham University and Columbia University. He was a member of Polska Akademia Umiejetnosci and a co-founder of PIASA in 1942 (he also served as its Executive Director and President). As a historian, Halecki was an expert on medieval history of Poland and Lithuania, and history of Byzantine Empire, author of Borderlands of Western Civilization: A History of East Central Europe, Jadwiga of Anjou and the Rise of East Central Europe (with Thaddeus Gromada), and The History of Poland. He received honorary doctorates from: the University of Lyon, University of Montreal, De Paul University and Fordham University.


2016 -The 2016 Halecki Prize was awarded to Prof. Mieczysław B. Biskupski, for his book The Most Dangerous German Agent in America (NIU Press, 2015).

2015 - Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann and Theodore Zawistowski, Letters from Readers in the Polish American Press, 1902-1969: A Corner for Everybody.

The 2014 Halecki Prize was presented to Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann and Theodore Zawistowski, for Letters from Readers in the Polish American Press, 1902-1969: A Corner for Everybody. This 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. 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.

2014 - Anna Mazurkiewicz, ed., East Central Europe in Exile, vols. 1-2: Transatlantic Migrations, and Transatlantic Identities (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013).

This outstanding two-volume work, published under the general editorship and direction of Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz of the University of Gdansk, takes up an extremely significant area of research in the broad field of Polish American studies, namely the experience of emigration and resettlement in a new homeland. The product of a recent academic conference held in Poland, these books include contributions by thirty-eight scholars from North America and Europe. Their contributions have a broadly comparative character, inasmuch as they include a number of presentations by scholars who examine aspects of both the Polish emigration and settlement experiences, along with those of other peoples from East Central Europe. There are also historical pieces as well as presentations having a more contemporary character. All in all, Dr. Mazurkiewicz's effort makes an inestimable contribution to scholarly research and knowledge in the important field of emigration studies - and with special attention to the experiences of peoples who are all too often overlooked in discussions of this subject.

2013 - Beth Holmgren, Starring Madame Modjeska: On Tour in Poland and America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012).

Review by Maja Trochimczyk in the Polish American Studies (spring 2013) opens with:"this handsomely produced volume about Poland's legendary actress is a must for every library and every Polonian home." Kazimierz Braun who had authored a play devoted to Modjeska wrote: "this is an excellent and meticulously rendered book" (Modern Drama 56/2, 2013). Upon examination of the review copy provided by the publisher, the Awards Committee found the above-mentioned reviews very well grounded. In our opinion, this book deserves the Halecki Award for its merits and also bears the potential of promoting the story of Helena Modrzejewska (Modjeska) among Polish-Americans as well as Polish and Polish-American heritage among the larger, non-ethnic audiences in the U.S. Beth Holmgren is the Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies and Slavic and Eurasian Studies Department Chair at Duke University.

2012 - Brian McCook, The Borders of Integration: Polish Migrants in Germany and the United States, 1870-1924 . (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2012).

2011 - James S. Pula, ed., The Polish American Encyclopedia (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011).

2010 - M. B. B. Biskupski, Hollywood's War With Poland, 1939-1945 (Knoxville: University of Kentucky Press, 2010).


Danusha V. Goska, Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2010)

2009 - Alex Storozynski, The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2009).

2008 - Mieczyslaw B. Biskupski and Antony Polonsky. Polish-Jewish Relations in North America (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization; 2007).

When Poles and Jews emigrated to North America, the relationship between them developed in new ways. This volume 19 of the Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry series looks at various aspects of that relationship, past and present. An edited anthology, key topics include Polish and Jewish relations from the early to mid 20th century; literary and journalistic representations; institutional contacts; attitudes to the Holocaust; the debate over Jedwabne; physical violence and initiatives for mutual understanding. Substantial space is also given, in 'New Views', to recent research in other areas of Polish-Jewish studies.

2007 - William J. Galush. Dr. Galush is Professor Emeritus in History at Loyola University of Chicago. He is the author of numerous scholarly works and articles related to Polish-American history. His recent work, For More than Bread: Community and Identity in American Polonia, 1880-1940 (Boulder: 2006) provides a rich, cultural history of the Polish American community and its integration into American society, comparatively exploring changing identities of immigrants and their second-generation children.

2006 - John Radzilowski, Poles in Minnesota (Minneapolis: 2005). Dr. Radzilowski is Associate Professor of History at the University of Alaska, a senior fellow at the Piast Institute, Detroit, and president of the Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota. He is as well a two-time winner of the PAHA Swastek Prize. Poles in Minnesota is honored as a highly readable account of the Polish Americans who created and sustained community institutions in that state. Filled with intriguing details, the book shows how Polish Americans established their own cultural identity within Minnesota.

2005 - Mary Patrice Erdmans. The Grasinski Girls: The Choices They Had and the Choices They Made (Athens, OH: 2004). Dr. Erdmans is Professor of Sociology at Central Connecticut State University, and current President of PAHA. The Grasinski Girls is a study of working class Americans of Polish descent, born in the 1920s and 1930s. The book has been praised by reviewers as "very original,refreshingly written,and remarkably [successful] on all levels. Professor Erdmans is a two time winner of the Halecki Prize, having been honored for her Opposite Poles in 1998.

2004 - Anna Jaroszynska- Kirchmann. The Exile Mission: The Polish Political Diaspora and Polish Americans, 1939-1956 (Athens, OH: 2004). Dr. Jaroszynska-Kirchmann monograph takes on several large issues: the relationship between an established ethnic community and new arrivals, debates over the distinction between economic immigrant and political refugee, the evolving relationship between an ethnic community and the politics of the homeland, and the continual re-construction of ethnic identity with new waves of immigration. She crafts a readable master narrative that draws on memoirs, ethnic organization records, government documents and interviews. She puts these sources into a framework drawn from wide- ranging research into secondary sources from several disciplines including sociology, diplomatic history and international law. Dr. Jaroszynska-Kirchmann clarifies the spectrum of ideological positions in post-World War II American Polonia and shows the impact of an "exile mission," first articulated in Europe, on the interaction between the exiles and the established Polish American community.

2003 - Karen Majewski. Traitor and True Poles: Narrating a Polish American Identity, 1880-1939. (Athens, OH: 2003). Dr. Majewski's work is the first extended look at Polish-language fiction written by turn-of-the-century immigrants. Addressing a blind spot in our understanding of immigrant and ethnic identity and culture, Traitors and True Poles challenges perceptions of a silent and passive Polish immigration. Polish-American immigrant writers used their work to define and consolidate an essentially transnational ethnic identity that was both tied to Poland and independent of it. In Traitors and True Poles, Dr. Majewski illustrates how immigrants manipulated often difficult economic, social, and political realities to provide a place for and a sense of themselves. What emerges is a fuller picture of American literature, one vital to the creation of an ethnic consciousness. Madeline Levine of UNC wrote in her review of the book: "She shows how the detective stories, comic narratives, romantic tale, and realist novels not only entertained a not-yet-assimilated and not very well-educated readership but also expressed a range of contented definitions of Polishness." The book was chosen as one of Choice's top academic books of 2003. Dr. Majewski is Special Collections Librarian for the Polish Collection at the Orchard Lake Schools, in Orchard Lake, Michigan.

2002 - Two Awards.

Joseph Bigott, From Cottage to Bungalow: Houses and the Working Class in Metropolitan Chicago,1869-1929 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001).


Stephen Leahy, Clement Zablocki, Milwaukee's Most Politician: A Study of Local Politics and Congressional Foreign Policy (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2002). http://mel

2001 -No award

2000 - Deborah Anders Silverman, Polish-American Folklore (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000). html

1999 - Thomas S. Gladsky and Rita Holmes Gladsky, eds., Something of My Very Own to Say: American Women Writers of Polish Descent (Boulder, Colo.: East European Monographs; [New York]: Distributed by Columbia University Press, 1997). AND Joseph Wieczerzak, Bishop Francis Hodur: Biographical Essays (Boulder: East European Monographs; [New York]: Distributed by Columbia University Press, 1998). monographs/dp/0944497128/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

1998 - Mary Patrice Erdmans, Opposite Poles: Immigrants and Ethnics in Polish Chicago, 1976-1990 (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998).

1997 - Suzanne Strempek Shea, Hoopi Shoopi Donna (New York: Pocket Books, 1996). Strempek/dp/0671535455

1996 -No award

1995 - James S. Pula, Polish Americans: An Ethnic Community (New York: Twayne Publishers; London: Prentice Hall International, 1995).

1994 - Anthony Bukoski, Children of Strangers: Stories (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1993).

1993 - Thomas Gladsky, Princes, Peasants, and Other Polish Selves: Ethnicity in American Literature (Amherst, Mass. : University of Massachusetts Press, 1992).

1992 - Dominic Pacyga, Polish Immigrants and Industrial Chicago: Workers on the South Side, 1880-1922 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1991).

1991: James S. Pula and Eugene E. Dziedzic, United We Stand: The Role of Polish Workers in the New Mills Textile Strikes , 1912 and 1916 (Boulder, Colo.: East European Monographs ; New York : Distributed by Columbia University Press, 1990).

1990 - Barbara Stern Burstin, After the Holocaust: The Migration of Polish Jews and Christians to Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989).

1989 - Sister Ann Marie Knawa, O.S.F., As God Shall Ordain: A History of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, 1894-1987 (Lemont, Ill. : Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, 1989).

1988 - Josephine Wtulich, Marcin Kula, Witold Kula, and Nina Assorodobraj-Kula, Writing Home: Immigrants in Brazil and the United States, 1890-1891 (Boulder: East European Monographs; New York: Distributed by Columbia University Press, 1986).

1987 - John Bukowczyk, And My Children Did Not Know Me: A History of the Polish- Americans (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987). AND Eugene Obidinski and Helen Stankiewicz, Polish Folkways in America: Community and Family (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1987).

1986 - Frank Renkiewicz, For God, Country, and Polonia: One Hundred Years of the Orchard Lake Schools (Orchard Lake, Mich.: Center for Polish Studies and Culture, Orchard Lake Schools, 1985).

1985 - Donald Pienkos, PNA: A Centennial History of thePolish National Alliance of the United States of North America (Boulder: East European Monographs, New York: Distr. By Columbia Univ. Press, 1984).

1984 - John Bodnar, Roger Simon, and Michael Weber, Lives of Their Own: Blacks, Italians and Poles in Pittsburgh,1900-1960 (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1982).

1983 - Joseph Parot, Polish Catholics in Chicago, 1850-1920: A Religious History (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois Univ. Press, 1981).

1982: Lawrence Orton, Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair (Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1981).

1981: Anthony Kuzniewski, Faith and Fatherland: The Polish Church War in Wisconsin, 1896-1918 (Notre Dame: Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 1980).

Artwork by a Polish American artist Julian Stanczak: Structural Cadmium Yellow, Exchanging Light-A, Structural Cadmium Red, Exchanging Light-B, Structural Orange, Structural Magenta and Structural Cobalt from a 2012-13 series of paintings (24 by 24 each).