Honorary Members

Polish American Historical Association may occasionally bestow Honorary Membership upon eminent scholars that have made a major, sustained, and significant contribution to the study of Polonia.


In 2013, PAHA conferred Honorary Membership upon Dr. Victor Greene (1933-2014). Victor Greene, a member of the Polish American Historical Association since 1965, earned a B. A., cum laude, from Harvard University in 1955, an M. A. from the University of Rochester in 1960, and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. His dissertation was a pioneering exploration of the human side of the relationship between labor and management that was published as The Slavic Community on Strike: Immigrant Labor in Pennsylvania Anthracite by the University of Notre Dame Press in 1968. By centering his attention on Slavic miners, Greene directly confronted the view of Slavic workers as promoted by early American labor historian John R. Commons and his disciples: The stereotypical portrait of Slavic workers as too ignorant and passive to be receptive to the appeal of organized labor or, conversely, too radical to be controlled by union leadership. His well-researched study presented ample evidence that Slavic mine workers we not only receptive to the appeals of organized labor, but were active in its leadership as well as its ranks.

After teaching at the University of Notre Dame and Kansas State University he joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1971. In the succeeding years he forged an impressive career studying the history of American immigration, labor, and popular culture. Among his later publications were For God and Country: Polish and Lithuanian Ethnic Consciousness in America (Society Press, 1975), American Immigrant Leaders, 1800-1910; Marginality and Identity (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), A Passion for Polka: Old Time Ethnic Music in America (University of California Press, 1992), and A Singing Ambivalence: American Immigrants Between Old and New (Kent State University Press, 2004).

His book on the polka, one of the first serious academic studies of the popular music and dance form, was recognized with the Council for Wisconsin Writers Award and the Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award. In 1981 the Polish American Historical Association honored him with its Miecislaus Haiman Award for sustained contribution to the study of Polish Americans.

A dedicated teacher, Prof. Greene taught and lectured throughout the United States, and in China, the Czech Republic, England, and Poland. Known on his home campus for his support of students, he established a fund to present an annual award to a student studying American history. So well regarded was he that his dedication to the university and its students was recognized in the naming of the history department's annual award for the best paper written on the history capstone course the Victor Greene Award. Prof. Greene was also active in several professional organizations. He was a longtime member of the editorial boards of Polish American Studies and the Journal of American Ethnic History, served as president and executive secretary of the Immigration History Society, and was a member of the executive boards of the Wisconsin Society for Jewish Learning, the Ko-Thi African American Dance Troupe, the Wisconsin Labor History Society, and the Milwaukee County Historical Society. He was a member of the History Committee of the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Centennial Commission. In 2009 the Immigration and Ethnic History Society honored with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.