Swastek Prize

The Swastek Prize is awarded annually for the best article published during the previous year in a given volume of Polish American Studies, the journal of the Polish American Historical Association. This award, established in 1981, is named in honor of Rev. Joseph V. Swastek (1913-1977), the editor of Polish American Studies for many years, and a past president of the Polish American Historical Association. The 2015 Swastek Prize recognizes articles published in 2014 and consists of a certificate and a cash award.


Dr. Marta Cieslak accepts her Swastek Prize from Dr. Anna Mazurkiewicz. Photo by Marcin Szerle.

For the Swastek Prize for the best article in volume 73 (2016) of Polish American Studies, the Editorial Board nominated Marta Cieślak's "Crossing the Boundaries of Modernity: The Post-Abolition Journey of Polish Peasants to the United States." As some of the board members noted, this original piece is based on the author's 2014 dissertation and does not only reflect extensive archival research but also a thorough understanding of the social and economic conditions in mid-19th century Poland, of the transatlantic migration, and the social and economic situation of emancipated slaves in the postbellum South. Cieślak's argument is original and compelling, and constitutes a historiographically significant project.

2016 - Prof. Pawel Zietara of Warsaw, Poland, “Troubles with ‘Mela’: A Polish American Reporter, the Secret Services of People’s Poland, and the FBI” (PAS 72, No 1, Spring 2015).

The Editorial Board of the Polish American Studies stated: "Prof. Zietara’s article assembles massive, painstaking research and presents a portrait of communist activity in the USA in the postwar period that is not well known. It brings to light a subject both significant and fascinating, and is based almost entirely on original archival sources."

2015 - Lori A. Matten. "Scouting for Identity: Recruiting Daughters to Save the Traditional Polish Family During the Interwar Years" (PAS 71/1, Spring 2014).

The PAS Board stated: "The author presents sound exploration of the history and formation of Polish American organizations conceptualized by questions of gender and ethnicity. She skillfully examines understudied processes of identity transformations and assimilation of the second generation in the interwar period, as observed through the lens of gender distinctions present in the Polish scouting organizations in the United States. The article is well contextualized and makes good use of both primary and secondary sources. It can be used in any classroom to foster discussion on U.S. history, Polonia history, and gender relations in ethnic communities."

2014 - Leon Kurdek, "The Real-Life Story Behind -Call Northside 777: The Crime, the Conviction, and the Search for Justice" Polish American Studies, Vol. 70, no. 2 (Autumn 2013): 5-78.

“The subject matter is important given the prominence of the Hollywood movie, its influence on how Polish Americans are viewed, and the many Polish American aspects that were left out of the film. The editors consider it a meticulously researched reconstruction of a story with compelling human interest which also deals with the interplay of life with art and Hollywood’s depiction of Polish Americans. A very detailed piece of detective work, it holds the interest of readers from start to finish, is clearly written, and raises a number of very serious and provocative questions about the character of American justice and the consequences of injustice as experienced by a family of poor, working class Polish Americans during the worst times of the Great Depression—a topic that has implications for all disadvantaged peoples. The treatment is objective, with ample evidence provided to support its assertions. The article brought to light an important chapter in Polish American history that had been largely forgotten even within Polonia."

2013 - Anna Mazurkiewicz, "'Join, or Die'--The Road to Cooperation Among East European Exiled Political Leaders in the United States, 1949-1954," Vol. 69, No.2 (Autumn 2012). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/poliamerstud.69.2.0005

2012 - Myron Momryk, "Ignacy Witcza's Passport, Soviet Espionage, and the Origins of the Cold War in Canada," Vol.68, No. 2 (Autumn 2011). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23075179

2011 - Robert Szymczak, "Cold War Crusader: Arthur Bliss Lane and the Private Committee to Investigate the Katyn Massacre, 1949-1952," Vol. 6, No. 2 (Autumn 2010). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41162458

2010 - Suzanne M. Zukowski, "From Peasant to Proletarian: Home Ownership in Milwaukee's Polonia" Vol. 66, No. 2 (Autumn 2009). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25594426

2009 - Iwona Drag Korga, "The Information Policy of the Polish Government-in-Exile toward the American Public During World War II" Vol. 64, No. 1 (Spring 2007). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148761

2007 - Maja Trochimczyk, "The Impact of Mazowsze and Slask on Polish Folk Dancing in California," Vol. 63, No. 1 (Spring 2006). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148738

2006 - Adam Walaszek, "Tomasz Siemiradzki: An Intellectual in Ethnic Politics," Vol. 62, No. 2 (Autumn 2005). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148727

2005 - Neal Pease, “The Kosciuszko Reds, 1909-1919: Kings of the Milwaukee Sandlots," Vol. 61, No. 1 (Spring 2004). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148690

2004 - Ann Hetzel Gunkel, “The Sacred in the City: Polonian Street Processions as Countercultural Practice," Vol. 60, No. 2 (Autumn 2003). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148668

2003 - Stanislaus A. Blejwas, “American Polonia and the School Strike in Wrzesnia," Vol. 59, No. 1 (Spring 2002). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148625

2002 - Anna Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, "The Mobilization of American Polonia for the Cause of the Displaced Persons," Vol. 58, No. 1 (Spring 2001). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148599

2001 - Anna Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann, "The Polish Post-World War II Diaspora: An Agenda for a New Millenium," Vol. 57, No. 2 (Autumn 2000). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148590

2000 - Timothy G. Borden, "The Salvation of the Poles: Working Class Ethnicity and Americanization Efforts During the Interwar Period in Toledo, Ohio" Vol. 56, No. 2 (Autumn 1999) Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148566

1999 - Stanislaus A. Blejwas, "The Republic of Poland and the Origins of the Polish American Congress," Vol. 55, No. 1 (Spring 1998). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148529

1998 - Francis C. Kajencki, "Kosciuszko's Role in the Siege of Ninety-Six," Vol. 54, No. 2 (Autumn 1997). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148519

1997 - Celia Berdes and Adam Zych, "The Quality of Life of Polish Immigrant and Polish American Ethnic Elderly," Vol. 53, No.1 (Spring 1996). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148481

1996 - John Radziłowski, "The Other Side of Chicago: The Poles of Arizona" Vol. 52, No. 2 (Autumn 1995). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148469

1995 - Robert D. Ubriaco, Jr., "Bread and Butter Politics or Foreign Policy Concerns? Class Versus Ethnicity in the Midwestern Polish American Community During the 1946 Congressional Elections," Vol. 51, No. 2 (Autumn 1994). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148441

1994 - Stanislaus A. Blejwas, "Stanislaw Osada: Immigrant Nationalist," Vol. 50, No. 1 (Spring 1993). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148403

1993 - Adam Walaszek, "How Could It All Appear So Rosy?--- Re-emigrants from the United States in Poland, 1919-1924" Vol. 49, No. 2 (Autumn 1992) Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148389

1992 - John Radzilowski, "One Community, One Church, Two Towns: The Poles of Southwestern Minnesota, 1882-1905" Vol. 48, No. 2 (Autumn 1991). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148360

1991 - William J. Galush, "Purity and Power: Chicago Polonian Feminists, 1880-1914," Vol. 47, No. 1 (Spring 1990) Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148315

1990 - Marcin Kula, "Those Who Failed to Reach the United States: Polish Proletarians in Cuba During The Interwar Period," Vol. 46, No. 1 (Spring 1989) Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148280

1989 - Mary E. Cygan, "A New Art for Polonia: Polish American Radio Comedy During the 1930s," Vol. 45, No. 2 (Autumn 1988). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148258

1988 - Anthony J. Kuzniewski, "Jestesmy Polakami': Wenceslaus Kruszka and the Value of America's Polish Heritage" Vol. 44, No. 2 (Autumn 1987). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148240

1987 - David G. Januszewski, "The Case of the Polish Exile Government in the American Press, 1939-1945" Vol. 43, No. 1 (Spring 1986). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148190

1986 - Stanislaus A. Blejwas, "Puritans and Poles: The New England Literary Image of the Polish Peasant Immigrant" Vol. 42, No. 2 (Autumn 1985). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148179

1985 - John J. Bukowczyk, "Polish Rural Culture and Immigrant Working Class Formation, 1880-1914" Vol. 41, No. 2 (Autumn 1984) Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148154

1983 - Stanley L. Cuba, "Reverend Anthony Klawiter: Polish Roman and National Catholic Builder-Priest" Vol. 40, No. 2 (Autumn 1983). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148133

1982 - Stanislaus A. Blejwas, "Old and New Polonias: Tensions Within an Ethnic Community" Vol. 38, No. 2 (Autumn 1981). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148080

1981 - Daniel S. Buczek, "Ethnic to American: Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Stamford, Connecticut," Vol. 37, No. 2 (Autumn 1980). Article JSTOR URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20148049