By Marek Zebrowski

For several years now, during every single visit in Warsaw, I have been always invited to top-level meetings at the Head Office of Poland’s State Archives (NDAP). This June was no exception and, once again, I was warmly welcomed by the Archives’ director, Dr. Paweł Pietrzyk in his elegant office in a renovated historical building complex on Rakowiecka Street. Drs. Anna Krochmal and Katarzyna Kiliszek accompanied the Archives’ Director on this occasion. Thanks to their direct friendly assistance and careful coordination over the past several years, the Polish Music Center was able to carry out numerous projects relating to archiving, preserving and digitizing the PMC’s Archival Collections.

Our talks centered this time on wrapping-up our joint work on the PMC’s Paderewski Archive—Paso Robles Collection, and mapping out strategies for upcoming projects that include work on the Zygmunt and Luisa Stojowski Collection, the Henryk Wars Manuscript Collection and Poland’s list for the UNESCO “Memory of the World” Program for 2022.

Before leaving Director Pietrzyk’s hospitable office, I was presented with the Archives’ latest publications, including:

  • Zbiorowy portret rodzin II Rzeczypospolitej [A Joint Family Portrait from the Second Polish Republic]. Curated by Dr. Anna Krochmal, this richly illustrated book with historical photos from private families’ archives covers such topics as diversity of national and religious customs, social structures, everyday life, and the role of women in Poland after World War I.
  • Poradnik rodzinnego archiwisty [Handbook for a Family Archivist]. Edited by Joanna Chojecka, this very useful book is a treasure trove of good advice and guidance for anyone interested in assembling and preserving family histories and documents. With illustrations and practical ways of dealing with manuscripts, typescripts, albums and notebooks, photos and memorabilia, this handbook will certainly assist us in working on our own collections.
  • Pamięć Polski [The Memory of Poland] is a catalogue of the 2021 exhibit covering items on this year’s UNESCO World Memory list. Curated by Dr. Anna Krochmal, it spotlights the rarest of documents in Poland’s history, including (among others) The Chełmno Edict of 1251, documents of King Przemysław II, documents issued by King Casimir the Great for the Armenian Bishop, works by the great astronomer Jan Heweliusz, maps of the Duchy of Pszczyna, the manuscript of Juliusz Słowacki’s epic poem Balladyna, and collection of poems by Kamil Baczyński.

Each of these items is very important to the PMC. As soon as this donation is processed, it will be made available to students, faculty, researchers all across the world and visitors—as soon, of course, as the pandemic-caused restrictions are fully lifted.