Northeast (New York · New Jersey · Pennsylvania ·
Connecticut · Massachusetts)
Midwest (Michigan · Illinois · Wisconsin ·
Ohio · Minnesota · Indiana · North Dakota)
American English dialects), Polish
Predominantly Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Poles, Other West Slavic
Americans (Czech Americans, Kashubian
Americans, Silesian Americans, Slovak Americans, & Sorbian
Americans who have total or partial Polish
ancestry. There are an estimated 9.5 million Polish Americans,
representing about 3% of the U.S. population.
Americans are the largest Slavic ethnic group in the United
States, second largest Central European group and the eighth largest
immigrant group overall.
The first Polish settlers arrived at Walter Raleigh's failed Roanoke
Colony in 1585. In 1608 Polish settlers came to the Virginia
Colony as skilled craftsmen.
Two early immigrants,
Casimir Pulaski and Tadeusz Kościuszko, led
armies in the Revolutionary War and are remembered as national heroes.
Overall, more than one million
Poles and Polish subjects have
immigrated to the United States, primarily during the late 19th and
early 20th centuries. Exact immigration numbers are unknown. Many
immigrants were classified as "Russian", "German", and "Austrian" by
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service as the Polish state
did not exist from 1795 to 1918, and thus the former territories of
Poland at this time were under Prussian, Austrian-Hungarian and
Russian control. Complicating the U.S. Census figures further are the
high proportion of Polish
Americans who marry outside their ethnicity;
in 1940, about 50 percent married other American ethnics, and a study
in 1988 found that 54 percent of Polish
Americans three generations or
higher had been of mixed ancestry. The Polish American Cultural Center
places a figure of
Americans who have some Polish ancestry at 19-20
In 2000, 667,414
Americans over 5 years old reported Polish as the
language spoken at home, which is about 1.4% of the census groups who
speak a language other than English or 0.25% of the U.S. population.
2 Family names
3.2 U.S. Census
New York City Metropolitan Area
New York City Metropolitan Area / Northern New Jersey
4.2.1 Linden New Jersey
4.2.2 Other areas
Wisconsin and Minnesota
4.8 By state totals
4.9 By percentage of total population
7.2 Cultural identity
8 Contributions to American culture
8.1 Architectural influence
9 Notable people
10 See also
12.1 Memory and historiography
13 External links
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March
Main article: History of the
Poles in the United States
Their history is divided into three stages:
From the colonial era down to 1870, small numbers of
Poles and Polish
subjects came to America as individuals or in small family groups, and
they quickly assimilated and did not form separate communities. Some
Poland even assimilated into cities which were Polish (and
also other Slavic, and sometimes additionally Jewish) bastions in
order to conceal their
From 1870 to 1914,
Poles and Polish subjects formed a significant part
of the wave of immigration from Germany, Imperial Russia, and Austria
Hungary. The Ethnic
Poles and Jews in particular came in family
groups, settled in and/or blended into largely Polish neighborhoods
and other Slavic bastions, and aspired to earn relatively high wages
compared to what they could earn back in Europe (thus why many took
the ample job opportunities for unskilled manual labor in industry and
mining). The main Ethnically-Polish-American organizations were
founded because of high Polish interest in the
parochial schools, and local community affairs. Relatively few were
Since 1914, the
United States has seen a small amount of emigration
from Poland, and the coming of age of numerous generations of fully
assimilated Polish Americans. The income levels have gone up from well
below average, to above average.
Poles became active members of the
New Deal Coalition from the 1930s to the 1960s, but since then
they have moved to the suburbs and have become more conservative and
vote less heavily Democratic. Outside of Republican and Democratic
politics, politics such as those of
Agudath Israel of America have
heavily involved Polish-
Americans - 2000
Poland - 2010
Number of Polish Americans
(self-reported) as per U.S. Census
Polish-American grocery, 1922, Detroit, Michigan.
Lopata (1976) argues that
Poles differed from most ethnics in America,
in several ways. First, they did not plan to remain permanently and
become "Americanized". Instead, they came temporarily, to earn money,
invest, and wait for the right opportunity to return. Their intention
was to ensure for themselves a desirable social status in the old
world. However, many of the temporary migrants had decided to become
Many found manual labor jobs in the coal mines of
Pennsylvania and the
heavy industries (steel mills, iron foundries, slaughterhouses, oil
and sugar refineries), of the
Great Lakes cities of Chicago,
Pittsburgh, Detroit, Buffalo, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Toledo.
The U.S. Census asked Polish immigrants to specify Polish as their
native language beginning in
Chicago in 1900, allowing the government
to enumerate them as an individual nationality when there was no
Polish nation-state. No distinction is made in the American census
between ethnically Polish
Americans and descendants of non-ethnic
Poles, such as Jews or Ukrainians, who were born in the territory of
Poland and considered themselves Polish nationals. Therefore, some
say, of the 10 million Polish Americans, only a certain portion are of
Polish ethnic descent. On the other hand, many ethnic
entering the US from 1795 to 1917, when
Poland did not exist, did not
identify themselves as ethnic
Poles and instead identified themselves
as either German, Austrian or Russian (this pertained to the nations
Poland from 1795 to 1917). Therefore, the actual number of
Americans of at least partial Polish ancestry, could be well over 10
million. In the 2011
United States Census Bureau's Population
Estimates, there are between 9,365,239 and 9,530,571
Polish descent, with over 500,000 being foreign-born.
Americans have assimilated very quickly to
American society. Between 1940 and 1960, only 20 percent of the
children of Polish-American ethnic leaders spoke Polish regularly,
compared to 50 percent for Ukrainians. In the early 1960s, 3,000
of Detroit's 300,000 Polish-
Americans changed their names each year.
Language proficiency in Polish is rare in Polish-Americans, as 91.3%
speak "English only". In 1979, the 8 million respondents of Polish
ancestry reported that only 41.5 percent had single ancestry, whereas
57.3% of Greeks, 52% of Italians and Sicilians, and 44% of Ukrainians
had done so. Polish-
Americans tended to marry exogamously in the
postwar era in high numbers, and tended to marry within the Catholic
population, often to persons of German (17%), Italian (10%), East
European (8%), Irish (5%), French-Canadian (4%), Spanish-speaking
(2%), Lithuanian (2%), and English (1%) ancestry.
By educational attainment, the U.S. Census estimates that 37.6% have
bachelor's degrees or higher, whereas the American population as a
whole is 28.5%. The median household income for
Polish descent is estimated by the U.S. Census as $61,846, with no
statistically significant differences from other Slavic-American
groups, Czech, Slovak, and Ukrainian. The median household income for
those of Russian ancestry has been reported as higher on the U.S.
Census, at $70,310.
Socioeconomic indicators: 2011
College degrees (%)
Total US Population
The vast majority of Polish immigrants settled in metropolitan areas,
attracted by jobs in industry. The minority, by some estimates, only
ten percent, settled in rural areas.
Historian John Bukowczyk noted that Polish immigrants in America were
highly mobile, and 40 to 60 percent were likely to move from any given
urban neighborhood within 10 years. The reasons for this are very
individualistic; Bukowczyk's theory is that many immigrants with
agricultural backgrounds were eager to migrate because they were
finally freed from local plots of land as they had been in Poland.
Others ventured into business and entrepreneurship, and the majority
of them opened small retail shops such as bakeries, butcher shops,
saloons, and print shops.
Poles in Chicago
The Gateway Theatre, seat of the Copernicus Foundation, in Jefferson
Park, Chicago. The Baroque spire is modeled on the Royal Castle,
The deli counter at the former Bobak's Polish supermarket in Chicago.
One of the most notable in size of the urban Polish American
communities is in
Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. The Almanac of
American Politics 2004 states that "Even today, in Archer Heights (a
neighborhood of Chicago), you can scarcely go a block without hearing
someone speaking Polish."
Chicago bills itself as the largest Polish city outside of Poland,
with approximately 185,000
Polish language speakers, making Polish
the third most spoken language in Chicago. The influence of Chicago's
Polish community is demonstrated by the numerous Polish-American
organizations: the Polish Museum of America, Polish Roman Catholic
Union of America (the oldest Polish American fraternal organization in
the United States), Polish American Association, Polish American
Congress, Polish National Alliance,
Polish Falcons and the Polish
Highlanders Alliance of North America. In addition,
Illinois has more
than one million people that are of Polish descent, the third largest
ethnic group after the German and Irish Americans.
Chicago's Polish community is concentrated along the city's Northwest
and Southwest Sides, along
Milwaukee and Archer Avenues, respectively.
Taste of Polonia festival is celebrated at the Copernicus
Foundation, in Jefferson Park, every
Labor Day weekend. Nearly 3
million people of Polish descent live in the area between
Detroit, including Northern Indiana, a part of the Chicago
metropolitan area. The community has played a role as a staunch
supporter of the Democratic machine, and has been rewarded with
several congressional seats. The leading representative has been
Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, one of the most powerful members of
Congress (1959 to 1995), especially on issues of taxation, before he
went to prison.
New York City Metropolitan Area
New York City Metropolitan Area / Northern New Jersey
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, considered the center of New York City's Little
New York City
New York City Metropolitan Area, including the borough of Brooklyn
New York City
New York City as well as Northern New Jersey, is home to the second
largest community of Polish Americans and is now closely behind
Chicago area's Polish population. Greenpoint, New York in Brooklyn
is home to the Little
Poland of New York City, while Williamsburg,
Maspeth and Ridgewood also contain vibrant Polish communities. In
2014, the New York metropolitan area surpassed
Chicago as the
metropolitan area attracting the most new legal immigrants to the
United States from Poland.
Linden New Jersey
New Jersey in Union County, near Newark Liberty International
Airport, has become heavily first-generation Polish in recent
years[when?]. 15.6% of the residents five years old and above in the
city of Linden primarily speak the
Polish language at home and a
variety of Polish-speaking establishments may be found by the Linden
station, which is a direct line to Manhattan. St. Theresa's Roman
Catholic Church offers Polish-language Mass.
In Hudson County, New Jersey, Bayonne houses New Jersey's largest
Polish American community, while Wallington in Bergen County, New
Jersey contains the state's highest percentage of Polish
one of the highest percentages in the United States, at over 40%.
However, within New Jersey, Polish populations are additionally
increasing rapidly in Clifton,
Passaic County as well as in Garfield,
Riverhead, New York, located on eastern Long Island, contains a
neighborhood known as Polish Town, where many Polish immigrants have
continued to settle since the
World War II
World War II era; the town has Polish
architecture, stores, and St. Isidore's R.C. Church, and Polish Town
hosts an annual summer Polish Fair.
LOT Polish Airlines
LOT Polish Airlines provides
non-stop flight service between
JFK International Airport
JFK International Airport in the
Queens borough of New York City, Newark and Warsaw.
Kosciuszko Foundation is based in New York.
Wisconsin and Minnesota
Milwaukee's Polish population has always been overshadowed by the
city's more numerous
German American inhabitants. Nevertheless, the
city's once numerous Polish community built a number of Polish
Cathedrals, among them the magnificent
Basilica of St. Josaphat
Basilica of St. Josaphat and
Catholic Church. Many Polish residents and businesses
are still located in the Lincoln Village neighborhood. The city is
also home to Polish Fest, the largest Polish festival in the United
States, where Polish
Americans from all over
Wisconsin and nearby
Chicago, come to celebrate Polish Culture, through music, food and
Wisconsin, Minnesota, and
Nebraska represent a different type of
settlement with significant Polish communities, having been
established in rural areas. Historian John Radzilowski estimates that
up to a third of
Minnesota settled in rural areas, where they
established 40 communities, that were often centered around a Catholic
church. Most of these settlers came from the Polish lands that had
been taken by Prussia during the Partitions, with a sub-group coming
from Silesia. The Kaszub minority, from Poland's Baltic coast, was
also strongly represented among Polish immigrants to Minnesota, most
notably in Winona.
See also: History of the Polish
Americans in Metro Detroit
Michigan's Polish population of more than 850,000 is the third-largest
among US states, behind that of New York and Illinois. Polish
Americans make up 8.6% of Michigan's total population. The city of
Detroit has a very large Polish community, which historically settled
in Poletown and Hamtramck on the east side of Detroit, the
Michigan Avenue from 23rd street into east
Dearborn, the west side of Delray, parts of Warrendale and several
sections of Wyandotte downriver. The northern part of Poletown was
cleared of residents, to make way for the General Motors
Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant. Today it contains some of the most
opulent Polish churches in America like St. Stanislaus, Sweetest Heart
of Mary, St. Albertus, St. Josephat and St. Hyacinthe.
Michigan as a
state has Polish populations throughout. In addition to metropolitan
Detroit, Grand Rapids, Bay City, Alpena and the surrounding area, the
thumb of Michigan, Manistee, and numerous places in northern lower
Michigan also have sizable Polish populations.
The Polish influence is still felt throughout the entire metropolitan
Detroit area, especially the suburb of Wyandotte, which is slowly
emerging as the major center of Polish American activities in the
state. An increase in new immigration from
Poland is helping to
bolster the parish community of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and a host of
Polish American civic organizations, located within the city of
Wyandotte. Also, the
Detroit suburb of Troy is home to the American
Polish Cultural Center, where the National Polish-American Sports Hall
of Fame has over 200 artifacts on display from over 100 inductees,
Stan Musial and Mike Krzyzewski. St. Mary's Preparatory,
a high school in Orchard Lake with historically Polish roots, sponsors
a popular annual Polish County Fair that bills itself as "America's
Largest High School Fair."
Polish and Polish themed items booth at the Lagrange Street Polish
Festival in Toledo, Ohio.
Ohio is home to more than 440,000 people of Polish descent, their
presence felt most strongly in the
Greater Cleveland area, where half
of Ohio's Polish population resides. The city of Cleveland, Ohio
has a large Polish community, especially in historic Slavic Village,
as part of its Warszawa Section.
Poles from this part of Cleveland
migrated to the suburbs, such as Garfield Heights, Parma and Seven
Hills. Parma has even recently been designated a Polish Village
commercial district. Farther out, other members of Cleveland's
Polish community live in Brecksville, Independence and Broadview
Heights. Many of these
Poles return to their Polish roots, by
attending masses at St. Stanislaus Church, on East 65th Street and
Poles in Cleveland celebrate the annual Harvest
Festival, which is usually held at the end of August. It features
polka music, Polish food and all things Polish. Cleveland's other
Polish section is in Tremont, located on Cleveland's west side. The
home parishes are St. John Cantius and St. John Kanty. They also host
Polish celebratory events in Cleveland.
Poles, in Cleveland, were instrumental in forming the Third Federal
Savings and Loan, in 1938. After seeing fellow
against by Cleveland's banks, Ben Stefanski formed Third Federal.
Today the Stefanski family still controls the bank. Unlike Cleveland's
KeyBank and National City Corp., which have their headquarters in
Downtown Cleveland, Third Federal is on Broadway Avenue in the Slavic
Village neighborhood. Third Federal Savings and Loan is in the top 25
saving and loan institutions in the United States. In 2003, they
Florida banking company and have branches in
Panna Maria, Texas
Panna Maria, Texas was founded by Upper Silesian settlers on Christmas
Eve in 1854. Some people still speak
Main article: List of U.S. cities with large Polish American
Marker of immigration from
Texas - Indianola, Texas
Other industrial cities, with major Polish communities, include:
Buffalo, New York; Boston; Baltimore; New Britain, Connecticut;
Portland, Oregon; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; Columbus, Ohio; Erie,
Pennsylvania; Rochester, New York; Syracuse, New York; Los Angeles;
San Francisco; Pittsburgh; central/western Massachusetts; and Duluth,
Luzerne County, in northeastern Pennsylvania, is the only county in
the United States, where a plurality of residents state their ancestry
as Polish. (See: Maps of American ancestries) This includes the cities
of Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Hazelton, and Nanticoke. Many of the
immigrants were drawn to this area, because of the mining of
Anthracite coal in the region. Polish influences are still common
today, in the form of church bazaars, polka music, and Polish cuisine.
It is widely believed that Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, has one of the
fastest growing Polish communities in the United States.
In 2007, at the urging of Attorney Adrian Baron and the local Polonia
Business Association, New Britain,
Connecticut officially designated
its Broad Street neighborhood as Little Poland, where an estimated
30,000 residents claim Polish heritage. Visitors can do an entire
day's business completely in Polish including banking, shopping,
dining, legal consultations, and even dance lessons. The area has
retained its Polish character since 1890.
By state totals
Distribution of Polish Americans, according to the 2000 United States
According to the 2000
United States Census, the U.S. states with the
largest numbers of self-reported
Americans of Polish
01. New York (986,141)
New Jersey (576,473)
20. Georgia (82,765)
51. District of Columbia (7,910)
By percentage of total population
The bigger the symbol, the higher the percentage of Polish Americans
in that state. For the purposes of this map
Alaska were not
included, however they are listed in the raw numbers below.
A map of the approximate number of Polish
Americans in each one of the
US states as percentage of its total population, labelled in
increments between 1% and 10%.
New Jersey 7.35%
10. New York 5.24%
Rhode Island 4.58%
New Hampshire 4.20%
North Dakota 3.07%
27. Washington 2.06%
South Dakota 1.75%
34. District of Columbia 1.70%
North Carolina 1.46%
New Mexico 1.35%
South Carolina 1.35%
41. Georgia 1.15%
Interior of St Mary of the Angels
Catholic Church in Chicago.
St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Chicago, Illinois, the city's first
As in Poland, the majority of Polish immigrants are Roman Catholic.
Historically, less than 5% of
Americans who identified as Polish would
state any other religion but Roman Catholic.
Jewish immigrants from
Poland, largely without exception, self identified as "Jewish" or
"Russian Jewish" when inside the United States, and faced a historical
trajectory far different from that of the ethnic Poles. Anusim
Poland also varied in their self-identification, but were
more likely to identify as "Polish" in the United States.
Americans built dozens of Polish Cathedrals in the Great Lakes
New England regions and in the Mid-Atlantic States. Chicago's
Poles founded the following churches: St. Stanislaus Kostka, Holy
Trinity, St. John Cantius, Holy Innocents, St. Helen, St. Fidelis, St.
Mary of the Angels, St. Hedwig, St. Josaphat, St. Francis of Assisi
(Humboldt Park), St. Hyacinth Basilica, St. Wenceslaus, Immaculate
Heart of Mary, St. Stanislaus B&M, St. James (Cragin), St.
Ladislaus, St. Constance, St. Mary of Perpetual Help, St. Barbara, SS.
Peter & Paul, St. Joseph (Back of the Yards), Five Holy Martyrs,
St. Pancratius, St. Bruno, St. Camillus, St. Michael (South Chicago),
Immaculate Conception (South Chicago), St. Mary Magdalene, St.
Bronislava, St. Thecla, St. Florian, St. Mary of Częstochowa
(Cicero), St. Simeon (Bellwood), St. Blase (Summit), St. Glowienke
(Downers Grove), St. John the Fisherman (Lisle), St. Isidore the
Farmer (Blue Island), St. Andrew the Apostle (Calumet City) and St.
John the Baptist (Harvey), as well as St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital,
on the Near West Side.
Our Lady of Lourdes
Catholic Church, Little Falls, Minnesota. Built in
1922 by Polish-American Immigrants
Poles established approximately 50 Roman
Catholic parishes in
Minnesota. Among them: St. Wojciech (Adalbert) and St. Kazimierz
(Casimir) in St. Paul; Holy Cross, St. Philip, St. Hedwig (Jadwiga
Slaska) and All Saints, in Minneapolis; Our Lady Star of the Sea and
St. Casimir's in Duluth; and St. Kazimierz (Casimir) and St. Stanislaw
Kostka in Winona. A few of the parishes of particular note, founded by
Poles elsewhere in Minnesota, include: St. John Cantius in Wilno; St.
Jozef (Joseph) in Browerville; St. John the Baptist in Virginia; St.
Mary in Częstochowa; St. Wojciech (Adalbert) in Silver Lake; Our Lady
of Mount Carmel in Opole; Our Lady of Lourdes in Little Falls; St.
Stanislaus B&M in Sobieski; St. Stanislaus Kostka in Bowlus; St.
Hedwig in Holdingford; Sacred Heart in Flensburg; Holy Cross in North
Prairie; Holy Cross in Harding; and St. Isadore in Moran Township.
Poles in Cleveland established St. Hyacinth's (now closed), Saint
Stanislaus Church (1873), Sacred Heart (1888–2010) Immaculate Heart
of Mary (1894), St. John Cantius (Westside Poles), St. Barbara
(closed), Sts Peter and Paul Church (1927) in Garfield Heights, Saint
Therese (1927) Garfield Heights, Marymount Hospital (1948) Garfield
Heights, and Saint Monica Church (1952) Garfield Heights. Also, the
Polish Community created the Our Lady of
Częstochowa Shrine on the
campus of Marymount Hospital.
Poles in South Bend,
Indiana founded four parishes: St. Hedwig Parish
(1877), St. Casimir Parish (1898), St. Stanislaus Parish (1907), and
St. Adalbert Parish, South Bend
St. Adalbert Parish, South Bend (1910).
Circa 1897, in Pittsburgh's Polish Hill, Immaculate Heart of Mary,
St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica in
Rome was founded.
Lady of Częstochowa, the "Black Madonna", a religious figure in
Americans preserved their longstanding tradition of venerating
the Lady of Czestochowa in the United States. Replicas of the painting
are common in Polish American churches and parishes, and many churches
and parishes are named in her honor. The veneration of the Virgin Mary
in Polish parishes is a significant difference between Polish
Catholicism and Catholicism; Polish nuns in the Felician Order for
instance, took to Marianism as the cornerstone of their spiritual
development, and Polish churches in the U.S. were seen as "cult-like"
in their veneration of Mary. Religious catechism and writings from
convents found that Polish nuns in the
Felician Sisters and The
Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth were taught to have "a sound
appreciation of Mary's role in the mystery of the Redemption and ...a
filial confidence in her patronage," more explicitly, to be "a true
daughter to the immaculate Virgin Mary". The Marianism that was taught
in Polish parish schools in the
United States was done independent of
Catholic Church, and demonstrated autonomy on the part of the nuns
who taught Polish American youths. It is notable that there was a
concurrent movement in
Poland that eventually led to a separatist
Catholic church, the Mariavite Church, which greatly expanded the
veneration of the Virgin Mary in its doctrine. In Poland, the Virgin
Mary was believed to serve as a mother of mercy and salvation for
Catholics, and throughout the Middle Ages, Polish knights prayed to
her before battle. Polish American churches featured replicas of the
Lady of Częstochowa, which was on feature at the Jasna Góra
Monastery and holds national and religious significance because of its
connection to a victorious military defense in 1655. Several towns in
America are named Częstochowa, in commemoration of the town in
Though the majority of Polish
Americans remained loyal to the Catholic
Church, a breakaway
Catholic church was founded in 1897 in Scranton,
Pennsylvania. Polish parishioners founded the church to assert
independence from the
Catholic Church in America. The split was in
rebellion from the church leadership, then dominated by Irish bishops
and priests, and lacking in
Polish language speakers and Polish church
leaders. It exists today with 25,000 parishioners and remains
independent from the authority of the Roman
Poland is also home to followers of
Protestantism and the Eastern
Orthodox Church. Small groups of both of these groups also immigrated
to the United States. One of the most celebrated painters of religious
icons in North America today is a Polish American Eastern Orthodox
priest, Fr. Theodore Jurewicz, who singlehandedly painted New
Gračanica Monastery in Third Lake, Illinois, over the span of three
A small group of Lipka Tatars, originating from the
helped co-found the first
Muslim organization in Brooklyn, New York,
in 1907 and later, a mosque, which is still in use.
Main article: Poland–
United States relations
Main article: antipolonism
The Polish community was long the subject of anti-Polish sentiment in
America. The word, Polack, has become a racial slur. This prejudice
was partially associated with anti-Catholicism, and early 20th century
worries about being overrun by Central European immigrants. Polish
people were not considered white in America, until the 1960s.[citation
Cultural contributions of Polish
Americans cover a broad spectrum
including media, publishing industry, religious presence, artistic
life, cuisine and museums as well as festivals.
Polish American novelty flag.
Among the most notable Polish American media groups are: the
Hippocrene Books (founded by Polish American George Blagowidow); TVP
Polonia; Polsat 2 International; TVN International; Polvision; TV4U
WPNA Radio Chicago;
Polish Radio External Service
Polish Radio External Service (formerly
Radio Polonia); Polonia Today and the
Warsaw Voice. There are also
Polish American newspapers and magazines, such as the Dziennik
Związkowy, PL magazine, Polish Weekly Chicago, the Super Express
Nowy Dziennik in New York and Tygodnik Polski and The Polish
Times in Detroit, not to mention the
Ohio University Press Series in
Polish American Studies, Przeglad Polski Online, Polish American
Journal, the Polish News Online,Am-Pol Eagle Newspaper,
and Progress for Poland, among others.
Even in long-integrated communities, remnants of Polish culture and
vocabulary remain. Roman
Catholic churches built by Polish American
communities often serve as a vehicle for cultural retention.
During the 1950s–1970s, the Polish wedding was often an all-day
event. Traditional Polish weddings in
Chicago metropolitan area, in
areas such as the southeast side of Chicago, inner suburbs like
Calumet City and Hegewisch, and Northwest
Indiana suburbs, such as
Whiting, Hammond and East Chicago, always occurred on Saturdays. The
receptions were typically held in a large hall, such as a VFW Hall. A
polka band of drums, a singer, accordion, and trumpet, entertained the
people, as they danced traditional dances, such as the oberek, "Polish
Hop" and the waltz. Always an important part of Slavic culture, food
played a very important role. The musicians, as well as the guests,
were expected to enjoy ample amounts of both food and drink. Foods,
such as Polish sausage, sauerkraut, pierogi and kluski were common.
Common drinks were beer, screwdrivers and highballs. Many popular
Polish foods became a fixture in the American cuisine of today,
including kiełbasa (Polish sausage), babka cake, kaszanka (kasanzka)
Polish American cultural groups include Polish American Arts
Association and the Polish Falcons.
Among the many Polish American writers are a number of poets, such as
Phil Boiarski, Hedwig Gorski, John Guzlowski, John Minczeski, Linda
Nemec Foster, Leonard Kress (poet and translator), Cecilia Woloch, Kim
Mark Pawlak (poet and editor), along with novelists Leslie
Pietrzyk, Thad Rutkowski, Suzanne Strempek Shea and others.
Polish Museum of America
Polish Museum of America in Chicago.
Among the best known Polish American museums are the Polish Museum of
America in Chicago's old Polish Downtown; founded in 1935, the largest
ethnic museum in the U.S. sponsored by the Polish Roman
of America. The Museum Library ranks as one of the best, outside of
Poland. Equally ambitious is the
Polish American Museum
Polish American Museum located in
Port Washington, New York, founded in 1977. It features displays of
folk art, costumes, historical artifacts and paintings, as well as
bilingual research library with particular focus on achievements of
the people of Polish heritage in America. There is also the
Polish Cultural Institute and Museum of Winona, Minnesota, known
informally as "The Polish Museum of Winona." Formally established in
1979 by Father Paul Breza, the Polish Museum of Winona features
exhibits pertaining to Winona's Kashubian Polish culture and hosts a
wide range of events celebrating America's Polish-American heritage in
Polish-American parade in New York City, 2008
There are a number of unique festivals, street parties and parades
held by the Polish American community. The
Polish Fest in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, which is a popular annual festival, takes place at the
Henry Maier Festival Park. It is also the largest Polish festival in
the United States. It attracts Polish
Americans from all over
Wisconsin and nearby Chicago, who come to celebrate Polish culture
through music, food and entertainment.
New York City
New York City is home to the
New York Polish Film Festival, an annual film festival showcasing
current and past films of Polish cinema. NYPFF is the only annual
presentation of Polish films in
New York City
New York City and the largest festival
promoting and presenting Polish films on the East Coast. The
Polish Festival in Syracuse's Clinton Square has become the largest
cultural event in the history of the Polish community in Central New
York. There's also the
Taste of Polonia festival held in
Labor Day weekend since 1979 at the Copernicus Cultural and Civic
Center in the Jefferson Park area. The Polish Festival in Portland,
Oregon is reported to be the largest in the Western United States.
One of the newest and most ambitious festivals is the Seattle Polish
Film Festival organized in conjunction with the Polish Film Festival
in Gdynia, Poland.
Kansas is home to a large Polish
population and for the last 31 years, All Saints Parish has hosted
Polski Day . And last, but not least, there's the
Pierogi Fest in
Indiana with many more attractions other than Polish pierogi,
Wisconsin Dells Polish Fest.
Kosciuszko Day 4 February
Casimir Pulaski Day March (
Feast of the Annunciation
Feast of the Annunciation 25 March
Paczki Day (Fat Thursday)
Constitution Day 3 May
Dyngus Day (Easter Monday)
Our Lady of Czestochowa
Our Lady of Czestochowa 26 August
General Pulaski Memorial Day 11 October
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Feast of the Immaculate Conception 8 December
Wigilia 24 December
Americans carried on celebrations of Constitution Day
throughout their time in the
United States without political
suppression. In Poland, from 1940 to 1989, the holiday was banned by
Nazi and Soviet occupiers.
Contributions to American culture
Monument of Andrzej Pityński "Contribution of Polish
Polish-Soviet War 1920" founded in
Warsaw by Polish-Americans
Americans have influenced
American culture in many ways. Most
prominent among these is that Jefferson drafting the Constitution of
United States was inspired by religious tolerance of the Warsaw
Confederation, which guaranteed freedom of conscience.
The Polish culture left also culinary marks in the USA - the inclusion
Polish cuisine such as pierogi, kielbasa, golabki. Some
of these Polish foods were tweaked and reinvented in the new American
environment such as Chicago's Maxwell Street Polish Sausage.
Americans have also contributed to altering the physical
landscape of the cities they have inhabited, erecting monuments to
Polish-American heroes such as
Kościuszko and Pulaski. Distinctive
cultural phenomena such as Polish flats or the Polish Cathedral style
of architecture became part and parcel of the areas where Polish
Poles' cultural ties to Roman Catholicism has also influenced the
adoption of such distinctive rites like the blessing of the baskets
before Easter in many areas of the
United States by fellow Roman
In 2017 Polish American pacifist/film maker
Tommy Wiseau was quoted
saying "If a lot of people loved each other, the world would be a
better place to live. See ‘The Room,’ have fun, and enjoy life,
the American Dream is alive, and it’s real."
Early Polish immigrants built houses with high-pitched roofs in the
United States. The high pitched roof is necessary in a country subject
to snow, and is a common feature in Northern and Eastern European
architecture. In Panna Maria, Texas,
Poles built brick houses with
thick walls and high-pitched roofs. Meteorological and soil data show
that region in
Texas is subject to less than 1 inch of snow and a
meteorological study conducted 1960-1990 found the lowest one-day
temperature ever recorded was 5 degrees Fahrenheit in January 21,
1986, highly unlikely to support much snow. The shaded veranda
that was created by these roofs was a popular living space for the
Polish Texans, who spent much of their time there to escape the
sub-tropical temperatures of Texas. The
Texas added porches
to these verandas, often in the southward windy side, which is an
alteration to traditional folk architecture. According to oral
histories recorded from descendants, the verandas were used for
"almost all daily activities from preparing meals to dressing animal
Texas put straw thatching on their roofs
until the early 1900s, another European influence. The first house
built by a Pole in Panna Maria is the John Gawlik House, constructed
1858. The building still stands and is visited as a historical
attraction in the cultural history of Texas. In 2011, the San Antonio
Conservation Society financed a replacement of the building's roof,
identifying it as a "historically and architecturally significant
Organizations like the
Polish Legion of American Veterans were
organized to memorialize the Polish contribution to the American
For a more comprehensive list, see List of Polish Americans.
United States portal
Catholic Heritage Committee
King Jagiello Monument
^ a b "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more
ancestry categories reported 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year
United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2 November
^ One Nation Under God: Religion in Contemporary American Society , p.
^ U.S. Census Bureau. "Ancestry: 2000" (PDF). Archived from the
original (PDF) on 20 September 2004. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
^ "Allaince News : 2008" (PDF). Polishtoledo.com. Retrieved 28
^ J. H. Retinger, Polacy w cywilizacjach swiata, p. 200, Warszawa,
^ See the reference to Anusim. Additionally, refer to the similar case
of John Kerry's paternal grandfather, a Non-Polish subject whom
Boston and passed for a Czech-Austrian Hungarian
^ Victor Greene, "Poles" in Stephan Thernstrom, ed., Harvard
Encyclopedia of American Ethnic groups (Harvard University Press,
1980) pp 787-803
^ "Waclaw Kruszka, Historya Polska w Ameryce,
Milwaukee 1905, p. 65
(in Polish)" (PDF). The Polish-American Liturgical Center. Retrieved 2
^ Polish Americans, Status in an ethnic Community. by Helena Lopata,
^ "Rank of States for Selected Ancestry Groups with 100,00 or more
persons: 1980" (PDF).
United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30
^ "1990 Census of Population Detailed Ancestry Groups for States"
United States Census Bureau. 18 September 1992. Retrieved 30
^ "Ancestry: 2000".
United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 November
^ "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more
ancestry categories reported 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year
United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 November
^ "About the Population Census". Flps.newberry.org. Retrieved 17 March
^ a b c d Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American
FactFinder - Results". Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 17 March
^ Bukowczyck, p. 108
^ Bukowczyck, p. 109
^ Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder -
Search". Archived from the original on 12 February 2011. Retrieved 17
^ Bukowczyk, pg. 35.
^ Bukowczyk, pg. 36.
^ The Polish Community in Metro Chicago:A Community Profile of
Strengths and Needs, A Census 2000 Report, published by the Polish
American Association June 2004, p. 18
^ Tomasz Inglot, and John P. Pelissero. "Ethnic Political Power in a
Machine City Chicago's
Poles at Rainbow's End." Urban Affairs Review
(1993) 28#4 pp: 526-543.
^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2011 Supplemental Table 2".
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2012-11-02.
^ "Supplemental Table 2. Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident
Status by Leading Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) of Residence
and Region and Country of Birth: Fiscal Year 2014". U.S. Department of
Homeland Security. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2013 Supplemental Table 2".
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved September 11,
^ "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2012 Supplemental Table 2".
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Archived from the original on
December 22, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
^ "POLISH AIRLINES LOT". LOT POLISH AIRLINES. Retrieved
^ Gauper, Beth (2007-05-27). "Polish for a day". MidwestWeekends.com.
St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
^ John Radzilowski.
Poles in Minnesota. St. Paul:
Society, 2005. p. 6
National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame Artifacts on Display
at the American Polish Cultural Center". National Polish-American
Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2009-02-23. [dead link]
^ Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder -
Results". Factfinder2.census.gov. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
^ "Polish Village In Parma Ohio". Facebook.com. Retrieved 28 August
^ "The Cleveland Society of
Poles Polish Foundation Cleveland
Ohio". Clevelandsociety.com. Retrieved 2012-09-10.
^ See "
Jewish Surnames (Supposedly) Explained" in regards to name
changes, self-identification, &c. as pertaining to
other immigrants at Ellis Island.
Project MUSE - A Social History of Polish-American Catholicism".
Muse.jhu.edu. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
^ Contrary to popular understanding,
Anusim were not just Sephardim.
Jewish Virtual Library explains this well.
^ Two case studies:
Julian Czerniecki identified as "Lithuanian" on his immigration
manifest at Ellis Island and Russian Polish during the 1910 and 1920
Ignacy Andrulewicz, of the Andrulewicz family (including Teddy
Andrulewicz) and the Orlinek,
Poland branch of said family, identified
as "Polish" in 1912, when he immigrated to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Russian
in 1915, and Bohemian in 1925
Our Lady of Czestochowa
Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine". Marymount Hospital. Retrieved 14
^ No Author Listed. "A History of
Polish Hill and the PHCA". Retrieved
^ a b Mary the Messiah: Polish Immigrant Heresy and the Malleable
Ideology of the Roman
Catholic Church, 1880-1930. John J. Bukowczyk.
Journal of American Ethnic History. Vol. 4, No. 2 (Spring, 1985), pp.
^ "Serbian Monastery of New Gracanica – History". Newgracanica.com.
Archived from the original on 21 February 2009. Retrieved 28 August
^ "Religion: Ramadan". Time. 1937-11-15. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
^ "PL - polsko-amerykański dwujęzyczny miesięcznik /
Polish-American bilingual monthly". Plmagazine.net. Archived from the
original on 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2012-09-10.
Ohio University Press & Swallow Press". Ohioswallow.com.
^ "Welcome to the Polish American Journal". Polamjournal.com.
Retrieved 28 August 2017.
^ "Polsko Amerykański portal - Polish American portal".
Polishnews.Com. Retrieved 2012-09-10.
^ "The Am-Pol Eagle". Ampoleagle.com. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
^ "Progress for
Poland - Chicago: Fakty, Wiadomości, Opinie..."
Progress for Poland. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
^ a b "Polish American Historical Association - Resources and
Supported Links". Polishamericanstudies.org. Retrieved 28 August
^ Smithsonian Magazine,
Polish American Museum
Polish American Museum at Smithsonian.com
^ James Barron, the New York Times, If you're thinking of living in:;
Port Washington Published: August 8, 1982
^ "Święto polskiego kina w Nowym Jorku" (in Polish). Wirtualna
Polska. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-12-30. Retrieved
^ "May 3rd Polish Constitution Day". Ampoleagle.com. Retrieved 17
^ Sandra Lapointe. The Golden Age of Polish Philosophy: Kazimierz
Twardowski's Philosophical Legacy. Springer. 2009. pp. 2-3. 
^ "Intellicast - Panna Maria Historic Weather Averages in Texas
(78144)". Intellicast.com. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on
2009-03-21. Retrieved 2013-04-10.
^ a b Francis Edward Abernathy (1 August 2000). Publications of the
Texas Folklore Society. University of North
pp. 132–. ISBN 978-1-57441-092-1. Retrieved 10 April
^ "mySouTex.com - Grant will replace roof of 1858 Panna Maria house".
Mysoutex.com. Retrieved 17 March 2015. [permanent dead link]
^ "PLAV History". Plav.org. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
Bukowczyk, John J. (1986). And My Children Did Not Know Me: A History
of the Polish-Americans. Bloomington:
Indiana University Press.
ISBN 0-253-30701-5. OCLC 59790559.
Bukowczyk, John J. (1996). Polish
Americans and Their History:
Community, Culture, and Politics. Pittsburgh, Pa: University of
Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-3953-3. OCLC 494311843.
Erdmans, Mary Patrice (1998). Opposite Poles: Immigrants and Ethnics
in Polish Chicago, 1976–1990. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania
State University Press. ISBN 0-271-01735-X.
Gladsky, Thomas S. (1992). Princes, Peasants, and Other Polish Selves:
Ethnicity in American Literature. Amherst: University of Massachusetts
Press. ISBN 0-87023-775-6. OCLC 24912598.
Greene, Victor. "Poles" in Stephan Thernstrom, ed., Harvard
Encyclopedia of American Ethnic groups (Harvard University Press,
1980) pp 787–803
Jackson, David J. (2003). "Just Another Day in a New Polonia:
Polka Music". Popular Music &
Society. 26 (4): 529–540. doi:10.1080/0300776032000144986.
ISSN 0300-7766. OCLC 363770952.
Lopata, Helena Znaniecka (1976). Polish Americans: Status Competition
in an Ethnic Community. Ethnic groups in American life series.
Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-686436-8.
Majewski, Karen (2003). Traitors and True Poles: Narrating a
Polish-American Identity, 1880–1939.
Ohio University Press Polish
and Polish-American studies series. Athens:
Ohio University Press.
ISBN 0-8214-1470-4. OCLC 51895984.
Nowakowski, Jacek (1989). Polish-American Ways. New York: Perennial
Library. ISBN 0-06-096336-0. OCLC 20130171.
Pacyga, Dominic A. "Poles," in Elliott Robert Barkan, ed., A Nation of
Peoples: A Sourcebook on America's Multicultural Heritage (1999) pp
Pienkos, Donald E. PNA: A Centennial History of the Polish National
Alliance of the
United States (Columbia University Press, 1984)
Pienkos, Donald E., "Of Patriots and Presidents: America's Polish
Diaspora and U.S. Foreign Policy since 1917," Polish American Studies
68 (Spring 2011), 5–17.
Pula, James S. (1995). Polish Americans: An Ethnic Community. Twayne's
immigrant heritage of America series. New York: Twayne Publishers.
ISBN 0-8057-8427-6. OCLC 30544009.
Pula, James S. (1996). "Image, Status, Mobility and Integration in
American Society: The Polish Experience". Journal of American Ethnic
History. 16 (1): 74–95. ISSN 0278-5927.
Pula, James S. "Polish-American Catholicism: A Case Study in Cultural
Catholic Historian Volume 27, #3 Summer 2009,
pp. 1–19; in Project MUSE
Radzilowski, John. "A Social History of Polish-American Catholicism",
Catholic Historian – Volume 27, #3 Summer 2009,
pp. 21–43 in Project MUSE
Silverman, Deborah Anders (2000). Polish American Folklore. Urbana:
Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-02569-5.
Thomas, William Isaac; Znaniecki, Florian Witold (1996) [1918–1920].
The Polish Peasant in Europe and America: A Classic Work in
Immigration History. Urbana: University of
ISBN 0-252-06484-4. OCLC 477221814.
Memory and historiography
Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, Anna D., "The Polish American Historical
Association: Looking Back, Looking Forward," Polish American Studies,
65 (Spring 2008), 57–76.
Walaszek, Adam. "Has the" Salt-Water Curtain" Been Raised Up?
Globalizing Historiography of Polish America." Polish American Studies
73.1 (2016): 47-67.
Wytrwal, Joseph Anthony (1969).
Poles in American History and
Tradition. Detroit: Endurance Press. OCLC 29523.
Zurawski, Joseph W. "Out of Focus: The Polish American Image in Film,"
Polish American Studies (2013) 70#1 pp. 5–35 in JSTOR
Zurawski, Joseph W. (1975). Polish American History and Culture: A
Classified Bibliography. Chicago: Polish Museum of America.
Find more aboutPolish Americansat's sister projects
Media from Wikimedia Commons
Texts from Wikisource
PolishMigration.org, immigration records to
United States between 1834
Music made by Polish-Americans
Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey: English translations of 120,000
pages of newspaper articles from Chicago's foreign language press from
1855 to 1938, many from Polish papers.
German Mennonites from Russia
Hungarian Slovak Romanies7
Poles came to the
United States legally as Austrians, Germans,
Prussians or Russians throughout the 19th century, because from
1772–1795 till 1918, all Polish lands had been partitioned between
imperial Austria, Prussia (a protoplast of Germany) and Russia until
Poland regained its sovereignty in the wake of World War I.
2 Russia is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern
Asia. The vast majority of its population (80%) lives in European
Russia, therefore Russia as a whole is included as a European country
Americans are the American people from the former
Turkey is a transcontinental country in the Middle East and
Southeast Europe. Has a small part of its territory (3%) in Southeast
Europe called Turkish Thrace.
Azerbaijan and Georgia are transcontinental countries. They have a
small part of their territories in the European part of the Caucasus.
Kazakhstan is technically a bicontinental country, having a small
portion in European hands.
7 Disputed; Roma have recognized origins and historic ties to Asia
(specifically to Northern India), but they experienced at least some
distinctive identity development while in diaspora among Europeans.
West Slavic Americans
Polonia and Polish minorities
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Russia (and Soviet Union)