Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Jan Kowalik papers
Date (inclusive): 1878-1994
Date (bulk): 1939-1982
Collection Number: 93047
Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material:
89 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box, 9 card file boxes
(37.8 linear feet)
Correspondence, writings, bibliographies, notes, catalogs, bulletins, biographical data, printed matter, and photographs relating
to the post-1939 Polish émigré press, Polish émigré journalists, and notable Polish émigrés in the United States and especially
in California. Includes some collected papers of Polish émigrés and records of Polish émigré organizations in the United States.
Hoover Institution Archives
Collection is open for research.
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[Identification of item], Jan Kowalik papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1993.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number
of boxes listed in this finding aid.
Jan Kowalik was born on August 28, 1910, in Skoczowie, Poland. His birth name was Jan Franciszek Slawiczek, but he was most
often known by his pseudonym, Kowalik, or as Jan Franciszek Suchy or Jan Pokrzywa. He is known as a writer, bibliographer,
and a poet of the post-World War II era.
Kowalik received his higher education first in the city of Cieszyn, and later in Bielsko-Biała. In 1931 he started working
as a teacher in the external studies program at Jagiellonian University. When World War II began, he worked for the resistance
movement. In 1944 he was arrested and imprisoned in Germany at a concentration camp in Wrexen.
After the camp’s liberation Kowalik spent a year working as a teacher in a refugee camp in Landau-Waldeck. He then spent the
next three years in a tuberculosis sanatorium in Steinatal, first as a patient, and later as an administrator. While working
as an administrator at the sanatorium he was also working as a teacher in the hospital’s school and later as a commanding
officer at the displaced persons camp in Landau. After Landau, Kowalik worked in the archives of the Sekcja Obozów Koncentracyjnych
w Międzynarodowej Komisji Poszukiwań (ITS) in Arolsen, while at the same time nurturing his love for writing and Polish publications.
While with ITS, he collaborated on various publications:
Kronika, Ostatnie Wiadomości, Słowo Katolickie, and
Szlak. He also founded and was the editor of a weekly publication,
Polak w Waldeck, which he put out while working as the commanding officer at the displaced persons camp. While in Germany, Kowalik continued
his work as a journalist, writer, and poet. His poems were published in two volumes,
Ścieżka przez Steinatal, in 1947, and
Wiatr w Gałęziach, in 1948.
In 1950, Kowalik moved to the United States, where for two years he worked a series of odd jobs: security guard, window cleaner,
night janitor at a cinema, and dishwasher at a restaurant. For three years he worked in the Hoover Library at Stanford University
and later resumed his work in the labor force. He dedicated his spare time to his bibliographic work by starting the American-Polish
Documentation Studio in California, where his primary work revolved around documenting the historical and bibliographical
work of the Polish diaspora, specifically the émigré press. During that time Kowalik also published a great deal. His articles
Kultura, Wiadomości, Oficyna Poetów, Ostatnie Wiadomości, Przegląd Polski, Głos Polski, Prąd, and
In 1968, Kowalik received an award from the Alfred Jurzkowski Foundation, as well as the Gold Cross of Merit from the Polish
President in exile, August Zalewski, for his contributions to Polish history, education, and literature. In 1986 in London,
President Edward Raczyński bestowed upon him the medal of the Order of Polonia Restituta, and in 1993 the consul general of
Poland in Los Angeles, Jan Szewc, presented him with the medal of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
Jan Kowalik died on February 11, 2001 in San Jose, California.
Translated from: http://www.bu.kul.pl/jan-kowalik-1910-2001-sylwetka-i-publikacje,art_11355.html
Scope and Content of Collection
The papers of Jan Kowalik consist of correspondence, writings, bibliographies, notes, catalogs, bulletins, biographical data,
printed matter, and photographs relating to the post-1939 Polish émigré press, Polish émigré journalists, and notable Polish
émigrés in the United States and especially in California. The papers also include some collected papers of Polish émigrés
and records of Polish émigré organizations in the United States.
In addition, the collection contains photographs of the artwork of Hanna Wynerowska (Kali), a Polish-American painter and
World War II veteran. The photographs were often sent to Kowalik in the form of greeting cards, along with letters from Kali
and her husband. Also included within the collection is a selection of letters from Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski (Antoni Ferdynand
Ossendowski), a Polish journalist and traveler. The folder includes letters of Ossendowski, and photos of him and his second
wife, which is of note given the fact that Ossendowski's archives had been fully destroyed before his death.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Polish newspapers--Foreign countries.
Polish periodicals--Foreign countries.
Poland--Emigration and immigration.
Polish people--United States.